April 01, 2016

​ ​ World Cruise 2016 Day 87

Day 87 – Salalah, Oman. We arrive on time, but port clearance takes a little longer than usual. The skies are mostly sunny, a nice breeze, and temperatures will reach a high in the upper 80's. In the shade with a breeze it is quite comfortable even with the 85 % humidity. In the sun with no breeze it is hot and sticky.

Again, another modern industrial port. There is a shuttle to the port gate where taxis await to transport guests the 7 miles to town, or one half mile to the nearest oasis. All the buses are waiting at the end of gangway, and despite the late clearance, the buses are loaded quickly and my tour leaves on time.

We pass the Sultans summer palace which he hasn't visited in 6 years primarily due to illness. Visit a small Souq (market) where Frankincense is the main commodity. Stop at a roadside market that sells bananas, mango, papaya, guava and other local fruits to have a coconut of coconut water.

A drive into the mountains takes us past many camels that feel they have the right of way and eventually to the Tomb of Job. On the return trip we see a beautiful two mile long white sand beach, and stop to see some Frankincense trees and how the sap is harvested. The mountain people don't trust banks, and when they accumulate any money they buy another camel. If they need cash, they sell one. If a driver hits a camel during the day until 6 pm, the driver is responsible for damages and the loss of the camel. After 6 pm the camel owner is liable.

Overall the tour was great, but the real treat was our tour guide, a courageous pioneer in Oman for equality of women. She is the only female tour guide in the country, has challenged her family on many personal issues including dress, who to marry, education, and home ownership. A delightful lady that has, and continues, to risk her life for woman's rights and equality in Oman.

Tonight we leave port a few minutes early as we head to our next port of Al'Aqabah, Jordan almost 2000 miles and 5 days away by sea. We start out in the Arabian Sea head to the Gulf of Aden and then into The Red Sea. This part of the trip takes us close to Somalia, the source of most piracy attempts in recent years, and close to Yemen, not a place I would consider as a safe haven.

There is only one performance of the show tonight, Bernie Fields playing the harmonica, at 7:15. At 9:30 there is an "April Fools" party in the Crow's Nest. Since I have many days to rest, I attend for 30 minutes. The room is packed, some of the costumes are quite creative.