Gladlee of Guernsey
Oman 2012 - January to May
January 2012 Sunday the 1st was a quiet day for everyone (especially Chris
who only surfaced for about half an hour!) On the Monday we drove down to Areesh
Desert Camp. We settled into our 'huts' and the Uttons went off for a 4x4
experience in the dunes and thoroughly enjoyed it. Julie and Ron met them at the
top of the dune with a beer as the sun went down. It was quite beautiful. We had
a nice meal in the evening and then there was some traditional entertainment
with some music and dancing.
Sunday the 1st was a quiet day for everyone (especially Chris who only surfaced for about half an hour!) On the Monday we drove down to Areesh Desert Camp. We settled into our 'huts' and the Uttons went off for a 4x4 experience in the dunes and thoroughly enjoyed it. Julie and Ron met them at the top of the dune with a beer as the sun went down. It was quite beautiful. We had a nice meal in the evening and then there was some traditional entertainment with some music and dancing.
After breakfast the next day, we headed off towards Sur and then took the 'new' coast road and came off at Tiwi/Shab and parked below the bridge. The tide was low so we could walk across the inlet and up the wadi which was beautiful and green. We had to wade through some pools and at the end, Jack and Julie swam through a very narrow gorge (about 20cm wide) to another pool and small waterfall. Ron helped Carmen through some of these pools when they got too deep but couldn't quite make it to the end. Chris, Helen and Melissa caught up a bit later. In the evening we went out to TGIF's. On the Wednesday, Julie, Chris and Carmen went and had a look around the Sultan Qaboos mosque and were very impressed with it. Helen was not feeling so good so she and Chris stayed at home while we took Jack, Melissa and Carmen down to Oman Dive Centre for lunch and a swim. Later we had a BBQ at home on the roof patio and then took them to the airport.
On Sunday 8th Ron went off to China on business for 6 days. Julie continued playing bridge and tennis and started doing the Boot Camp on the 14th, for 3 mornings a week starting at 05.30 for 6 weeks. We continued with the hash and hosted HMS Somerset on the hash again on the 14th. On the 20th we drove to the Ghubra Bowl for a picnic and to recce for a potential hash camp in March. Julie did one bird watching trip to BK and played in the singles (actually winning this event) and doubles tennis leagues.
On Wednesday 1st we had Ahmad and his daughter Samya, Kay and Phil, Abdullah and Nadia round for a BBQ dinner. Friday we did a trip to Wadi Dayqah and had a look at the new dam. There was a Full Moon Hash on the 6th from Feeney's Bar which was fun. Ron had visitors from Germany on the 8th/9th so went out to dinner to The Turkish House and took them to Wadi Shab. Also Tony and Margaret Wildig were visiting so we had dinner with them on the 9th at Lilianne and Robert's house at Seeb, an interesting evening catching up with their news and hearing about Lilianne's adventures - she has a wonderful garden and keeps camels and has done some serious trekking with them. On the Friday we set our hash in the wadi at the back of our house which was still nice and green, and then went down to the Intercon for dinner. Our hash on the Saturday went very well. Julie had lunch at Roli's with Annie and Pam to discuss the upcoming trip to Jaipur in India. On Thursday 16th we did another recce in the Ghubrah Bowl and was out for drinks at Lucy's in the evening. Julie continued with tennis and bridge, and the Boot Camp until the 22nd and another birding visit to Al Ansab wetlands. The Extreme Sailing series was being held in Oman and we went up to the Millennium Hotel Complex to meet Charlie Ogletree crewing on Oman Air (a friend of Mark and Michelle's who we'd met in the Bahamas) and we watched the races on the Wednesday.
The first thing that happened this month was that Ron resigned from his job, having to give 3 months notice, so we would leave Oman about mid-May before our residencies run out. We had decided that we needed to go back to "Gladlee" and sort her out though were still trying to sell her and dropping the price even more.
Ahmad had a party on the Thursday evening and we went home quite late, and on Friday we went to watch the final day of the Exreme Sailing series at The Wave. We were pleased that our new friend on Oman Air took first place just in front of The Wave Muscat - great for Oman. On Sunday 4th Julie went bird watching to Sawadi with Kath and went to India on Saturday 10th for 6 days with Pam and Annie. To read a log of this trip please visit Jaipur. On Sunday 18th a birding trip to Quriyat with Kath and Caroline and a '3 Club meet' bridge tournament and lunch on the Monday at Kim's. Julie played in the singles tennis league on the Tuesday and played bridge with Fauziah on the Wednesday followed by lunch at Annie's (also with Pam) to look at photos of our Jaipur visit and we had a hash committee meeting in the evening - Ron cooked chilly for everyone. The rest of the month carried on in the same vein with the hash camp on the 29th/30th. We went to the Ghubrah Bowl on the Wednesday and camped so that we could set the hash early on the Thursday morning before it got too hot. People turned up in the afternoon and we gathered for the run at about 4 o'clock. It was a really good run, for both the keenies and the weenies and nobody got lost or hurt. The hash circle was done later and we all had a pleasant evening under the stars, drinking, BBQing and chatting. The Hash Rats (i.e. the kids) organised the recovery run the next morning with us running the reverse course from the day before.
Julie started this month with a bird watching trip to Quriyat with Kay, Pam, Caroline and Chris Bartlett. We were at a party at Ahmad's (Linda, his wife and Jade, his granddaughter were visiting) on Thursday and met up with them and Abdullah and Nadia at the CAYC (Civil Aviation Yacht Club) on the Friday. Julie had a swim. There was a joint hash with the Jebel Hash on the 7th and Julie went sea-kayaking with Pam and Donna on the Sunday. There was a Full Moon Hash on the Monday and we had a good meal out at Senor Pico's with Ahmad and family and Abdullah and Nadia on Tuesday. Drinks with Umesh on the 11th at his flat with all Ron's Indian and Pakistani staff.
The weather had turned a bit dodgy over the last couple of weeks with lots of cloud and culminating in a sandstorm and enormous thunderstorm on the night of the 18th. Torrential rain filled up the wadi at the back of our house, enough to even cover the track running through it.
Thursday 19th we went diving with Muscat Divers, the boat engines still dodgy so we only made it as far as Cat Island just outside the marina. We had a nice dive though but when we came up the wind had increased and two novices were struggling so we gave up for the day and went back. In the evening we went to the Boot Camp Party at the Dolphin Club with Ahmad and Abdullah and Nadia. Julie received her elite status mug to the surprise of Ahmad as he hadn't realised she had done the boot camp!
On Monday 23rd Julie and Kath went to Ghala Wentworth golf course to find the Little Owls as apparently there were three breeding pairs and some young. We found them but were soon asked to leave the course by the manager as we hadn't got permission. Later in the month though Julie went again with Caroline and Kay and took some good photos of the owls and chatted to the manager so that we could go again. We then found the road overlooking the course and though we didn't see the owls we did find a rat in a tree! We also went to our wadi to see if the birds had come back and saw quite a bit of stuff.
Thursday 26th saw us driving, in company with Ahmad, up to Jebel Shams for the Jebel hash camping weekend. The scenery here is spectacular and we camped, with Kay and Phil, right next to Oman's Grand Canyon. The hash run was great though Ron found it a bit too much up and down. We had the usual hash 'circle' and then we BBQ'd and enjoyed Ahmad's famous soup and champagne. Later we went back over to the main crowd and continued drinking and chatting with the late guys who turned out to be all Omanis - the rest had turned in. Next day we drove a bit further on as Kay and Phil wanted to do the rim walk and Ahmad and Julie joined them for half an hour. We saw a beautiful European Roller sitting in a tree looking for its breakfast, apparently they only migrate through at this time.
Julie played in the tennis doubles league on Monday 1st at the Intercon followed by lunch and was very surprised to find she had won the overall singles title and doubles title - great way to finish her tennis in Oman. On the Thursday we drove down to Sifah to have a look at the new resort and marina and to have a swim and snorkel. In the evening Ahmad had a leaving party for us at his apartment, this went very well and went on until the early hours - fortunately we were staying over. Friday was a slow day!
On Saturday Julie had her normal bridge and then the ladies (and gent) took her out to lunch at O'Sole Mia restaurant (though in the end the club paid for the lunch). Monday the bird-watching ladies took Julie to Qurm Park for their last trip. Not too much about and it was getting hot so we were back at Kay's by about 09.30 for coffee and cakes. They gave Julie a lovely picture to say thank you for organising all the outings; 19 in all and seeing 119 different birds. In the evening there was another Full Moon Hash and we supplied the beer as this was our last one.
On the 9th Julie played her last Wednesday bridge with Sangeeta and then had lunch with Fauziah and Liz at La Mer restaurant on Qurm Corniche. On Thursday Muscat Hash treated us to a Champagne Brunch at the Radisson, there were about 25 of us and sat at a long table outside - very enjoyable and as much champagne as you could drink between 12 and 3 o'clock though it was a bit hot.
Friday we drove down to the marina to pick up diving tanks and then on to Saif al Sheikh beach to do a shore dive. We had a really nice dive but decided not to do a second one and it was sad to say goodbye to Mandy and Neil and the others.
Saturday 12th Julie had organised a final tournament for the bridge club at Rita's house. She could just manage 5 tables so there were 20 players altogether and this included Jane who was visiting from Zimbabwe. (she used to run the club) Very nice morning though Julie's game suffered due to the amount of work needed and managed to come last overall - sorry Darshana, my partner. Rita had donated cups for the first 3 places and there were prizes for everyone followed by lunch. A very successful morning and nice way to hand over the bridge club.
In the evening there was our final hash. Steve and Ahmad had set the trail from Steve's house at airport heights and it was a really good relatively flat run though Julie still managed to fall over and bruise herself. At the circle we were given a leaving present of a photo album with photos to remind us of the hash camp etc. - very nicely done. Later we all sat round the back and BBQ'd and chatted, a very pleasant evening for our last hash. Sunday morning Julie went bird-watching with Kay and then continued the packing and cleaning. On Monday evening we went out to the Mussandam Restaurant in the Intercon with Ahmad as a final farewell and then drinks at Senor Pico's. The Tuesday, our last day, is a blur of squeezing everything left into our cases, a quick lunch at the Crowne Plaza and final cleaning. The last wash came out of the machine at 20.20 and we were in the car as planned by 20.29!! No problems at the airport and easy flight back to the UK though we left temperatures of about 40 degrees in Oman and arrived in 3 degrees!