I ended up at Muscat in Oman but ended up only staying one night because a) hotels there are super expensive (paid over $500 USD/night at the Grand Hyatt) and b) it’s too quiet for my tastes (especially after having just spent the last week in quiet Nepal).
It’s really nice there though from what I saw… everything is brand new looking, all nice new roads, cars, buildings… it is clear there is a lot of money there.
The geography is cool too as it is a port town with a big bay with a backdrop against desert mountains, with a lot of greenery within the city itself.
The Hyatt has a great design with a cool pub with a good live band as well as a large nightclub downstairs, but it wasn’t busy because it was Monday night unfortunately, but if I am back in Muscat I’ll likely stay around the Hyatt for the convenience.
It’s as westernized as it can get really, having seen Papa John’s, KFC, McDonald’s and numerous other American chains all in gleaming nice new glass buildings seconds after leaving the airport… everyone speaks good English and everything is very nice… all the people I spoke with were very cool and you could tell, very educated… it was an overall very nice place… if it weren’t so expensive and not so early in the week (Monday, with most people telling me that most nightlife is only on the weekends) I would have definitely stayed longer.
But after a fairly quiet week in Nepal and the knowledge that the only place in the Gulf which will have any sort of nightlife until the weekend is Dubai, I took off to Dubai today.
So I booked a flight on Jazeera Airlines, a new low-cost carrier in the Gulf… talk about low-cost, my options were $5 for economy or $20 for first class and that INCLUDES all the taxes… basically it was free for economy or $15 for first class, pre-taxes!
I booked first class because I’m such a big shot… the plane was great, brand new and the flight was nice and short (40 mins)…
As a sidenote, I figured out where Sharjah is… it turns out it is basically a city right beside Dubai (a 15 minute drive to Dubai apparently)… Air Arabia runs out of there… it’s funny though, it is obvious they are really trying to make Sharjah into the next Dubai, but because of that, they don’t tell anyone it is right beside Dubai, so they probably miss out on a lot of customers who have never heard of Sharja… anyway, if you want cheap flights in the gulf, definitely check out Air Arabia and Jazeera.
So, I am in Dubai now… ahhh, after Nepal and Oman, it is so nice to be in a really modern (unlike Kathmandu) city with a massive (unlike Muscat) nightlife… Dubai is sort of the Las Vegas/NYC of the Gulf…
I just realized I haven’t been in Dubai since September 2005, nearly 2 years ago… it appears the growth here hasn’t slowed at all, with tons of cranes and gridlocked traffic around the clock… this place is definitely happening… if I get the opportunity over the next few months and am in the area I think I’ll try to stay here longer… maybe a month or two.
But for now I’ll likely stay here until Thursday or Friday, then probably Doha, Qatar for the weekend.