Recap: I visited the Grand Qaboos Mosque, had a round table conference with some distinguished guests, dinner at Bait Al Luban and dessert at Tche tche cafe.
End of Oman: My 2nd day at Oman was just a transition day where we would be leaving for the airport to go to Zanzibar. We had a free morning to ourself. After having a huge breakfast, I spent most of the time looking at souvenirs to take home.
There was a tiny shop on the ground floor of the hotel that sold magnets, small silver boxes and postcards. I ended up buying 2 postcards and a tiny silver dagger and two charms.
When we left for the airport, I noticed detailed beautiful graffiti-like paintings on the wall which I thought were really beautiful.
Flight: We left for Oman in a very tiny, cramped up Oman Air plane. I was sandwiched between two people- cursed with the middle seat. I literally couldn’t breathe. The plane was too small or something- I felt like I lacked oxygen. Also it was like 6 hours long and had a stop at Dar es salaam in between. Oh BOY.
To distract myself, I kept glancing at what the people next to me were doing. On one side, sat a big man dressed in a white thobe and the famous Omani cap. He was playing Candy Crush. I think he might have seen me staring at his phone and perhaps not necessarily liked it but I didn’t care.
(The reason I don’t have any games on my phone is because I own a super annoying, broken up Samsung Galaxy S4 whose memory is ALWAYS FULL. I’m not even kidding. DON’T BUY ONE.)
On the other side sat a woman dressed in a brightly yellow colored outfit whose hands were tinged with blackish red mehendi and kept texting in Arabic. (Seriously, how to people do that? I’m Indian but I couldn’t text in Hindi even if someone paid me a million dollars.The girl who sat right behind me taught me a couple of Swahili words and the man next to me talked about the places I could see at Zanzibar.
Basically, I survived the flight.
Midnight thoughts on Zanzibar: We landed in Zanzibar really late at night. The airport was very rudimentary with yellowing walls. We had to fill two forms and pay $50 for a visa. (Fact: Only American nationals pay $100 for a visa. Ha!) The camera wasn’t able to detect my face (?) so I had to kept looking to and from the camera. By the end of it, my photo in the passport looks like one of a deranged criminal. The fingerprinting process was not easier either. And there was no luggage conveyor. It was all collected at one place and we had to identify ours and take it with us. (Which was honestly easier and faster)
It was dark but from whatever I could see Zanzibar was a lot like India. It was surrounded by trees, there were a lot of people bustling about and it was cheerful. Another thing our entire group was amazed about was the sky. Unlike the sky in Qatar, sky in Zanzibar felt alive. It was dotted with millions and millions of stars creating magic.
We were staying at this place called Double Tree by Hilton. I know I use this word a lot but it was really homely. The receptionist as well as all the staff there were really friendly and smiled a lot. There were only 5 floors in the building- the 5th floor being the restaurant. We were asked to come up there for dinner where the super friendly chefs made us chicken sandwiches and fries and I don’t think I ate anything faster than I did that day because I was famished.
Perks: I got a room all to myself and the tub in my bathroom was relaxing. Some of the rooms have a stand-in shower. Try not to book those rooms. Also some people had a problem with their showers apparently so make sure that is fixed.