Narelle and I would like to invite you to follow our trip to the Middle East this March and April. We hope you enjoy the blogs we post as we travel around this beautiful part of the world.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sand everywhere...

Off we head into the dunes of the desert for a night at a Oman camp. The day was again a scorching 35c and I feel in three days I have drank enough water to put this country into drought.

After a few hours drive dodging camels, donkeys and goats we reached a small valley in the dunes. this was our camp, yep in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It still amazes me that normal people can find a way to live and make a living in the harshest places. As u can c in the photo our hut was pretty cool and the open air bathroom was a delight, well for Narelle's senses anyways!

Camel was on the menu for dinner, the animal not the smokes Jamie. I

thought it tasted exactly how it looks; tough and it was like chewing on a fur ball with beef flavour. I won't b ordering that again!

After dinner it was up to the top of the dunes for some sledding. Great fun...although I am now finding sand in places where sand just should not get.

We managed to spend a little time with the two local ladies pictured today. They were the wives of the guy who owned the camp. They were making little wool trinkets to sell for a little extra cash. It was also quite unusual to see their head piece. It had a solid piece down the centre of the face and I was told this was to assist with vision during sand storms. Please remember that this is a cultural piece of clothing not a religious item, so it is their own choice to wear judging.

We are now in Nizwa in central Oman and have just had a wonderful meal at the local eatery. It was a huge feast of lamb, chicken, bread and dip. I managed to offset the meal with 100 laps of the hotel swimming pool...

Russell The three camels I sold Narelle for...

Top left: How the hell do u order a soy flat white no sugar in Arabic?

Open air luxury.


Women in Oman

The majority of women in Oman are covered from head to toe in black, sometimes even with their faces covered. Apparently it is cultural attire rather than religious. I've been wondering for days what they actually wear under their black robes, particularly when all the fabrics stores that we saw in the souq were full of bright colours. According to our guide they could be wearing anything from shorts to miniskirts to jeans.

Apparently the average age women get married is 23 to 25 (older for men). They don't do arranged marriages and women are encouraged to work, even after getting married. It is expensive for the man when they get married. He has to pay the brides family 5000 rial (A$15,000) then he has to buy her 1000 - 3000 rial in gold/jewellery, all this while the average income is 7000 rial (A$20,000).

Both girls and boys go to school (free). It is co-ed until year 6, then the girls and boys are separated for high school, then at college/university they are back together.

I often get stared at being a foreigner in this country (and not covered from head to toe) but sometimes I am invisible because I am a women. When checking into hotels, they always speak to Kane, even though I have all of the documents etc. At breakfast the other day, I walked into the restaurant ahead of Kane. The waiter said hello to me but waited for Kane to ask what room we were in. Takes a bit of getting used to.

Location:Sur, Oman

Friday, 29 March 2013

Heading south

Another day in paradise today...we started at the respectable hour of 9am and after a breakfast of bread and bubbergonash, yogurt and fruit we headed south from the capital of Oman. After traversing the towering mountains surrounding Muscat we entered the flat coastal desert plains. For hours it was nothing but sand and goats on the right and rich blue and teal ocean to the left. Our first stop was the sink hole that you can c in the pic below. Stunning cool water for a swim and the fish had a field day eating all the dead skin off Narelle's runners feet (it's true). Then we were off to a wallai (like a river wash) for a hike and a picnic lunch. This wallai had water in it after the recent rains. As u can c we joined in with the locals and had a wonderful time.

I am not sure where they learnt about westerners diets but this was the lunch that our guide arranged for us. 4 meat and salad rolls (think subway), 2 chicken and chips containers, 2 containers of salad, four drinks, two bananas, two apples, and a two cakes. Jesus, I mean Alla, I thought he was going to leave us in that canyon for a month.

Heard our first Americans today, then saw them 5 minutes later (sorry Jen, Andy, Kirsten, Ida).

Top right pic: a normal looking town on the highway.

Fish feet...yum dead skin!

Drive through tea and donuts Oman style for afternoon tea. One honk means tea, two honks tea and donuts...leaning on the horn means hurry the F up stupid tea boy.

Bottom right, our hut for the night.

The kids were having a fantastic time with this blow up tube. Refreshing to c kids playing with simple things.

Three Omani woman enjoying a sunny day at the river with their families.

Off to c the turtles tonight before retiring to listen to the waves of the Oman Gulf just a few metres from our hut. Jane, Mons we will urgently need warnings of a tsunami, actually just a slightly higher than expected high tide will c us submerged, I told Narelle she should sleep with a life jacket on.

Temp today was 32c

Issue with posting comments is now fixed.

Location:Sur, Oman

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Some interesting facts about Oman

In Oman:
People do not pay taxes
men can have up 4 wives
Oil and gas is the main economic activity
Health care and education is free
The weekend is Thursday and Friday
Lamb is the main meat
Desalination is the main water supply
Coffee is spiced
Women wear modern clothes under the black robes
A pack of cigarettes is $1
A litre of petrol is 30c
A litre of water is 25c
The country was devastated in 2006 by a cyclone
The population is 2.7 million

Spent the morning viewing some of the city delights of Muscat. Here are a few photos of the grand Mosque, the suq (lots of gold shops), and the local coffee shop.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wake to...

A stunning view and a Persian breakfast..!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Nearly there...

Wow what a quick 14 hour flight for me, not so others around me...'apparently'... I snored the whole way - I just don't believe this, but hey I am fresh as a daisy!

2 more hours and we are in Oman where I presume we will hit the ground to see; well who knows, just the type of exploring holiday I like.. I am sure it will involve walking in sand and kebabs...not to stereotype this part of the world but so far it looks like one big sand bunker and an all day meat fest...!!!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Where are we going this time...?

In previous holidays our friends and family have said on our return it would have been nice to read about your travels as you went along. Maybe they are stalkers, maybe we go to unusual places or just maybe they just take comfort in knowing where we are: all three is my guess!

This time around we are going somewhere very exciting and full of history. We are off to the old Persia (Middle East). We start in Oman, Qatar, move onto Iran for the bulk of the time and then we head back to Qatar. Below is a map of the places we intend to doubt these will change as the 'wind changes' our direction.

At anytime you can view where we probably are by clicking on our travel map link: Google Maps then on an icon or a place listed in the left column.

Click  to view our Google Maps Travel Page
We do hope you enjoy the posts and lots of pictures that we share over the next 5 weeks. Send us a comment/question etc and we will do our best to answer.