30 october Nizwa (OMAN)

[Nick]: "In Nizwa we visit the Fort and the souq. Nothing impressive compared to the Mutrah’s one! I really enjoyed the Fort, we have also infiltrated in a typical dance.
Last stop has been the Hoove Cave, a cave discovered by chance a few years ago...
Interesting visit but even more distinctive was the typical meal sitting in a room with carpets and cushions, a dish of rice, chicken, camel meat and so everybody eating with  hands off the same plate... "


Back to Muscate, Faisal wants us to meet some of his friends and relatives... Although it was midnight we all meet at his cousin’s to watch Italian championship football matches.. No matter the time zone for them football is a sacred thing!

 

 

 

31 october Muscate (OMAN)

Here in Oman, I had the same feeling I got in Belgrade... I remember the same fear I had reaching the Serbian capital, and the same feeling so comfortable, protected anywhere after a few days there...

Today, while returning to the hotel after checking the mail to the usual internet point, from the minaret the muezzin was launching his litany, I was surrounded by Arabic things… I felt more and more a world citizen...

The courtesy, the hospitality, the good manners, the education, the generosity of all Omani will not be forgotten easily!

Oman: the place where the shopkeepers leave their merchandise out of their shop after the closure "’cos nobody touches anything!" The place where the taxi driver, after you've paid and you're going to leave they call you back because you left your phone in the car, the place where the restaurant will call you back because you paid with a bill of 5 riyal instead of 1... The place where there is who offers you something to drink, who introduces himself by saying "welcome" instead of his name... This is Oman, which I will always carry in my heart.

We never stop... We are already planning the next step: Bahrain! The team work with Nick has been great. In the internet point, on two different computers, in 5 minutes, we have organized the  next two days shouting all the information such as stock market Mibtel ... I controlled the activities to do or things to see there while, in parallel, Nick was checking the closest hotels in the areas that I showed him... A few minutes later we found the right hotel and even booked it!

 

01 november Muscate (OMAN)

Cultural day visiting the two city museums.
French-Omani Museum. A museum dedicated to the visit of the former French President Mitterrand in the Sultanate and the one of the beloved Sultan Qaboos in Paris. An entire museum dedicated only to this event. Evidently they had not much to show, I thought.

More interesting, however, was the "Bait Al Zubair" that showed a bit of the history of this unknown country.

Lunch along the Corniche overlooking the Arab Gulf   while we were discussing about the idea of writing a Routard dedicated to this not very touristic place ...

It was funny admiring an Arab bakery in action. He laid the bread on a stone... then he got it wet and he attached to the side wall of the oven in the shape of a well ... It was delicious freshly baked!

 

 

 

02 november Muscate (OMAN)

Today we visited the great mosque of Muscate. All of us dressing the dishdasha ...
The mosque is huge, elegantly decorated, lamps, lights and colors ...

So here we are waiting the nth flight to a another new adventure.

Our route is still long, at least mine, and full of unknowns...
Ready for check in, gate number 3 with Gulf Air ...

بفضل عمان

03 november Al Manama (BAHREIN)

In the plane we are just a few: some business man (I had read that you come here only for business because there is nothing to see) ... and many Thai prostitutes (I had also read that we'll find lots around).

An hour and twenty flight and we land in the capital of this small kingdom... Well, after an emirate and a Sultanate is Kingdom of Bahrain’s turn.

Nick is very sick,  white-faced but he tries to go forward ...

[Nick]: "I start by saying that we are not staying in a hotel but in a real apartment.
Living room, lounge, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, etc..
Unlike other cities in the Gulf, Manama has a city center where you can walk along Government Avenue.
Just when we were starting to have fun I am beginning to feel sick and back to the hotel ...
Mark goes on tour ... "

On foot we reach the nth large mosque (Al Fateh) that I had read to be the biggest in the Gulf... But they also said the same of that of Muscate’s one? Even of Abu Dhabi’s one? Well ... Everybody wanna be the biggest... Hong Kong docet.

Chatting with a taxi driver, on the way, we discover that there was the National Museum of Bahrain ... We decide to stop.
Nick begins to feel worse and worse...
I visit only a small part of what appears to be a very big museum... But nothing spectacular after having visited many...

Nick shakes and sways... he comes back to the hotel by taxi and leaves me to write even his postcards ...
Reluctantly and worried I let him go the promise to reach him an hour later...

In the meantime I try to get lost in the intricate souq of Manama and almost I manage because it is composed of an infinite series of narrow and crowded streets with stalls of Indian that all look the same...

A few later I come back to my friend and luckily he is much better ...

Reassured, I go out again, looking for an internet point for organizing the next step in Abu Dhabi. I wanted to contact Ibrahim and Sofia....

 

I find out that in Manama is very difficult to find an internet point since there's wireless internet anywhere...

A Pakistani gives me a ride to an "American neighborhood"... There really were all Americans!
Sailors on duty or family members of Americans who worked in Saudi Arab, unlivable for Western women and children, as I was told by a lady from New Zealand at Starbucks a few later...

Meanwhile, I continue my research to the internet point, I venture into dark and quiet alleys, I walk by a couple of mosques, and I am impressed by the dozens and dozens of pairs of shoes thrown in bulk near the door...
At last I find it in a infamous and inhabited only by Indians area...

I inform my Emirates friends of my arrival scheduled for the next day and try to return safely to the hotel...

Along the way I think that: maybe for the Afghanistan, maybe because I’m strolling around the Middle East for two weeks already but I feel much more jaded than usual and I venture, even alone, in situations that perhaps before I would have avoided ...
I do not know if it's a good or bad thing... But while I was thinking about it I felt prouder and prouder...

In hotel I meet Nick ready to go out again...
I am so tired after walking many km on foot but we go anyway.

I bring my friend in the "American neighborhood" discovered shortly before and in front of a Majestic smoothies, Starbucks coffee we spend hours in complete relax!

 

04 november Al Manama (BAHREIN)


[Nick]: "We have done so many things in two weeks... from the skyscrapers to the desert...
I liked much more Abu Dhabi than Dubai but as we had predicted: our trip was in Oman and it hasn’t betrayed us. Truly amazing for the atmosphere, for the things done, for the places visited and above all because we managed to enter the world of these Arabs with dishdasha and Kuma; they took us into their homes (and there isn’t a better thing), they brought us to their places and to play football with them! Hospitality and friendliness that I would never expect!

Everything started while sitting at Starbucks Cafe, at the Abu Dhabi airport, eating a very bad donut, expecting my friend arriving from Doha.
Everything ends in the same place two weeks later... The beard is longer, the Afghan scarf a bit broken, the clothes are more dirty clothes and I feel much more experienced...

Nick has just boarded, he’s coming back to Italy ... I have a late morning flight tomorrow from Al Bateen...

Our team work has operated as a Swiss watch ...

I am happy with the pit stop in Bahrain, I would have regretted if we had not taken advantage of this opportunity, we dared and we managed...
Too bad for Nick’s stomach pains, pain that I’m feeling too now...
Lately we ate badly and now my stomach is complaining...

My thoughts began to turn to Kabul. During the trip, I continued to monitor the situation in Afghanistan through newspapers or newscasts and the chance to repeat the political elections could make the situation worse and worse again...

While I was approaching, by taxi, the military airport of Al Bateen already various flash of this last trip began to appear as old memories...

The adventures with Faisal in Muscate seem to have happened so long ago while I’m starting having the awareness  that the second part of my adventure in Afghanistan is about to begin...

بفضل البحرين

 

 

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