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Helen Betts | profile | all galleries >> Oman, Hidden Gem of the Gulf tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Oman, Hidden Gem of the Gulf

We arrived in Muscat, Oman, for a holiday after an 11-hour trip from Riyadh, which I find pretty amazing since both countries are on the Arabian Peninsula and not very far away from each other.

However, itís the start of the two-week Ramadan holiday in the kingdom, although Ramadan doesnít actually end until Sunday. It seems that most Saudis and immigrant laborers leave Saudi Arabia for the holiday, and they all must have been at the airport today. There had to have been thousands of people trying to get on their flights, with tempers high from fasting and no real order in the queues to the ticket counter, in other words, chaos. Then the conveyer system for luggage broke down, due to overloading, Iím sure, which ground everything to a halt and delayed flights for at least an hour, which ours was. The same thing happened yesterday, Iím told, but flights were delayed for even longer. Our connecting flight to Muscat, which was coming from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi, was also delayed, but we finally got here.

But wow, I think Iím going to like this country! Itís less conservative than Saudi Arabia, but more so than Dubai, but there was actually music (Arab rock) on the radio (which doesnít exist in Saudi), the highway signs were all in both English and Arabic, people were driving pretty sanely, like what a difference! The one thing that isnít too good is that not only is it hot, but itís incredibly humid. Every time I got out of our car or a plane or a building, I couldnít see where I was going because my glasses fogged up so badly. When we got on our flight in Abu Dhabi for Muscat, the plane itself fogged up Ė it looked like a huge amount of steam flowing into the compartment from the A/C system. I can't even believe I'm saying this, but I'd take the hotter but totally dry climate of Riyadh any day.
Welcome to Oman
Welcome to Oman
Grand lobby
Grand lobby
A bit of relief
A bit of relief
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Grand Mosque, interior dome
Grand Mosque, interior dome
Royal Opera House Muscat
Royal Opera House Muscat
Mutrah Souk
Mutrah Souk
Gate to old Muscat
Gate to old Muscat
Sultan's palace
Sultan's palace
Royal coat of arms
Royal coat of arms
Al Alam Palace
Al Alam Palace
Garden and royal palace
Garden and royal palace
Al Mirani Fort
Al Mirani Fort
Colonnade
Colonnade
Colonnade
Colonnade
Colonnade
Colonnade
Doors of old Muscat (1)
Doors of old Muscat (1)
Doors of old Muscat (2)
Doors of old Muscat (2)
Doors of old Muscat (3)
Doors of old Muscat (3)
Doors of old Muscat (4)
Doors of old Muscat (4)
Triple fortifications
Triple fortifications
Al Khor Mosque
Al Khor Mosque
An Omani man and his son
An Omani man and his son
Al Alam Palace at night
Al Alam Palace at night
The giant incense burner
The giant incense burner
The Corniche
The Corniche
The Corniche
The Corniche
Opposites attract
Opposites attract
Public art (1)
Public art (1)
Public art (2): The Sohar
Public art (2): The Sohar
Public art (3)
Public art (3)
Public art (4)
Public art (4)
Mutrah Souk (1)
Mutrah Souk (1)
Mutrah Souk (2)
Mutrah Souk (2)
Mutrah Souk (3)
Mutrah Souk (3)
Mutrah Souk (4)
Mutrah Souk (4)
Mutrah Souk (5)
Mutrah Souk (5)
Mutrah Souk (6)
Mutrah Souk (6)
Mutrah Souk (7)
Mutrah Souk (7)
Mutrah Souk (8)
Mutrah Souk (8)
Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
Al Hajar Mountains
Al Hajar Mountains
The air-conditioned great outdoors
The air-conditioned great outdoors
Gorgeous pool
Gorgeous pool
Sea of green
Sea of green
Al Hajar Mountains
Al Hajar Mountains
The pool at night
The pool at night
Idyllic setting
Idyllic setting
Asma Bint Alawi Mosque
Asma Bint Alawi Mosque
Asma Bint Alawi Mosque, closer view
Asma Bint Alawi Mosque, closer view
Asma Bint Alawi Mosque, door
Asma Bint Alawi Mosque, door
Asma Bint Alawi Mosque, pavilion
Asma Bint Alawi Mosque, pavilion
Tourist destination Hyatt (1)
Tourist destination Hyatt (1)
Tourist destination Hyatt (2)
Tourist destination Hyatt (2)
Tourist destination Hyatt (3)
Tourist destination Hyatt (3)
Tourist destination Hyatt (4)
Tourist destination Hyatt (4)
Modern take on traditional architecture
Modern take on traditional architecture
The door at HSBC bank
The door at HSBC bank
New municipal park
New municipal park
New municipal park
New municipal park
Quiet harbor
Quiet harbor
Quiet bay
Quiet bay
Getting his moussa done
Getting his moussa done
Omani textile art
Omani textile art
Al Husn courtyard
Al Husn courtyard
Al Husn ceiling
Al Husn ceiling
Al Waha lobby
Al Waha lobby
Ah Waha beach
Ah Waha beach
Royal Opera House Muscat
Royal Opera House Muscat
Opera Gallery
Opera Gallery
Opera house chandelier
Opera house chandelier
Opera house ceiling
Opera house ceiling
Opera house night light
Opera house night light
Opera house front arcade
Opera house front arcade
Opera house, front entrance
Opera house, front entrance
Opera house, last glance
Opera house, last glance
The Splendors of Oman's Grand Mosque
:: The Splendors of Oman's Grand Mosque ::
The Beauty of Omani Mosques
:: The Beauty of Omani Mosques ::