I am sad to say that I am very relieved I am leaving Bali since it hasn’t been a great visit heath-wise. I know most people have magical experiences here but I am not one of those people. I am also looking forward to a change of scenery. My next location will still be hot but more desert like and perhaps drier.
I head to Oman today but not without first a little drama. I have a group tour booked for my visit to Oman so most of my plans are already arranged for me. However they leave a little up to the traveler themselves, like the matter of visas. When I originally booked the trip many months ago I did my visa research or at least I thought I did. On my trusty spreadsheet my note was that no visa is required for stays of under ten days for those that are a G1 national (basically a list of countries with very powerful passports like the USA, where I am from). I thought that is the end of it. A day before my flight out from Bali I start to see conflicting information and I get worried. Some sites say visas are needed, some say they aren’t. Some say you can purchase a visa on arrival, and some say you can no longer do that. I decide to apply for a 30 day visa online just to cover myself in all the scenarios. While I am doing this of course the website errors out on me frequently….sounds familar. Also they require very specific uploads of photos: very small file size, no background in the head photo. I am scrambling with all my photo editing software (on my mobile devices) to get them what they need. After one rejection I finally get my approved visa shortly after I resubmit. Thank goodness that drama is over with!
Lunch and one last minute head and shoulder massage before I leave. I spend a couple of hours and lots of money trying to mail things back home including a $60 picture I bartered down from over $100. I probably could have shoved the rest of my purchases in the luggage but now with this picture I have to mail things home. I grab a bunch of things I no longer need and head to DHL. They want to charge $300, three times the cost of my items, because they only send things express. Luckily I find a post office around the corner that has boxes and will send it all for less than $100. Still more than the cost of all the items shipping but what am I going to do? I can’t carry the stuff with me. They only accept cash so this visit includes me running around looking for an ATM first.
I go back to my hotel just in time for the rain to start. I spend the rest of the afternoon packing and following up on things. Soon enough someone heads to my door with an umbrella (its still raining). My car has arrived and we head to the airport. My flight has been delayed 45 minutes already but I am still planning on arriving for the original flight time. I’ve had flights get delayed then changed back to the original time. I am getting a little anxious because last time I flew out of Bali my flight got cancelled and I got stuck another night in Bali. I really need to leave tonight.
Eventually it is time to check in. The lady at the counter seems to be asking me more questions than I see at the other counters and it is taking noticeably longer than everyone else. She requests the visa information so I am very glad I have arranged it in advance. Since they technically aren’t required for short stays would she have not let me board the plane without one? Even the visa she has issues with because one of the dates is labeled in an odd way. She has to get her manager involved. Eventually everything checks out and I am on my way. We board even later than the late boarding time but at least we are taking off. The nine plus hour flight is mostly uneventful except me not sleeping as much as I would have liked. I did binge watch a bunch of HBO shows though since I am not a current subscriber.
We arrive in Dubai and get off the plane in a remote site and take a bus to the gate. The bus ride is long. I start to realize how large this airport actually is. After a security check and a long walk I have to take another bus to terminal 2 to catch my connection. The whole commute from one plane to another takes over an hour. My original layover was 3 hours but now it’s reduced to two due to flight delays. I luckily make it to my gate just in time. Note to self: Never book a short layover in Dubai.
I arrive in Muscat and I have a driver waiting for me who takes me to my hotel. He has a hard time initially finding my hotel because google is wrong. Luckily the hotel is not too far away from the pin. Note: At the airport I was not asked to show my visa. Hilarious, I know.
I am at my hotel in Oman. I have booked an extra night since I have come in a day early. An extra day should come in handy in adjusting to the new time zone. My room is meh. I love this tour group but the hotels they choose in some countries are something to be desired. It is advertised as a 3 star but it is definitely a two. There are little details like cleanliness and the quality of the bedding and such that make the difference as well as things being generally outdated. It takes me 5 hours to figure out how to work the AC but I finally do. The funny thing is that there is a large bag of random things that is just in my room. I peeked and it is food items, bar of soap, bottle of shampoo and more. I leave it for now. Update: The next day housekeeping comes by to ask for it! The other part I don’t like is that smoke from another room seeps into my room at times. I don’t think its a non-smoking hotel so I am not sure there is much I can do about it. It’s only a couple of nights, not worth moving all my stuff to a different room.