Nov 12, 2010 by Krysta
I spend the majority of my days off in Dubai doing little more than lazing around my apartment and watching multiple episodes of TV series and chick flicks. On days when I'm feeling more ambitious, I'll venture to the shopping mall with my friends to wander aimlessly discussing our crazy life in this crazy desert.
When I received an email inviting me to go on a trip Oman for a day, I jumped at the opportunity. I was joined by my friend and blog buddy, Greta. I'd arrived back from Toronto the night before, and I was exhausted as I took a taxi to the city at 6 in the morning. Despite this, I was excited for an adventurous day as I boarded the bus.
Growing up in Canada it seemed hard to believe that in many parts of the world you can drive a couple of hours and be in another country. Yet, after 2 hours on the road we'd reached the border. We waited forever as our passports were stamped before we were finally on our way again.
The scenery was a drastic change from the flat endless desert of the U.A.E. Tall, rocky mountains soared into the sky as we drove alongside the beautiful turquoise waters of the sea. We winded around curvy roads until we finally reached the marina. 5 traditional dhow boats awaited us, and we eagerly climbed onboard. The sides were lined with comfy cushions and we picked a sunny spot to plop down on. We had a lovely crew of 2 Omani men who served us tea, coffee and fruit as soon as we'd made ourselves comfortable. We set sail, cruising between steep cliffs, taking in the incredible views. Everyone snapped photos in every direction. After a nice relaxing cruise, we reached Telegraph Island where we anchored and had the opportunity to go swimming. The water near the island was beautiful and clear, but where the boat sat it was dark and far too deep for my comfort. I was content on staying and sunbaking, but Greta persuaded me to swim to the island. I'm not a great swimmer and I was a little bit self conscious about being the only person wearing a bright orange life jacket. When 2 other girls donned them as well, I agreed to join them. We jumped (okay slowly and hesitantly climbed) into the warm water. As people on the boat made cruel jokes about sharks in the water, we grew a bit nervous. Greta, who was the only one not wearing a life jacket, stuck close by in case she needed to grab hold of me for flotation. As we got closer to the island the water became more clear and shallow. I could see coral below me and I briefly panicked, remembering how I'd been told that it's often sharp and painful if you touch it. I'm pathetic, I know, but in my defense I've lived far inland for the majority of my life and I'm still adjusting to the great big sea. Slowly but surely, we made it onto the island and walked the stairs to the top despite the painful small rocks that we stepped on with bare feet. Success! We'd made it! Glancing back, the boat didn't seem so far away. We stood at the top and posed for photos, since I'd brought my waterproof camera along for the swim. Some people snorkeled around the island as we swam back to the boat. Great timing! Lunch was being served up, and we were treated to a feast of yummy foods including curry, hummus, and fish that the captain had barbequed for us. I loaded up my plate, feeling a bit gluttonous but satisfied.
After a huge meal we were tired, and we relaxed as we continued cruising the waters. I was drifting in and out of sleep when I heard a whistle and somebody shout "Dolphin!" I bolted up with my camera in hand to catch a glimpse of a dolphin in the distance. I was giddy, having only seen them a few times in my life. The rest of the boats quickly caught up and we all looked around eagerly, but the dolphin was nowhere to be seen. All of a sudden everyone rushed to the front of the boat, having seen more dolphins. I tried to see but was blocked by a wall of people. They disappeared again and I retreated to my seat, sad that I'd missed out. Then, right in front of me I saw something in the water!! I took photos and happily stared in amazement as two dolphins swam beside the boat, jumping in the wake! We spent awhile speeding through the waters as they showed off in front of us. After they finally left, we all stood with grins on our faces as we flipped through our photos. What an awesome experience!!
We slowly made our way back as the sun began to set over the water. It had been a great day, but I was sleepy and ready to return to Dubai. I would have loved to have watched the sunset in the mountains, but I quickly fell asleep and woke up once we were at the border. As all things are in the Middle East, it was a slow process as we got our passports re-stamped and waited to be allowed back into the U.A.E. Eventually, we were on our way again.
I don't know if it was my extreme fatigue or if in fact the driver was going incredibly slow, but it seemed to take forever to get back to Dubai. I tried to sleep and listen to music, but I was bored and uncomfortable in my cramped seat. We finally made it back to headquarters, where I had to wait another 20 minutes before the bus to my building arrived. I could barely stay conscious, but I'd had a fun day and I was happy to have finally done something more productive with a day off!