Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Muskat Oman

January 10th, 2012 (Fujairah)

Today we were docked in Fujairah, however; we didn’t go ashore in this port, rather, we stayed onboard and brainstormed, and planned out our schedule for producing videos. We were still adjusting to the time difference and I wasn’t feeling 100% so it was a relaxing day. At one point we did go out on the pier to take a couple of pictures to also do some commentary, but I noticed the battery in my audio device was dead, so we couldn’t proceed until I put new batteries in my audio device. Both Doug and I sat up in the Windjammer and also the Viking Crown Lounge area to discuss our plans for this trip, to maximize the time we have onboard. We also talked about some future ideas about how we can collaborate together once we return from the cruise. We were originally set up for late seating at dinner, but it was too late for us to eat, so we asked to be switched to early seating. Tonight, on January 10th, we went to our new dinner seating time of 6:30pm. We discovered the passenger mix on this cruise is primarily, British, many from Russia, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, and some other European countries, but there are only 149 Americans onboard. I always enjoy being out on deck as the ship departs. I’m usually scrambling top-side to get the best views and pictures, but this time Doug and I sat at an out door café to watch as the Brilliance of the Seas left the port of Fujairah.

January 11th, 2012 (Muskat Oman)

I got out of bed at 7am to watch as our ship, the Brilliance of the Seas made its arrival into the next port of Muskat Oman. I stood out on the bow of the ship and enjoyed the subtle breeze, the weather was perfect and I was intrigued by the fascinating jagged, mountainous shoreline. Much like in Fujairah, there were many tanker ships anchored out at sea awaiting their turn to dock. As we continued to approach the port, I noticed some fascinating structures. After we docked, Doug and I again spent some time on video work, then had lunch before heading off the ship to see what Muskat has to offer. There was a massive yacht docked not far from us, in fact I think this is one of the largest yachts in the world, owned by a Sultan. We took a shuttle bus from the ship to the entrance of the port and began our walk. We must have walked six miles exploring the shops, an ancient castle fortress on top of a hill, and another strange structure that looked like a giant birdbath. The city’s waterfront walkway is very nice , with granite walls and tiled walkway with intricate designs. The street lights were black with gold trim, the grassy areas were immaculately cared for like a fine golf course, and the views were fascinating. One element to the design of the buildings here in Muskat, even the homes, seemed to have no windows and the design was more inward-focused. Late in our walk around town we discovered a marketplace or Muskat version of a mall, and found this to be extraordinary. There were hundreds of vendors and little shops selling mostly products made in India or Germany. I was surprised at how many Indians were here selling products. What was truly fascinating about this mall was that it was seemed to go on and on with no end, and there were alleys and corridors that split off from the main mall area to more shops. It felt like an underground labyrinth, and I could possibly get lost in there. Back home I love going to the mall, but this particular marketplace was exotic and ancient; it’s like this mall has been here for hundreds of years. There were shops selling herbs, incense, frankincense, and ancient spices. We also saw many vendors selling the typical Muslim, Omanian clothing and exotic linens. If you like antiques and nick knacks, you’d absolutely love to walk through this labyrinth of shops.

After our adventure in Muskat, we headed back to our ship the Brilliance of the Seas, so have dinner. We made our way up into the spa area to steam and clean up after our adventure and exhaustive walking around town. Tonight was an interesting event onboard called the Arabian White Party where a few passengers, including us, wore the Arabian headdress that we purchased in Muskat. It was a wild party with the band playing some great dance tunes and an obscene buffet of chocolates, desserts and ice sculptures. After this very busy and full day, I called it a night at about 11pm, went to my stateroom and went to bed.

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