Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 19 2013

Middle East trip, part 6

Today was mainly about getting from Jordan to Oman. We rushed out of the hotel, breakfast still dripping from our mouths in the cold morning air, to the airport van, only to find the roads enveloped in thick fog. Fortunately this did not prevent our plane from leaving, and we were winging towards Dubai more or less on schedule, in spite of an impressive level of inefficiency at the Amman airport. When we were checking in, the staff member checked in four of us and then simply walked away without a word, leaving the other three. No replacement came, and we had to find someone else to finish the job. We also went through several X-ray machines for some reason.

When we got on the plane, a woman was sitting in my seat. She seemed intent on sitting in that seat, and I had to get the stewardess to explain to her that she was in my seat. She certainly didn’t seem happy about leaving it.

The flight was ok, and we dropped down into the smog surrounding Dubai just as I finished watching the Amazingly Unnecessary Spider-man Remake. Dubai Airport is an impressive mall that happens to have airplanes. However, despite its reputation as an international air hub, surprising pockets of ignorance show themselves at times. The man in charge of transit for Omani Air was adamant that the “China” in “Republic of China TAIWAN” on our passports meant we were from the PRC. “But it says CHINA!” he kept saying to the other person on the phone. Then, when he reported that our passports were in face green, not red, he relented.

I walked around the huge mall complex, played with a Fuji XE-1, and tried (in vain) to find something to do on my phone with the wifi that Saudi Arabia would allow. After we actually got on the plane to Muscat, a tiny, smart job, we had to wait for 45 minutes just to get a pushback out onto the runway. The flight was only half an hour or so, barely enough time for the staff to hand out blueberry wraps, but the British Businessman behind me seemed to really be enjoying his chat with an Omani man in traditional robes behind me.

Our Omani friends, Ahmed and Salim, met us as we walked in the door of the terminal, even before we’d had a change at immigration. It was a good thing, too, as the air staff were singling us out as we deboarded, asking us if we were truly going to enter Oman and not just fly off somewhere else. It was rather racist, really.

Salim and Ahmed drove us to our hotel, where we have suites, and then out for a small tour of the town, including the harbor, markets, the Sultan’s HQ, and dinner at an outdoor Turkish joint. Both appeared wearing the traditional Omani long robes and flat hat. I need to get my hands on some of those.

posted by Poagao at 6:03 am  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment