Before Bec and I set out on our Scandinavian tour, my old friend Chris invited me to join him and his family in Muscat. Chris has been working rotation in Oman for many years and his family was coming over to visit for about 10 days. So, on the evening of Thursday, April 20th, I flew the red-eye to Muscat. I made my way to the hotel and got a bit of sleep. Chris had arranged a dolphin cruise that morning, but the high winds from the previous couple days had caused the water to be a bit rough so the tour company canceled the trip. Chris picked me up and we went back to his 2-bedroom suite and met the family. His wife, Jaeda, her mom, Penny, and the 2 kids, Maddix and Levi, were all there and we chatted for a while about what the alternative plan for the day would be. We ended up settling on a relaxing day by the pool.
That evening, Chris led us to one of Muscat’s best hotels, The Chedi. We had an amazing dinner at The Chedi Pool Cabana and walked down to the beach afterwards.
The next morning, I rented a big GMC Yukon XL and picked up Chris and his family from their hotel. We drove south on highway 17 to Wadi Shabb. I had visited the wadi in the fall with the UAE Trekkers and thought the scenery was amazing. We arrived 1.5 h later where we parked, took the small boats across the water, and started walking into the wadi. The wadi is known for its crystal-clear swimming holes and cliff jumping spots, however, I may have under-estimated the distance you must walk to reach the pools. The weather didn’t help either as the temperatures really start to climb this time of year. We did reach the first water hole but we decided to turn back as the walk was becoming a little too challenging. From there, we stopped on the beach, had some lunch, and put our feet in to cool down a little. We then drove to the next wadi over, Wadi Tiwi, and drove up the small roads passing through the palm groves and small villages. We started our drive back to Muscat but decided to make one last stop at the Hawiyat Najm Park which contains the Bimmah sinkhole. Chris and I took the kids down to the water and had the proper swim we were looking for. I didn’t notice the first time I visited, but there are little tiny fish that nibble at your skin if you sit still for a moment.
Back in Muscat that evening, we decided to have dinner at the famous Tiki chain, Trader Vic’s, in the Intercontinental Hotel. Unfortunately, Jaeda was not feeling well so she and Penny headed back to the hotel. So, Chris and I dined with the kids then headed for home.
Sunday was the Islamic holiday of Isra’a & Mi’raj so I had the day off work. Chris, Jaeda, and I drove to the eastern edge of Muscat to a new development currently under construction called Muscat Bay. It is a mix of residential apartments and villas set in a stunning location on the coast. We were given a tour of the property then headed back to Muscat.
Chris and I took the kids to the pool for one last swim and had a nice Thai dinner in the nearby Muscat Grand Mall. Chris checked out of the hotel and we piled back into the Yukon with the luggage in tow. We made our way to Souq Street in the area of Seeb near the airport. Penny found what she was after, store after store of textiles, and she purchased reams of material for her quilt making hobby. From there, we headed for the airport where we ditched the Yukon and said goodbye to Chris. He would be back to work the next day. Jaeda, Penny, and the kids were starting their journey back to Canada with stops in Saudi Arabia and Amsterdam. I had a quick hop to AD. It was great to see Chris and his family on this side of the world and look forward to seeing them all again soon.