Day 2: Indelible sojourn to Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, Al Bustan Palace, Sink Hole park, Quantab beach and Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi
As admonished and exhorted by our host and moderator, we, adroitly aroused people were all accessible by 0700 hours and absconded Bait Muscat. We were running short of time and in computation to not to miss the booked charter boat at Marina Bandar, we preferred to carry our breakfast stuff with us instead of having at home. On that day one more person joined our group, his name was Ambu and was a colleague of Pratap Mausa. Including him, we made a baker’s dozen. Two GMC cars, Acadia and Envoy were at our relevance. Pratap mausa drove Envoy and Ambu, Acadia.It was a hot sunny day. The climate for most part of Oman is sunny with very less rainfall. Omanis and other foreign tourists experience the scorching heat of the sun, temperature reaching about 50 degree. I preferred to sit in Acadia and we drove from Al Ghubra to Marina Bandar. It was about 25 km. drive from our home at Al Gubra. I could not resist myself from capturing images of the scenes outside the car. I clicked many pics of the natural beauties of the city, including mountains, clean roads, greenery gardens and flowers planted on the sides of the road and divider. The thing of that day which i admire the most was the roads or you can say the traffic system of the country. Wonderfully groomed, tranquil, tidy serene and smooth roads were really a center of attraction for us. Ironically, these types of roads and traffic system is not seen in India. We made the inception of our sojourn by visiting Marina Bandar Port Al Rowdha, which is the main marina in Muscat in old fishing area of Sidab, between Mutrah Port and Al Bustan Palace. Inside the car we were perfectly protected and relaxed with AC turned on. We quit our respective cars and and the scorching heat made us realized the reality of outside temperature. Everybody was instructed to keep their hats/caps on. The sight of zillions of charted boats caught our attention. Ashie said, “Wow, Bhaiya, apan kya in boats me jaenge ?”. I said, “Yes”.
I, as always, could not resist myself from clicking pics of the gargantuanly resplendent boats. Someone(can’t recall it now,who the person was) said,” if you wish you can go for a toilet option as you won’t be able to grab the opportunity inside the charter. I followed Ambu to the toilet as i thought it would be an intelligently fine claim. I have only a vague idea about the rates of the tickets, they charged about 30 OMR (Omani Rials) for four persons. We captured a charter boat and began to sail and explore the vast sea. The charter boat left the port leaving a “BIG Y” behind. I was informed that we’ll also be catching some glimpses of the dolphins present in that area. My father and brother, Anand mausa and me, preferred to sit at the end of the charter. While rest of us occupied the front of it. For about more than half an hour the boat went with splendid speed. The heat of the sun got reduced as the wind’s velocity and our curiosity to know the sea and dolphins got high. The sight of “Y”, which was generated by the water as the engine of the charter boat whirpolled the sea water to sail foarward was notable. And i had a fab experience, as i was sitting at the last end of the boat. I saw about 4-5 other charter boats which seemed to be in frisk and chase of something in the sea. Soon we came near to the area where the other boats with other tourists were halted. I was not aware about their halt and indeed wanted an answer to why we were also at halt. My desperate answer was given by a dolphin who came up for just about a fraction of seconds making a imaginary arc or small opposite “U” in the air.”Waooo”, the crowd exclaimed. People took their cameras, handycams and mobiles out to capture the images of the sea creature. We(including other visitors on other boats) all were astounded at the sight of the dolphin and soon we caught many glimpses on other dolphins too. And whenever our eyes caught the glimpse of any dolphin, we all together said, “waooo”. After hours long journey we returned to the port but missed one spot, which i came to know from some other source when i came India :(. “The Cats Island”, that was the island we blundered and at that time nobody informed about it. You must be wondering about an island where cats dwell but i’ll love to tell you that not a single cat will be discovered by you if you wish to explore that place :). Actually i was informed that it is an island in the shape of a cat and that shape compelled the locals to name it “The cats island” :). Now if you visit Marina Bandar Port, don’t forget to pay homage to that island which we people calamitously passed up :(.
The next place which was ardent for our visit was Al Bustan Palace. A seven star hotel in Oman, only 4-5 km. from Marina port. We visited it quickly as there were many other destinations which were to be connected. The paramount pieces of attraction at the Al Bustan Palace were the charming chandeliers. If you are passionate for chandeliers and its types you should not miss that and if you are not crazy for the same you can afford to miss the palace. There is nothing unique to follow and remember there. We made ourselves busy by clicking pics. While we all were clicking, a visitor of some other country came and captured our group photographs. She said, “one two three, smile”. She repeated the process three times using three different cameras of ours. Thankx to her that we all three families have a group photograph in our respective cameras. I missed to see the portrait of Sultan of Oman, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said at the entrance of the palace. Guddu reminded me of my loss and then and there somebody in our group of a bakers dozen, clicked a snap of mine and Guddu with the portrait. It was indeed a respectable click. We egressed the palace and ate our breakfast, mayonnaise sandwich in our cars itself. I being a non vegetarian was given a veg sandwich while others enjoyed non veg stuff. Then drove to the next spot, Qantab beach. We halted there for only 10 minutes for capturing some pics. If you visit there you can ask the local fishermen to carry you to the near island. We were in hurry and thus couldn’t do so :( Moreover if you are beckoned to the sea water you can surely go in the water for enjoyment. I also wanted to go in, not to enjoy but to beat the scorching heat of the sun:). Urmila mausi told me that there is another beach which we’ll be later exploring.
After hours of distance we were at Hawiyat Najim Park. Myriad parables are amalgamated with this spot. Local people claim that it was meteorite which was authoritative for the formation of the sink hole. It would be here notable that this park is alternatively also known as Sink Hole Park. That park was our lunch spot. We made ourselves comfortably relaxed and cozy for the lunch and after filling our respective bellies we marched to scrutinize the sink hole. The sun was at its strongest. Descending a flight of stairs we reached the destination. As the name states, it was really a cavity, a massive one, breathtaking and wondrous. Moreover greeny yet clear water added a feather to its beauty. I, strikingly my legs were fatigued(though i have superb stamina :)) and was the first one to naked my feet and pull my jeans up to my keens. Yes, i were to put my feet in the water for sometime as i thought it would be a natural verdict. Following me, other members of my dynasty did the same, in fact my father, brother and Anshu went deep in the hole for their enjoyment. My description would be fragmented and infallibly inadequate if i do not stress here on the fishes present in the sink hole. We saw zillions of minuscule yet brave fishes which gave us foot massage, removing dead skin on the foot area. I was stupefied by their hardwork and heroism.
Now it was time to sojourn the last place of our day, Wadi Tiwi and Wadi Shab. We approached Wadi Shab and succeed. Wadi Tiwi is 2 km. along the coast after Wadi Shab. We preferred to enjoy at Wadi Shab. Prawns coming out of mud hole caught my attention and i made their family or i can say the entire hamlet angry :) by disturbing them by my feet. When i marched ahead, prawns behind me, my feet became active and when i returned to my previous position they went back to their respective mud holes or their houses and the prawns ahead of me came out of their houses again to challenge me. Soon I was joined by my cousins in the act. Following the ceremony, our respective cameras came out :). We asked a local boatmen to carry us to the other end so that we can march our visit ahead. After bargaining he took us to the other end for 100 baisa per person. Now it was time to walk 2 km to be at sufficient water level for the enjoyment. We made groups and started walking. Few of us, including me had opened their shoes before and it became troublesome to walk. To pace up, mechanically i wore my shoes again. We encountered many visitors who were coming opposite to us, after visiting the Wadi. From every coming tourists i asked about the distance left and water level present. I always got positive stock rejoinder. And after facing many detours and adjustments we all were in water of the Wadi. That was the moment of enjoyment so profound. “Mazza a raha hai”, i said to myself with certainty :) Anand mausaji and Urmila mausi did not came in and preferred to relax sitting on the massive stones. I could feel the biting of small fishes on my body but this time they were not visible. Urmila mausi captured our pics. We, after getting wet came out and wore up our clothes again. The horizon was tinged red and gradually the sun began its departure. We set our face homewards. While Ambu was driving the car(i was sitting next to him, in front), i made a gaze on the odometer. It said “180”. I looked outside the window and found everything normal. I said to him, “can we touch 200″. He said,”220, not an issue”. He accelerated and now the odometer said,”210″. It was really a sophisticated exposure. After having evening tea at a petrol filling station we reached heaven(after all home always seems to be a heaven for ennui people) :) On reaching Bait Muscat, “I must get some sleep “, i made a mental note. It was all that happened on that assiduous day. It was a profoundly enriching experience. A hectic yet fabulous and indelible day in our lives eventually came to an end.