It hasn’t been long since my last post, so for once no apologies necessary, but I have been living life to the full…. on the other side of the empty quarter.
So what should an expat do on Hogmanay? We thought we would take in the New Year in a different country, so we headed to the capital of Oman, Muscat for a couple of nights. We had hoped to spend the time in the oldest hotel in Oman, however they had a problem with the water supply in the room so we had to change location. Once organised in our new hotel, we met one of my old schoolfriends at the Woodlands Restaurant (yes I know bizarre name for a restaurant inside a concrete jungle, with mountains all around), had a great meal and a good old blether.
Then, she had an invitation to a party and bonfire on a private beach, and took us along with her (thanks Sheena!)
Our host, Rob, who has been in Muscat for 16 years, had a big bonfire well alight, and he had also arranged to have the new year piped in by a young Omani who played some favourites such as “Scotland the Brave” and “Scottish Soldier” to name a few. All in all a great hogmanay, missed our friends at home, but enjoyed the weather and the quick paddle in the sea!
Next day saw us visting the Armed Forces Museum, which was full of interesting stuff, although I confess I found the chieftain tank and the 4x4s most interesting!
We headed to Muttrah, which is one of the oldest areas of Muscat for lunch, where we enjoyed a lovely meal on the roof terrace of the Marina hotel, overlooking the harbour.
Next stop was the Muttrah souk, a must-do in Muscat, to get our frankincense and cheap t-shirts.
Our last jaunt of the day was down to the beach – now the Bruce family have a tradition of going to the beach on New Year’s Day; in years past we normally shivered at New Aberdour on the Moray Firth Coast, but this time we paddled in the sea in the warm waters of the Gulf of Oman at Yitti!
Our last morning was spent at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque; I’d wanted to see this for years, but last time we went it was closed. (Incidentally it is open Sun-Thur 8am to 11am, ladies must not wear shorts or short sleeves.) It was definitely worth waiting for, it’s not quite so grand as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, but it has many equally beautiful features, and the chandelier in the main prayer hall took my breath away.
After that we headed back via Sohar (birthplace of Sinbad), had another great lunch at the Food Land restaurant, then through the Hili border post into the UAE.
Hope you have all had a great new year! I’m away to write my New Year’s resolutions!