Middle eastern road voyages with family on the back seat

26th Mar 2016
Photo of Middle eastern road voyages with family on the back seat by Debanjan Basu

On weekends I do part-time as a driver for my family, I feel Happy

The only formula that can keep a married man happy is to keep your mom and wife happy.

Though my mother in law and my wife are very different in most ways they share a common love for comfortable risk-free traveling with lots of food and water. Well, we bongs have our own proclivities.

Though it was a hot and sultry morning in Muscat I hired a vehicle to get us to Nizwa on a Saturday afternoon. In case you are travelling in the gulf, be sure its not a Friday as most places, including monuments and souqs(markets) close down during Al-Jummah.

The road was awesome, one of the best in the world. We followed the route as given here sourced from google maps:

https://www.google.com.om/maps/dir/Muscat International Airport, Muscat/Nizwa Fort, Nizwa/@23.2309396,57.646453,10z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x3e8dfe03b0929047:0x2ae7ca492b7dd917!2m2!1d58.2809625!2d23.6004218!1m5!1m1!1s0x3e8ef0ea9bf10d3d:0x1fd6bf1d3302aaab!2m2!1d57.5302466!2d22.933271?hl=bn

As most roads in Oman follow the European standards unless you are really off-roading don't bother to get a 4WD.

There is a landmark roundabout in Muscat called the Rusayl roundabout. It comes as an exit on the right as you go from Muscat International Airport towards Al-Seeb. Drivers are advised to keep a lookout for this exit marked as an exit for Nizwa from the main Sultan Qaboos Highway. Once you take the roundabout take the exit towards Nizwa and you are on track. No more turns no more roundabouts until you reach the town of Nizwa. If you want to validate that you are on the correct route lookout for the following places in the order mentioned

  • Rusayl
  • Fanja
  • Bidbid
  • Imti
  • Izki

The more one drives towards Nizwa the greater the Al Hajar range unfolds in-front of the car. The urge of looking away from the road becomes unbearable, but drivers are advised to be careful as the highway has witnessed innumerable fatal accidents.

It was already noon when we reached Nizwa so after a quick snack we moved towards the fort located in the old part of the city. The cost of each adult ticket was 500 bz and cameras were free. Most part of the fort was air-conditioned. The view from the top was breathtaking. While at the top sitting near a fort-window I pondered on the lives of the royal guards. People who used to sit in the same place a few thousand years before and keep a keen eye  on the city spreading below.

We spent a couple of hours inside the fort-museum. It contained artifacts from the times when people used agriculture and farming as their major source of income in oil rich Oman. Discovery of oil and modern technology catapulted the country towards massive development and modernization.

While we left we had a swig of Turkish coffee with dates as side dish at a quaint coffee shop near the exit of the fort. As we came back we took the same route which brought us to this nice little peace of history still embedded inside this modern country. Life in the middle east is always balanced so well between the old and new , the fast and slow, something which often imparts its fabric on the human mind and change us forever.