Sunday 12 April 2009

Oman: no more Nizwa

Having travelled to the Bedouin ladies yesterday, it was not necessary to visit their coloured string stand after breakfast. We settled the bill and after a period of luggage amnesia, we pulled out of the camNizwa souvenirsp towards Nizwa.

We reached Nizwa at 12.30 with only 30 minutes of official shopping time before everything would normally close for the afternoon nap. The shopkeeper in the largest shop, who to his credit and my amazement confessed that only 20% of his stock was from Oman, the rest from India) smelled profit from Gail and April and extended his opening hours.

Unfortunately his prices were ludicrously high - he was not willing to offer more than 10% discount and after almost an hour they came out almost empty-handed. I wasFalaj Daris losing the will to live. We sent them back in for the most important items and they succeeded in knocking the chap down a little further. I decided at this point that I never want to visit Nizwa again.

Batteries were recharged with a picnic at Falaj Daris before we drove to Jabrin fort. We didn't realise that the fort closed at 4pm until we sauntered out at 4.30pm escorted by one of the staff hastily drying his hands on his undergarments to unlock the gates of the fort. The group of visitors loitering outside the fort were obviously not aware of the unusual opening times either.

The ruggedly beautiful scenery on the road up to Jabal Shams was enhanced by heavy cloud hiding the setting sun. We passed a few unusual scenes: a group of lycra-clad Omani cyclists training on the steep mountain roads, a man dressed in shades of purple with matching purple accessories and a blind man tapping his way down using the edge of the road as a guide.

All of the stalls selling coloured string and scratchy goat-hair rugs were closed so there was no delay in reaching the Jabal Shams Travelling and Camping Centre. In addition to the new rooms, there is now a dazzling array of new white canvas and additional path lighting. We went through the usual pleasantries with the owner who once again offered us discount for the new rooms in line with the price he’d previously quoted on the phone.

With a strong Germanic clientele, the restaurant felt more like an Austrian ski lodge than an Omani mountain top resort as we tucked into our evening dinner. April and Gail struggled with Internet technology afterwards before we retired at some ludicrously early hour.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Darn! Ledi refuses to come to the places that offer no more than 10% discount!!! With this kind of attitude, it is weird she traveled so far in Oman, or elsewhere...