Wednesday 25 March 2009

Ooh, don't like the look of that

After 76 days battling through icy gales without a toilet and eating freeze-dried food, Oman’s Mohsin Al Busaidi completed his voyage to become the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world (with two Frenchmen and two Brits making up the numbers it would seem). According to the Oman Sail website (if it ever loads, Omantel), the ‘Musendam’ crossed the finish line just after 3 pm and more-or-less hung around outside Muscat until somebody important was available for the arrival ceremony in the evening. 

In the late afternoon, Mrs M went out to sea with Ian and Jan to form a welcoming flotilla of one boat as the impressive trimaran bobbed around motionless outside Mutrah harbour. As darkness fell, a storm with lightning and heavy rain forced Ian to turn the boat back to Bandar Ar Rawda marina through a hazardous fishing net obstacle course. 

Meanwhile on the corniche, I stayed nice and dry while waiting for almost two hours for the Musendam to arrive. The salt-encrusted crew of Ian’s boat arrived with seafaring tales just before the excitement began. Actually, there wasn’t much excitement. The woman that had been cackling over a loudspeaker for more than hour tried to whip the small crowd into a frenzy as the boat drifted into Mutrah harbour with all the pomp and ceremony of a children’s birthday party. No tugs squirting water, no boats blowing horns........ Our minds turned to food.

The small Thai Basil Restaurant, located in the Midan hotel in Ghubra, has a minimalist but colourful decor and elegant staff. We found the Thai food quite superb - perhaps the best we have eaten in Oman, and certainly the best value for money. We shall return.

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