Liwa Oasis; Muscat, Oman

I’ll never understand people who hole up in a hotel when they travel, eating hotel food, watching TV and wandering what is nearly always an artificial world nothing like the place in which the hotel sits. If there’s even one free minute, explore. From two separate times when I had to cool my heels for a day while waiting for people who make appointments based on what “day” they will see you, not what “time”.

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This is atop a scalding hot dune … somewhere near Liwa Oasis, at the edge of the empty quarter separating the UAE and Saudi Arabia. On the drive there, the road often disappears as sand swirls across it. Date farms, the occasional camel farm and oil fields dot the otherwise desolate landscape. I stopped at a date farm, where the owner caught me driving on to the property. I’ll admit to being a little nervous when he approached my car. The purpose? He and his wife invited me in for tea.

 

 

 

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Realizing I had a Friday to kill (that’s a day off in the Middle East), I drove from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, a beautiful drive through desert nothingness, to an unusual city like no other. As often, I regret that I did not have a good camera, or the wits about me to take pictures of the mountains the reach all the way to the sea — literally, and the medieval-looking walls surrounding the capital. Even this shot was a bit tricky – required a little yoga to catch as much harbor as possible, while showing at least some portion of the photographer.