I’m not a fan of driving in traffic and I’m definitely not a fan of renting cars because it means double trouble – driving in traffic and usually driving in an area I’m unfamiliar with. The idea of renting a car in Muscat, Oman and cruising around has had me terrified for a month!
We picked up our Toyota RAV4 yesterday followed by a nail biter drive back to the Ibis Hotel. Though my American Express card insures me when renting a car, I bought another $200 of insurance. Then we paid another $100 for a GPS system. The insurance definitely helped our peace of mind but the GPS system – I’m not so sure about it. Few cities on our map come up on the GPS system. The reason seems to be that all cities in Oman are spelled ten different ways!
All in all the drive today was good. Leaving Muscat was stressful but once south the traffic thinned. The roads are really good. The two biggest dangers are people pulling out in front of you and camel crossing. After all the camels we saw we WILL NOT DRIVE AT NIGHT!
We went through our first checkpoint. It’s intimidating. You see a sign warning you to stop and the military with machineguns. In addition are trucks with big time guns mounted to the roof (no photos allowed). We pulled up and got that mean look and a demand for my passport. When he saw I was American I got the response most TV news watching Americans back home wouldn’t believe. First he shouted to the others, “Amerika!” Then they all came over with smiles to welcome us and most shook my hand. Very cool!
We drove seven hours to an hour south of Duqm. It’s a place Ray picked and he and Peter Coetzee arrived at 8 PM. Granny and I already ate a freeze dried lasagna – great emergency food for these trips. Ray and Peter made some soup then Ray surprised us with a few cold beers. Alcohol is illegal in Oman but because Ray is living here he has a special permit to get alcohol.
Granny and I made it here with an hour of daylight left and I rigged up the 9-weight Winston SX and tossed a crab pattern in the surf. It was tough dealing with the steep beach and big waves but I managed this little guy Ray calls the five spot pompano (also known as the largespot pompano or wave garrick).