The advancing monsoon was descending on Salalah as I spent time there with Hadi Al Hikmani whose passion and work is researching Arabian Leopard in Dhofar. His family keep an extraordinary number of goats below the mountains and they are a potential prey of the Leopard.
I had a nice preview of the changes at Al Bustan Palace during the hotel’s refit. I arrived in Muscat in 1986 just after the initial opening of Al Bustan Palace and then lived for many years in Al Bustan village next to the hotel. Though I have moved a few kilometres away its always been like dear friend and neighbour.
On its way to China the Olympic Torch snaked its way through Muscat today – I parked my car just behind the roadblocks and joined the crowds.
Oman is the only Arab country where the torch will visit – therefore the government invited personalities from around the Arab world to share in the torch carrying.
The green stuff is very much the focus in Muscat at the moment.
Apart from the green dollars coming in from high oil prices the new Botanical Garden project is now under way and due for completion in 2010 – the same opening time that the new Continue reading “Fish and Flora in Oman”
It has been a week of contrasts with meals for me. In the rarefied atmosphere up on the 2000meter high plateau of Jabal Akhdar I took clients on a walk through the flowering Peach, Apricot and Almond gardens where fragile flowers bloom in a rugged landscape. We then enjoyed a wonderful lunch of rice and chicken in the home of a local family – the chicken, flavoured with spices was the most tasty chicken I had eaten in a long time .
Several hundred kilometres away near Masirah Island & 2000meters lower down from my mountain lunch I shared a night-time meal of rice and locally caught fish a few meters from the Arabian Sea. We joined local fisher folk for dinner by the light of an old lantern with the sound of the surf in a very atmospheric meal
The section of coast we enjoyed has a scattering of small fishing villages who use the beach or boat to travel from one to the other.
During the winter, the beaches are full of gulls snacking off discarded fish from the anglers’ nets. Other sea bird passing including chains of undulating cormorants as they flew from their roost to feeding grounds farther along the coast.
By way of contrast back in Muscat I was delighted to have a couple of dinners at The Chedi with Timothy Burrill just before his film ‘La vie en Rose’ won a couple of Oscars. With classic Italian food, a delightful restaurant and sparkling conversation from Timothy and Petra it rounded off a week of special meals.
It was great to be able to welcome the ‘Travel Management Team’ into Oman again with their corporate clients. After a non-stop flight into Muscat from London the 40 strong group arrived at Shangri-la Al Husn. We had organised a long weekend of rest and relaxation in Oman’s winter sun.