Day 34 … Salalah, Oman

What  a different day today was, Salalah is much more scenic than Muscat.  We arrived about 8am & we’re off the ship by 9am, we were with two friends Steve & Sheila from Atlanta, Georgia USA….. We found a taxi driver & agreed on a price of US$120 for a six hour day of sightseeing.  In the next few hours we had a great day, firstly  we went to the Salalah history museum & archilogical site, absolutely fascinating museum explains all about the ship building & discovered ancient sites, what they mean etc. also the very interesting way they make Frankincense We then took an extra tour onboard a golf buggy & drove through all the archilogical digging, some of the signs were hard to read but the diggings went back to around 1630 BC.  We then drove to a local souk, or market place for frankincense & other goods.  After that to the main Muslim mosque, what an amazing building, an architectural masterpiece.  Our driver then took us out of town a few klms joking on the way that we were on the road to Yemen & did we want to go there ?? I don’t think he was joking !! We arrived at an amazing cove with torquise blue water & a small blowhole, on the way we past hundreds of camels grazing on the beach & beside the road.  After checking out the blowhole we went back a few klms or so to a small food stand on the side of the road where they were cooking camel meat, our lunch was camel meat , rice and  Omani bread, camel was pretty dry, but we enjoyed the lunch, the starting price was US$15 each & ended up US$15 for 4  !! 

You have to bargain very hard otherwise you are asked for crazy amounts of money ( which some people pay ). After lunch we drove to a local convenience shop to get a couple of things, then headed back to the taxi area near the ship.  This is where our problems started, our friendly driver Marsala became a different man, Dr Jekyll & demanded US$265, or US$145 more than our agreed price !!! We stood our ground & ended up with maybe 20 white robed taxi drivers all conversing with us in broken English.  We were very clearly being ripped off, they threatened the police, & said if the police came the ship would leave without us, we said no problem & said we would contact security from the ship ( there is also a consulate person on board in all foreign ports in case of problems ). After much commotion we agreed to pay him a little more money, I only had Aussie dollars, which they do not recognize, so gave our driver a bit more, he was still not happy at all,  but we left & heard later that we were not the only people that this happened to, some paying the driver US$120 per person !!!  Some people we heard were chased along the road after paying the agreed price & no more…….. From now on we will take photos & record negotiations ….. Maybe that will help …… All in all a great day in Salalah only spoilt by this scam, a lesson learnt…………



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