Friday, February 07, 2014

Holiday - Muscat (Day 5)

Our last day here and we’re planning to sun-worship for as long as we can (before the boring, but necessary task of packing begins this afternoon). But still one last opportunity for indulgence in the shape of a half-price (I am a pensioner!) back-and-shoulder massage in the fully equipped Spa. Actually, it was a smart move as the Sun went somewhere else leaving sunbathing out of the question!

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It’s been a great holiday - probably even better overall than when we came to Oman last time in 2009. The country has definitely edged towards the more commercial, but at this stage, in our view, not that much and it still retains its unique character (think Dubai without the tall buildings and shopping malls). But who knows what it’ll be like in another five years?

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The Resort - Bar Al Jizzah (click the pic for larger version)


Our final meal here was at the restaurant we had our first meal when we came here back in 2009 - the fish restaurant Bait al Bahr. I had the most unusual ‘bangers and mash’ for starters- the sausages were filled with lobster!
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The View from the Restaurant

..and then we took the short stagger to The Piano Lounge, for a final nightcap.

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The View as I slid under the Table!

So, to round off this holiday blog, here are eleven fascinating facts about Oman:

- They’ve cornered the market in mountains - all sizes, all shapes, and in places, all COLOURS
- No income tax
- Main export is oil
- It’s a ‘Sultanate’(like Brunei), so it has a Sultan rather than a Prince or a King
- The country is moving their weekend from Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday to better align with business with the West
- Every car is a white Toyota (except the three that aren’t!)
- The road network is extensive and growing exponentially
- Every family has a car. Most have at least three whilst it’s not unusual for a household to own 15 (yes, 15!)
- Many of the service orientated jobs are filled by Indians who work here more-or-less permanently and send money home to their family
- It has its own (very swish) Royal Opera House
- It uses ‘English’ three-pin plugs (and luckily, sockets too!)

Techy Note: Wireless internet was available in both Shangri La hotels and worked fine. It was free. No limit on the number of wireless devices that could be connected to the same account.

In Abu-Dhabi, we also got WIRED internet in the room - also free. The free BT Android VOIP app worked perfectly in Abu-Dhabi.

In Oman, the wireless connectivity worked all over the Resort, and although the signal strength varied from 1 bar to 5, it never dropped out. Wired internet was in the room but was chargeable (so we didn’t use it).The VOIP app wouldn’t work at all around the resort.