January 7, 2011
(written by and photos by Aubree Pack)
We’ve arrived! This is just a quick note to let everyone know that both groups (one from the states and one from the UK) arrived at the Dubai International Airport without incident. Immediately upon our arrival to Dubai, we met with our driver and headed towards Oman.
A view of the local landscape
First impressions? Sand. Heat. Cranes. Palm trees. Sweet smelling air. Happiness. (!!!)
Another landscape view
We went through several minor security checkpoints painlessly while on the drive, but ran into some trouble when we reached the main border crossing. Unfortunately, due to a recent change in requirements for Canadian visitors, there were visa complications for Raakel. We’re disappointed, but it was decided that one chaperone stay behind and only 5 of us continue into Oman. The group will meet back up with Pandora and Raakel tomorrow at Al Ain, by dinnertime.
Matt – our favorite male chaperone 🙂
At the Oman border, we switched drivers and vehicles because of country requirements. The trip from the airport to where we are now in Muscat (the capital of Oman) had us rubber-necking at ATV’s careening across the sand dunes, stately palm trees, huge construction sites, and beautiful views of the rugged countryside. Along the way, our driver was happy to answer all of our questions and has been extremely kind. He even stopped at a roadside market and bought us some locally grown fruit called nubboc. He also provided us with a whistle stop evening tour of Muscats immaculate parks, gardens, and palace estates.
Once we made it through multiple checkpoints, the border crossing and then the visa station, we were greeted with this sign
Ashby talks to the driver about some of the Omani cultures
James and Ashby share some of the local fruit given to us by our driver
Upon check in at our hotel, Felicia and I were slightly offended that we had a room booked under Mr. Pack and Mr. Felicia… as even though we might be slightly disheveled from the travels, we still prefer to think we look a bit too feminine to be called a ‘Mr’ 🙂
Although we’re momentarily split up, we’re safe and things are sorted. It’s warm, it’s sandy, and we’re all pretty excited to be here!