Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Exploring a day trip out of Dubai

During my last weekend in Dubai I decide to take a day trip to Oman, one of the most beautiful places to visit in the area and a popular excursion out of the city.

Most people drive out in their own 4x4s and even spend weekends exploring the plentiful wadis and oases in Oman, but for lack of my own car I book a snorkeling excursion with one of the many tour companies in Dubai.

With my luck I get picked up by one of the locals in his luxury 4x4: “All of the other guests are going in the tour bus but since you’re by yourself I thought I could give you a ride.”

A-hem, there’s almost nothing I can do in this city without some local trying to ‘save’ me from my singledom.

I get spoilt – chocolates, fruit and Omani chips (which is delightfully paprika flavoured). It’s a little nerve wracking as I subtly try to ward off his advances without offending. As a non-Muslim woman I am very aware that I don’t have many rights in this world.

The drive takes about two hours, including stops at the market and various historical sites along the way. Dubai residents don't need a special Omani visa to cross the border at Dibba in the Fujeirah Emirate.

When we get to the docks in Musandam on the other side of the border, I also get a tour of the luxury boats and an introduction to the Omani boat owners over very sweet tea. My chauffeur is meant to entertain a group of government officials for the day but promptly decides to join my tour instead.

When I step onto my snorkelling tour boat I introduce myself to the two families on board, one local Emirati family (all the women dressed in full abaya, all the men dressed in shorts and T-shirts) and one French family (all the women dressed in bikinis, all the men in only shorts). The local Omani boatmen look amused at my company.

This should be an interesting day

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