Oman, another country I visited with no expectations and I FELL IN LOVE WITH!
I know nomads, I fall in love with every country, city or village I set my foot on, I am so easy!, but I bet you that when you finish reading this post it’ll take you two seconds to buy some tickets with destination to the land of the Three Wise Men.
The capital, Muscat, welcomes you spotless, full of beautiful mosques and white houses. Constructions over nine stories seem not to be allowed, so the surrounding mountains are always visible to our eyes. It is the fourth safest city in the world and its people are kind and generous.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is impressive, completely white. Part of the marble used to build it it was brought from Spain. It is dressed with a big one piece magnificent carpet, it weighs 21 tons and it took them FOUR YEARS to make it.
When I visited the mosque with Margareth and Basilio, who is from Granada, I said to them “it is like the Alhambra, but new, don’t you think?”
Us women must cover up, so out of respect I got myself an abaya and a headscarf and, look what a nice picture!, I love the different mosaics in the columns.
The zouk is full of life, it is near the port, where we could contemplate the sultan´s yacht, very loved in these lands. In 1970 deposed his father and started transforming this farmer’s country into the Jewel of Arabia that it is today, the best well-kept secret of the Middle East.
Strolling around the port, we could see near the yacht there was a dhow, a typical Arab vessel with one or two masts. An image where the past meets the future.
Another architectonic wonder is the very white and imposing Opera House, here it is! Impressive, reflecting the sun like a mirror.
If you like outdoor life this country has so much to offer! Three hours from the capital is Ras al Hadd, where you’ll find a big and beautiful beach bathed by the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. When we visited we had it ALL FOR OURSELVES. We spent the night in the B&B Salem Fish, a nice guy who will organize tours for you to go fishing, snorkeling, to see the dolphins and at night, he’ll barbeque some fresh fish for you.
If you like sleeping on the pink beach, you can camp in his beach hut not far from the wáter. If the sea is full of plankton, like the days we were there, at night you’ll see it shine, it is a magical effect.
Here it is “my beach”, they should call it “Nomad Reader” we are so meant for each other.
The village has only a few houses, it is like being in a Mad Max movie, it also has an inland lake where you can practice kite surf. Only ten kilometers away there is another fabulous beach called Ras al Jinz, only occupied by fishermen, their boats and some other huts, like in OUR beach. The day we visited there was also loads of plankton therefore, they couldn’t fish as the fish don’t see the bait, and they were all having an Arabig strong coffee they shared with us.
The icing of the cake of the days we spent in Ras al Hadd was the ritual of the green sea turtles, the beautiful sea giants lay eggs on these beaches, when I saw them I felt very emotional. It is WONDERFUL.
Here is Margarita returning to the sea when she saw us.
This is one of the most important beaches in the world for this ritual, they have to be observed with a lot of respect, otherwise they change their mind and go back to the sea. In the moment they are laying eggs they go into a trance, reason why it is not convenient to shine light on them or use the flash if it is night time.
On the way back to Muscat it’s a great idea to go hiking in a wadi, which is a valley where the river flows and if they’ve had abundant rain you can find plenty of water in it.
In the wadi Al Arbeieen, the one we went with Curro, a Labrador dressed in an orange vest and with a shark complex, we didn’t find too much water, but enough to hike and swim, that was when Curro weren’t making us drawn, great fun! And the scenery was wonderful. I advise you to wear slippers, have some water and a picnic for lunch.
If you like paddle surfing or kayaking, an hour and a half from Muscat is Bandar Khayran, where some spectacular fiords exist. Belinda and I took a 4×4, which I recommend you to do, we packed all the gear on top of the super jeep like a couple of champions and off we went paddling. Don’t worry if you don’t have your gear as there is a kind gentleman there who rents it, but watch out for the tide! If you don’t come back on time you might get stuck in the mud before reaching the shore.
Amongst the dunes of this beaches I was reading a classic that comes from these lands, Arabian Nights, old tales that talk about the stories of Sherezade, Ali Baba or Sinbad, travels to faraway lands and encounters with fantastic creatures, love stories that last in time, expressions of loyalty and richness, stories of old nomads.