Plane Delays

My flight in Kuwait was over an hour late departing and I was freaking out that I would not make my connecting flight to Muscat. I arrive in Dubai and book it to my gate to see that me second flight was delayed about 20 minutes. I had just enough time to do a walk through duty free before we were called to board.

I landed in Muscat and bought a visa at the terminal. One of the cheaper visa’s I’ve bought in the Middle East at about 20$US. One I exited the immigration area I passed a duty free that said you could buy two bottles of alcohol to take into Oman so I back tracked and went in there. I had to pass a large sign that read “Non-Muslims Only”. I got a bottle of wine and a bottle of vodka and then went to get my luggage.

I got a taxi. They are non metered here and it’s the barter system in Oman like it is in Kuwait. One thing I recommend is never ask a driver “How much to….” it lets them know you don’t know the going rate. I told him where I was going and gave him a price a few Rial lower than what the hotel charges for pick-up from the airport. That worked fine for me.

I checked into the hotel with no problems and even had a message, “Pick up at 9 am for diving.” saw there was a fridge in my room and a supermarket across the street. So I went and got some mixes for the vodka, some fruit, and some sandwich stuff. You save a lot of money when you can make food at your hotel rather than eat out.

By the time I was set at the hotel it was dark out and I was tired. I let people know I was alive via Facebook and tried to get my VPN to work. It won’t because it has to be authorized on the network and I can’t do that. Instead I watched some TV on the real TV. Then it was to bed early to get ready for an early morning to go diving.

The next few days I spent my time diving. After that I took a tour around the town.
I slept in because there was no pick up in the morning. I had breakfast and got ready for my day at a leisurely pace. Then I walked about 30 minutes to the bus pick up spot. It wasn’t the nicest walk but it was easy and their were sidewalks for most of it.

The first sight I was able to see was a large clock down in downtown Ruwi. It has nice gardens was next to the stock exchange. It was also right by the main bus terminal if I had figured out how the public buses ran.

The bus picked me up and I went to the Sultan’s Palace. It was a long walk up the big wide walking path with buildings on either side and two roads cutting through to let cars through. The main building had a large garden in front and the building was blue and gold. A very cheery and colourful place. Most of the our buildings were white.

You could follow the rode and get to one of the old fortresses built by the Portuguese. This is used my the military and is not open to the public. You can see the outside and the back of the Sultan’s Palace. It’s still amazing to think of how many hundreds of years the fortresses have been standing.

I took a different path back through the town a bit. It was mostly residential and not much to see. I went back to the bus stop and waited for the next bus. The best part was knowing I could get a water once I got on the bus.

I took the bus to Matrah Souk which is the starting point for the tour. I disembarked to wander around the souk and see what might interest me when I came back. I knew I would come back because I like to buy my souvenirs on the last day. The souk was dark and crowded with many tourists haggling for the best deal. They sold scarves and magnets, copper pots and silver jewellery. They sold any number of generic souvenir stuff. I had my look and went back to get on the bus.

I guess because Matrah Souk is the main point of boarding that is where the ticket control is. Because of this I had to trade in my printed paper ticket for a proper ticket. I checked to see I’d been given a 24 hour ticket when I had purchased a 48 hour ticket. Always check things like that because a little human error can cost you big time. The ticket guy fixed it and gave me my 48 hour ticket. Now I don’t even think it would have mattered, after the first time no one really looked closely at my ticket.

I took the bus to the Shitta Beach area. They had a nice little area with restaurants and coffee shops, then you could go down to the beach to enjoy. I tried to get my WiFi to work at the coffee shop but I needed to make an account and it was a no go. So I just enjoyed the rest of the day. I wandered around the beach to see what I could see. I took a few photos. Then I got back on the bus and went back to the hotel because it was getting dark and a little cold. It was time to find dinner and then clean up.

After I decided to go down and see about the bar at the hotel. It was mostly dead with a few Korean?? guests and a few locals smoking. It was not where I wanted to be and once I saw the expensive drink prices I went back to my room to finish the wine and go to bed.

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