Tuesday 29 December 2009

Oman: departing so soon?

Sadly it was already time for our chums to depart. I took them for a quick blast round the mosque which was delightfully cool thanks to the persistent layer of thick cloud hanging over Muscat.

On the way back to the house, we dropped into City Centre for cash, and found two shops selling ambergris oil. The salesman in the Amouage shop seemed quite knowledgeable, but the chap in The House of Aoud Amber & Perfumes provided almost encyclopaedic information on the three different types of ambergris oils he had on the shelf. We came out smelling very earthy.

During lunch we finalised plans for their trip to Jabal Shams – which is no easy feat for the novice independent traveller in Oman. A telephone call to the Jabal Shams Resort revealed they only had (unheated) tents available and the temperature was around 5C at night. Undaunted, and armed with a dismal 1:1.5 million scale tourist map, sketches from the Oman Off-Road book and Google Earth, my directions and back-up telephone support, they headed off at 2pm. They returned ten minutes later for their notes and departed, once again, at 2.15.

Would they make it before dark.....would they make it at all??

In the early evening I received a message stating that they had reached the Jabal Shams Heights Rest House which had heated tents. They were enjoying dinner with a group of French hikers. Well done chaps.

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