Gary is currently in Grand Chute, WI (May 22nd, 2015)

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Oh, Man! First Thoughts On Oman.

Going from Dubai to Muscat isn’t just crossing a border and moving a few hundred kilometers, it is going back in time 100 years. This is not to imply that Muscat is backwards. They have every modern amenity and an excellent infrastructure. However, you get the feel that you are really in an old port city when you are here. It is especially pronoucned after coming from Dubai.

In Dubai, you could be fooled into thinking you weren’t in a desert. The area is flat and until you get out of the city, you forget where you are. In Muscat there is no doubt; rocky hills all over the city. The harbor area is surrounded by rocky hills, which must have made for an excellent defense in an earlier age. It is easy to see why a city was built here.

Life seems a lot slower here. Men playing cards on the sidewalk and just shooting the breeze. I think there is a big soccer match tonight. Lots of Omani flags are flying.

My plan is to stay in Muscat for about 2 or 3 days then head inland to Nizwa to visit some nearby World Heritage Sites. Then I’ll head back to Muscat to fly to Doha, Qatar, probably via Abu Dhabi.

Oh, the internet here seems much better than Dubai, which I really find surprising.

  • 5 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. Pat says:

    I just found your blog! Oman has got to be one of my favourite places in the Gulf…. I lived there for nearly 3 years after living in Bahrain and travelling around the Gulf, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Kuwait etc. Although some years ago now (late 70s and 80s) I always hanker back to those days when we had wonderful times and wonderful memories!

    Nizwa was amazing! We went by helicopter!! I shall have to blog about it sometime!

  2. nidal says:

    welcome in my country Oman. i hope you had one unforgettable experience after the match we won yesterday. the whole nation was celebrating all night.

    Nizwa is the best choice after muscat enjoy it dude

  3. lara dunston says:

    Every country on the Arabian Peninsula is actually very different to the next. Bahrain and Qatar are completely different to each other. They in turn are very different to Oman and the UAE. And Yemen, and Kuwait… and as for Saudi…

    But one thing they all have in common is their great coffee, you're right. It's the flavour – the cardomon and cloves – rather than the strength that makes it special. And the coffee ritual itself.

    Hey Gary, just letting you know I did a post on To Haggle or Not to Haggle and quoted you:

    And I included my favorite sales guy (actually, the owner of the store!) from Muttrah Souq.

    And it's odd you had bad internet problems in Dubai… we've lived there for 11 years and the only time we really had problems was the few times the cable out at sea was severed and we lost internet for several days. That happened recently – India lost it too – but I understood it was fixed now. I'm in Australia at the moment, where the whole internet access thing is woeful – the UAE is way ahead of them here. Enjoy!

    • Gary Arndt says:

      I found Australia's internet to be very disappointing. It was expensive and slow all over. Dubai was slow everywhere I tried it, and that included both of the Dubai ISPs.

      Oman is on a par with Dubai, but at least they don't block Flickr here.

  4. Cate says:

    I have heard about the huge difference between these arab countries even though they are neighbours. Oman is one I would love to visit. And Yeman – both for their coffee…
    Can't wait to see some of the photos from these places.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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