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Change of Scene


Off on my travels again tomorrow, to Muscat, a place I have never visited. Only one overnight then back to Qatar on Saturday night. Normally, I'd be going to Dubai but our little local difficulty rolls on and Dubai can't be accessed from Doha except by stopping off in Muscat or Kuwait or somewhere even further off. Alternatively, there is the option of a 'luxury' coach from Muscat to Dubai, but apparently that takes four hours. It might be a good way to see the country but would take a huge bite out of a short weekend.

Note to self: One Omani Rial = Ten Qatari Riyals. Beware of overpaying taxis by a factor of ten!

3 comments:

  1. The luxury coach has an additional potential difficulty. The road between Hatta, which is presumably the border crossing of choice, and Dubai passes through a small peninsula of Omani land. So there are two additional border crossings.

    In Þe Olden Dayes, one could drive straight through and marvel at how international travel across GCC borders was so easy. And then border controls were added. Often, we were waved through; sometimes we had to show our ID cards or passports.

    But now, only Emirati and Omani citizens may cross these borders without let or hindrance. It is unclear whether this is a full-time situation or merely dependent on the phase of the moon or whether or not the border guard had any last night. But the crossings are out of bounds for expatriates, or at least were when I last tried.

    Motorcycle trips from Dubai to the Hatta Fort Hotel to avail [sic] the Friday bikers' breakfast are not affected. There are alternative routes that pass north of this loop of Omani territory which comprise much more interesting roads.

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  2. Thanks G-G, that's all good info and not surprising. My perennial reservation about any road border crossing by bus is that if anything goes wrong, you can end up kicking your heels in no-man's-land for a long time, while your bus continues its journey without you. At least if something goes wrong in an airport, you're still in an airport with a reasonable set of options. I enjoyed Muscat though - must do it again.

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