Sinkhole Swimming in Oman

The drive down from Jebel Shems highlighted how little I knew about the geography of Oman before arriving. Where I had expected the sand dunes, and though I had read about the canyons and mountains leading up to the coast, I wasn’t prepared for just how rugged the mountains were; there’s a reason you really need 4WD vehicles to get around the mountain roads. With the cooler temperatures after the previous day’s rain it was great to have the windows down and feel the breeze as we drove along the winding roads.

Mountains around Jebel Shems

Can you train a donkey to use the litter?

Waking up in Nizwa, there was little need for a weather forecast. It was going to be hot, sunny and humid. After some breakfast at the hotel, we headed over to the Nizwa fortress. Like the others we had visited or seen at Jabrin and Bahla, it had the familiar smooth lines and has been kept in great condition.

20120513-222823.jpg Continue reading “Can you train a donkey to use the litter?”

5 signs it’s hot in Oman

How hot is it in Oman? Here are 7 indicators of just how hot it is here:


7. Dry clothes are a mythical thing you think you once experienced.
Continue reading “5 signs it’s hot in Oman”

The upside of a sleepless night in the desert? The sunrise.

The upside of a sleepless night in the desert? It’s really easy to get up early for the sunrise.

20120512-215943.jpg Continue reading “The upside of a sleepless night in the desert? The sunrise.”

From the glass towers of Dubai to the sand dunes of Abu Dhabi

Right now, I’m sitting in a building of sorts at the Jebel Shems Heights Guesthouse in the Hajar Mountains in Oman. It’s a beautiful, almost lunar landscape. There are few people around, no Internet connection, and not much to do once you’ve been for a hike and the sun is setting, so it’s a perfect opportunity for a couple of catch-up posts once we do connect again.

Continue reading “From the glass towers of Dubai to the sand dunes of Abu Dhabi”

Dubai is a tale of two cities

So far, we’ve definitely seen the luxury side of Dubai. To be honest, it hasn’t felt at all like the Middle East we’ve experienced in the past. While cities like Amman and Cairo have their developed aspects, Dubai is in a different universe. The metro here makes the one at home look rather “developing”, especially when you find out it was built in three years.

So it was time to leave the world of the ultra rich – both because we couldn’t afford to stay and wouldn’t want to – and head, for lack of a better phrase, back to reality. Not our reality, but a reality for many people.


Continue reading “Dubai is a tale of two cities”

How is Dubai like Vancouver… Skiing in the morning, golf in the afternoon

How is Vancouver, a cold and rainy city in the great white north, like a global financial centre in the middle of the dessert? In both you can often ski in the morning and play golf in the afternoon. Having explored The Atlantis, and gotten over our jetlag, we decided it was time to set out and sample some of what modern Dubai has to offer: indoor skiing and the world’s tallest building, which also took us to the world’s largest mall.


Continue reading “How is Dubai like Vancouver… Skiing in the morning, golf in the afternoon”

Living Large In Dubai

What’s the saying? When in Dubai do as the Emiratis? Something like that. As we’re starting this trip in Dubai, we decided we’d kick it off with a taste of the highlife.


You’ve likely heard of the Palm Jumeirah, one of two man-made items visible from space, it’s an artificial archipelago built in the Arabian Gulf off the coast of Dubai. It’s somewhat symbolic of the over-the-top construction in Dubai, so we decided to spend our first couple of days on the islands at the Atlantis Palm hotel. Continue reading “Living Large In Dubai”

Turns out the Emirates A380 doesn’t guarantee bliss

Blood curdling screams and foul stench! Yes, this is life on one of the world’s fanciest airline’s state-of-the-art planes.


The A380 may be the world’s largest passenger plane, and Emirates one of the world’s best airlines, but that does not guarantee a luxury experience. For all the technology and size, your flight still comes with one thing common to all flights, passengers. If you’re unlucky, some of passengers are small, but surprisingly loud, and others, well, let’s just say not everyone’s as fond of deodorant as they should be.

It would be fair to say that we had high expectations when we decided to fly to Dubai with Emirates. I mean, we knew we weren’t going to be up in a private suite or even in business class with access to the in-flight bar, but we thought it would be pretty fancy. Continue reading “Turns out the Emirates A380 doesn’t guarantee bliss”

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