Oman, Emirates, Iran, Armenia & Georgia
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Day 1 - Sat 6 May

Tour starts Meet up in Muscat
About the Sultanate of Oman.
From the moment this journey unfolds in Muscat, capital of the Sultanate of Oman we know that we are in for a treat. The sultanate occupies a desert region on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula at the confluence of Arabic, Asian and African trade routes. In the capital we find ancient watchtowers guarding the bustling port where dhows go about their business, and in the bazaar the distinctive aroma of frankincense conjures up images of slave markets and exotic spice trading from long ago. 

Farther on, there are mountain villages around Nizwa and Jebel Akhdar where life goes on much as it has for centuries. Afterwards, we travel through the desert to Dubai, with its futuristic towers of silver and glass glistening in the bright sunlight.   

Check in to your hotel and meet your Tour Leader and the rest of your group in the hotel lobby at 5pm for your Pre-Departure meeting.

Perched on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman’s history, culture and people reflect its position at the confluence of Arabic, Asian and African trading routes.

In the capital, we find ancient watch towers still standing vigilant over the bustling port and admire the impressive Grand Mosque as well as the Palace of Sultan Qaboos. In the bazaar the distinctive aroma of frankincense conjures up images of slave markets and exotic spice trading from long ago.

Today is mainly free so went dolphin watching and snorkelling 10 tp 2,  Just 35 deg. Really enjoyed the trip. Water about 29 deg and the fish were the big hit for me. Watched the parrot fish do their thing noisily chipping away at the coral.  Heaps of life. 

Sultan's Palace & Hotel for high paying guests

More of a dolphin hunt - just no harpoons

8 boats chasing hither & thither every time the prey expose themselves

and there they blow

Snorkelling here but no pics of that as camera doesn't like salt (or any) water

Berg? rocks


(Temporary) arch


Nice but goodbye at the next cyclone

Oops! no need for a cyclone

Parliament buildings

Sultan's 2 boats

Oman seems a very safe friendly place.  The world clearly is giving this country an unfair wrap. 

Half Oman's people are Arabic; The rest are mainly from Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. About one third of the population is female. (don't yet know why)

Tourism provides 10% of the income. It seems to me there is an exciting future for Oman as tourists realise it is really safe, accepting and so stunningly different. I heard from a local that they fully accept and respect that other peoples of the world have different histories, beliefs and ways of doing things.  In return they ask that other peoples will respect them in the same basis.

Met the group at 5pm, only 4 others. Dad and daughter from Vancouver (and previously Beijing) a lady from Australia and the tour leader from Russia. All are seasoned, intrepid travellers so there could be some great experiences, ideas and stories passed around over the next 26 days.  No one wanted to pay the very high prices at hotels and top restaurants when meals are on own, (nice).    First meal together was at an Indian place around  NZ$5. 


From the hotel roof

Night all

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