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OMG in OMAN-Looking up

As I mentioned in the earlier post. Yesterday started out rather horribly.

- The hotel had no wifi
- There we're no brochures on attractions available.
- The clerk at the front desk was of no help. He spoke little English, and couldn't direct me to any attractions.

In addition
- The tv in the room wasn't working
- I needed to pay in cash, and the closest ATM to the hotel wasn't accepting my card.

The only saving grace was when taking the taxi to the hotel, I passed a Sheraton not long before. I figured the Sheraton would at least have brochures, if nothing else. So I took a long walk up the hill to the Sheraton. A long the way, I met a bearded middle age guy who worked here and spoke little English. He wanted me to give me a card so I could sponsor him if he decided to visit the US.

I made it to the Sheraton. While I couldn't find brochures-I was able to access the internet at the business center. I even thought of checking out of the horrible place I was at, and checking into the Sheraton. When I discovered the price for a room at the Sheraton was "only" $207 per night (vs. less than $50 for where I was), I decided to grin and bear it and stay where I was. After checking my email doing my online things, I asked for a hotel employee for an atm, he pointed his way down another hill. Down the hill, I found a bus-stop for the hop-on hop-off bus. I also saw an ATM. I even found a burger king with free internet. I had to wait 20 minutes for Burger King to open (it opened at 10:00, but went in). I found out the internet was only available by requesting an access code which would be texted to me. The issue is that my cell phone only works if wifi is active-so this catch 22 wouldn't work in my favor. But a Burger King employee found a wifi username where I could use it for free. I checked the schedule for the hop-on hop-off bus, and learned it would be coming any minute-so I dashed outside to catch it.

Muscat, Oman is actually quite beautiful. The city is surrounded by beautiful cliffs. I rode the bus to the last place, which is called the Mutrah Souk, or a giant market, which is next to the cruise port. The Costa Meditteranea was in port, so many cruise passengers we're wandering around. I walked around the various stahls, which was fascinating, for a few hours. I saw beautiful mosques, and all.

After a few hours, I decided I wanted to modify my onward travel, to Cairo. I had a flight booked, but this one had was 14 hours, and I wanted to see what else there was. So I needed internet access-so I got back on the hop-on hop-off bus, and went to the only place with full internet I could rightfully use-Burger King. I went back there, and was able to find an earlier flight, at 8:00 on Thursday (the one before didn't leave until late night, and had a long connecting time).

After I was satisfied, I caught another hop-on hop-off bus to the Souk. I wanted to check in out more. I again went down many alleyways. This time, I walked behind the souk, up alleyways and hills, and saw the apartments people lived in. There we're stray cats every where. At one point, I came to chickens and roosters running around freely. When I saw this, the Costa Mediterranea was pulling out of port, and Con Te Partiro-Time to Say Goodbye was playing from the ship. This sound contrasted with the bok bok bok of the chickens and roosters running around.

By now the sun was going down, I walked around, and sat on the sea wall, watching people walk by ,and the water. I then decided to have dinner in the Souk. I ordered some fried food at a stand-didn't have small change, and a Omani woman with her hair covered paid for me-saying that I was her guest.

I was still hungry, I had some falafel, and I then I found a bus and took it back to the hotel.

Posted by DavidPearlman 22:48 Archived in Oman

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