Outside the frustrating confines of my shitty job, life here in Hong Kong is amazing. I have great friends, a wonderful lifestyle and amazing travel opportunities. This year alone, I’ve been to six countries and am planning my first ever jaunt to the subcontinent this summer.
One of the places I visited this year really made an impression. I’d wanted to visit Oman since my first year of teaching when my first Omani student did a presentation on his country. Wow. How many student presentations must I have sat through over the years, and yet I still remember this one. My student appeared to be so proud of his country and its natural beauty, and rightfully so.
Finally, this Chinese New Year I had the opportunity to visit Oman, more specifically Muscat. What a beautiful place, and a contrast to some if its Gulf neighbours, which seem preoccupied with building the tallest this or the biggest that. Oman knows its natural beauty and amazing hospitality are its biggest drawcards, and doesn’t seem to be aiming to attract huge tour groups obsessed with shopping (good, because there seriously needs to be somewhere on this planet mainland tour groups haven’t infested).
Everywhere you go, the air is perfumed with frankincense. The coffee is infused with cardamom. The landscapes and colours are otherworldly. The Omanis we met were gracious, welcoming and, like my first Omani student, justifiably proud of their country. Again, so different to other Gulf countries, where you never seem to encounter locals outside of the ones who stamp your passport, because they have guest workers to do everything.
I can’t wait to explore Salalah and surrounds next time. And there will be a next time – watch this space!