Africa/Middle East 2014:
Day 12 - Oman


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Africa/Middle East 2014: [Day 1 - Virginia] [Day 2 - Senegal] [Day 3 - South Africa] [Day 4 - South Africa] [Day 5 - Zimbabwe] [Day 6 - Botswana] [Day 7 - Zambia] [Day 8 - Tanzania] [Day 9 - Qatar] [Day 10 - Abu Dhabi] [Day 11 - Dubai] [Day 12 - Oman] [Day 13 - Bahrain] [Day 14 - Jordan] [Day 15 - Jordan] [Day 16 - England]

Wednesday, November 26, 2014: We were picked up at our hotel for our day trip to Oman by our tour van driver, then drove around Dubai picking up other passengers. We passed the Business Center Towers again ...
... so we were able to get a better photo of them than we had on the night tour.
Traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road was terrible so the passenger pickup process took well over an hour. The Metro station on the left side of our photo will play an important role in this story at the end of the day.
We headed into the desert toward Oman, leaving Dubai behind.
Maersk!
We stopped at a gas station for gas, snacks, and a restroom break. We got a photo of one of the most interesting English/Arabic logo translations here. Since Arabic is read from left to right, the front white portion of the Subway logo appears at the back of the Arabic version and vice versa for the yellow portion.
We fortified ourselves with some Coca-Cola Lights for the road.
We passed a camel in the desert, just hanging out.
We were headed to Dibba, Oman. It's this way.
We passed a city along the way, ...
... and a grove of date palms, ...
... and a pretty mountain range.
As we approached Dibba al Fujairah (still in the UAE), we saw the minarets of Masjid Sheikh Zayed Mosque peeking out.
Here's a roundabout decorated with a sailing boat and dolphin lights in Dibba al Fujairah.
Here's a closer look at Masjid Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
With the United Arab Emirates' National Day coming up soon, all public buildings like this one were decorated with the UAE flag.
Cross a street and suddenly, you're in the Sultantate of Oman.
Here's a home in the town of Dibba, Oman.
A chatty Canadian ex-pat on our tour narrated much of the trip to her friend and to us. She explained that mosques in Oman tended to feature tiled domes, and this mosque was no exception.
We went through Oman immigration (no photos shown here because we never take photos of the immigration process). Shown here are several flagpoles flying the Omani flag, which has similar colors to the UAE flag.
We arrived at the pier where our dhow cruise would depart. We had to cross five or six boats in order to get to the one we would be on.
Since we would be snorkeling, we looked at the water with anticipation. There were several dead fish floating nearby which didn't bode well.
A tour group was already on the boat when we arrived and they had claimed the top loft. We found a section of cushions toward the front that featured shade ...
... and we were off.
We were offered hot coffee and tea, so we had some tea first, ...
... then we were offered cookies and fruit juice as well.
We cruised along the beautiful coastline of Oman.
The aptly named Oman Mountains are pale and stark.
After an hour-long cruise, it was time to drop anchor and play in the water.
The boat crew got out snorkeling and safety equipment. We usually bring our own snorkeling gear, but with only one snorkeling trip out of 16 days, we didn't think it was worth it this time. That was a mistake because the equipment wasn't good.
So, we jumped in the water and saw nothing but floating yellow spots and white sand. We swam closer to the rocky shore and started to see a few fish, like these unidentified grey ones.
We think that coral might be purple. Hard to tell.
That's probably a sea slug.
This is a great photo of the species Husbandus Awesomus.
We saw a handful of Indo-Pacific sergeant fish.
There were plenty of black sea urchins, with tiny fish swimming near them. That yellow thing at the top right in this photo is one of the millions that we saw floating in the water. They're visible in every one of these photos. Algae, perhaps? We don't know.
We saw lots of these small striped fish. We didn't have any luck identifying these online either. Other than a ray that Debbie saw, this is the entire list of the fish that we saw. So, with terrible visibility, very few fish to see, and leaking snorkels, we headed back to the boat and decided to just spend time floating in the water with life jackets on.
After we were done being in the water and had spent some time drying off, it was time to get Orchy's portrait in Oman.
A delicious buffet lunch of Middle Eastern foods was served and it hit the spot quite nicely.
After a while, it was time to leave.
We did some research to determine how much Debbie should cover up in order to respect local customs. We opted for a one-piece suit with shorts and a rash guard. Based on this woman's garment choices, we needn't have worried about being the ones to offend.
Here's the pretty view on the cruise back to the pier.
Let's get a close up of that beautiful mosque, shall we?
Back at the pier, ...
... we saw one crab ...
... and one sleepy kitty.
This is the Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Dibba, Oman.
On this street were several dozen clothing stores selling abayas. Seriously, block after block after block of them. From here, we had an hour and a half drive back into Dubai.
When it became clear that our driver was going to drop off passengers in the reverse order that we were picked up, we decided to bail out of another hour and try the subway instead, at the recommendation of the chatty Canadian ex-pat. She and her friend did the same thing because they could tell that we were all going to get caught in the bumper-to-bumper traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road shown here from the Metro overpass. This got us back ot the hotel much faster plus had the added benefit of showing us how to get to the Mall of the Emirates metro station from our hotel the next morning by doing it in reverse.
Twenty minutes later, we were back at the mall, where people on stilts in UAE flag colors walked around greeting people and giving them flags in preparation for UAE's National Day on December 2.
Here's the female version of the colorful costume.
We were starving so we stopped in the food court and picked Umami as the lucky winner for tonight's dinner.
Who can resist a place that has a full plastic menu?
It was filling and delicious and exactly what we needed.
When we got up to the suite, we found that turndown service did, in fact, exist.
We had a new display of fresh flowers waiting for us as well.

As we were getting ready for bed, we were surprised by a fireworks display going off over the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, so we enjoyed the show for a few minutes before turning in.

Day 13 >


Africa/Middle East 2014: [Day 1 - Virginia] [Day 2 - Senegal] [Day 3 - South Africa] [Day 4 - South Africa] [Day 5 - Zimbabwe] [Day 6 - Botswana] [Day 7 - Zambia] [Day 8 - Tanzania] [Day 9 - Qatar] [Day 10 - Abu Dhabi] [Day 11 - Dubai] [Day 12 - Oman] [Day 13 - Bahrain] [Day 14 - Jordan] [Day 15 - Jordan] [Day 16 - England]

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