Saturday, 23 January 2010

Dubai-Fujairah-Oman-KL-Japan-Dubai (Part 2)

Lucky and I had our longest drive in the Middle East with my family. We drove across the emirates to reach  Dibba. We were supposed to meet our tour operator there and he would assist us in crossing the border to Oman.

Dibba in various colours and lights

The tour operator came when we were enjoying our packed nasi lemak. He waited for us and then he guided us to cross the border to enter Oman. It took us just a few minutes at the checkpoint. The Sultanate of Oman is a slower paced country much to the contrast of UAE.


The initial plan was for us to camp by the seaside. But we were just 2 adults and 2 kids; too small to make a camping group. So the tour operator took us to an old villa on a rocky hill surrounded by the sea and only accessible by boats.

The villa

As we climbed up the hill, we sensed that there was a strange cheesy smell in the air. Then we came to know the area we stayed for the night was also a home to about 200 goats of different sizes and colours. The villa was fenced and we were inside the parameter while the goats were scattered outside searching for the scarce vegetation in the dry and barren rocky hills.

The goat house for summer

The goats parade

The goats checking us out

We had BBQ dinner. It was a fusion of Arabic and Indian dish. There was nothing much to do at night. There was no TV and no internet. But the kids had fun toying with the little lambs. By that time the goaty smell had been well tuned with our noses and no one was complaining.

The next morning we woke up with a breathtaking view of the cliffs and the calm sea that reflected the pale colour of sunrise. We had simple breakfast while watching the landscape. One of the goats had come close to us to give a bleating cry of 'good morning'.

Then it was time to say good bye to this place with its great goaty experience. We got into a small boat that took us to a jetty where a bigger boat, 'dhow' was waiting for us and a few other groups of tourists.

One of the goats walked us down the hill. What a hospitality!

The villa was a small white spot as we waved good bye and sailed away

The boy was pretending to navigate the boat

The dhow took us about 25km north. It cruised along the coastal area of Musandam. After about 3 hours, we reached a lee shore which was sheltered by the majestic rock formation that dwarfed us down. We dived into the water and then jumped into a small boat to explore the coastal cave. We got back to the dhow and had lunch.

The journey in the dhow was very pleasant. I dozed off almost all the way.

The majestic view of Musandam

The dhow was moored and the people in it jumped into a small boat to explore the beach

The coastal cave

The kissing rocks

When it was almost sunset, the dhow took us to a deeper sea for us to fish. I hadn't done any fishing since my Pangkor trip, which was almost 12 years ago and I had never caught anything with the baited hook. But this time, I have had my first fish, a long barracuda, caught on the line using a little sardine as the bait. I guess there could have been a school of barracudas swimming underneath the dhow, that we were blessed with a bucketful of them on board.

My first barracuda

A bucketful of barracudas

The sunset

To be continued........

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Dubai-Fujairah-Oman-KL-Japan-Dubai (Part 1)

December has been eventful for me. My wife and my kids had come to visit me in Dubai. It was great having them warming the house while I was in the office and factory working hard to meet several deadlines before the year end. There were sessions of appraisals, report writings and meetings that occupied the days in December, that I was not able to be a really good host for them in their visit this year. Fortunately the beach is just a 5-minute drive from my apartment. I took them for a splash in the wavy sea and a slow camel ride along the beach of Jumeirah. We went to The Wild Wadi, the place they really enjoyed last year. This time around my son is above 1.1 meter. His height with his hair spiked upwards to add an extra inch, had granted him to take all the adrenaline rides and slides. He took them all. It was great watching them finding their balance as they had their brief surfing lessons there........

My wife has been a more seasoned shopper in Dubai. Last year she didn't buy anything from the Malls of the Emirates. She said the prices there were ridiculous and somehow made her felt like a pauper in the palace. This year she had a few bags of things to pose with, there.......

We checked out The Heritage House in the old Dubai area. It is the first museum the kids have ever entered and an eye opener for them about emirati culture and heritage which has many similar values with ours......

When my work was done, I bid farewell to the factory to start my vacation. We drove away from Dubai to Fujairah, another emirate at the east coast of UAE. We stayed in a nice resort, located at the Al-Aqah beach, near Dibba. The kids enjoyed swimming in the the warm pool. We had dinner and celebrated my wife's birthday which was a few days before Christmas. We sang her the birthday song and she made her wishes. The next day, I had an early morning run along the beach, leaving my shoe prints along the way. It was a refreshing run with the scenic view of sunrise and the fishermen hauling their catch. It was a good retreat for us especially my wife who woke up with a new age.......

To be continued.........