Monday, March 22, 2010

1st Impressions...

When landing in Muscat after a mere 18+ hours of logged air time, almost 36 hours when taking into consideration ground time in various air terminals and a time change of 11 hours (MST - GMT +4) I could hardly believe that we were finally here.

As we walked into the terminal at Seeb International airport (MCT) a fresh wave of energy hit me, along with a wall of heat, a mere 32 degrees at 10:30 in the evening. Along with hundreds of other freshly arrived, weary travellers we joined the cue where I thought we were to pick up our visas.

After standing in line for about 10 minutes, a kind airport staffer approached us to see if he could assist us through the arrivals process. We were then ushered out of the correct lineup and sent to the visitors lineup. After waiting in cue for almost 40 minutes, I then had to produce 24 Rials (Oman's official currency, approximately 1 USD = 0.38 OR) for visitor visas (thank Allah for ATM cards and Interac), at which point I confusedly informed the gent manning the desk that we weren't in fact visitors, but newly arrived residents with visas waiting for us. Becoming flustered, the gent apologised profusely, refunded our monies and sent us back to the cue that we were originally in.

At long last we made it out from behind security to find Peter anxiously awaiting us with our luggage. Although Peter had only left a week ahead of us, when we spotted him at the airport, he was sporting a gorgeous tan and looked quite comfortable in the heat. I am happy to report that all of our bags and various car seats arrived no worse for wear, having successfully survived TAC (Turn Around) crews on 3 continents. We left the terminal with all of our bags and began the 45 minute commute to our new (albeit temporary) home.

The drive home was incredible! My first observations of Muscat did not disappoint. After leaving the airport we were treated to a stunning, panoramic view of the city and it's surrounding neighborhoods, the Ministries district and the Grand Mosque. I stared transfixed as we passed multitudes of typical Arabian, beautifully architectured, whitewashed homes and ever present, teasing glimpses of the ocean.

It felt like we were on an exotic holiday (Just with more luggage!) as we wound up the roadway to our new home in the PDO camp. As I stepped out of the PDO rental car my senses were overcome by the smell of the ocean, the roar of cricuts (This is not an exageration, the cricuts are so loud in the evening that they really do sound like a continuous roar!) and the sight of geckos on the walls of our house. It was spectacular!

When I woke up the next morning (at approximately 4 am local time) I looked off of our back deck and was met with the most incredible sight! It was true, we had finally

A demain...

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