Category Archives: Life in the Middle East

Things you see in Qatar

“If idiots could fly, the sky would be like an airport.” – Laura Davenport

Qatar is a funny old place, you see things and have to do a double take to make sure that you are not seeing things.

One of the common ones is seeing kids jumping around in the car without any form of restraint. After all, most of them are being driven by drivers who the kids themselves treat like something stuck to their shoe, quite sad and upsetting to see really. We were shopping once in our little supermarket near our old place and there was this kid which can’t have been much older than 8 or 9, he was having a massive tantrum because he didn’t have enough money to buy more sweets and the driver wouldn’t give him any more. Poor guy, he probably gets paid a pittance anyway. The kid proceeded to shout at him and then start kicking him and hitting him. I hate to imagine what that poor guy would have to put up with in private!

doha idiots

Cycling

Qatar is building a fabulous infrastructure for cyclists. If only they would keep drivers off the cycle lanes it would be wonderful! I have had several incidents in which I have nearly been knocked off my bike by imbecils driving on the bike lane. Not just driving but absolutely flying!

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Why not teach your kid to drive?

Yeah, great idea, teach your kid to drive, it would help if the spoilt little brat could even reach the pedals and didn’t have to sit on his mother’s lap. Even better still let’s do it in the city centre, where it is nice and safe!

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Nothing makes you feel as welcome as having one queue for locals and one for foreigners!

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Leaving Qatar

Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.
Victoria Holt

Out of all the times we have moved houses, towns, cities, countries and even continents, this one seemed to be the one that just dragged on and on, and on! We have known since January that we would be moving, so it has been one massively long countdown!

I know I haven’t written much lately, it hasn’t been due to any other reason other than being tied up with several other projects as well as traveling and oh yes, having most of my stuff packed in boxes and crates!

The move started back in April. In fact, we had everything packed by late March as we weren’t entirely sure when our shipment was being collected from our place in Qatar.

The Qatar Experience

Singing Sand Dunes - Qatar 2014

Singing Sand Dunes – Qatar 2014

Qatar is a fascinating country, small (bit of an understatement), but very interesting in many respects. Having said this, it is a place we never really warmed up to (despite the brutal temperatures). In my humble opinion, Qatar can be described as an insignificant soulless patch of sand sticking out from Saudi Arabia. It may be trying to make itself heard by meddling in any possible world affairs including hosting the 2022 World Cup as well as “offering shelter” to “Clock Boy”. If you are unfamiliar with Clock Boy, just Google it! But lets face it, it is a pretty insignificant place! In a similar manner in which the smallest dogs try and make the most noise just to get noticed, Qatar is trying to do the same.

We managed to see most of the sites worth seeing in a short period of time, yes, they are all very interesting and offer a wonderful insight into life as it used to be before mega-wealth hit the country and they all forgot how to do anything for themselves as they brought in foreign work forces to do everything for them. There are numerous places of interest worth visiting but once that is done, then there’s very little left. If you love shopping malls and go from one brunch to the other showing off how much money you have earned/ spent and how wealthy you are, then great. Quite frankly, not our scene. We met a number of interesting people who we have made friends with and look forward to keeping in touch with. But other than that, it is a country which didn’t make a lasting impression and one we could quite easily forget.

Katja had a wonderful first year, she had an amazing teacher and two great assistants. On her second year, she wasn’t quite as lucky. Her class teacher was an inexperienced unapproachable character who was very hard to like. Her teaching assistant was a lovely Spanish lady who made it a bit more bearable for Katja. Katja couldn’t wait to finish the year and start a fresh. She went from loving school to not wanting to go in. Even though there had been numerous complaints about this teacher by a number of parents, sadly nothing was done.

Qatar gave us the opportunity to do interesting things such as several camping trips to the desert which is a magical place. It was a lovely experience to watch the sunrise and the sunset in the Qatari desert, as well as visiting places like the Souq, the singing Sand Dunes, the numerous beaches (unfortunately most of them are full of litter and discarded food from barbecues) as well as the numerous opulent shopping malls. Having a Qatari resident permit also meant that we could obtain a transit visa and drive through Saudi. It was an amazing trip to drive through Qatar, Saudi and into the UAE and visit Abu Dhabi followed by Dubai and then onto Muscat in Oman. By the way, if we were to live in the Middle East again, the only country we would consider is Oman!

Packing up & Leaving

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Our lives in boxes!

As I said above, we packed everything in late March and our shipment was collected in mid April. We used a shared container to make it a bit cheaper. The removal guys in Qatar were excellent, very slick and professional. Everything was packed with great care and respect. A couple of days after our shipment was collected I headed off to the UK to train with Cycle Experience and do some cycling training in Schools. During all this I popped into Spain to visit my mother and catch up with friends as well as a chance to warm up a little bit as the UK was pretty chilly! In mid May I returned to Qatar to tie up some loose ends. I made my final exit from the country at the beginning of June and headed off to Bulgaria and then back to the UK to do some more cycling training. Cathy and Katja left Qatar on June 19th and we were all reunited back in the UK.

Whenever we are back in the UK it is always pretty hectic as we try and catch up with as many friends as possible. In the middle of all this we also popped over to South Wales for a week’s holiday too.

Our shipment arrived in the UK nearly three months after it had left Doha. We had to make a quick turnaround as it was being air-freighted to Madagascar so as soon as everything arrived, we checked through the boxes as to what to keep and what to forward and 6 days after it arrived in the UK, it was being collected once again and shipped off to a different continent.

As a family we can say we are glad we did Qatar, it was interesting to see a different part of the world and to explore places most people will never had a chance to see. We are glad to be out of this artificial and fake bubble and rejoin the “normal” world once again!

 

 

Last Few Months in the Desert

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin

I think this quote by Anais Nin is pretty much spot on with our take on life. We travel, not to arrive but just to see what’s around the corner. Traveling and opening yourself to a certain amount of discomfort by living outside of your comfort zone opens doors which you had never even imagined where there to start off with. It is a way of life in which you get to know new people and new places as well as yourself. It is a journey of self discovery in which one can reflect on life as well as one’s achievements and learn from your failures. What are we in search of? No idea, but I’ll let you know when we find it. Are we running away from anything in particular? Not really, we have done this long enough to realise that whatever unhappiness, problem or baggage you carry, it will follow you wherever you go. So, why do we keep on moving? We (as far as we know) only live once, we live in a planet which we treat as if we had somewhere else to live once we’ve finished destroying it. There are some amazing places to discover, some wonderful people to meet and so many friends we’ve no met yet. We have been given a tremendous opportunity in life, a chance to explore, to wander and to discover, it would almost be irresponsible to not grab this chance with both hands and make the most of it.

I think the next phase in our lives is going to be the most fascinating chapter. A chance to live in one of the most exciting countries on the planet, where 90% of the wildlife cannot be found elsewhere. WOW, simply WOW! We are ready to embrace the challenge and to get on with it. The transition period in which one knows you are planning on moving and the actual move itself is the most exciting and also the hardest time. Not wanting to wish our lives away we count the days and hours until our new adventure, and what an adventure that will be! Yup, we are on serious countdown, last night we booked all our flights so we now have concrete dates. I am off to the UK on a course from 12th April until 14th May. I return to Qatar to finish some formalities including cancelling my RP (Resident’s Permit) and then on 2nd June, I head off to Bulgaria and then onto the UK where I will meet up with Cathy and Katja on June 22nd. We will then head off to Madagascar on July 21st after a break in the UK, including a week in Wales. Last year we stayed in Cardigan Bay and loved it so much, we will be going back for the week. We will then do a quick detour and head to Cheltenham to meet up with friends before heading back to Oswestry.

In the mean-time, life just goes on, get up at 04:40, work, home, early night and repeat and let’s have a weekend in between.

Over the past couple of weeks we got to see two different friends from Bulgaria. One was here on business, whilst the other was stopping in Doha for a couple of days to see us. Then we also had the chance to meet up with a friend also from Bulgaria but currently living in Saudi. We went to the Singing Sand Dunes and did the usual touristy things.

That’s pretty much it for now, watch this space for our next update……

 

 

Here We Go Again

“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

Oh how appropriate this quote is, I think it describes us to a “T”!
Looking at the archives, I realise I haven’t sat down and written anything for quite some time, but quite frankly, not a great deal has happened in that time, so, no, you haven’t missed much! Well, in a way you have but I have been waiting to have enough news to make it worth your while reading it! Sadly, life isn’t all about constant adventures and excitement, sometimes we have to do the boring grown up bit and lead relative “normal” lives, even though this may be in what may be considered as “abnormal” circumstances.

So What’s New? what's new

I guess I can make it more public now as all the relevant people have been informed. This will be our final year in Qatar. In June 2016 we will be leaving Qatar and moving on. Where to? Well, that bit we are not sure about yet, we have some ideas and particular locations we would LOVE to go to, watch this space for further updates, it may be we won’t find out until January but we are keeping our fingers crossed we can sort something out sooner.

Weather

This time of the year is normally stunning! However, it is still hot and pretty humid, making going out during the daytime a bit harder than last year. It has cooled down and it is just about reaching 40 which is a big improvement on 50 only a few weeks ago. I always had this theory that once you go past 40 it is hot, full stop. Well, there is a big difference between 40 and 50, 40 is hot, 50 is a bit like someone leaving a fan assisted oven door open.

School etc, etc

Katja continues to enjoy school and make good progress, here’s something out of her class blog, just click on the link below.
Kati Reading a Story

New Website Alert!

I have created a new website, no, it won’t replace this blog, the website is part 1 of several parts, check out British Nomads , you can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Happy New (School) Year

Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.

Benjamin Disraeli

When Katja bounced into our bedroom at 04:30 this morning (just 10 minutes before our alarm clocks where due to go off), our lovely 9 week holiday seemed just a distant memory. Perhaps we imagined it all and it maybe never even happened!

Katja has been extremely excited to start KG, this is her third year at school (not including nursery). She has been so excited that she was wearing her school uniform last week!

I must admit that I (and Cathy as well as most expats in the Middle East), still find it bizarre going to school on Sunday. But still, today marked the beginning of our “new year” and also back to getting up at some ungodly hour, way, way, way too early but hey, that’s life in the desert for you. But on the positive side, we have a one week holiday (Eid-al-Adha) in two weeks time. No, we are not planning on going anywhere for the Eid break, I think we have traveled enough this year (Australia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Bulgaria, UK, Saudi, UAE and Oman) so the plan is to stay at home. The weather is still hot, hot hot (and very humid) but we are looking forward with great anticipation a lovely mild Qatari winter. We have already started planning our camping trips, with the first one scheduled for October 23rd, providing it has cooled down enough. There are rumours on the street that it won’t cool down until November!

To all teachers and students starting their new school year, HAVE A GREAT YEAR and have lots of FUN!

 

2500 km under the blazing sun

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open”.

Jawaharlal Nehru

We live in such a wonderful world, I just wish I could live 1000 years to see all the beautiful places this planet has to offer. It is such a shame we are on a self destruct mission and we are killing our only source of life. Traveling and discovering has taught me one thing and that is that once we have finished destroying our planet, we won’t have anywhere else to live! A bit like setting fire to your own house and making yourself homeless! I cannot think of a more stupid race than human beings! Anyway, rant over!. Let’s get on with it

Preparation for the trip – Visas – Route & Hotels Saudi Visa

The trip would take us through several countries, fortunately and thank goodness for our EU passports, this wasn’t to be too much of an issue, other than the visa for Saudi Arabia (but that wasn’t much of an issue either). To enter UAE (United Arab Emirates) we found out we could do our visa at the border and the same thing to enter Oman. For Saudi Arabia we used a local company who charged us 150 QR each (approx 36 Euro each). 3 days later we had our visas. The catch with Saudi “transit” visas is that they are only valid for 72 hours. As the drive through Saudi is relatively short this isn’t much of an issue.

Route planning has never been our forte and we tend to leave it for the last minute and rely too much on Waze (phone application which acts as a GPS), however, on this occasion we invested on a map too! We used booking.com to book a hotel in Abu Dhabi (our first stop), followed by one night in Dubai and four nights in Muscat. For the return trip we booked one night in Abu Dhabi and then straight to Qatar.

Money money

We have been very spoilt living in the Eurozone (apart from Bulgaria and the ocassional trip back home to the UK), most of the time, currency was not an issue. However, for this trip, we would have to change Saudi Riyal, UAE Dirham and Omani Riyal! Currently, UAE Dirham and Saudi Riyal is pretty much like for like in value with Qatari Riyal, however, Omani Riyal is 10:1 QR approximately.

Ready to Roll!

Hotels, money, visas and car ready it was time for one last check, make some sandwiches and make sure we had plenty of water with us. Daytime temperatures in the Middle East hover around the 45 to 50, the last thing you want is to have any problems and get stuck in the heat without any water! The plan of action was to leave at 2am, this would mean we would reach the Saudi border nice and early and also it is great to watch the sunrise as you drive through the desert!

Next Part: Doha to Abu Dhabi

 

 

2500 km under the blazing sun – Doha to Abu Dhabi

Doha to Abu Dhabi (via the middle of nowhere!)

Anytime I feel lost, I pull out a map and stare. I stare until I have reminded myself that life is a giant adventure, so much to do, to see.

Angelina Jolie

Time to Hit the Road 11866443_10207036627372365_8884854624366359547_n

The alarm was set for 1am but by 11:30 I was wide awake and no chance of going back to sleep. Katja was snoring away in her bed and Cathy was fast asleep too. I did a couple of mental checks to make sure we had everything and waited for the alarm to go off. We set off at bang on 2am which is pretty good going. The air was hot and humid as it usually is this time of the year. We were about 10 minutes into our drive when I suddenly remembered I had forgotten to bring the bottles of water which had been left in the fridge overnight. We couldn’t really head on a trip like this without water in the car and having heard that facilities along the road are few and far between, we decided to head back home and pick up the bottles!
Now we had water in the car, we were now heading off into the night. Traffic began to thin out as we were heading away from the city. We had Waze (GPS application on the phone) running as well as a Middle East map at hand. As there’s one way in and one way out of Qatar (as far as I know), we felt that we could rely on Waze (what could possibly go wrong?!). We were driving along the motorway merrily when Waze decided it was time to leave the main road, I sort of unintentionally on purpose missed the junction to give us a chance to check the map too but (foolishly) did a U turn at the next available junction and listened to Waze. We came off the motorway and headed off into the pitch black desert along a suspiciously unused tarmac road. We drove some 20 + km and came across one, maybe two cars. My biggest concern was a camel deciding to “hop” in front of us! Fortunately, this didn’t happen. Eventually after about 1/2 an hour of driving along this pitch black road we came to a section of the road with block forcing us to zig zag and eventually a sign “Switch Lights Off”. Ahead of us were some barriers and what I can only describe as a rudimentary hut on our right hand side. I stopped and wondered if perhaps we may be somewhere we shouldn’t be. A bemused guard surfaced from the hut soon after. Even in pretty much pitch black I could tell this guy was wondering what the hell was going on. He approached my side of the car and at this point we both realised neither of us spoke each other’s language. I tried to explain that I was looking for the Saudi Arabia border. He disappeared briefly and brought out his mate who spoke some English. After taking all my details (from my ID card), writing down my number plate etc etc, he proceeded to tell me that this border post had been shut for traffic for more than 20 years! I apologised profusely while trying to explain that this stupid GPS had brought us this way. I don’t think he cared too much, it was now 3:30 am and he just wanted to see the back of this stupid foreigner who once again relied on technology instead of common sense. We drove back and eventually got onto the right road!

Leaving Qatar 11924266_10207106133229968_607020767675404165_n

We cleared the Qatari border crossing and customs, a few kilometres after driving through no-man’s land, we arrived at the Saudi Arabian border. Cathy had her abaya and head scarf on for this section of the trip. I popped into the male office and had my fingerprints done as well as an iris scan, Cathy and Katja’s passports were checked and soon after I was back in the car. It was now Cathy and Katja’s turn to go to the ladies section and do fingerprints and iris scan. If you are unaware of this, in Saudi Arabia there is full male/ female segregation so you have one office for women and one for men. A few minutes later, the girls were back in the car and we were ready to go through immigration and customs. This was relatively simple and straight forward. The final booth stop was to pay for car insurance for 2 weeks. About 30 minutes after we had arrived at the Saudi border we were back on the road, we were now driving in Saudi!
The section of road between Saudi and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) border isn’t particularly thrilling. Most of it is dual carriageway without a central reservation, this means that every so often you will have cars doing U turns and on a couple of occasions, simply driving the wrong way! What’s interesting to see is that the desert changes as you are driving along, there are a few more sand dunes and wild camels, as a desert goes, it is a bit (but not much) more picturesque.
What really called my attention is that there are hardly any signs of civilisation as you drive along, one big(ish) conglomerate and that’s about it. Oh yes, there’s a McDonald’s and petrol station just before the UAE border!

United Arab Emirates Border

We cleared Saudi Arabia customs and were now about to enter the UAE. We had to park up and walk into immigration office. This is a large and nicely decorated building with lots of counter space and not a soul in sight, other than one person sitting behind the counter, looking a bit bored and then bemused by seeing these two westerners with a kid speaking English. She looked at us and in a friendly manner and voice asked if we were British. Her colleague soon joined her and gave us the forms to fill in. He sorted our applications our pretty quickly and we were soon back in the car. We then had to go through clearance. I was asked to get out of the car and to show them what I had in the boot (lots of presents for Katja’s birthday!). A very friendly guard asked me what was in the bags etc so I whispered into his ear so Katja wouldn’t hear. He found this quite amusing and soon sent us on our way! The final part of our entry into UAE was to pay for car insurance which we did for 10 days. The section of road between the Saudi border and Abu Dhabi isn’t too exciting either. It is also lacking in services too. I think we counted two or three in a near on 400 km stretch! One sign even said “Last Petrol Station for 200 km!).

Eight hours after leaving home we arrived in our hotel in Abu Dhabi, tired but excited and ready to explore.

Next Part: Exploring Abu Dhabi

2500 km under the blazing sun – Abu Dhabi

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”

William Feather

Exploring Abu Dhabi

One of the first things that hit us as soon as we arrived in our hotel in Abu Dhabi was how friendly people were. Workers smiled and people seemed genuinely please to see you and to be of help.
The Hotel upgraded our room so we had a bigger room. Even though we had booked for 2 adults plus a kid, there was no bed for Katja but she was more than happy to sleep on the sofa which doubled up nicely as a bed for her. We popped to the top floor and checked out the rooftop pool which was just perfect…but not till later as we had some exploring to do first.
We took advantage of the hotel running a free shuttle to Marina Mall. This was about 20 minutes from the hotel which gave us a chance to look around the city at the same time. What caught our eye was the sense of space and the greenery as well as the higher number of saloon cars as opposed to 4x4s! We arrived at Marina Mall and had a wander. It is a large and very smart mall, less than half an hour after arriving we were out the front door jumping into a taxi. Our driver was a lovely Ugandan driver. We chatted all the way to the indoor Souq. This is a lovely souq with the advantages of modern technology (air conditioning) and all the traditional features to be found in a traditional souq. We wandered around and bought some souveniers before jumping into the next taxi to take us to what was the highlight of our visit….Sheikh Zayed Mosque (grand Mosque). This has to be one of the most beautiful buildings I have been in, the features are amazing, this is well worth a visit if you are ever in Abu Dhabi. There’s a real sense of serenity and tranquility throughout the building, simply breath taking.
After this awesome experience we headed back to the hotel. Our taxi driver must have thought he must have been a formula one driver in a previous life, hitting speeds of up to 120kph. Strangely enough, we arrived in our hotel rather quickly!
We went to our room, got changed and popped to the top floor for a lovely swim. This was followed by a lovely dinner accompanied by a rather large Gin and Tonic. The perfect way to end the day.
 Next Part: Exploring Dubai

 

2500 km under the blazing sun – Dubai

“It’s like Forrest Gump said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates.’ Your career is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. But everything you get is going to teach you something along the way and make you the person you are today. That’s the exciting part – it’s an adventure in itself.”

Nick Carter

Day two of our trip was to head off to Dubai. We woke up relatively early, had breakfast, packed the car and set off on our way. It’s only around 130km or so. This meant we arrived in our next hotel with plenty of time to explore Dubai. Our hotel was conveniently situated within a 5 minute walk from the metro which made things very easy for us. Katja’s teacher from Pre K moved back to Dubai so we had already arranged to meet up with her during our brief visit. We arrived in our hotel, dumped our bags and checked out the pool which once again was a roof top pool. We upgraded to a suite but poor Kati didn’t have a bed to sleep in. We requested a bed or a mattress be sent up to our room. Instead of this they brought a crib. I “politely” explained that she is nearly 5 years old and that a crib is for babies. They very matter of fact picked Kati up and put her in the crib trying to convince me that she would fit, I once again “politely” told them to get lost and that she would sleep on the sofa. It was quite adequate, or should I say, more adequate than a crib!

Downtown Dubai is a conglomerate of high rise buildings, each one trying to outdo the other, that’s until you reach the Burj Khalifa which makes all other buildings look like little lego land blocks!

We bought an all day unlimited ticket for the metro, as Katja was still under 5 at the time, she was free! The idea was to pop to Mall of Dubai which had been highly recommended as it also has a huge aquarium which Katja would thoroughly enjoy. We hoped in the metro and watched the city go by. It is a pretty amazing place, it has a buzz. We got off the metro and walked along to the Mall. This is a fully air conditioned walkway, it takes about 15 minutes to get to it! This places is ginormous, you can probably fit several villages inside this place, there’s everything and anything you can ever imagine, it is mindblowingly massive. We had some lunch then headed off to the aquarium. We decided to meet Katja’s ex teacher in the mall as it would give us more time in the aquarium. The aquarium is unbelievable, well, for something that’s inside a shopping mall, that is! It has a glass bottom boat, a submarine simulator and loads of varieties of fishes, sharks, penguins etc, etc etc.

After the aquarium we met up with Katja’s old teacher and headed to the cheesecake factory where we had……well, you probably guessed, some amazing cheesecakes! After this we had a walkabout and watched some ice hockey and then came across the Power Rangers show (nothing spells 1990’s more than Power Rangers!). Katja wanted to watch this, so we all watched it! After that we headed outdoors and walked to the souq across the road which is in similar fashion to Abu Dhabi, i.e indoor traditional style. We then popped back outside in time to watch the dancing fountain which was truly magnificent! Basically you have water jets pumping to the rhythm of music, it is absolutely amazing and well worth a visit. All this in front of the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world).

We headed back tot he hotel, had a swim which was followed by a fab meal accompanied by several Gin & Tonics and then off to bed.

 

Next Part: Driving Dubai to Muscat

 

 

 

2500 km under the blazing sun – Dubai to Muscat

Adventure without risk is Disneyland.

Douglas Coupland

I can’t say we had a restful night, the bar downstairs had loud music blaring till 3am, or I think that was the time I fell sleep! We got up relatively early, attempted to have breakfast but there was nothing which came even close to tempting to eat at that time of the day.We had a long drive ahead of us but at least being Friday, it meant that the roads would be relatively quiet….which they were (remember, weekends in the Middle East are Friday and Saturday). We found our way out of Dubai and soon hit the open road. As we traveled further and further, the desert kept changing and soon became what most people imagine a desert to look like; i.e reddish sand and rolling sand dunes! Just before the border I stopped at a petrol station and paid for our Omani car insurance. This was a very humble little office, the poor guy behind the desk was enjoying a nice peaceful snooze….until I arrived. He was quite surprised to see a Brit driving a Qatari plated car driving into Oman. Not unheard of but not a regular occurrence either.

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Near Oman border

We left the United Arab Emirates and a few kilometres later arrived at the Omani border. This was to be a similar drill to entering UAE. We parked up and entered the building for immigration. This was a bit busier than the other borders but after paying our fee to enter the country we were once again driving through the various booths, handing in bits of paper and hearing that reassuring sound of a stamp on a passport! A smiley Omani welcomed us to their country and we were off!

Once again, the desert changed from undulating rolling dunes to mountainous terrain, and when I say mountainous, I mean mountainous! Not the sort of mountains you may be used to but bare rock mountains resembling a scene you would expect to find in Mars!

The roads in Oman are great and at 120 kph with little traffic it was a pleasure to drive. As we neared the sea the mountains faded into the distance and for some 300 + km we drove on a dual carriageway with roundabouts at regular intervals. What was very different to the other countries we had driven in is that rather than driving through baron emptiness, we were constantly driving along houses and shops, for the entire trip. As we got closer to Muscat the vegetation was amazing. Even though it was 45 degrees, there was greenery, grass and trees, quite remarkable!

We arrived at our hotel (part of the same chain as the one we stayed in Dubai). We went to our room and once again, there was no bed for Katja. I popped down to reception and made my feelings known! Soon we had a mattress for Kati! Now it was time to chill out and enjoy our break, knowing that there was no driving to be done for four days.

Next Part: Awesome Muscat