Holiday in Oman
Day 1 - Gee, I Hope I Packed My Banquet Pants...
Breakfast of Champions for Ben: pancakes with chocolate syrup followed by a chocolate milk chaser and a sugar donut for dessert. Morning at the pool, including 20-minute trips down The Lazy River followed by more pool, beach and giant chess for the boys, while I went to the spaaahhhhh. Or so I'm told. I have the bill to prove it, but I believe I was unconscious for most of it.
Day 2 - Finding Nemo
Snorkelling trip this morning, which involved a speed boat trip to a secluded bay in the Gulf of Oman. Saw some neat coral, sea anemone, stripey fish and leopard-spotted eels. Kids did brilliantly, and a couple of them may have lasted even longer if the ocean wasn't made of (surprise!) salt water. Sadly, alcohol will not be served at the hotel for the next 36 hours, in observance of the Muslim Eid Al Adha religious occasion, confirming that no matter how hard we try, we can't outrun the long arm of Islamic law. Buffet will be the end of us all, prompting Dan to declare that desserts will now be limited to breakfast and dinners only.
Day 3 - Inshallah All the Way, Baby
Best. Day. Ever. Hired a local Omani guide to drive us three hours to the desert. Ali was a great guy with a big heart, four kids, and a complete disregard for the posted speed limit. Partook in unscheduled/complimentary dune-bashing, then visited a Bedouin family in their home, where we were served dates and coffee. Camel rides followed with their young sons guiding. After, we stopped at a wadi (oasis) for lunch and a swim. Convinced of our imminent death on the return trip in the backseat of Ali's Prado, we were delighted to return to the hotel in one piece. Room service and mini-bar upon our return helped to take the edge off.
Dune Bashing - video (These take a few minutes to buffer)
Camel Riding - video
Day 4 - Mom, Can I Keep Him?
Rough seas postponed our plans to waterski. Kids spent the day in the pool, wave-jumping, giant chess, and making 76 trips down The Lazy River, newly renamed The Lemoing Competitive Swim and Extreme Tubing River. Ben has developed a serious camel obsession, and visits/rides the camels-for-hire on the beach daily. Potential crisis tonight at dinner when Nick had to wait two and a half minutes while NO ONE WAS MANNING THE COTTON CANDY MACHINE. And they call themselves a five star hotel.
Camel Riding on the Beach - video
Days 5 and 6 - Up He Goes!
Nick and Jacob tried water-skiing for the first time, while Ben was only a fraction of an ounce short of the gumption required. Nick went first and had success on his fourth try, making his parents very proud. Unfortunately he swallowed half the ocean, leaving little for Jacob to float in when it came time for his attempts. Parents and kids have ceased frequenting the same restaurants at dinner, sealing mine and Dan's expulsion from the cool crowd.
Nick Water-Skiing - video
Day 7 - So Long, Shangri'la
Hotel speed-boat driver now knows, without asking, our name and room number. Our Banana-boat ride for five started out at Mom-speed but slowly accelerated until we landed in the drink. Several times. Which apparently is the point of it, as demonstrated by Jacob's increased enjoyment with each repeated dunking. Family kayaking ensued until we ran out of rowing songs. One last chess game, with Ben crushing Dan, and then off to our evening flight to Doha. Ah yes, a plane ride. And me without my Ativan.