Friday 24 November 2006

Oman: Sohar and Ras as Sawadi

Today we drove to Sohar, 230km north-east of Muscat on the Batinah coast. It was closed. Absolutely deserted. Despite what the guidebook said, the fort is not open on Fridays, so we walked around the gardens listening to the cackle of minor birds discussing the price of fish.

After a short whiz around the town we headed to the beach near the Sohar Beach Hotel. We sat under gently rustling palm trees nibbling the usual samosas and kebab bits, wondering where everyone was. Fully satiated, we walked around the nearby gardens and spotted our first Omani gerbil, scuttling under a bridge.

On the return journey, we found out where everyone Ras as Sawadi.

The car park was full to bursting point so we parked on the sand and walked over to the island at low tide, with toes squooshing in the slightly whiffy mud. Mrs M's rickety knees stayed below as I climbed to the top of the island for a great view over the sun bleached tidal flats. There was almost a carnival atmosphere with large families laughing together, large clusters of teenage boys and even small groups of girls enjoying the afternoon sun.

After freshening up in the As Sawadi Beach Resort hotel, the rest of the journey was like an episode of the 'Wacky Races', avoiding crazy drivers going to evening prayer, irrespective of speed.

No comments: