16th July 2011, Saturday
Lunch at Chinese Casdade
One of the many foot-high statues
View of the Salalah Port in the distance
17th July 2011, Sunday
On 17th morning, we roamed the Chawk of Salalah. That is, we went to the street where 'bargaining' is encouraged. We picked up quite a few pieces of dress and pant materials for reasonably cheap rates. I was happy with that part of the outing ;) Well... with all of it in fact. :)))
Old Salalah - Sadah area
Lunch at the Crowne Plaze Resort on Al Muntazah Street
Warning sign... not to enter the water during the period from 1 May to the end of October. The tides are rough, under-currents are dangerous... and with the added monsoons, the weather is not ideal for swimming.
Our host, H.E. Abdullah Aqeel Al Ibrahim, Adviser to the Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar and the person who started the Salalah Tourism Festival in 1998, (which is held for two months each year since).
From personal interaction, I find him to be a very humble, soft spoken and learned gentleman. It was a pleasure dining with him as his guest.
Buffet lunch at the Darrat Restaurant
Crowne Plaza Resort
Tourists from Saudi Arabia dining at the Darrat Restaurant
Frescoes in the lounge
This is a replication of the original pieces of rock inscriptions (which are at the Museum) and supposed to be dating back to the time of King Solomon and Queen Sheeba. From what I could gather, these inscriptions have not really been translated yet. It is believed that Queen Sheeba traveled to Salalah many times during her search for the much prized, pure frankincense. Oman is a chief producer and supplier of pure frankincense, and a kilogram of it costs an average of USD 100.
This replica of the rock is placed above the front entrance of the Crowne Plaza Resort in the lounge.
The Crowne Plaza Resort - entrance
Fruit stall by the road side
Heading North Towards Thumrayt
Weathered fossil rocks at Sahalnoor
These two pics of the greenery are of the hills heading to Sahalnoor. These hills are supposed to be the haunted area of the Sahalnoor trail. To begin with, its loaded with fleas. If you aren't protected with a repellent, forget about getting out of your vehicle. The locals believe that there are 'GINS' (or genies) haunting these forests who eat into the souls of those stranded or out of their vehicles during a night trip. After dark, the road is deserted, and there are no street lights for the half an hour's curving drive through these hills. If you happen to step out of your car and a local passer-by sees you, they will immediately warn you to get back into your car, in a rather alarming manner. Such is their fear of the 'dark trail' through these hills. I was told that even the so-called -fearless are scared of such an area.
Back on the plains towards Salalah, the Dhofar University can be seen in the distance. All this area, as can be seen in the pic below, is desert terrain.
Omani natives of the Salalah area camp out in the open during July and August; the two tourist months. During this time, they rent out their homes to tourists who come from all over the Middle East to spend summer here. This is purely for the Omanis and should the local expats try this, it will be considered 'trespassing'.
This pretty much concluded out trip to Salalah. Back to our apartment by 5:30 p.m., we had time to rest, pack our bags, meet some friends, have dinner and head back to Muscat by the 10:40 p.m. Oman Air flight.