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Friday, May 12, 2006

O Man!

There was a pleasant surprise when I was browsing for some news on BBC today. There was an article about the Sultanate of Oman [info]. It was so wonderful to have any news about the country because it rarely makes the news. Its a mostly insignificant country and most people have never heard of it. I have spent 6 years of my life in that insignificant piece of paradise and it holds a special place in my heart. There is no other place like it anywhere else in the world.

When I first came here, many people asked me where Oman was. A frequent response I got was, "Is it close to Yemen?" Apparently Yemen had been made world famous after Joey in Friends decided to move there. But the ignorance about Oman is one of the reason why it is so great.

The BBC article talks about it's pristine natural wildlife. The Turtle nesting grounds in Ras-al-Had or the Dolphins by the coast. There is many more to see in Oman. It is a perfect blend of old and new, unlike the bustling metropolis of Dubai in the UAE, only 4 hours away, you can feel the tranquility in the serene capital of Muscat. A place where modern amenities are easily available but the people and architecture still have a traditional outlook. The place has numerous shopping malls, without the crowd seen in Dubai, fantastic hotels, the grandest of them all being the Al-Bustan Palace Hotel which used to be a former royal palace. One of the best things to visit are the 16th century forts, of which there is at least one in each city. These were constructed during the Omani imperial age, Oman possessed an empire running down the East African coast with colonies such as Zanzibar and Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania or the Baluchi coast across the gulf in modern day Iran and Pakistan. Oman used to be an important country.

But what is of more interest in Oman is its natural beauty, the magnificent beaches, some of which would be among the best beaches of the world, if they were better known. There are beautiful bays, sheltered by mountains on all side and fine grains of sand. Oman is a perfect place for diving, there is a nearby coral reef and the marine life is plentiful and vibrant. Even on land, Oman is a geologist's paradise. It hosts the second largest cavern in the world, large enough to swallow the Great Pyramid of Giza, and numerous other undiscovered ones to cater to all spelunkers. The land is mostly arid desert but the Oasis are a pleasant site. Springs gushing out of rocks create a whole ecosystem and forge channels in mountains. Much of the land is rocky desert but there is also the largest sand-sea outside the Sahara at Wahiba sands. Trips into the desert spending nights underneath the shining stars are breathtaking. But to all those wary of the heat of the desert, there is the southern Dhofar region, a lush green resort during the monsoon season. With waterfalls and scenic cliffs, the country caters for all. And most of it can be seen during the day while returning back to the comforts of the hotels at night.

The only thing better than the place are the people of Oman. They are the most hospitable you will ever find. Unlike the other nations of the Arabian Peninsula, the Omanis are humble and inviting. Perhaps the reason lies with the country not being as oil rich as its neighbors. I spent most of my adolescent in Oman and I believe it is the perfect balance between the old and new, the technology and the amenities of the global village in the serenity and patience of the traditional nomads. It is a wonderful place to live and it is guaranteed to be a place to fall in love with.

Sorry for making this article such a travelogue, but frankly there are hardly any about Oman so I thought it was an obligation of mine to write something like this. And the article I saw today was enough inspiration. Please do comment on what you think of this entry.

7 Comments:

  • That was an interesting post. I guess out of all the places you have lived in, you hold a special attachment to Oman. Is there a specific reason? ;) You will be happy to know that aside from this long overdue comment,I have also been promoting your site.

    By Anonymous Allan Greenspan, at 5/13/2006 9:16 PM  

  • P.S. Those are some nice photos. However, I would recommend some personal shots; they will add a authentic feel. =)

    By Anonymous Alan Greenspan, at 5/13/2006 9:25 PM  

  • What do u mean add personal shots? I took all these photos! Don't u see Tahab by the Turtle? and the person next to the cliff is my dad! :)

    By Blogger MCMLXXXII, at 5/13/2006 9:36 PM  

  • Thank you for the travelogue it is truly appreciated for the less traveled. This will give me a reason to visit there when I'm jet setting, I'll know where to stop over.

    M

    By Blogger M, at 5/14/2006 12:11 AM  

  • Why haven't you told me you got a job as a travel agency brochure writer? Your writing is improving with every post. I could almost picture and experience the places you write about. This is really really excellent!

    By Blogger Kal, at 5/14/2006 12:38 AM  

  • I thought I'd leave a comment just so you'd know I read your blog. When are you going to post again?

    By Anonymous Aisha, at 5/21/2006 11:43 PM  

  • Don't fret about the length of your posts. You're writing paints a riveting picture along with the real pictures.

    By Anonymous Mighty Bruce, at 5/22/2006 2:37 PM  

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