June 29, 2010
Before we left Bangkok we visited th Grand Palace and the Reclining Buddha. The Palace is really beautiful with different architectural styles used in different compounds within the palace. I wore a cotton blouse and black leggings to cover myself up but as we entered I was told that leggings were ‘too sexy’ and I needed to cover up! Luckily they leant out sarongs for women to borrow and track pants for men. I looked like a very confused individual (my outfit didn’t match!!) And it was boiling hot! We dashed in between the buildings and the temples were a cool oasis! There’s the Emerald Buddha here which is very famous in Thailand and the temple was crowded with people paying their respects, placing lotus flowers in golden basins at the foot of the altar. The buddha is actually solid jade and is about 3 feet tall but it’s placed on an enormous altar which also has other buddha images around it. It was very peaceful, cool and relaxing within that temple. The detail on every wall is just incredible, with each square foot of mural representing a different chapter in Buddha’s life.
*More photos to follow!
June 27, 2010
June 15, 2010
Tuesday morning we woke up bright and early, with coolers packed and music blaring, for our road trip to Wadi Shab.
A Wadi, according to a certain Omani expert, is “a dried up river basin, existing in a desert type country among mountains that suffers from flash flooding during rainy season.”
We drove South for about 2 hours, through mountains and desert plains and some picturesque Omani coastal villages.
First stop was a natural sink hole which the boys had discovered years ago. Since then its been (kind of) developed into a mini tourist attraction. (Basically they put a wall around it and built some steps- there was nothing else around for miles! So we climbed the 1,000,001 steps and had a quick dip in the bath tub warm water.
We cruised along the coastline until we came to a small village but I couldn’t really understand what we were doing here. That is, until we rounded a corner and drove into the former estuary! It looked like a scene out of Jurassic Park! A quick lunch later and we were in our swimsuits ready to go! Little did Ema and I know what we were in for…
“It’s a long walk!” the boys warned us…
Few words can describe what we saw for the next 3 hours as we climbed, swam, scrambled and crawled our way to the waterfall at the other end of the Wadi. Each corner revealed a totally different landscape, with the river water changing from shades of turquoise to emerald green. The Wadi had shifted and the original trekking path had been severely damaged by the recent cyclone so the trek was more difficult than usual. We were warned by a boy from the village that it was now dangerous to go trekking as the rocks were so unstable and the water was teeming with snakes and frogs! But, ofcourse, we continued on anyway!
Finally, we made it to the waterfall; exhausted, sunburnt and not without a few cuts and soon-to-be bruises. But it was so worth it! The waterfall was wild and rapid, the river swollen from the recent rains, and we had to cling to the rock walls to keep from being hurtled back. I’m pretty sure I felt snakes touching me every few minutes under the water but I chose to ignore it. Tom later told us that he saw one just before we went swimming to the waterfall but (thankfully) didn’t say anything! It didn’t help that the waterfall was in a dark, spooky cave with a veryyy narrow entrance!
The way back seemed much easier. By that time we were pros!
I kept forgetting I had two left feet until it was too late and this resulted in some bruises in very odd places! There was a great feeling of accomplishment and we all went back to Muscat feeling exhausted but really happy.
We slept like Bajans after a heavy Sunday lunch that night!
June 13, 2010
June 11, 2010
We went for dinner at a beautiful hotel called Chedi with Ema’s family and boyfriend Tom and then had a cocktail party at Ema’s house later on with close friends of her family.
Pink bubbly and canapes! Callum and I had secretly put together a slide show of photos of Ema which showed up on the TV screen in the living room. We showed no mercy and Ema had to run away and hide from a few of the ‘gems’ which popped up.As you can imagine, we felt a little worse for wear the following day. We had a swim and some lunch at the Shangri La Resort and then met up with Steven Miller (a Bajan guy who we randomly bumped into in a bar last week!) who came down to visit for the weekend. We went out for dinner at an Italian/Japanese restaurant called Japengos and then spent the rest of the night playing Guitar Hero - Rock Star edition!
June 9, 2010
Went and had a stroll around Mall of the Emirates in the morning and then spent the afternoon at Aquaventure, a water park next to the Altantis Hotel! At first I told Ema “You guys have fun, I’m going to tan and read a magazine!” This was before I saw the hundreds of different things you could do! Tom insisted that we go on the highest, fastes SCARIEST one first! (You can see it behind Ema and I in the photo!)
I was shaking by the time we got to the top and I nearly asked what the survival rate was. Luckily I just crossed my arms and went for it! A masssive drop (I want to say 1,000 ft for damatic effect but that’s a slight exaggeration) THEN through an aquarium with sharks and stingrays! I’m pretty sure I heard laughing as I went through there..the views from the top were gorgeous, as the park is at the very tip of Palm Jumeira.
Unfortunately the sky has been quite foggy these last few days because of all of the construction going on around the city but I can imagine it to be even more striking when its clear.
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