Sunday 31 August 2008

Oman: eek....Mrs M is 50!

As I am such a good husband, I decided to treat Mrs M to a night at the Chedi for her 50th birthday.

I rushed home from work and packed the camera and fresh pants. Coffee and sandwiches were not required for this journey as the hotel is located about 5km away, if you take the long route. The cats were not at all suspicious at we pulled away from the house and headed east. I simulated GPS noises to give it that holiday feel.

Five minutes later, we drew into the car park after the tiring drive, parking next to a line of hedges with razor-sharp edges and slightly curved tops like one of Mrs M's lemon cakes that she used to make years ago.

The check-in procedure was carried out on comfy chairs in the reception lobby. A chap served us cold flannels with tweezers from a small plate to freshen up after the journey. This was accompanied by glasses of fruit juice with an intriguing hint of mint and ginger.

The room in the two-storey Chedi Wing was elegant; black speckled granite floors, plain white vertical surfaces with museum-like windows and shelves set into the walls. The bathroom contained his-and-her circular stone sinks next to the separate toilet and shower rooms with blue frosted glass doors. The shower looked like a special exhibit room in an art gallery.

Mrs M was already larded up with factor 20 as we wandered through the maze of white buildings to the beach front pool. She relaxed in the sun while I found a narrow strip of shade in which to blog. The couple next to us were sound asleep swaddled in gleaming white hotel towels.

An hour later I was bored, so I wandered around the grounds to take a few photos. I realised after a while that the lens hood, removed to improve access to the polarising filter, created a large bulge in the front of my shorts. It may have been this, or lying on the ground to get different photographic angles, that roused the suspicion of some of the hotel security staff.

Before dinner we visited the hotel shop (sorry 'boutique'). Not the usual souvenir tee-shirts, magazines, emergency toiletries and family-sized Cherios. Tasteful items of clothing, jewellery, splendid ornaments and copies of items used in the hotel rooms were displayed in elegantly lit glass cases. Even here a bargain could be found as Mrs M spotted a black sarong which was added to the list of birthday treats from her increasingly generous husband.

We sat around the Serai pool before dinner. The newly-wedded couple at the next table, who looked about 12 years old, reminded us that it was our anniversary next week. I have a plan for a special treat.

The restaurant (so sophisticated it doesn't need a name) was relatively quiet, save for the muted sounds of chefs in each of the kitchens and the gentle tinkle of department store piano music. The menu contained a selection of contemporary, modern Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes from which a spicy Venetian risotto and chicken confit with goat cheese tortillas were selected. The accompanying Chilean red was quite sublime. As if this was not enough, Mrs M finished with a block of beautifully designed cheesecake from the cheesecake chef.

When we returned to the room, we found a large bunch of flowers on the table - a present from Mrs M's girlie chums. The scent kept me awake for hours.

No comments: