This post should be called – The One With the Best Laid Plans.
The border visa checkpoints were kind that day and getting the visa (on arrival for residents of UAE) was a breeze. And after a six hour long drive up, we were dead-tired. Since it was a late night drive, we couldn’t quite realize the ocean that lay just across the mountains we drove through. The check in was prompt and by the time we were done freshening up, we were tucking into room service. I could hear the ocean all through dinner in our balcony. We hit the bed, knowing that we’d rise early to soak up all that the hotel had to offer.
We woke up to the turquoise blue water of the sea, it instantly took our breath away. But what was most striking was the sheer contrast of it against the majestic desert mountains that rise behind the resort. After spending some time at the breakfast buffet spread ( what kind of resort brats would we be if we didn’t indulge), the original plan had us venturing into Muscat city in search of souqs. Instead what we found was the pristine private beach. 🙂
After hours of being beach bums, our grumbling tummies brought us pool-side. The weather was still pleasant so we chose to eat outdoors – from a heady citrusy concotion to my perfect Asian-inspired wasabi Salmon Burger with hoisin and slaw, everything was made to order. The staff was so attentive and mingled with the guests, they even went around with complimentary popsicles to beat the heat (nice touch innit?). We finally moved indoors to enjoy the complimentary Arabic afternoon tea at the lounge (never say no to coffee and dates).
I had an itinerary with sights to see but we traded that for more time walking on the beach, climbing mountains for a vantage point to soak in unadulterated views of the setting sun – it was hard to pull yourself away from it all. Its amazing how much we just relaxed, letting time just pass us by. We don’t do that nearly enough, and almost never on travels. There’s always so much to see, do that we are out and about a lot. But this hotel, our room, the ocean, it begged for plans being thrown out the window, and that’s exactly what we did.
It wouldn’t be fair to have come all this way and not sampled on Oman’s fresh local seafood that was on offer at their Bait Al Bahar restaurant – we stuck to local fresh catch of the day grilled simply and these totally delicious grilled Omani jumbo prawns with wilted savoy cabbage and a caper-lemon beurre blanc sauce. The hint of bitterness that cabbage brings paired well with the sweet prawn flesh and ensured we had no room for dessert. We called it a night soon, but not before we spent a few more hours in the balcony, listening to the sound of the waves.
Another dose of eggs and caffeine and we were ready to hit the road. As we drove away from the hotel property, I let out a sigh that M knows only too well. His response is probably one of the biggest reasons we are together – “Worry not, the next adventure is right around the corner”. The long drive back involved a trip to the local fish market, pit stops for street side eats and a whole lot of good music, singalong and banter. By the time we got back home to Abu Dhabi, we were ready to take on the week to come.
It was amazing how we could get so far from what we had planned, and yet found it was exactly where we needed to be. It’s a good thing that some of the best plans don’t work out – that way you can be surprised, caught off guard, and in the end, just have a good time.