Salalah Trip...Part 1

Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2008 by Stained in Labels: ,
11

These are going to be long posts. It's hard to choose which picture to post so sometimes there might be just too many of them in the end. I have decided to divide the posts based on days. Here are days 1 and 2...

Wednesday, 30th of July

We left Dubai at about 3pm. We were hit by a sand storm as we entered Al Ain. Visibility had dropped to about 50 metres and in some places to about 20 metres. This limited the speed we could drive at, slowing our progress...It also rained heavily and I had a pleasant time getting wet whenever we stopped. Rain and sand were taking turns in lashing our cars but we all enjoyed this great (though a little dangerous, as a construction board almost fell on one of our cars) beginning to our trip...we were loving it.
This picture was taken at the Masjid we prayed at and went to the toilet which to my nightmare ended up being an Indian style bathroom though it was clean...this was the first time I had used one after 6 years (last time when I visited Muscat) and honestly I still don't know how to use one. Photography was prohibited around the border check post so I stuffed my camera inside my bag being more cautious than required. On entering Oman we saw a few shops and this small Masjid. The bus stop sign, telephone booth and Masjid combination was a shot not to be missed.We entered the first major town on Oman called Ibri at dinner time. We looked for an adequate restaurant but settled for a fast food (Jabal Al Noor type) restaurant called Quick Meal. We had the weirdest Shawarmas, decent chicken pieces (KFC style) and burgers. Fortunately they had a proper toilet. The Sand storm had troubled us (making it quite dangerous to drive) till we reached Ibri where the storm seemed to have passed but sand was still lingering in the air.
We had stopped over at a Masjid for Isha prayers. So while we waited I clicked a picture of these two communication/T.V towers on the other side of the single two-way main road. This is on the way from Ibri to the Salalah route 31 road avoiding the town Niswa.This shot was taken with a very long shutter speed of 30 seconds. By that I mean light emitted by anything in the frame will enter my camera sensor (and show on the picture) for 30 seconds. This is one of my favorites shots from the trip. The yellow and red lights are of a truck that we were overtaking.Thursday, 31st July 2008

We drove the whole night covering about 700 kilometres. By sunrise, we were only 100 kilometres away from Salalah. This shot was taken when we were about to enter the main Dhofar mountains (though we were kinda already in it). Salalah lies on the other side. The fog you can see are the monsoon clouds that hit Salalah every summer.When we enter the mountain range, after a few kilometres (it felt like kilometres though it could be less) we were welcomed to a checkpoint where the tourists were asked to stop, show some paperwork and state the number of people entering. The fog was quite thick so the traffic was moving slightly slow.As we drove deeper into the mountains, the fog and greenery started increasing. I got so excited as this was really my first time in such an environment, I starting clicking away like mad without bothering to check my settings or my framing. I ended up with most of my pictures turning out bad. That really bugged me as I edited the pictures though sense did kick in on the other days so not all is lost. I clicked a lot of trees in fog picture this being the first good one.
There were parts of the road where the fog was less which gave me an opportunities to look at my surroundings more carefully.Yet another tree in the fog shot. I really liked the way they looked in reality so I just couldn't stop myself from clicking each and every possible shot.We hadn't booked an hotel as we were confident we'd get rooms easily. We were mistaken!!!
We first went to the hotels we had read about online and they all were full. Panic started setting in and so we decided to drive out of the city to a suburb-like place called Saadah. There luckily we managed to get a 3 bedroom flat. It was nice and clean except for the toilets. Now there were two toilets and only one of them could be used by me (the other one was Indian style). But the usable toilet was not clean enough for me (but it was fine for everyone else). But that problem was soon solved by my mom who cleaned it up for me. Anyway moving away from my toilet problems, we slept for a few hours and got out in the evening. We had reserved this day as a shopping day as it would be too late to venture out of the city. We went fruit shopping first. Bananas of many different varieties were available...We also got some coconuts, papayas, chickoos and some other fruits (I don't know what their names are)...They also have a Clock Tower roundabout (picture later) where one of the roads leads to the Airport. This is that road.Huge waves (in comparison to Dubai) kept hitting the coast with water flooding the road running next to it. My niece's head got wet as she was looking out of the car window as we were hit by a wave (well not literally, just a huge amount of water that bounced into the air on hitting land).We visited the Bazaar (forgot its name) to pick up some souvenirs and some abayas. Supposedly the abayas are very cheap in Salalah which made my sister and mom very happy. I also noticed that the ladies liked to wear long abayas here that drags behind them so that their footprints are not cleared from the sand/ground. It's because of there fear of the old magician that used to live in this area many centuries ago though I'm guessing its become more of a fashion/society statement now.That's it for now!!!

11 comments:

  1. I love going to Salalah – the think I don’t like in the Khareef are all the cows on the road http://blog.omanholiday.co.uk/blog/Photos/_archives/2008/7/11/3787567.html I’m alway wondering if they will head butt my car !!!! – hope you have a great time and get back safely

  1. Stained says:

    I did have a great time and I am back...
    The grazing cows are really a big issue especially when its foggy...I was more scared about hitting them then they hitting us...

  1. Harsha says:

    wow, that looks like a difficuilt ride. We flew to Salalah - Al Jazeera is really cheap to Salalah!

    The fruits there are amazing. Fresh fruit available everywhere and the local produce is actually nice. Unlike the fruits available in Dubai - they just look good, bite into them and it feels like its fake or something, different colour and a bland taste, unlike what its actually supposed to be like. (genetically enhanced produce maybe)

    you seem to be really finicky about toilets. Spoilt arent you? hehe. Your mom actually cleaned it for you!

    I dont know how you'll manage to travel! (BTW I'd prefer Indian public toilets to the regular public toilets anytime, less touching involved :p, although I'm not so good at using them either)

    and cows! DUDE you HAVE to holiday in India.. turst me, I dont remember any cows in Salalah... or am I just immune to noticing them around.

  1. WTF! That looks bloody awesome!!! And I can't believe I haven't been there yet.

  1. Stained says:

    Flying would be fun, but driving is way better. My dad wants to take a trip to Turkey next...driving that too if we can...

    The Fruits were totally amazing..I haven't had so many yummy bananas for such a long time though the coconuts and sugarcane were a disappointment.

    Spoilt is too small a word (and wrongly spelled according to Firefox)... :P
    Thing with normal/regular toilets is I can float(too much information but what the heck)... :)

    That is one of the reasons I haven't traveled much. Just Oman and Kuwait. This was officially my first vacation with my family after 16 years (unless you count a 3 day trip to Muscat).

    The cows were everywhere in the mountainous regions. Maybe you didn't go high or deep enough.

    Neel...you should go there. The Summer season is the best time to go but be prepared to be ripped off. They seem to think us Dubai people have pots of gold lying around....

  1. I've been to Turkey. Go there. You will like the place.
    About Oman, if my friggin' friends can wake the hell up early atleast once on a holiday I would have gone to Oman last year. Hmph! Same case with Jebel Hafeet. Double hmph!

  1. D says:

    The pictures... #9, #10 and #11 ... remind me of my road trip to Pune... scenery ie... all green and full of trees etc...

  1. Stained says:

    @Neel...Jabal Hafeet has lost its charm lately. Too many people, too much garbage equals to no fun....
    Muscat is also not worth it especially after seeing it this time. I used to think it would be a nice place to get away from the fast life in Dubai. Now I think Salalah would be a way better option though you need atleast 4-5 days there to enjoy it...

    @ D..I've heard that before. Brother did tell me quite a few times that it's very similar to India....

  1. Gautam says:

    Amazing pictures..!!! Have never been there, but I think a trip to Oman is just around the corner..!!!

  1. kaya says:

    My fave pics are 3,6, 10 and 11.
    Awesome. I'm so parched for rain, I could just stand there and soak myself up.
    Its true the best time to go would be now, and a trip is long overdue.
    It reminded me a lot of Malaysia as well. The greenery is just like a soothing balm.
    I think for those of us who come from tropical backgrounds, miss all that lushness.
    All this artificial greenery just does not do it for me.
    One request jaani, the next lot of pics, pls nmbr them. It makes commenting easier for us old ladies.
    Hee hee. I had to write them down to keep track.
    (TMI!!! GASP!)

  1. Stained says:

    Thanks Gautam....Salalah is worth the trip...

    Kaya....Thanks and sorry, will number them the next time for you (I had to count myself to see which ones you liked)...
    I am also so parched for rain. I was so excited about the prospect of getting wet in Oman but surprisingly I got more wet(due to rain) in Al Ain . It literally was raining cats and dogs...I did not want to leave Al Ain and go the Oman...Life can be cruel in such situations... :(

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