There are no flies in Muscat. I discovered that on my first morning while sitting on the terrace of my hotel eating a breakfast of fruit and pastries.
It was hot even at that time of day but I didn’t have to bother swishing or swatting those annoying creatures.
But that was just the beginning of my first trip to oil-rich Oman, located on the Arabian Sea.
A Magic Kingdom
Out of the dark medieval atmosphere that existed only thirty five years ago, Sultan Qaboos (pronounced like the last car of a train) brought this magic kingdom into the 21st century. Following a bloodless coup, he took over from his father and, in 1965, Oman became independent.
In stark contrast to other Arab countries that border Oman, women have a choice of dressing how they like, driving a car and getting an education. But that’s only half the story of this haven. Muscat looks as though it gets vacuumed daily. Huge white mansions that can only be owned by nationals, are set against the grey-black Hajar Mountains, juxtaposed with the desert and beaches where the azure sea seems to collide with the cloudless blue sky.
And on top of all this, there is no income tax or any form of taxation at all; medical services and education are also both free. Being there is like taking a page from One Thousand and One Nights or Camelot.
There is a museum, small in comparison to those in the world’s major cities, but filled with serious antiquities dating back as early as the 1st century CE. Distances are far from each other, so one needs a car or chauffeur-driven limousine.
The locals are interested in which designer’s label one is wearing, as though walking a Red Carpet and in general, are curious about your life.
In the capital city, with a population of 1.7 million, the magnificent Sultan Quaboos Grand Mosque with its 50-metre-high dome is a great architectural feat. Other ‘must sees’ are the Al Alam Palace and for more artifacts, Bait Al Zubair. The Royal Opera House an unexpected find, is a venue for theatre, the arts and is surrounded by a splendid garden.
Muscat has kept up with the times and today there are always cranes on the skyline creating ever-more high rise buildings and upscale shopping malls.
As for hotels, Muscat has it’s fair share of global brands like Kempinski, the Al Bustan Palace Ritz Carlton and Shangri-La but the older hotels are also still in demand.
There was so much to see and do in the few days I spent in Muscat that, to my surprise, I had no time for any R&R but a great deal to share when I returned home.
Having been a travel writer for more years that I want to remember, people began to come to me for advice on destinations, particularly, India. I have traveled the sub continent extensively and know about the pleasures and the pitfalls of India travel. With this in mind, I began to advise people on travel to India and established India-Concierge.Guru.
All of India is ever-changing. Since I know the sub continent quite well, I recently made an itinerary for a couple to travel to destinations and areas that would suit their liking and their ability for walking.
That’s my contribution. I listen to likes, ability and plan the itinerary. They were absolutely delighted with the hotels, the restaurants, sites, drivers, English speaking guides and since both have trouble walking, the wheelchair which was always in the car’s trunk, in each city, when and if needed . . . including assistance in air flights.
This couple returned so very happy and now are thinking of another area of India to visit next.
India-Concierge.Guru gets to know what each person wants and needs. My associate in Delhi makes my plans happen per the demands of the clients.
Let’s talk. India is a ‘must see’. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, Looking forward to hearing from you.