Thursday 23 January 2020

Oman, Christmas 2019

22 December
Picked up a bottle of Piper Heidseck at HK airport in preparation for Christmas in a dry country! Flew CX to BKK, then connected to Oman Air for BKK to MCT. Arrived in Muscat very late, picked up our Avis rental car (booked through very quickly and easily. Headed straight to Somerset Panorama.


23 December
Breakfast at Icons coffee, which was amazing but incredibly slow to arrive! To Grand Muscat mall for Carrefour and to get sim cards at Ooredoo (also incredibly slow!). Home, then old Muscat (lunch at City Grill - this place looked a bit sketchy but actually the food was great), back to Mutrah Souk - bought kumas for the boys and Felix tried a dishdasha! Dinner at Juice World on Mutrah Corniche.

24 December
Costa coffee for breakfast. Drive to Nizwa fort. Lunch at Al-qala coffee shop. Drive to The View. Quick dip in pool. Dinner at the view, star watching. We loved staying at The View, the staff were very kind and helpful, and as the name suggests, the view was absolutely spectacular.

25 December
Presents in bed. Breakfast at the view. Drive to Bahla for eclipse glasses. Toilet at Oman oil Petrol station! Abortive attempts to shop. Bought lunch at Al kudamy hypermarket (labneh, flat breads, Nutella b'ready, bananas, dates). Drive to Jebel Shams, Al qitayn. Picnic, joined by goats. Little walk along balcony walk, then drive back to Al hamra. Explore date gardens and mud houses. Dinner at the view.

26 December
Solar eclipse. Pack, leave The View. Jibreen castle. To Sand Delights, lunch at coffee shop in Al Wasil. Sand sledging, walk across dunes. Star gazing, 2 shooting stars.

27 December
Camel ride! Pack, leave for Ras Al jinz. Went to Wadi Bani Khalid, swam. Lunch in village. Drive to Ras Al Jinz Turtle Guest House. Went to reserve first to get tickets, and book dinner. Walk on the beach. Back to guest house to shower and change. Dinner (buffet) at resort, ready for tour.

Turtle watching
We stayed at Ras Al jinz turtle Guest house, which is just 2 minutes down the road from the official resort / visitor centre. If you stay at the resort, I think you automatically get tickets to see the turtles. I emailed the guest house twice about booking a tour, they assured me yes yes, they always book tickets for guests. Not true. Luckily we arrived in Ras Al jinz quite early, and we went straight down to the resort to investigate. We got a reservation for a ticket (no charge) and arranged to come back for dinner just before the tour (which was due to start at 8.30). About 8.20 a million people turned up in reception and the worst tannoy system I've ever heard started explaining the situation. Half of this was what I gathered afterwards. At 8.30 they send scouts out onto the beach to look for turtles. If / when they find some, they call the first group of people (I think resort guests have priority). This happened about 9.30. Those people go to the desk and pay to change their reservation into a ticket. Then they all gather in the next room and a guide takes them out onto the beach, in darkness. He has a red light torch to show the way. There were about 25 people in our group (called at 9.45). We left about 10pm, it's about a 15 minute walk to the beach, and once there he leads you to see the turtle digging. After that we also saw a baby turtle.  Approx 300 people saw the turtles that evening. 

28 December
Left Ras Al Jinz Turtle Guest House, drove to Sur. Breakfast at Phenuq cafe. Saw lighthouse and dhow factory. Drove back to Muscat, stopped at Tiwi. Lunch at Mubarak bin Juma bin Mubarak Al Araimi Restaurant. Fantastic food (especially the fish masala!) but - worst toilet ever. Back to Muscat, Spinney's supermarket picnic for dinner.

29 December
Breakfast at Costa, visit to Sultan Qaboos mosque. Lunch at kargeen. Tried to visit Opera House! Drove to Heights, wandered on Qurum beach, Starbucks. Back to Somerset, swim. Spinney's picnic for dinner.

30 Dec
Breakfast at Costa. Drive to Wadi Ash shab. Very busy. Bathroom at car park. Slippery, rocky walk about 45 mins. Nice swimming. Lunch at Restaurant of traditional dishes (rubbish). Home via Bimmah Sinkhole. Yellow Cab Pizza Co. for dinner at The Wave. Old fashioned chocolate cake from l'Eto.

31 Dec
Breakfast at Brigit's coffee. Pack. Late check-out, 5pm. Grand Hyatt day pass, lunch, cocktail. Back to Somerset to check out. Drive to Mutrah, last dinner at juice world. Drive to airport via petrol station. Flight not great. Nice new Dreamliner, but didn't feel v spacious, quite a few noisy kids, lights on for ages. Bumpy landing. Took off 10pm, landed 3am (Oman time)

1 Jan
Coffee at Dean + Deluca, BKK airport. 

Top tips! 
Take quick dry towels, hand sanitizer, water shoes, tissues. 

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