Khasab, the Norway of Arabia
It was early in the morning when I arrived in Muscat International Airport. Sleeping was the only thing I wanted to do, but I couldn’t. Instead, I must continue my journey to Khasab, other part of Oman which is bordered with United Arab Emirates, located in Musandam Peninsula. There are only two ways to reach the place without crossing the border of UAE. By boat, with 6 hours journey or by plane which requires one hour flying only. I took the last one.
The plane took me to Khasab was not big. It consisted approximately 20 passengers only plus two flight attendance. The plane itself equipped by vane, instead of jet machine as generally found in Boeing plane. The plane start to move, and one of the vanes didn’t start yet. I start to get panicked. Yeah, that’s me. When it comes to flying, I easily got nervous. I even asked another passenger sitting in front of me.
“Hello. Why those vanes are not spinning,” I asked, as like that was his responsibility.
“I don’t know,” he answered nervously. Ok. My panic was contagious.
Five minutes passed. I was thinking to call cabin crew to question about the vanes, when the poor passenger sitting in front of me said, “Look. It starts moving” and I could take a deep breath.
I arrived in Khasab earlier than it should. Well, the airport in Khasab is not big at all. Most of planes come there are also small, and some of them are helicopter which consisted 4-6 passengers only. When I looked around, it looked like in the middle of nowhere, with Rock Mountains surrounding the airport. Most of men were wearing Omani national dress and women were wearing abaya. I was looked different with the clothes I wore.
Well, people left. And I was still sitting, waiting for my hotel to pick me. But, It would be in the next two hours. I had no Omani simcard in my phone. And I didn’t have credit card to use the public phone.
I tried to ask a man in cafeteria to lend me his phone to call the hotel where I will stay, and I will pay for the credit I use. But, that man just looked me in the eye, looked confused with what I said. And finally, he said ,”Sorry. No English. Arabic”. I felt so desperate.
And I tried again, asked a man who was standing in front of arrival gate. He didn’t answer me, which I presumed he didn’t speak English well. Instead, he asked me to follow him, and he brought me to the room of Head of Airport. Oh. Thanks, God. A kindhearted old man was there. He listened to me, took his phone immediately and called my hotel.
“Ok, lady. You can wait outside. If they don’t come in five minutes, please come again. I’ll call them back,” he explained. I was so relief and thanked him many times.
Well, in five minutes, one minivan was there to pick me and brought me to Diwan Alamair hotel, the cheapest one that I could find in Khasab. Well, Khasab is not so friendly for budget traveler as me.
The hotel was good, and the manager was also kind. He even lent his car to take me to city center to get my new simcard. I had no complaints when staying there. At the first day, I didn’t do anything. I just slept to change two sleepless nights on my way to Oman. In the afternoon, I enjoy the sight of Khasab from my room.
The next day, I went for Dolphin Cruise. I purchased the tour with the help from the hotel. At 8 am, a man named Amir picked me from the hotel and we went to the harbor. I was the first passenger, and we must wait other passengers to join us. Not long after that, a French family and one couple came to join me. And our wooden boat started to sail.
Apparently, it was my only reason to come to Khasab, cruising its peninsula and seeing the rocks mountain in the left and the right side. Because of its extensive fjord-like craggy inlets and desolate mountains capes, Khasab is also well known as Norway of Arabia. I couldn’t stop wondering the sights we passed along the way.
After fifteen minutes, we meet a group of dolphins. That was the first time I saw Dolphins in their own habitat. They swam so fast, our captain should add the speed to compete them before they were disappeared in the deep blue sea.
In the middle of the day, we stopped at one point where all passengers could enjoy the beauty of under the sea with its colorful fishes. Everybody came down to the sea but the couple who looked like had fight.
“C’mon darling. You swam with me in Jumeirah beach. Why now you don’t want to join me” the man tried to persuade his girl friend. Lately, I knew him as a pilot in one of airlines based in UAE. But that girl did not move at all. Mr. Pilot lost his patience and he joined us to swim in the sea.
“Ok. I am not driving that far from Dubai and lost the chance to swim in Khasab,” Mr Pilot talked loudly.
After swimming, we got the lunch on the boat. The menu was Biryani rice, meat curry, shawarma, salads, fruits and fried chicken. The food was extremely delicious and everybody was happy. I ate a lot, by the way.
After lunch, we continue to look for the dolphins. There was another spot where we could swim in the sea. Since there are a lot of jelly fish in that spot, none was willing to jump into the water except Mr. Pilot that looks like had unlimited energy. I prefer to sit on the boat only, enjoying the breeze and relaxed and had nice talk with Mr. Pilot’s girl friend. Not long after, Mr. Pilot joined us after getting sting from jelly fish.