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Early arrival in Muscat ...... !

Forgotten how much I love Oman! Amazing place. Everything works on instinct. Try and do things in advance and it may not always work out that way. I checked up a few days ago as to bus timings, as thought I'd get the earliest possible one from the UAE to Oman. The attendant whom I phoned said 7:00 a.m., so I calculated that would get me into Muscat by 1:00 p.m. It's a bit of a slow coach, but enormously interesting to get to know the locals and it stops in interesting places too. I was already prepared to take lots of photos.

I was advised to report to the UAE border post at least 5:30 a.m., which I did, and then told when I got to the Omani side, there would be taxis lined up that could take me to the bus stop. So first of all, I was the only one at the UAE border post at 5:30 a.m., no line ups as promised. And then when I exited on the Omani side, no taxis. I started walking to a petrol station and the attendant said every one was sleeping and I must have got the bus departure time wrong for 7:00 a.m. So I doubled back to the border post, where the UAE side advised I should wait an hour or two, decided to wait on the Omani exit side, and next thing a nice Lexus with two really nice Omanis picked me up. They were also puzzled by the bus time, and when we got to the bus stop it said first bus was 1:00 p.m. Haha! Next thing the two Omanis took me to a taxi stand, not only that, but then went on to negotiate a favourable rate with the taxi driver. It was six times as expensive as the bus fare, but about half the rate I'd have paid from the UAE in a taxi. And of course not as interesting, but up shot of it all was that I was already at my Hotel in Muscat by 9:15 a.m.

Taxi drive was fantastic. Started with a long stop for the taxi driver who first did lengthy prayers and then had breakfast while I was waiting, but I thought if that's going to contribute to the safety of the trip, it would be well worth the wait. And it was. Terrific driver! Particularly given Omani drivers, who have of the worst record of driving and accidents in the world.

As we were approaching the Hotel I thought I would just dump my belongings in the storage room, and go for a nice long walk since I was only supposed to check in after 12:00 p.m. But again everything worked perfect with having a room already ready for me at no extra charge, and checked in by 9:30 a.m. So scored an extra few hours of leisure time.

During my earlier very long walk, discovered so much had changed on my favourite Corniche. Took loads of photos, so will download it on Monday when I return to the UAE.

It's prayer time here now, so made my way to an Internet Cafe for catching up on Frihost and making my daily posts. Nice ambiance here with VERY OLD computer, old-fashioned box screen, but everything clean. And Internet speed not great but definitely not bad either.

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