Tag Archives: Oman

Heading West and By the Numbers

A four hour train ride took us from Pamplona to Madrid.  We got lost in the mesmerizing landscape grinning every time a small village with white stone buildings entered the scene.  Lush were the hillsides and fields of agriculture.

We walked by the Atocha Station a couple of times while in Madrid but discovered a lush garden inside after departing the train.It was an easy listless day – train and then a taxi to the hotel near the airport for our flight back to the USA the following morning.

It was an eight and a half hour flight to Newark where we were to have a quick layover and be one our way to Charlotte.  Upon landing lightening crashed in around us and the plane stood still on the tarmac as the airport closed.  An omen.  A half hour later the plane was cleared to head to the gate.

Unbeknownst to us the airline industry and particularly United was in melt down mode.  It was utter chaos. Cancelled flights and stranded people.  Our connecting flight to Charlotte a victim.

It was 5:00 pm.  A United agent told us it would be days before any  seats would be available. “Check online.” The internet confirmed the worst.

We had places to be!  The following day was our grandson’s first birthday and our son had taken time off of work – we didn’t have days…. who has days???

Quick change of plans – we rented a car and headed to Charlotte driving until dark.  It was 1:30 am Madrid time by the time we stopped for the night somewhere in Maryland.

We arrived at our destination 21 hours late but in time to celebrate.

We visited family, broke bread, raced cars and played with our grand babies. 

United continued its melt down and we feared we’d not make it home to Nevada as scheduled.  It all worked out – both flights harmoniously were delayed and we made it home.Now we shift through months of mail, dust off the house and get ready for summer.  We head out again in 8 days.

Our trip by the numbers:

13 flights, 1 cruise ship, a few boat rides, multiple trains, lots of car rides,  one tram – 34 beds and 18 Countries: South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, French Comoros, Seychelles, Omán, EAU, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Spain.

I wore everything that I packed, left one shirt (on purpose) and threw out 2 that I ruined.  I way overpacked even though we just had carry on.  Another lesson learned (again).  Way less is even more!

Thanks for following along!


Oh Man! Oman

Forming the N/E portion of the Arabian peninsula, we are across the Gulf of Oman from Iran, and our stop at Salalah is approximately 30 miles up the coast from Yemen, neither one of which are current feel good spots for Americans. The mountains, arroyos and blue water remind us of southern Baja – I guess it’s called a desert.

Oman is also our first contact with Marco Polo country, since he stopped here, returning to Venice by sea from one of his trips to China.

Salalah is the world’s historic source of frankincense, brought to the birth of Jesus by the three kings and delivered to Zanzibar and India by early sailor/traders.

Our cabbie for the day, Noah, just became a father the previous day, adding to his children, who are 25, 24, 14 and 12.

We drove into the mountains to see Job’s tomb, crowded because it was a post Ramadan holiday.

Along the way, we passed literally hundreds of acres of a festival site, which occur annually over a month or two. By its size it must dwarf Coachella or Burning Man.

Hotel sized homes dotted the road.  The size accommodates a wealthy man, his multiple wives and children.

The desert and foothills were scattered with camels, domestic and wild. They control the roads, since there are no fences.

The capital, Muscat, is a dead ringer for Indian Wells, California. Date palms, and bougainvillea, Mount Eisenhower and the Living Desert, no high-rises, just white-washed villas and green lawns – tiled palaces and mosques, with the Sultan’s two yachts bobbing in the harbor.

The current Sultan deposed his father in the 1970s and has used his oil and gas dollars to create a clean attractive capital, which has half the population of Oman.

With the exception of a few old stone forts, the development is all post 1970.

Large roads, cut through the coastal range to allow expansion of the city inland, keeping the port village, small and quaint. Inland the row of car dealerships line up, like Los Angeles, including all the exotic manufacturers.

A planned community with a planned economy, and with total iron fisted control, which results in this kind of eye candy, is almost tempting to endorse.