We thank our Dubai hosts Katharine and Shawn McWeeny who invited us to stay in their high rise unit overlooking the famous reclaimed Palm Island and magnificent beaches below them. They escorted us to the nicest and biggest Mosque we have seen yet as well as to incredibly huge shopping centres, but alas we could only look as our panniers were full to exploding. Our other hosts were Dave and Lynne Mollenhauer who graciously stored our precious Miss Adventure II til we returned from Australia and a big thank you to HU member Dave Midwater who also stored our bike for awhile.
Leaving the glits and glitter of Dubai, we crossed the Oman border to enter the Musandam Peninsula to ride the windy coastal roads and overnight in the town of Khasab. The road was fantastic and the next day we did a boat tour of the area and had a very close encounter with a family of dolphins riding our bow-wave for at least 10 minutes! A great start for our journey!
Dibba was next where we stayed at the newly opened Golden Tulip Beachfront Hotel for US$100, then Sohar and on to the magestic capital of Oman, Muscat (Marina Hotel) We loved wandering around the old town and looking at all the forts and palaces and celebrated Eid in Muscat (similar to Christmas in Muslim religion)
We then headed south towards Sur, Masirah Island and finally to our piece of paradise Salalah 1000km south of Muscat. Where we could we followed coastal roads and went along the new coastal road bordering Wahiba sands and the coast. Just outside of Salalah are the ruins of Khor Rouri, in a very picturesque setting is the 3000 year old port for frankincense trade controlled by the Queen of Sheba!
We have spent the last 3 weeks in Oman from the north to the south and the road systems are improving rapidly throughout the whole country.
The people are really friendly and we have felt really safe the whole way. We have decided not to go through Yemen because of recent terrorist activities. We have arranged to get our bike to Muscat by truck and then by ship to Zanzibar. It will take 2 weeks and we will fly to Ethiopia in the meantime. We met Yousaf Al-Mahrougi who runs a tour company called Sumahram Falcon out of the Crown Plaza Hotel in Salalah. He has so many contacts and made us feel very comfortable in making the decision to send the bike off without us!! He even intorduced us to Edward Chaaya , the General Manager of the Crown Plaza Hotel who gave us a 50% discount on the room price. Yousefs number is +968 95774166. He is a great contact and knows everyone and is really honest and generous. Leo Colaca was the shipping agent, who tried to dissapear with our money for the shipping! Never pay in advance! The total cost to ship the bike came to US$1218. It would have been US$195 cheaper if we had sent it from Muscat. Our bike was over a month late getting to Zanzibar, with no correspondence from the agent, Leo Colaca at all. We would not recommend anyone to ship their bikes out of Salalah with Leo Colaca. He is a very dishonest man and tried to take our money and run back to India with it. It was only that we had Tim Seed, the HU member in Muscat as a contact, who is high up in the security force, that we could get the money out of him...very stressful and we would hate to put anyone else through that. If we did it again we would ride back to Muscat or Dubai and deal direct with the shipping company.
We have stayed 6 nights now at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Salalah www.cpsalalah.com We dont normally stay at such fancy hotels, but we have definately been spoilt here. Some day soon we will have to leave and fly to Ethiopia to see how the other half live....
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