I’m so glad that you guys are unable to smell me right now as I sit here in Muscat International Airport because to put it frankly; I absolutely stink. It’s rather fitting that I’m on the last leg of my journey and heading back to the UK, as I really am beginning to look a little ramshackle after 9 months on the road and 11 brand new countries visited along the way.
The flight through to Muscat was just a little over six hours and I was chuffed when they gave me my wheelchair once we’d landed. I’ve accidentally discovered a pretty foolproof way of always ensuring I get my wheelchair during a transfer. I check everything in at the departing check-in counter, but have my wheelchair tag’s final destination switched to the transferring airport – meaning that the ground staff think that it needs to be given back to me and that I’m not carrying on my journey from there. I’m not sure if other wheelchair users do this – I’ve never asked – but thankfully I’ve never had to deal with the horror stories like so many others. Stories such as being stranded for several hours in a wheelchair that cannot be manually propelled. Of course, my system is a bit pointless if it’s a short transfer, like the 3 hour layover I had in Singapore when travelling through to Thailand from Australia. But here in Oman I had 12 hours to kill and I was determined to go into Muscat Old Town, which is a small town east of Muscat and only separated by a cluster of craggy rock faces.
Unfortunately Oman Air managed to eat away an hour of my exploration time by taking so long with my disembarkation from the aircraft. I’d have been better off walking down the stairs.
After clearing immigration I took a cab towards the coast and soon found myself being dropped off right beside the harbours edge. Visiting Oman is my first real taste of the Middle East, and it is everything I had imagined. Arid landscapes, dusty hillsides, incredible architecture, crazy driving and magnificent looking palaces/fortresses.
With my heavy backpack strapped to my chair, it wasn’t long before the mid-afternoon sun was causing me to feel pretty shit and so I ducked into what turned out to be a complex maze of dark, damp and dingy street vendors – all of which were shut as I assume is the norm for that time of day when the heat is at its most unbearable?
That notion of the streets being like mazes is again something which I had previously anticipated. It’s so easy to get lost along narrow, windy cobbled streets. The tightly packed tall buildings and frequent archways act as a fantastic guard against the harsh temperatures as you’re mostly cast in shadows as your meander on through.
My day was pretty chilled to be honest with you. After seven flights in six days, and hardly any sleep, I wasn’t really up to anything strenuous. Now I’m about to board my final flight on what has been a crazy week full of ups and downs. I will definitely be working hard over the coming weeks, both with my studies and also with the blog to get myself caught up and on track. Stay tuned…
P.S. I’d love to say these pictures are my own, but they’re not! My camera was out of battery as the absolutely novice I am, I didn’t have a backup nor was there a place for me to charge as it’s a New Zealand plug! Balls.