Next stop: SALALAH. Ok, isn't that a great word?! Great tongue twister if you try to say it 5 times. Have I mentioned that we did 17 flights on this trip. We got to be such pros. However this flight was not one without mishaps.
We discovered that most of the flights wouldn't allow us to sit together- I think due to the amount of air masks that were available should cabin pressure drop. At first this seemed inconvenient (remember I was still nursing Reid and coach seats are soooo close together- that's even if the person sitting next to you isn't an ultra conservative man believing that seeing a woman's wrist or ankle is too provocative) but it was handy in ways to both be on aisle seats and have easy access to stand up to get something out of your baggage, or head to the bathrooms, or even just walk/rock a baby. The nice man sitting next to Varian actually offered me his seat, but due to their airline rules we explained that they had to have us on different seat sections.
So Reid and I were pretty happy in our seats as you can see, but Jaren and Varian had a bit of a different story. I wish I had gotten a better "before and after" picture of the nice man all dressed in his white sheik robes.
Varian said he was super nice and was patient with Jaren and let him play with his watch...etc. Then came snack time - a muffin and bottle of thick mango juice...du-du-dummm. I think I gave Varian a skeptical glance as I saw him open it up with Jaren on his lap, and then I'm not sure exactly what happened next. But for some reason I was standing up and holding Reid when I looked over to see a LAKE of mango juice pooling on the white lap of that man sitting next to them. Oh my heavens, it was awful. I set Reid down in the airplane's bassinet and frantically pulled out some wipes and napkins and offered it to him. Varian and I were mortified. I think he took things from us to wipe himself down but mostly just didn't talk and silently declined needing any help.
He then got up and went to the bathroom to try and get that sweet sticky orange slime off his beautiful white robe. He took it really well. He was nice when he came back and seemed to accept our profuse apologies with only mild exasperation. The airline steward came and brought him some present/package for his inconvenience at sitting next to the babies and all seemed forgiven. It was pretty embarrassing. I'm sure he was inwardly cursing us for not switching seats after all.
This is a shot Warren took of this Arabian baby and Reid. I wish he had gotten more of the mother, I don't even think her face was showing, just her eyes. You can see she's even wearing black gloves. There we were from different sides of the world with different cultures and traditions, but nonetheless two mom's traveling with young babies.The other photo is just one of many fruit stands on the side of the road that we passed.
We arrived without further ado, picked up our entourage of white rental cars and drove to the Arabian Sea Villages Hotel. It was literally beach front property- those are our cars parked on the sand. We were given this giant sized family room to sleep in. We laid Reid down on a mattress on the floor, and blocked off a corner by the window with sofas for Jaren to sleep in. He did much better at night if he could be semi-contained. I imagine it's our own fault for not letting our kids sleep in our beds. There's no way our boys could handle it, they'd be jumping all over us. But it's a low price to pay to be inconvenienced on trips, but have every other night of the year with your kids getting an independent night sleep and you getting your own space and time together as a couple. :)
Warren was our tour guide (I will put a link to his website in the next post) and gathered the group together for instructions for heading off for the day (also in the next post).
The next day we were up for a nice hot breakfast and then time for a swim before our day's adventures (again- saving those shots for later).
While we were playing on the beach some of Sultan's guard came riding by. I wish I would have taken a picture of the women that would come out at dusk in their burkas and sit on the beach. It was strange how few women you would see. They'd be hiding away all day and then emerge at night in small groups, all shrouded and mysterious. I asked one lady that I got to know why the women didn't come out during the day (vampires?) and she said that they let the men go out to "work" when it's hot and they, the women, would rather wait till it gets cool. I'm adding the "work" finger quotes as a lot of men we saw seemed to more just be sitting around chatting. But I don't mean that as in I'm implying they're a lazy culture. I didn't really get the sense that they were lazy, more just that there were a lot of older laid back men shooting the breeze and that the women were oddly sequestered.
The staff there were lovely and it was a great place to stay. I would highly recommend it if ever you find yourself wanting to travel to Salalah. Ah, Salalah. I could say that word again and again. The next posts will show you some of the things we did there.