Here are two very informative links which I discovered while I was surfing the internet. The first one have got the content of the tourism book launched by the Ministry Of Tourism, Oman. On this link you just have to mouse over the pictures in order to gain the information. And the latter one is a website owned by a Canadian Teacher who dwells in Muscat. Both the links will provide you almost all the indispensable information about the country. Till Then, take care. Lots Of love. Regards, Harshit Chauhan.
The Two Links :
1. You’ll see all the Omani Men wearing dishdash, their national dress with anklelength, collarless gown with long sleeves. The dishdash are usually white but you’ll also see men wearing brown dishdash. In addition to this they also wear a resplendent turban on their respective heads. And, you’ll find Omani women all covered with black cloth, with their “Hijab” on.
2. Sulatn Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, The Sultan Of Oman enjoys pinnacle social prestige from the people of Oman. You’ll notice his portrait hung in each and every Mall, Hotels, big or small shops etc. People Of Oman worship him. So, if you have anything against him, I’ll advice you to keep your mouth in your pocket 🙂
3. As far as perfumes are taken into consideration, Omani Men and Women are very passionate. Each time when you’ll pass any Omani men or women, your nostrils will compel your mouth to say, “WOW” 🙂
4. Roads Of Oman are fabulous. Forget about ditches, you won’t experience any patches on the roads Of Oman.
5. Don’t get astonished if you see a door with a name plate,”The Prayer Room” anywhere in Oman. Oman is a Muslim eclipse piece of land in the world and in Holy Quran they are said to offer respect to Allah five times a day. So, you’ll see separate paryer rooms for men and women in every mall, petrol filling stations etc.
6. Petrol is very Cheap. If you ask for help to a good samaritan for one liters of water, he may say,”No” but his answer for one liters of petrol would be YES*. Moreover, Petrol in Oman is not only cheap but also shares a unique relation with diesel. Diesel is more costly than petrol.
7. You’ll hardly notice any traffic police on roads but still they have one of the finest Traffic systems.
8. Oman is also for resplendent cars. Huge, massive and powerful cars are seen more.
9. The ‘Khanjar” which is the traditional dragger of Oman. It is similar to the Yemeni jambia. The khanjar is curved and sharpened on both edges. It is carried in a sheath decorated in silver, on a belt similarly decorated in silver fifigree. A khanjar appears on the flag Of Oman as part of the national emblem Of Oman. (Source :Wikipedia).
10. You’ll perceive more Indians than the Omanis. Quit strange but true.
11. Zillions Of date trees.
12. The water and ectricity bill of a normal house in Oman is almost same. Water is costly and electricity is cheaper.
13. Since electricity is cheap, you’ll find AC everywhere.
14. You’ll find most of the shops or offices motionless or closed between 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
15. Zillions Of coffee shops.
16. You’ll also witness several women waiting for one Omani man outside malls. shops etc. Actually, they all are wives of that fortunate man.
17. Almost all the houses and buildings in Oman are painted white.
18. You’ll also have a glimpse of the Omani Flag which you’ll see waving on Government buildings, Schools, Colleges and Universities.
19. Mosques are good in numbers but there you can also find some Churches and Temples.
20. Last but no the least, The Omani people are well known for their hospitality and offers of refreshment. To be invited into someone’s home will mean coffee (kahwa), a strong, bitter drink flavoured with cardamom, and dates or halwa, a sticky sweet gelatinous substance which is made from brown sugar, eggs, honey and spices. It can be flavoured with many different ingredients, such as nuts, rosewater or even chocolate. Lokhemat is another accompaniment to coffee, which are balls of flour and yeast flavoured with cardamom and deep fried until golden then served with a sweet lime and cardamom syrup. The sweetness of this dish often counteracts the bitterness of the kahwa. (Source: Omannet.com).
Day14: From Muscat International Airport, Seeb to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai.
My last day in Muscat was motionless, I did not sojourned. I got up in the morning and wished every member a fab morning. I turned on my laptop and connected it with wi-fi. On the url I wrote, WWW.GOOGLE.COM
The page showed me “Google Oman”, with google embellished with erratic colours. I opted facebook as my second option. Was glad when I saw Manisha Rathore, my school time chemistry teacher, on facebook. I requested her to join my facebook network. Then I started collecting precious pics from the cameras of other two families, on my laptop. Bunty and my mother went to Lulu mall to buy some frozen eatable items. My father, Anand mausa and Pratap mausa went to Samsung shop to own a microwave and a smart TV. Time passed quickly. It was 3’o clock and I decided to pack up for India. All four of my family joined me, too. I was worried regarding the weight of our accoutrements for, we were allowed 120 Kgs (30 kgs per person) and I was ruminating the weight more than the legal one. Moreover, Urmila mausi displayed her love and plethora emotions by providing us with zillions of items.
I said, “Don’t burden us, our luggage weight will increase and the airport authority people won’t understand your love.”
“We’ll be penalized”, I competed my concern.
But she was firm and said,”You won’t face any problem, your luggage won’t increase”.
I then went to Mars mall alone, just five in distance from Bait Muscat to buy a thnkx giving card for my mausi. I cursed myself for not bringing the same from India and for the same reason I paid heavy price for the card. I was astonished to discover the damn high price of a normal small card but its importance was zenith and I, without any delay made the payment of 500 Baisa or 75 INR (at that time). I showed my respect by handling her both, my card and emotions. Hugs, past 15 days recapitulations, wishes, thank you were some elements which we experienced and celebrated in that last moments in Bait Muscat. All other members wished us Godspeed. We wished them too and thanked our host for organizing the trip. Pratap mausa accompanied us to the Muscat International airport. He too, wished us safe journey and captured last two images of my family in his Nokia cell phone at the airport. Blessings played their role and our luggage weight stopped at 119.786 kgs 🙂 (120 Kgs. was allowed) otherwise, 4 OMR per Kg. was the penalty and to our good fortune, we escaped it.
Quite easily with patience, progressing into various stages (security check, visa check, passport stamp, check in counter) which every passenger encounters, officialismly we cleared all legal ritualities and after some hours we reached Mumbai, India and with that, a fabulous tour came to its end.
A laptop means a lot to a student and when it comes by happenstance, its magnitude of alleviation is gigantic and the same pinnacle felicitous alleviation I acquainted in Muscat. This day brought me a new resplendent Dell laptop 🙂
In the morning, I wrote on a piece of paper :
– 500 Gb harddisk
– 4 Gb RAM
– i5 processor
– 1Gb Graphic Card
“At least this configuration you must aim”, my mind commented to me, personally again 🙂
In the afternoon, my family and Anand mausa went to Samsung showroom with Mausin, which was present at our relevance for the last time 🙂 We went to finalize a Samsung microwave oven for us and a smart television for Anand mausa and family. After anatomizing we made the final choice of both the products and returned to Bait Muscat.
In the evening, Pratap mausa, bunty and I went to Lulu mall to buy my laptop. I told Pratap mausa about my configuration requirements and he bestowed me with the best of his experience while we were on the way to Lulu in Grand Vitara car. Again we began to scrutinize the laptop and its accessories and in the end after beating the puzzlement between two dell laptop models, a Dell Inspiron N5110 model was selected for my future entertainment and studies too 🙂 A cooling pad caught my attention and my brother also extolled the product and thus we purchased two cooling pads. A Filipino, who was assisting us showed us a trio pack of speakers, mouse and headphone and that too was put in the cart. For all this we paid 281 OMR or 281.900 OMR, to be precise. We entered home and every member of my family congratulated me and I gave gargantuan thanks to my creators and thank you to other family members. When I opened the flap of the device, the very first thing which captured me was the Arabic language printed on my keyboard buttons. I laughed. “You won’t get sleep today”, Anand mausa commented 🙂
On that day, the dinner was offered on the behalf of my family and meat batti was the dish. Ice cream was served on my behalf as laptop treat 🙂 I don’t know what the others were doing after that, as I got engaged in my laptop treasure 🙂
After visiting the populous dimensions of Muscat, we paid homage to The Grand Mosque in the capital city of Oman. The Mosque is named Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque by the Oman Government. We reached there and were amazed to see the structure.
A major feature of the design of the interior is the prayer carpet which covers the floor of the prayer hall. It contains, 1,700,000 knots, weighs 21 tonnes and took four years to produce, and brings together the classical Tabriz, Kashan and Isfahan design traditions. 28 colors in varying shades were used, the majority obtained from traditional vegetable dyes. It is the second largest single piece carpet in the world. This hand-woven carpet was produced by Iran Carpet Company (ICC) at the order of the Diwan of the Royal Court of Sultanate of Oman to cover the entire floor of the main praying hall of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (SQGM) in Muscat. The carpet measures over 70 × 60 meters, and covers the 4,343 square meter area of the praying hall, all in a single piece. The chandelier above the praying hall is 14 meters tall and was manufactured by company Faustig from Germany. The Mosque is built on a site occupying 416,000 square metres and the complex extends to cover an area of 40,000 square metres. The newly built Grand Mosque was inaugurated by Sultan of Oman on May 4, 2001. Source: Wikipedia.
After the Mosque we went to the Science Museum, the last spot of that day. And after sacrificing 1 OMR per person & 500 Baisa for children we entered the Museum. The population inside the museum was dominated mainly by children. All sort of science experiments were described and concepts were given for every experiments. That was the end, we returned Bait Muscat.
“Ostrich, I’m going to see today”, my psyche thought in the morning. On that day, we took only Yukon and now you can well comprehend the monstrous dimensions of that car for, we twelve peoples were packed like sardines. I, bunty, Ashie amma and Guddu sat on the last portion of the Yukon and as always, Guddu occupied the Benjamin’s portion again 🙂
“How fat he is….and how much more weight he’ll gain in future…”, my mind ruminated 🙂
I said, “Guddu, you wanna loose and I wanna gain, give me some and we’ll both be profited.”
He said, “What?”
Ashie chimed, “yes, bhaiya what ?”
I said, “your weight” 🙂
After covering a approx distance of about 200 Kms. we reached Barka Ostrich park and after making a nominal sacrifice of 2-3 OMR we were at the main spot where we saw 10-15 ostriches, some sitting and some standing in an irregular pattern. It seemed that some of them got up in our respect 🙂 “Birds resembling camels”, I thought. Cameras and other photo capturing devices were on high duty at that time. One ostrich became magnetized toward us and thus, we also became excited to see the world’s largest bird with an arms distance. Urmila mausi took out some biscuits and we all began to feed the ostrich. The snake resembling neck of the creature was worth looking. Then we saw some eggs of the same creature and that too we captured in our respective cameras. We took turns to click our respective images with the ostriches. It was a damn hot day and that compelled us to have a refreshment and after the break we preferred to continue our sojourn and thus, we rolled to our next spot: Nakhal Fort.
Nakhal Fort is akin to the Nahargarh Fort of Jaipur. After sacrificing 500 Baisa per person we made our entrance. Some ancient guns which were increasing burden on the walls of the fort caught our attention and we kids desired to have some pics with the ancient treasure. The scorching heat of the sun continued to our misery and everyone was advised to keep their gaugles, caps, hats on. There was no public on that day and you can imagine how solitude the fort was. Although the place was fab and I was enjoying too, the fort failed to amaze me…because I have already visited certain place akin to Nakhal Fort and moreover I belong to Rajasthan, which is famous for such forts in the whole word. The thing which I loved the most was the date farm which I observed from the fort. So, don’t forget to climb a certain height in measure to see the date farm.
The third spot in our list was the hot water spring. The first priority on reaching that spot was to have lunch. All members enjoyed non vegetarian food and I, a turnout vegetarian ate curry. I was the first one to finish my food. I folded my jeans to my knees and preferred to luxuriate in water. I saw water running on the bead of polished erratic coloured stones. To my surprise, many minuscule fishes came to greet me and showed their hunger by eating the dead skin of my feet. I flashed my hand in the water and they swam in erratic directions but soon they came again to provide me massage therapy, in fact, free massage therapy. I extolled their heroism. Soon, Bunty and Guddu joined me and then I thought to catch some minuscule fishes. Initially, I went to Urmila mausi and brought a plastic disposal glass to capture the creature but it was a damp squib. Bunty and Guddu, too were unsuccessful. I went to Manju Mausi and she provided me a plastic poly bag. Ashie wished me good luck. I did which was not appreciated initially by Guddu & Bunty.
Bunty said, “abey, yeh kya kar raha hai?”
Guddu commented, “bhaiya, aise nahi pakak saktey aap fish ko”
Now, I’ll tell you what I did and what was not accepted by them, though they were later proved wrong by me 🙂
I entered my feet in the poly bag and then finally placed it in the water. Some people near by the kept on watching my act I kept my eyes glued in the water. They were roaming in irregular pattern everywhere in the vicinity but none was entering in the poly bag. But my patience was rewarded when a minuscule fish entered the polythene to eat the dead skin on my feet. I rejoiced.
“Very good, bhaiya”. Ashie complimented.
“Very good”, Guddu chimed.
“Immediately put your feet out”, Bunty proclaimed.
I did as Bunty instructed.
And I became the owner of a tiny creature. My capture caused consternation in the mind of the fish, I assume. We all rejoiced. The happy news was also delivered to our elders.
“Its time to jail another fish now”, I thought.
To do the same it was indispensable to locate the fish in a safe place as I was having a single poly bag. So, I placed it in the same disposal glass which was first used as a fish catching instrument.
In the same manner I caught two more and was responsible for isolating three fishes from their family & friends.
Bunty then came with a bigger idea. He brought a rectangular piece of cloth and requested me to hold from one end. We generated a trap by locating the cloth inside water on the polished stones. Guddu was instructed to compel fishes to swim in the direction of the trap. So he ran in the water on the polished stones and generated a stampede among fishes. Unaware of the repercussions they swam in our direction and when the passed above the cloth, I and Bunty pulled the cloth up in the air. The collection of that endeavour was vaguely about 10-15 fishes. The captured fishes were then transferred in the disposal glass. Pratap Mausa also came to join our team. And with the same technique we again isolated some fishes. The technique was used two more times. Urmila Mausi proclaimed, “hurry up, we’ll leave now.” It was time for us to take a prompt verdict. Urmila mausi helped us. She transferred our hardwork in a 2.5 or 3 liters empty juice bottle. More water was added in the bottle. It was a fab felling when we saw about 40+ fishes swimming in a consternation style.”When we came to this spot we were twelve members and now as we are leaving, we are 50+, tremendous increment in the population”, my mind commented, personally.
Sawadi beach. I always wanted to enter sea water and my desire was accomplished at Sawadi beach, Oman. I was the first one to change my clothes, followed by Bunty and other of my family members. I was ready to enjoy and saw other members getting out of the car. “Snails”, I thought. I saw Guddu changing, and and to convert the same moment into an anecdote I managed a camera from Urmila mausi and shouted,
“Guddu, see here”. With only blue colour cloth, tied with the help of an elastic on his waist, he shouted even more louder than me.
“Are stop, aap bhaiya, aise kyu kar rahe ho?” 🙂
Bunty joined me too.
“We will show this to your Omini Girlfriend 🙂 “, Bunty chuckled.
“hunnn, we will”, I chimed.
Ashie, who was watching the scenario also bursted into laughter. Guddu had no option, he was embarrassingly laughing and we were happy.
In small different groups we entered the water. From soda to hock, Urmila mausi showed his concern regarding the our safety. Guddu and Tunnu were luxuriating wearing swimming gaugles. In a short period of time, all twelve members of our family were in the sea water. Our enthusiasm got feathers, everytime a tide came and collided with our bodies. I saw the Sun. The sky was tinged orange and the sun was beginning its departure. “Say good bye to the Sun….he is going to USA’s side”, my mind commented to me. We found some shellfish clams when we dug the sand under water, with our hands. Then began the competition. “Collect clams”, was the proclamation. All of us showed true team spirit. Tunnu was among the biggest collector of clams. The collected clams were safely placed in my shorts for, I was the only one to have a pocket in my costume. It saddened me to same extent that I was unable to collect clams as I holding the responsibility of their storage. I said, “I am a truck, load your clams in me 🙂 ” When my pocket was full, I went to the shore and placed the clams in a polythene. I returned. Again the truck went to the shore and again he joined his team. Some of our members began their crawl towards the shore. Then I also tried to catch some but after collecting few, I got a cut on my index finger through the sharp edge of a clam 😦 I began my crawling too. In this manner we collected many clams. The first thought which penetrated my mind was to get rid of the salinity of the water which was sticking to all my body. It was a dirty felling. I came to know about the bathroom cum changing room in the vicinity. The male and female members of our group marched towards the male and female changing room respectively. We changed. It was a fab and fresh. Tunnu and me were among the first one to exit the bathroom cum changing room. I was out bare body but jeans on 🙂 And soon the all male members of our family were out (except Bunty). Anand mausa was the only one who came fully dressed and the rest came bare body. Some came wrapping their lower part of body in a towel. Some exited in underwear. Mean while I helped Tunnu in changing his clothes. Pratap mausa, who came out in his underwear was changing with the help of a towel, tied around his waist. Unaware of the future ramifications, of the enviroment we were engaged. Then came an Omani man wearing brown dishdash(national dress for Omani men, anklelength, collarless gown with long sleeves) and started shouting which we could not comprehend, for he was showing his anger in Arabic, a lingo for us. But from his tone it was limpid that he was not happy with us. He shouted:
ماذا تفعل هنا؟
لا يكون لديك أية اداب؟
لك كل البلداء تتغير الملابس أمام أحد المساجد.
وعلاوة على ذلك هناك نساء أيضا غرفة تغيير الملابس.
تصل الرياح سريعة.
أو سأتصل الشرطة.
He was more then 6 feet plus and with a giant monstrous dimensions. No one spoke to him. His anger compelled us to comprehend him. My imagination landed on the correct area. He must have shouted :
“What are you people doing here?
Don’t you have any manners?
You all morons are changing clothes in front of a mosque.
Furthermore there are also women dressing room.
Wind up fast.
Or I’ll call the police.
He was still there and repeating his angry words. Now Bunty came in the scene. To our misery he too came bare body with only towel tied on his waist. But he knew what was the scene going on at that time. He showed his intelligence and asked my father, who too was standing half naked with only jeans on his lower part, to provide him with his clothes which were lying near him.
My father said, “Come and take”.
Bunty shouted,”give me the clothes, he is seeing me, I don’t want to come in front”
Father replied,”come and take”.
“What are you doing? Pass my clothes”, Bunty demanded in a bold voice.
My father while handling the clothes to him pretended to be a hero. He said, “wear your clothes, all of you wear your clothes.”
I whispered,”You are standing like Salman Khan, first you wear your clothes 🙂 “
Pratap mausa, who too was in my father’s club in displaying muscles, bare body, also made the inception with T-shirt followed by Jeans. By that time the Omani went. We stared starring at each other faces. Then came another man and said, “Do you know what he (Omani Man) was saying ?”
We said, “NO”.
He was saying that you people are changing clothes near a mosque. Moreover there is also a ladies changing room near by 🙂
I tried my best to control my laughter and all of us too, I guess. We began our departure towards Yukon. While we were marching, we recalled that anecdote.
I started, “Why he was worrying too much about the mosque?”
Anand mausa said, “He was not. He has many wives and he was worrying about them”
“He was afraid that one of us may impress any of his wives by his muscles and take her away from Omani man”, Anand mausa completed the hilarious sentence.
I said looking at my father,”Why were you standing like Salman Khan?”
To this my father had no rejoinder and he too bursted in laughter.
Tunnu started, “Bhaiya was changing and towel came out 🙂 “
Anand mausa joined,”Which bhaiya?”
Tunnu skipped that question and started another fake one.
“Papa was changing and two ladies were seeing him changing the clothes” :), Tunnu siad.
We came to Yukon where the female members of our group were eagerly waiting for us. We narrated the anecdote. They too enjoyed. Urmila mausi provided sprite cans to all the members. We sat in Yukon and drove to our last spot.
Al Sahwa Park was the last place we sojourned on that day. The park is located between Muscat International Airport and Muscat City Centre. It was already dark when we entered the park. Though tired, we began to explore the massive park. Guddu took me to the territory of park where there were some swings. We took dinner and relaxed. Since the park was situated near the Muscat International airport, we saw many Aeroplanes passing above are heads. Vaguely speaking, the time interval between them was not more than three minutes. After dinner, Ashie, Tunnu, Anshu, Guddu, Bunty and me went to enjoy again. We returned Bait Muscat.
Mausin stopped the Yukon in front of Bait Al Baranda. It was akin to Bait Al Zubair. 1 OMR for adult and 500 Baisa for children were charged from us. It was related to museum and you’ll know about the history, climate, traditions, geology,art, metals, minerals, resources (both renewable and non renewable), tradition of Muscat in relation to Arab territory and world. If you are crazy about the same then both, Bait Al Zubair & Bait Al Baranda are indispensable. After roaming the Baranda we came out and visited Muttrah Souk.
Muttrah Souq is one of the oldest marketplaces in the Arab world because Muscat is the world’s largest natural harbor and has seen immense trade in the age of sail, being strategically located on the way to India and China. It has been named after darkness because of the crowded stalls and lanes where the sunrays do not infiltrate during the day and the shoppers need lamps to know their destinations. The name of the market has been drawn specifically from the part that extends from Al Lawatiya Mosque to Khour Bimba where the place is really full of stores and stalls and the narrow area of lanes does not allow the sunlight to enter. The market was a source of supply for Omanis where they can buy their needs in the 1960s when life requirements were simpler than today. Most of the goods were imported, in addition to local products like textiles, fruit, vegetables and dates. (Source: Wikipedia)
We were there for the second time and in full swing to shop the resplendent products. “Hold your purse strings”, my mind commented to me, personally 🙂 “Life does not have a guarantee scheme…don’t show your parsimonious stance, you won’t get chance in future to be here….so shop with all your strength” 🙂 We made group and started exploring the oldest market in Arab world. The most notable part of the Souk apart from the products was, Bargaining. “A bit of India in Oman :)”, was my personal comment. So you can learn and save some OMR, if you visit there. I was the first one among my family members to exit the market and I smiled when I saw almost every member coming out with poly bags in their hand. “Come, we’ll take refreshments”, Urmila mausi proclaimed. I was unique there with the eatable item, egg sandwich while other members preferred juice. After having refreshments we reached the last spot of the day, Riyam park.
Riyam park is located opposite to sea and is admirable for its massive dimension. But we visited the park in the noon time and the scorching heat of the sun melted our strengths is seconds and this was the worst verdict we took. So learn the lesson again, always prefer to sojourn Riyam park in morning or in the evening. And I must appreciate the Omanis and their government for the superb maintenance of the park. We were there for a short time and soon egressed in order to circumvent the heat.
This will be a short post. Initially, I hesitated to post but since I’m trying to write with some personal warmth……… I’m here now.
In the afternoon, Mausin took us to Carrefour mall in Ruwi and there we find nothing unique. Anand mausa and family went to anatomize a lcd tv, but to their misfortune they did not find a single piece !!. Actually, I would like to update you that they saw a lcd tv. as they were before us in Mucsat and that too with a fabulous and eye catching offer, free sony music system on a purchase of a lcd tv !! But they missed as the INS Viraat population which was there on the previous day, utilized it fully 😦 Wonders of modern science never cease to amaze me and for this reason I began to anatomize the laptops and to my surprise I discovered that laptops were cheap there in Oman in comparison with Indian rates. “If you purchase laptop here, you’ll be in huge profit”, my mind commented to me. After shopping we came home and I made a proclamation, “I won’t go to India without a laptop 🙂 “.
In the evening, Urmila mausi took us to another mall, KM Hypermarket. But before that we went to see Tunnu’s swimming learning place. He, on that day was not passionate to swim and his coach scolded him several times. He said, “Shashank, four more lap….two more….”, and I laughed hilariously. “How difficult it is to do a work when you are not permitted by your heart”, my mind commented to me, personally again.
From KM Hypermarket, we bought many items but one eatable stuff which I bought became a butt of joke and gained popularity among my family members. I bought a massive bottle of mayonnaise…1 gallon was the quantity 🙂 and the it’s label said, “Sohar Mayonnaise”. Every member started pouring his/her suggestions and comments on how to make maximum utilization of it. And that was the end.
Someone patted on my head, “get up, put your shoes on…get up, we are about to abscond”. I left my indolent slumber and was prompt on my legs. The clock showed me 0200 hours I rubbed my blow and went in the territory where I was expecting huge traffic ie. in the wash room but to my surprise and good fortune, I discovered it vacant. “In approaching 15 minutes, the two wash rooms will be in great demand”, though no one heard, my mind said to me. I was the one who took the chequered flag. Manju mausi told me to wake her daughter up and I knew I have to summon up great muscular power to wake her damn heavy body Somehow I managed her, to her legs. Though no one extolled me but I praised myself for that muscular task but there was Guddu who needed more power to disturb his slumber. He was lying on the sofa. I badgered him but failed My future prediction came true and other members of my family wished for vacant washroom
One by one we came out of the hotel. Urmila mausi showed her anger and concern as her spouse was not present but soon her anger got abated, Pratap mausa was the last person to exit. We inaugurated that day early to sojourn the turtle beach. If you are planning to visit the same then make sure about the timings. We knew that the entry to the turtle beach will get closed by 0400 hours and that was the only reason we inaugurated that day before sur birds made their inauguration. We, haplessly took a wrong turn and after a damp squib we were finally at our desired destination. Navigator in Yukon and in Ambu’s phone helped us in our endeavour. I saw many other turtle fans waiting there and after making a surrender of 3 OMR per person we too joined them.
Then came an Omani men wearing anklelength, collarless white gown with long sleeves and a resplendent turban on his head. He was the guide who enlightened us and took the responsibility to carry us to the beach where a fortunate encounter with the turtles was awaiting us. We were allowed to capture photos but the camera or mobile flash should not spark. That caught my attention,”digital cameras won’t get success without indispensable flash”, my mind commented, personally again Then we did dandi march with an Omani Gandhi Surprised….In dilemma I’ll elaborate for you. Actually, “dandi march with an Omani Gandhi” was my assume which my mind developed during that crawl from reception of turtle beach to the turtle beach. Our Omani guide made me feel him, Gandhi. At that time he was our leader and we did as he ordered. Mechanically, by our respective legs, we made the inception of our march to the beach where we were expected by some turtles. Omani men, with a small torch in his hand was leading us and we all followed. It was still dark and I even couldn’t see the nearby environment or surroundings but could feel the noises of the tides. Initially, during that march no one spoke anything to each other. “Itni raat ko turtle dekh ne ke liye 2 baje jag gaye aur khas baat, koi chu tak nahi kar raha, Anshu tak chup hai “, my mind commented to me, personally My eyes caught a sight of a water bottle and that developed a thirsty sensation in my Adam’s apple. I took it from bunty and satisfied my thirst. Guddu’s Adam’s apple also got the thirsty sensation and he took the bottle from my hand and began to carry it after satisfying his thirst. I said to Guddu,”give this bottle to someone else, give it to Ashie amma”. He said, “why ?”. I said, “it is not giving the proper feeling…this bottle is giving birth to many other dirty thoughts”. He bursted into laughter ( Here,Indians will comprehend better, the reason why Guddu laughed ) He, quite intelligently passed the bottle to Ashie amma and did not took it again and soon that water bottle became a problem The national dress of Omani men was the only visible object that I could see from far behind. We followed him just as the followers of Gandhi followed Mahatma Gandhi in his world famous historical Dandi march, without much questioning. So, that march was termed by me as “Dandi march by an Omani Gandhi”.
We reached near sea shore and he (Omani man) showed us a turtle. We remained astonished to see the massive dimension of the turtle. People took their respective cameras and looking that, the Omani mam proclaimed,”no flash please”.”It is dangerous for the eyes of the turtle, don’t use flash”, was the reason given behind not using the camera on flash mode by that same Omani man. We then visited another turtle and captured it in our cameras. Photos, obviously were not coming clear and for the same reason some people started clicking with flash and for the same they were punished, their cameras were taken by the turtle beach authority. I was also among them but it was an accident and not a deliberate endeavour. The turtle began its departure by crawling towards sea and I wished him bon voyage. The sun was gaining supremacy and within no time we saw the vast sky and the deep blue sea. Urmila mausi updated me with the best time for visiting the turtle beach ie. September and you should also make a mental note, if you wish to explore the turtle beach in Oman. After clicking several pics we egressed the turtle beach. We came to the hotel again to gain some slumber and after succeeding we made the final checkout.
After gain some energy and sleep we visited a beach (can’t recall the name now ) The most notable feature of that beach was it’s fabulous blue water. We then reached Wadi Tiwi and statistically speaking, we captured zillions of pics. We did not enter water as we did in Wadi Shab (see Day: 2) but Ambu luxuriated in water . Now it was time for us to leave for Muscat, and we did.
In Muscat, an Indian Naval ship was halted and we came to know about the same. INS Viraat and it’s importance got feathers when we came to know that it was the same ship in which our nucleus, Pratap Mausaji used to work when he was serving the Indian Navy. ” An ex- INS Virrat fellow”, my mind commented, again personally. We glimpsed it from far and saw some planes, helicopters and many crew members on INS Viraat. A unique kind of glow embellished Pratap Mausa’s face. We then, took help of some Ice creams to beat the scorching heat of the sun.
We entered Bait Muscat and in the the evening, after church we went to have dinner outside. Bahadur uncle joined us too. End.
Afternoon, 1400 hours, everyone inside Bait Muscat was running hither and thither. “Take your gaugles, caps or hats and other heat resistant stuffs, we’ll sojourn the vast desert today”, second banana, Urmila mausi announced. Everyone got assembled in Guddu’s room to say a small invocation and after getting spiritually recharged we were all equipped to sojourn the land golden sand dunes. 1000 Nights Camp was verbally booked for 190 Rials for eight elder people including me and Bunty. Yukon, a 6.2 cc monstrous car and Envoy was at are service. Pratap mausaji, the nucleus with his spouse, their children, Ashie, Anshu, Bunty and me captured Yukon for our journey, while the remaining, including Ambu, again making our group, a bakers dozen preferred Envoy. After covering a distance of 200 Km. we reached Bidiya and at Bidiya petrol pump, we satisfied our respective bellies by taking lunch.
The surface area between the tyres and the desert sand was augmented by abating the air pressure from the tyres of both cars. Soon we began to sail in the desert sand tides. It was really an indelible drive for, my eyes explored the hot desert sun but my body was experiencing the cold of AC, as is was in Yukon 🙂 My brother and I kept our cameras on video mode to jail the journey. With the help of a map, which we downloaded from 1000 nights camp website, we finally reached the spot. Traditional kawa, coffee and dates were served to us by 1000 Nights people. Happiness were to be seen on our faces. We were as excited as if a financial bill before the legislative assembly in New Delhi 🙂 And my post of desert will be incomplete if I do not mention the ship of the desert, we saw camels chewing and preferred to have pics with them. Urmila mausi, Tunnu, Guddu, Anshu and I went far inside the camp to explore. But it really saddens me, when we came, we heard a verbal skirmish between 1000 Nights’s people and Pratap Mausa. Actually, they cheated us 😦 Despite of proper verbal communication and booking they made no systematized arrangements and moreover they demanded extra Rials for sand bashing and many other desert activities, which they initially approved within 190 OMR !!! As far as the power of my sub conscious mind is considered, I remember that person was charging 25 OMR for sand bashing per person or per 4 members 😦 Pratap Mausaji, my father, Anand Mausaji and Ambu were skirmishing with that bastard wretched idiotic character but he was rigid to loot us. “190 Rials for only dinner and one night accommodation”, Urmila Mausi scolded. While skirmishing was on zenith my mind said,”a bit of India in Oman” personally to me. At that time, Urmila Mausi’s perspicaciousness was highly extolled by all other family members. She said directly to that imbecile, “adjust all in 190 Rials or we’ll abscond”. I crawled towards Manju Mausi and whispered in her ears, “have we paid the currency to this bastard ? “. To my amelioration, she said, ‘NO”. I sighed. We were 200 Kms. away from Muscat and won’t return, keeping this is his mind he did not gave up the loot endeavour. But thankx to sagacious Urmila Mausi for her sagacious and instant verdict, we began our departure. Interestingly, that spineless worm followed us and while jotting the number of our cars said that we had done wrong to him. Now, I’m damn agitated to curse 1000 Nights Camp more….so If you are planning to visit the camp do learn lesson from our visit 😦 I’m not saying that that camp was zilch but would like to add that the place was perfect to enjoy the desert life but the management was pathetic. We, without hesitatingly activated our journey again. I kept looking 1000 Nights camp and within seconds it melted in darkness, dust and heat. Sitting inside the Yukon, we took turns to criticize him 🙂 Bunty said, “chalo kum se kum kawa, coffee aur dates to free mei mil gaye” 🙂 “Bhai, free nahi petrol to laga hai apna”, Pratap Mausaji retorted. 🙂 Envoy and Yukon were freezed for sometime so that we capture images with the vast desert and sun.
The sun began his departure and now it was again our turn to again make a sagacious verdict. Returning 200 Kms., without visiting zilch would become abominable and it was then decided that we’ll stay in a hotel tonight and in the morning we’ll explore turtle beach in Sur. We took a break to have shawarma(s) and finally marched to Sur, 70 Kms. from Bidiya. It took some time to find a good accommodation but our patience was rewarded in form of a good hotel. And after bargaining, we hired an apartment with two big rooms, two bathrooms and one kitchen for 28 OMR. I forgot the title of the hotel, so can’t mention it 😦 While taking dinner, it was proclaimed that we all have to leave the room early morning by 0200 hours as entry for turtle beach will close vaguely by 0400 hours. And that was the end. “One thing is impeccable, the coming 24 hours will be adventurous”, my mind commented to me, personally.
In the evening, we went to explore Lulu mall, just 5 minutes in distance from Bait Muscat. There was nothing unique there but one thing which captured my attention was “The Prayer Room”. Don’t get astonished if you see a door with a name plate,”The Prayer Room” anywhere in Oman. Oman is a Muslim eclipse piece of land in the world and in Holy Quran they are said to offer respect to Allah five times a day and that was a sublime indication to me. “Highly sophisticated people, never take their religion for granted” was my savoir-faire for the Omanis, my mind comment to me, personally. My phone rang, Urmila mausi asked me if I would like to go for swimming with my cousins. I, without giving it a thought said, “Yes”. Making the payments we egressed the mall. Urmila mausi escorted us and we were there in the pool. All the little ones, including me 🙂 luxuriated the blue pool water. Tunnu got a fortune to show his ingenuity, for he is a splendid swimmer. The foursome, including me, Bunty, Guddu and naturally, Tunnu went deep in the water. Guddu guided me in the improvement of my swimming stance. Ashie amma and little Anshu preferred to luxuriate in one corner of the swimming pole where water was not a risky business to them. The pool people charged 1/2 Rial per candidate, which Urmila mausi initially paid. While we were in the water, the three sisters went somewhere in the near by area where some lemon trees were planted. They plucked green lemons and when I came to know about the “lemon anecdote” on the next day, “Indians will continue as Indians, no matted where they land,Oman, Russia or America” 🙂 , my psche ruminated. After getting exhausted and a proclamation from the pool manager we exited the deep water. My mother gave me one Rial note to hand it over to Mausi. I did as instructed. I saw Anand Mausa giving Urmila mausi a payment of 1 Rial, I followed him to do the same. She accepted the bank note from him but did not approved my payment. I increased my insist but she was firm and said, “rak rak Bittu, mummy ko mat batana, tere kaam ayange, keep it on my behalf”. I was overwhelmed into plethora of kindest emotions. And that became an anecdote for me which I’ll capture for long time 🙂
June 18 2012. Circumventing the pejorative of the previous day we absconded Bait Muscat to reach Bait Al Zubair Museum located near the Ministry of Information on Al Saidiya Street. We sacrificed 2 OMR per person to get in, as a ticket. “No cameras allowed”, a voice proclaimed. It was noting but all about traditional and cultural presentation of Oman. khanjar collection, swords of different kinds, Art collections, coin & metals et al. If you want to gather information about the post Omani culture, tradition and history, this place then indispensable. You’ll get all sort of enlightenment and erudition @ Bait Al Zubair. Later I came to know that is was a private museum and once a house which later turned into a museum. The clock at the museum said, “1300 hours”. It was time for Oman to get motionless, we came home. In the evening, Urmila mausi took me, bunty and Ashie to a mall named, Al Safeer. It was just 1 km. from our home. On the way she left her two sons Guddu and Tunnu to their music class. She absconded us and gave me a 20 OMR bank note. I initially hesitated but later accepted it in order to circumvent any anecdote. It was also a nice two storey mall but zilch in front of carrefour mall. I purchased a champagne resembling bottle of apple juice!!!. We explored all the corners of the mall but I was too forlorn to consummate any verdict of what to buy for my parents who were to jubilate their Silver Jubilee. Time flew without any cognizance and i couldn’t fetch anything fab for that day. But we(me and my brother, Bunty) had already planned a surprise. Urmila mausi phoned me and confirmed that Pratap mausaji with other members of our family will come to Safeer to escort us. Ashie, Bunty and me, as instructed by mausi, assembled at the main exit. Soon we were at GMC office, Pratap mausa’s work place. We all enjoyed the prestige of having scrumptious coffee at his office. What a coffee it was…the aroma is still retained in my saliva 🙂 After coffee, he took us to have a glimpse of some unspoiled new cars. We remained astonished to explore the gargantuan massive dimensions of the cars. At the same office, we also greeted Bahadur uncle, who was also there in Muscat to serve the same company. Then Pratap Mausa took us to some restaurants to make a final choice for the coming next day. I don’t remember the name of all but two still are in my psyche. One was “The kabab factory” and the other which was selected by my parents was “Khyber”. We returned Bait Muscat and made a proclamation, “tomorrow anniversary at Khyber” to Urmila Mausi, Guddu and Tunnu, who were at home.
Antecedently the day 2 was really creme de la creme. Now after visiting places far from the madding crowd it was time to explore populous dimensions of Muscat. We egressed our house and on that day(June 17, 2012), Mausin(wearing anklelength white collarless gown with full hand sleeves), another colleague of pratap mausaji was there at our service and acted as a guide too. We went to Muttrah Souk, the oldest market in Oman and found it on the verge of closing since it was 1300 hours, time(from 1300hrs. to 1600 hours) in Oman where you’ll find most places motionless. A prompt verdict was taken to proceed to Sultan’s Palace, known as Al Alam Palace via fish market. There was nothing new there in fish market, we saw varieties of different fishes and that’s all that spot was all about. You can surely give it an omission. Al Alam palace was really resplendent was here its time to raise The Indian flag high!! Sultan Qaboos’s palace was zilch in comparison with The President’s residence at Rashtrapati Bhavan (India’s President). We only had a glimpse of the palace and did not pay our homage, another date was decided for visiting Al Alam. Sagacious verdict was promptly taken by scrupulous Urmila mausi. She used her senses to visit that place which was in motion at that time: Barr Al Jissah, again a 5 star hotel. We went in, Ashie, Anshu and Manju mausi preferred to stay back in the lobby area of the hotel as they were not able to beat the heat, and now you can well comprehend the hot in Muscat. Remaining of us went at back side of the spot and clicked pics. We saw the vast sea and some island shaped land there. My Brother, making it the list of mausi, Ashie and Anshu, started shivering, in fact he topped the list!! Though it was damn hot but he was shivering, don’t know what it was but one thing was limpid that he was sick and needed medical attention. We came home for our nourishment. Heat affected people took medicines and we slept. In the evening we left Bunty at home with Urmila mausi. Guddu & Tunnu also did not joined us as they were engaged in their regular routine schedule. Mausin was there at are relevance again. He took us to Carrefour Mall and while going through, he acknowledged us about the future airport of Muscat which was in the way. Now before i proceed it would be fab enough to explain you about the currency system of Oman. The Omani Rial is the currency of Oman with OMR being its code. It is divided into 1000 baisa ie, 1 Rial= 1000 Baisa. Various denominations for bank notes are, half Rial, 1Rials, 5Rials, 10 Rials, 20Rials, 50Rials(highest denomination). Coins include, 5 Baisa, 10 Baisa, 25 Baisa, 50 Baisa, 100 Baisa, 1/4 and 1/2 Omani Rials.
We made groups. My father, Anand Mausaji, me and Ashie in one and mother and Manju mausi in another. Ashie and me were further divided into a sub group. Gargantuan, massive, tremendous, enormous, i guess, these words combined, can explain the size of the Carrefour mall better. It was really BIG. One word would would be insufficient 🙂 We perceived zillions of items of zillion categories. Individually, we brought many utilities. It was time to leave now. I took out my cell phone and it said, “OMAN MOBILE, 8:30 pm. We assembled at the main exit and this time Pratap Mausa and Bunty were there for us. At home, Urmila Mausi was pleased to see the shopping progress. And this was the end of that day.
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.
It was on June 15 2012, and we (I,my parents and one younger brother) were all equipped to sojourn the land of the desert sands, resplendent beaches, adventuresome wadis, perilous mountains…The jewel of Arabian countries: Sultanate of OMAN. The country is in the Middle East, on the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula and shares its international borders with United Arab Emirates (UAE) in northwest, Saudi Arabia in west, and Yemen in southwest. Muscat is its capital city.
We emerged at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai at 1700 hours to board a direct indigo airlines flight (6E081) to Muscat. I and my brother (Bunty) went to fetch three trolleys to carry our accoutrements, while our parents were making payment to the taxi driver. Airport- certainly, a damn crowded place :(. After waiting for 15 minutes the entry for our flight were opened and we entered the airport through “Gate C” and approached the Indigo counter which fortunately was in front of “the Gate C”. At the counter, an exquisite women (i dare not call her a lady :D), i must say an exquisite girl wearing a dark purplish-blue outfit with a small elegant cap of the same colour gave me four emigration form and requested me to fill them. At that point of time indigo people weighted our main luggage bags and told us to collect them at Muscat International airport. The weight was 67 kg. Now we had only our four handbags with us. “We have got rid off our heavy luggage bags and they are still in safe hands” , my mind said to me. 😀 Quite easily with patience, progressing into various stages (security check, visa check, passport stamp, check in counter) which every passenger encounters, officialismly we cleared all legal ritualities. We then stepped in the pulchritudinous duty free territory of the Mumbai airport. The clock at airport showed me 2000 hours and i knew it was time to relax and enjoy shopping as we had captured the boarding passes to board the plane. My experience about the duty free section was awesome and if you visit the same then i must tell you that you can enjoy buying liquor, wine, champagne, fragrances, books, chocolates, sunglasses, watches, tobacco and zillions of other things. Time passed quickly. We clicked many pics. A proclamation was made by the airport people on the behalf of indigo airlines, “passengers travelling to Muscat through indigo are requested to appear at gate no. 7″ We heard the announcement and did as instructed. We were instructed to keep our passports handy, we did, and the same were checked to ensure that every passenger carries an official seal. One by one, we entered the plane. I searched for seat no. 8A,8B,8C and 8D and became successful. An air hostess present there helped me in my bid. My enthusiasm helped me to capture seat no. 8A, the window seat. Other passengers kept on pouring. Just as minuscule granules of sand settles down below in a glass filled with water, the passengers too settled in their respective seats. I, my parents and brother smiled on each other but did not said a single word. Happiness were to be seen on our faces.
Outside the window , i saw variegated aeroplanes of different airlines including Srilankan Airlines, Jet India, Air India, British airways, Lufthansa, Air France, Emirates, Air Canada, US Airways, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, Tam Airlines, Egypt Air, etc. Since it was my first flying experience, i kept glued to the window and was astonished to see the gargantuan size of the planes. “We our only two hours from Muscat,two hours from Mausi,two hours….” my mind commented personally to me again” It was 2130 hours and time to fly high in the sky. Abruptly, I found that the plane has made the inception and has started moving slowly. Four beautiful air hostess, which were in the hospitality of the passengers gave some useful instructions but i didn’t paid them any of my attention. I kept meditating outside the window and realized that it can take off any time. Assumingly, the airport wished me bon voyage. The plane started running like anything and a powerful force compelled us to rest our heads on the back on our respective seats. I developed an illusion that the front seats were going to fall on us and within no time i found myself flying. I wished to open the window and say good bye to Mumbai :). Juices inside my stomach overreacted, for they gave me an unique experience which i could feel inside my stomach. The Scenario outside the window was really awesome. It reminded me of diwali, the whole city seemed to be embellished with yellow bulbs just as some gold coins are kept over a black cloth. After some time i witnessed zilch outside the window. Air hostess started their services. I kept on ruminating about Muscat. The plane was flying and so was time. After two hours i perceived the same category of yellow bulbs scenes which i captured in my mind just two hours before. Yes, it was time for the plane to land. It landed and we landed too. I switched on my Vodafone, internationally activated cell phone. I was expecting some signals but to my surprise, did not appear. One Omani wearing white dishdash(national dress for Omani men, anklelength, collarless gown with long sleeves) inquired about our visas and passports. Since i’m going through visa stuff, i would like to inform that a visiting visa costs 20 OMR(Omani rial is the currency of Oman) per traveler. My mausi and mausa dwelling there had made the arrangement for the same. He(Omani men) kept the original pink colour visas with him and punched a seal on our respective passports. Presence of that men made me to think that we were miles away from India. We waited patiently for our accoutrements on belt no. 2. and after collecting, clearing all legal formalities egressed the area. I was expecting my relatives to come to receive us but they were not there and moreover my sim card was also not working. Adding to all this i regretted myself for not carrying Rials, i did not even had coins to make a call. I tried to change the currency from currency change counter but to reach the counter i had to wait for approx. 20 peoples who were already engaged in the same business :(. And here you can learn a lesson, i request to carry some currency of the country you wish to explore. But things worked out for us, I encountered a good samaritan there and requested him to help me. He without hesitatingly, gave me his cell phone. I called mausi and she told :” sorry, stay there only we are comming in 5 minutes.” . God Bless to him. I thanked that person for his kind generosity. I noticed Arabic written everywhere, “Arabic: just some dots and scratches”, my mind commented to me. I saw mausi approaching towards us. Two sisters greeted each other. I handed a rose bookey to her and she was delighted to accept them. Anand mausaji, who were there before us, also came to receive us. We greeted Pratap mausaji and there was a feeling of satisfaction.
We had the privilege to sit in a white car whose name plate said: “1717 HW”. Acadia it was, a 3.6 cc GMC resplendent car. We drove from Muscat international airport, which is 32 km. from Muscat, to Al- Ghubra. Anand Mausa challenged me to guess the speed of the car,(i with my brother was sitting far behind and was unable to notice the odometer) i guessed 70 but he announced 140 km/hr. We,new arrivals, were all stunned to notice that. Acadia stopped in front of Bait Muscat, a three storey building. Mausi and Mausa told us that they have arranged a 4-star hotel(Bait Muscat) for our accommodation. In the lobby area near lift, mausi called her son(Guddu) to help her by providing some information about the location of the switch plug, to switch on the light. That telephonic conversation made me think:” How Guddu is known to this area….he even knows from where to switch on the light of an alien hotel!!!!!”. I knew something was vague and they were trying to generate an optical hallucination for us, and to abate the effect i increased my stupendous stamina. We went to the third storey and entered a room. They too entered with us. A portrait of Jesus Christ with His twelve Disciples, had such momentum that it cleared all my doubts. It was crystal clear that it was not a hotel(though i appreciate their endeavour) it was my mausi’s home. I must mention here that my mausi’s home was synoptic to a 4-star hotel with all the opulent and sumptuous adroit proficiency. While my parents and brother preferred to have an aquatic break, i adopted to anatomize the home. I went near store room and heard some whisperings . Then and there, one by one, enthusiastically, all my rambunctious cousins; Guddu, Tunna, Ashie and Anshu sprang on me and vociferously howled: Surprise Surprise Surprise!!!!! A voice proclaimed: “It is our home”. Their endeavour got a shock when they saw no expressions on our face :). I guess, my parents and brother were too prepared to not to react. There came an instant energy in the environment. We all greeted each other. My cousin, Guddu showed his respect by lifting me high in the air:). I met my another mausi(who did not came to airport to maintain the hallucination) and on that day she celebrated her B’day. She got annoyed with us, especially with me and said to me: “i was expecting a call, atleast from you”. Though i texted her on the same day but i regretted myself for not making the conversation strong. I blushed,she forgave. I went in the kitchen and said: “I am in Muscat and still i cannot believe it”. Both mausis pinched me. Guddu enquired me about books which he told me to bring from India. I advised him to cultivate some patience :). My mother handed all the love to Guddu, Tunnu, mausa and her younger sister, love including many materialistic things. Guddu was happy to see the books in his hand. We celebrated the reunion. We took dinner, my mausi remained worried about my abstainance from non-veg stuff. Pratap mausa instructed all of us to sleep early(though it was June 16, 0100 hours). He told we were going to visit Marina Bandar Port in the morning. I wished all members good night and good morning simultaneously. This is how that day went. :).
Before i publish my next post, in order to circumvent confusion i’ll briefly describe about our 3 families.
1. The Rawat family: They were the host. A four member team. Pratap mausa, Urmila mausi, Guddu(14) & Tunnu(9)(their children).
2. The Chauhan family: Here I am, in this family with my parents and one younger brother, Bunty(19). 4 members.
3. Last but not the least, The Singh family: Anand mausa, Manju mausi, Ashie(12 years old and our only sister, we all call her “Ashie Amma” which interestingly mean “old lady”) & Anshu(6). Again a 4 menber family. (Singh family landed Muscat before us ie. on June 7, 2012.)
So, we were all together 12 members and represented ONE FAMILY.