Wednesday 16th – Sunday 20th September
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday we spent at sea and quite uneventful except for the usual on board activities and shows. A couple of the shows were quite good but we haven’t been going to all of them. During this time, we have decided to disembark in Darwin on the 10th of October and spend a few days there before flying home. This gets us home a couple of days earlier as well. From Darwin to Sydney there are no stops so we won’t be missing anything except the crowds at Sydney airport, which is a plus. It will also give us a chance to sort out what to post home, which will be cheaper than paying excess again, as we had to on our flight from Brisbane to Sydney in the beginning of the cruise.
Today we are in Mina Qaboos Oman until about 1.30pm. It’s something of a surprise and quite different to anywhere else we have been. The landscape is rocky, mountainous and barren. The town is clean, white and has lots of fountains and green grass, which is quite a contrast with the surroundings. We have spent a couple of hours in the Souk (market) this morning and the GD has outfitted himself as one of the locals. It has been one of the better markets, which we have visited – big enough to have a good browse but not big enough to get totally lost in even though it’s like a rabbit warren. The locals are about as strict Muslim as it gets so we had to try to get close to the dress code to go ashore (though some passengers were a bit slack) or run the risk of having to return quickly to the ship. The locals all shop at this souk and there was no hard sell like some of the other markets we’ve been to. We felt quite safe with no fear of pickpockets. Very few cruise ships visit as it is a major commercial / industrial shipping port. We weren’t even allowed to wander on the port but had to be shuttled at least to the gates of the port. Tomorrow it’s a full day in Dubai, 9am to 10 pm. It could also be the end of Ramadan depending of the first spark of the crescent moon, when they get into celebrations and feasting. This could mean many shops are shut but I’m sure they will be out for our dollars one way or another. We are about to set of so I will try and get a few departing shots on the camera. Bye for now.