Today was a day for adventure south of Muscat, starting with a sinkhole, then a hike and swim in a wadi, and ending in Sur for dinner and turtle spotting. We started at 9AM from the Best Western Premier Muscat hotel in the commercial center of Muscat. Since I wanted to sleep as long as possible, I missed breakfast. Sulaiman was nice enough to stop to get us Omani tea (black with milk, yum!) and some more Omani bread with honey to share on the way. After about an hour drive south of Muscat back over the mountains past where we were the previous night for the Muscat Festival, we hit the Bimmah Sinkhole (Hiwayat) on the inland highway, near to the village of Tiwi. Here is the map: The local story is the sinkhole formed when the earth swallowed a star. There were several Omani families visiting and a few people, both Arab and non-Arab, swimming in the sinkhole, which was easily accessible through a staircase towards the southeast side. The water was a nice teal and aquamarine, and very clear. In the rainy season, Sulaiman mentioned it could fill up even more and even become clearer when the….
After arriving from Bahrain on Oman Air grabbing a visa on arrival, and clearing immigration, I met my tour guide to begin my Muscat day tour. You can read more about my experience at Bahrain Airport and my very first flight on Oman Air here. My guide, Sulaiman, from Majan Views tour company, was waiting for me with a sign in hand and we were ready to go start our Muscat day tour. I had found him on TripAdvisor a few weeks before my trip and negotiated a fair price for a full 0.5+1+1+0.5 = 3 days of activity. He said he had been waiting for about an hour, since my flight had been delayed (see more about that on my previous post here). We immediately started the tour from there, with a quick stop at my hotel (Best Western Premier Muscat) to check in and drop off my luggage. The room was about what you’d expect from a 3-star in a major city. After some tea in the hotel room and a brief rest, I met Sulaiman outside for magical afternoon and evening on our Muscat day tour. It began with a drive through the commercial district, where the….
My final day in Bahrain was spent wishing it was sunnier so that I could go to the beach, but also feeling generally lethargic and unmotivated to do anything outside except for going to a Bahrain mall and seeing Bahrain indoors. This was a much needed rest day, sleep in day, do laundry day, and catch up on writing day. It was also a reminder that it actually was winter in this part of the world as well. We did eventually venture out in the afternoon (Brice worked the morning) to see some of Bahrain indoors, starting with the Moda Mall. We decided to walk it from Manama, but we had some challenges with the wind. Brice had explained that there is a winter wind that often blows through called the Shamal, and man was it blowing today. At times it was absolutely stultifying and I could barely advance forward. I especially encountered this in the wind tunnel formed around the Diplomat Hotel. It was an interesting experience. Before getting to the mall, we walked by the Golden Tulip hotel to check out where many expats liked to do Friday brunch (like our Saturday) and live karaoke, which were both….