May 6, 2017
Unlike Muscat, Salalah faces the Arabian Sea. The other side of the city faces the Dhofar Mountains. It is the capital city of the Dhofar region and the largest port in Oman. Oman has about 3 million people and Salalah has 300,000. Monsoon season is mid June to mid August and the landscape becomes green – unlike the dry city of Muscat.
The Sultan has a palace here too – and both of the yachts in the harbor in Muscat belong to him – I forgot to mention that in the last posting.
Of course, we are thankfully not here in the monsoon season. We were here last year, discovered frankincense, the Al Husn souk, the Al Baleed archeological site as well as the grand mosque. The city is famous for its ancient frankincense trade and has several settlements on the World Heritage list. It is appropriately named the “Land of Frankincense” and is still well known for the quality and quantity of the frankincense it produces.
On this visit we decided to do a relaxing day and went with a group of about 30 to the Crowne Plaza resort to just relax by the sea and the three pools.
Our guide on the way there was Amon which he told us means love.
As we left the port, we passed by the town, the Sultan’s palace and the beautiful beach – the corniche, which spreads along the coast east from Salalah to the remains of the ancient cith of Zafar – now protected as the Al Baleed Archeological Park which, as I mentioned, we explored last time but just passed by this time. The first photo is the limestone near the port. Oil and limestone are their biggest exports. This city is very safe and spotlessly clean. Amon says that people from India and Pakistan do the cleaning of the city 24 hours a day and it really shows.
This is what some of the newly constructed homes look like.
The Sultan’s palace is at the end of the street.
Here are a couple of the shops in the souk.
Oman has a lot of oil and the pipeline and the oil tanks surround the port. But once you leave the port area, you see lots of new building – mainly hotels. Tourism is really exploding here and you can see it. In one area they moved all of the people into new housing in another location and are tearing down the houses to allow new construction along the beach. I wondered if they will also tear down the mosque here but didn’t get an answer to that.
We arrived at the Crowne Plaza in about 20 minutes and really enjoyed our time there. They didn’t serve alcohol until noon so we had soft drinks till then!
Some of our friends from the ship. The pool bar was wonderful!
We saw women in full burkas as well as younger girls in the pool and on the slide fully covered in long sleeved tops, long pants and head scarves. There were a lot of westerners there and bathing suits were permitted although there was a sign asking you to be sure they were “discreet”.
We are going to be in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea for 4 days. We had our pirate drill when we returned to the ship. It was a party atmosphere out there sitting in the halls but I am sure it wouldn’t be the same if we ever got attacked!
Our show tonight was the “Diva” of music and laughter, Beverley Davison. What an excellent violinist and her “diva” presence was a real hoot!