The ship docked in Salalah about 30 minutes early, but we had decided to make this port a sea day so the early arrival didn’t mean much to us today. I did considerable research into this port looking for something interesting to justify leaving the ship and dealing with the overpriced taxi drivers who would be waiting at the main gate to the port. When I realized that today was Friday, the Muslim holy day, and most shops in town would be closed, that sealed the deal regarding our desire to stay on the ship.
There was an initial wave of tour busses leaving around 8:15 am but I noticed that the shuttle busses were still sitting on the pier, unused, for entire time I was observing the goings on early in the morning.
The bow was being set up with tables, colored banners and tables full of soft drinks. I learned later that this was in preparation for a crew pizza party scheduled for noon. Most crew members only have a couple of hours off during each port and with the price for taxis, combined with no free WiFi and most shops being closed, I can’t imagine many of them would be going ashore, so it was a good idea for the ship to put on something a little special for them during this port.
We spent most of the day getting our cabin organized, putting away the suitcases and souvenirs, throwing out old pieces of paper and scanning items we wanted to save. We also used the time to back up all our photos and get our computer files organized.
In addition to our standard room service breakfast, we ordered room service lunch. The Cobb Salad and Club Sandwich were wonderful and delivered promptly.
Later in the day we spoke with a few people who did go ashore and walked around town. We learned that there were a few shops open in anticipation of more passengers coming ashore, but they were closing as our friends arrived since there were so few people going to town. They did manage to find an open hairdresser where the wife was able to get a nice haircut for $3.
Here is how they got to town. After they were dropped off at the main gate they encountered the taxi line with the notorious overpriced cabbies waiting who apparently have an informal pact to hold fast on their high prices. They hiked about 1/3 of a mile up a hill to the Seaman’s Club, called the Oasis Club. The club was closed since it was a Friday, but on the way back, they encountered a taxi who didn’t want to wait in the taxi line, and was cruising the road between the port and the Oasis Club. He was able to negotiate a $15 fare each way ($30 total) for the 12 mile round trip to Salalah. After they were dropped off back by the main gate, the cabbie asked him to keep their pricing confidential in front of other cabbies who apparently may be disappointed that one of their own was offering discounted fares and not waiting in line.
NOTE TO FUTURE TRAVELERS: If you are interested in going to town in Salalah, try walking up to the Oasis club, where you can enjoy a drink and food if they are open and probably a more reasonable cab along the way or the staff in the club may be willing to call you a cab where you may get a better deal. Your mileage may vary, but it is worth considering.
A couple of our table mates took “The Lost Cities of Ubar Tour” and they were disappointed. The all-day 4 x 4 tour involved 8 hours sitting in a car with 3 people in the back and one up front with a driver who spoke no English. This was all disclosed on the tour information sheet, so no surprises, but they reported that the lost city was not worth spending so much time in car driving on a freeway thru what looked like Death Valley. Other people on different tours reported disappointing results as well as there simply isn’t a whole lot to see in the area.
We continued our hibernation thru the sail away and didn’t venture out until the single show in the Queens Lounge at 7:15 pm with Harmonica Virtuoso Bernie Fields. There wouldn’t be a late show tonight, or one at 8:15 pm for that matter, since the main event for the evening would be the Aprils Fools day party in the Crow’s Nest.
Bernie Fields was magnificent and displayed an incredible talent on the Harmonica. This is an instrument that you don’t normally think of as headlining a show and is an act you would probably never come across except on a cruise ship. He captivated the audience with an incredible rendition of Ave Maria and earned and enthusiastic standing ovation. In the spirit of Aprils Fools, Gene was hosting the show wearing a large monkey suit, without the head.
I invite you to take a look at the April 1st “On Location” which is chock full of gag events such as Deep Sea Fishing from the stern and setting the clocks forward at 2AM and then setting them back at 3AM. The daily “On Locations” can be found under the tab labeled “World Cruise Reference”.
For some reason, the theme of the Aprils Fools party was ‘Holy Cow’. The entrance to the Crow’s Nest was decorated with items resembling cowhides and it had the look of Chick-fil-A commercial run amok. There was a nice turn out in the Crow’s Nest with many guests wearing costumes. Judy and I wore T shirts that looked like a tuxedo and a wedding gown. The band Oasis continues to be one of the best dance bands around and their ability to perform a wide variety of songs is amazing. Location guide Barbara was dressed as a large Bumblebee and was a big hit.This entry was posted in Uncategorized