Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Beyond Oman: A long weekend in the Maldives

It feels like an age since I came back from holiday. In my last post I mentioned I wasn’t sure if I should share my travels, but then remembered that I have a tab on this blog labelled "Beyond Oman,' which means I must have already thought and decided at some point that I should.

I’ve been lucky enough to go on two holidays in the last three months, one was our main "summer holiday" to Singapore and Bali, the second was a short break to the Maldives to take advantage of the national day holidays.

We booked the Maldives on a whim and made the mistake trying to be clever by predicting the dates of the national day leave, which cost us an extra 80 OMR in changed flight fees. We flew with Oman Air, which is a direct flight and takes around 4 hours. I’m the type of person that irrespective of impending holidays hunts for deals and the best hotel and places to stay so I already had in mind that — as much as I would love a luxury resort — because the main focus of this holiday was to go diving, we would opt for an affordable hotel on one of the inhabited islands. 1) To save on cost and 2) because if we were under the sea for the majority of the days, we wouldn't actually get to properly enjoy any fancy resort. I’ll add a third reason here, 3) I already knew I would want an excuse to go back!

The hotel we chose was called Stingray Beach Inn, on the Island of Maafushi, which is one of the larger and well-known inhabited islands. It had great reviews on TripAdvisor and I was impressed with the communication of the owner before our arrival. It turned out to be a great choice. While the room was nothing to write home about in terms of decoration or facilities, it did have a very comfortable bed, which after a long and tiring day was wonderful to collapse onto. We paid $100 a night, plus taxes (peak season rates) for bed and breakfast. Another really nice addition was that the hotel organises day trips. We did one our last day, and the trip was planned so that we could still come back to the hotel, shower, and then leave for the airport. It's such a small detail, but having the trip organised around our schedule and still having our room to use after the usual check-out time meant we got to enjoy our last day rather than wasting the time waiting to leave. The trip consisted of dolphin watching, snorkelling (twice) and lunch on a sandbank (which was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen). And that was all for $30 each.

We arranged our transfer to and from the airport via the hotel, too. This transfer, irrespective of where you are staying (be it Maafushi or a private resort) is almost as expensive as your flight to get there. For a private speedboat, the price is around $300 for a round trip (this goes up in peak season) or if you are willing to share (of course you are) that drops to half the price. Each hotel seems to have its own speedboat and I really can't figure out why the costs are so high, possibly because your only other option would be to swim. That's a lie, there is a ferryboat to Maafushi, but this takes four times as long and is only once a day. Transferring from a plane to a boat is a unique experience, the journey took about 30 minutes and in that time you get to appreciate why the Maldives is such a dream destination. There are clear blue and green waters and huge white clouds that seem close enough to touch, and the weather that is just right.

Maafushi itself is an interesting island and I appreciated getting to see this real side to the Maldives. You are warned that being an inhabited island you must be respectful of the people and culture (because it is an Islamic country), which means no walking around in a bikini (although I did see girls in hot pants). Apparently, the island has 2500 inhabitants, although in our four days there I struggled to figure out where they were, we seemed to see the same staff and tourists roaming around, and even walking around in the "back streets" I could barely recognise what peoples homes were. The island takes about 30 minutes to walk around, on one end you have the guest houses/hotels and bikini beach, and as you walk towards the other you get to a football pitch, mosques, a rubbish dump, and then a prison — maybe that’s where the rest of the inhabitants are?

As I mentioned, this was predominantly a diving holiday. We booked six dives over two days with Maafushi Dive, who were great. On a few occasions, we had the whole crew and boat to ourselves, the team did everything for us in terms of set-up and took us to some fantastic sites. The highlight of the trip for me was hanging out with a turtle for a good five minutes (they are normally quick to swim away) and seeing grey reef sharks and eagle rays. Probably the only downside to Maafushi was the food, the quality wasn't that great and neither was the service in some places. If you like grilled fish, that is really your best choice. We did find one place where I got to try a traditional Maldivian dish, which was very nice. It was described to me as tuna in a sauce with chapati, but it was all mixed together. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name.

Now, would you believe me if I told you that after describing what a great time we had that it actually rained the majority of the time? December happens to be the wettest month. I think that's the funny thing about living in Oman. A couple of years ago I would have cried if I had paid to go on holiday and it rained. Now a bit of rain anywhere is welcome.

Well, that was a lengthy post, and that was only to cover a four-day trip! I’ll leave you with some of my favourite shots above and below sea level.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Life Lately: R&R

Well, Hello there! It's been a while.

I took a bit of an unplanned break from the blogging and social media world and, well, life in general.

So, what have I been up to?

For the Eid holidays, we took a nice, long holiday starting in Singapore and ending in Bali, Indonesia. The holiday was a good mix of sightseeing, activities, and relaxation. I never decided if I should blog about my holidays. Primarily I see this as a blog about Oman, and my day-to-day life here. But being here means that we do have access to other places in the world and the means to explore them, and that still counts as life outside the M25, right?

When we came back, I suffered from a serious case of the holiday blues. I did have my birthday to look forward to, though, and my husband took me out for a meal at the new Indian-fusion restaurant in Al-Kuwair. I could have eaten a meal made up of just their panipuri shots. It is one of those unique restaurants that everyone needs to try at least once.
The nice thing about coming back to Oman in October is that the weather is cool enough to start doing activities at the weekend. I plan on blogging more about this, but we've mostly been diving taking advantage of those two-for-one Entertainer vouchers that are soon to expire. We also went camping, which, surprisingly, I enjoyed. We still need to add to our kits before we can consider ourselves proper campers, and I'll blog about that soon, too.

So after all the adventures, and a break from social media I am feeling suitably recharged and ready for winter in Oman. Do let me know if you would like to hear a little more about my travels, and what you are looking forward to doing this winter. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Expat Life: Confession time

I was thinking about expat misconceptions or more right misunderstandings, and I thought I would take the time to share one of my funnier expat stories.

Quite new to Oman and one of the first times I was driving alone at night, I thought I got flashed by a speed camera. I was sure I was under the speed limit, but at the same time there wasn't another car nearby, and I was sure the light flashed. I drove home close to tears and found my husband at home, fell to the floor and blubbering I told him: "I (sniff) think (sniff) I (sniff) got (sniff) flashed..."

"...I don't want to go to prison!"

I was half expecting the ROP to show up at my door any minute and take me away. And then the sobbing began,

After calming me down, my husband assured me that you don't get thrown into prison for speeding, there wouldn't be enough room in the prisons, you just get a fine.

I don't know where I got that idea from, presumably I just assumed running a red light and speeding were in the same category.

I feel a bit silly thinking about it now.

So over to you, what misunderstanding about the rules or customs did you have when you got to Oman or wherever you are living as an expat?

Don't leave me hanging here....

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Expat life: Money matters when living in Oman

As promised, my latest expat life post will try to break down the cost of living in Oman. According to the 2014 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Muscat is one of the least expensive destinations in the world; it was ranked 168 out of 211 cities polled. However, the ranking was 179 out of 2014 in 2012, and 184 in 2011, so the cost of living has been increasing.

Most expats are lured by generous packages that offer good salaries, accommodation, maybe even a car and bonuses, flights home, and medical insurance. So these key things seem the most logical thing to start with.

It is also worth me beginning my saying that I am coming from the angle of a qualified, Western expat. There are many low productivity expat jobs – maids, gardeners, builders - typically filled by Asian labourers and their motivations and, ultimately, their lifestyle in Oman is completely different.

The big industries that pull people to Oman are oil and gas and construction. Expats tend to work in senior positions in these fields or in sectors where there are skill shortages, such as in the healthcare and education fields. It is worth noting that there is relative job insecurity at the moment; Omanisation is the key word, and most companies have quotas to meet in terms of hiring locals. As always, I have no intentions to comment on the way things are done here, it is how it is, but it does mean that some are on fixed contracts with no idea towards the end if they will be renewed. I also want to add that for industries like mine that don't seem to be established here the pay is extremely poor. I would expect that, even after tax, in the UK I would be taking home close to double what I make now.

Rent in Oman is paid annually and in advance, rather than monthly. This is a huge lump sum. Unlike London, rent isn't more than half of your monthly salary so while you might find yourself a little pressed when it is rent time, you can feel quite flush for the rest of the year. There is a budget and style range to accommodate all. Costs vary according to size, facilities, and area and places are usually unfurnished. Most people make a pilgrimage to Ikea in Dubai for furniture since what is available here is limited and expensive. You can buy furniture second-hand from expats leaving, and there are Facebook groups for this (here) and another website called DuBizzle.

Utilities, such as water, gas and electricity, aren't included in the rent, but these are subsidised to some extent by the governments, which own the services. Utilities are therefore cheaper than in most European countries. Obviously in the summer you can expect the AC bill/electricity bill to increase significantly.

When it comes to the internet, there are only two companies to choose from: Ooreedo and Omantel. We currently have a cable line with Omantel, which is the only provider in our area. We are lucky that our connection is ok, but in some places it drops out frequently. Different parts of town have different connection speeds and strengths. Our current monthly fee is 35OMR per month, and that is meant to be for the fastest connection. It is worth noting that things like Viber and Skype are blocked, but there are ways to get around this and other services you can use. On my iPad, I used an app called ZenMate to provide a VPN as if I am in the UK so I can watch BBC IPlayer.

For my mobile phone I bought a SIM card that I top up occasionally; I subscribe to a 1GB data package for 5OMR a month and have 2-3OMR on there for calls, which I use very infrequently. I have called the UK on my mobile before (Ooreedo) and I was surprised how little it cost. I spoke for a good half hour with only 2OMR credit, but it's obviously not a habit you would want to take up frequently.

The cost of using a car in Oman is much cheaper than Europe, almost everyone drives. Petrol is very cheap; it is subsidised. At the moment, it is 0.12OMR/litre, (that's about 20p/litre).  Vehicle registration and insurance are based on the car rather than the driver so once the car is insured anyone with a licence can drive it. Insurance for a 4x4 for multiple drivers is around 360OMR a year. A lot of people seem to buy new, on credit, but there are second-hand cars to be had, usually from expats who are moving on. There is also the option to rent a car long-term. I used to rent a small car for 200OMR/month.

Public transport is pretty much non-existent, there are buses, apparently, but I have never seen one and they are usually meant for the lowest paid workers. So unless you are after a raw, local experience, I'm not sure you would ever want to use one. There are also coaches for longer journeys to Sohar, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. Locally, you can get around by taxi but these don't run on a meter so how much you spend will depend on what you look like and it's a matter of haggling.

Food and drink
The cost of food surprised me the most, although it probably shouldn't have. Since a lot of products are imported, they work out more expensive. Local products are cheap, although the fruit and vegetables aren't that tasty. Lulu is the best value supermarket, and Al Fair/Spinney's is the most expensive -- but has the highest quality -- and Carrefour is mid-range. A weekly shop for two people costs me 30-40OMR, that's buying the typical fruit, veg, meat, water. It can bump up to 50OMR+ if I add in household cleaning things and cosmetics.

As a non-drinker, I can't comment on alcohol so much, but I understand the buying and consuming for home-use is complicated and costly. There are some restaurants with licences, mostly in hotels, and there are bars too.

Eating out can also be costly, especially considering the quality. A three-course meal at an average restaurant costs around 20OMR for two.

I'm also going to slot a little about buying clothes and makeup/skincare here, there isn't a huge choice of brands and what is available is at a premium. M&S I have noticed has old stock, a dress I picked up in the clearance in the UK for £18 was being sold here for 60OMR. For makeup, I've noticed that the amount in pounds is nearly always the same as rials, so that £10 foundation at home now works out at £16. You also don't find the 3 for 2 deals or many gift with purchase offers to soften the blow.

Tourist activities seem to be very overpriced, which is a shame because I would much rather go as part of a group or tour where someone else knows where they are going and what stuff is. For example, a trip to Jebel Akhdar for four people is 150OMR, but it would cost you probably 15OMR to fill your tank and drive yourself.

But, if you like lounging on the beach, it's free! Boat trips such as snorkelling, cruises, and dolphin watching are roughly 15 to 25OMR. The boats are well maintained and the crew knowledgeable, which is always comforting. They will usually provide lunch and drinks too.

Other entertainment is not costly. Cinema tickets are 3OMR and the food is also cheap. I am not sure what the standard is around the world, but in the UK buying a drink and some popcorn was usually more expensive than the tickets and going to the cinema was a treat. They don't do traditional sweet popcorn though, I don't know why.

The Royal Opera House usually has a range of ticket prices for their shows, if you are happy to sit at the top, which actually has great views you can see a show for as little as 5OMR. The most expensive seats are up to around 50OMR.

At home, we have a TV sports subscription, which costs 100OMR for the year.

The cost of gym membership depends on the gym, you can get some for 10-15OMR a month. I have just signed up to the gym at The Wave, The Wellness Centre, and it worked out to 30OMR a month, but I had to pay for a year in advance for that rate.

Most companies offer health insurance to the family as part of the employment package, you just need to look out for the exclusions, dentistry and mental health, for example. Policies won't necessary cover you for the government hospitals either, which I have heard have better standards. Your policy will dictate what you pay for and how much, most recently when I went to see a GP the full cost of that visit was covered, but when I needed a blood test to determine my blood group I had to pay.  Buying drugs from the pharmacy seems to be cheaper than the UK and worryingly there are a lot of drugs you can buy without a prescription.

I don't have children so this isn't something I know much about. Some companies do pay for schooling as part of the employment package, but if they don't then I have heard it is a huge expense. There is no free education for expats in Oman.

Right, I think that's it. If I've missed anything feel free to add information in the comments section. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Out and About: A look at Mutrah Souq

I've written specifically about shopping for silver in the Mutrah souq/souk before, but today I wanted to take an overall look at the market, which I believe is one of the oldest in the country.

The entrance to the souk is clearly marked out once you reach Muttrah. You step through the arched frame and there is that sense of stepping back in time the deeper you walk in. From what I understand though, the souq was updated recently. That aside, the souq has an old charm with its small shops and winding tiny lanes. As you walk through the smell of Bukhoor is everywhere.

You can find anything from scarves to antiques, and even industrial scale cooking pots. Generally types of stores tend to cluster together. The shops straight after the main entrance tend to be the most diverse though, I guess to catch the tourists. The prices for most items are negotiable and haggling is a long standing tradition, although I personally tend to do this for higher priced items, like jewellery.
I have only ever visited in the evenings after the souq reopens for the day at 4.30pm but it is open in the early morning until about midday, and opening hours are extended during Ramadan until midnight.

Tripadvisor lists Murtada A.K. Trading (link) as the top place to see in Muttrah (and by extension in the souq) and number 22 of the "things to do" in Muscat, but I haven't figured out exactly which shop this is -- so if you know please advise, and other recommendations are also welcome!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Life Lately: Home Sweet Home Part II

I'm back! Admittedly, this post is up much later than intended because I was a little grumpy earlier this week: a combination of the holiday blues and the fact that it was still ridiculously hot. This weekend seems to be the sign that winter is coming, and I say, roll on!

I thought I would share some the highlights of my trip, before jumping back into life here in Oman, so here goes.

Bread baking at the E5 Bakehouse
I've mentioned before that I miss real bread, so my dad treated me to a baking course at the E5 Bakehouse. They are purists when it comes to bread, and they keep it all very simple based on the principles that all you need is flour, water, and salt. I currently have my sourdough starter brewing and, if it does what it is supposed to, and I can make my own bread here, who knows, I might start a bakery....or at least share the recipe.

Prudential Ride London
What a fantastic day out this was. The weather was perfect; warm, but with a breeze. The roads in and around the city were closed off for cyclists only to enjoy. I understand it was a complete pain for drivers, but while I have always enjoyed walking around central London (and I have done the night marathon in the past) it was nice to see the place from a different angle and get back on a bike again! The organisation of the event was excellent, plenty of pit stops to rest, grab a drink, or get your bike repaired, as well as entertainment too. I'm hoping I will be back in town again next year to do it again.

Wings and a view
My cousin turned 18 earlier in the year and as part of belated birthday celebrations we took him for his first night out. We started on Brick Lane with Sticky Wings, an unusual choice of restaurant for an area known for curry, but they were amazing. I had the buffalo wings style with a ranch dressing. We then made our way to Madison Roof Garden, which has a fantastic view over the city. Again the weather was just right for spending outside.

Cheap eats
You can probably tell by now, I really liked eating this trip. Another standout meal was at Flat Iron, where you get the most tender steak I have ever had and all for the grand total of £10 (that's about 6OMR). They also had a unique knife to use, a mini cleaver, and I am someone who loves those quirky touches.

The Woman in Black
This play has been on my to-see list for a while, and it was fantastic. I don't want to give away anything about the story, all I knew before seeing it was that it was a ghost story and an old-fashioned one at that. The atmosphere was set in the theatre perfectly, and what was most impressive is that the cast was just two.

As much as I love and miss London, I am looking forward to winter in Oman: getting the BBQ out again, road trips, and just being able to be outside. Let me know what your favourite thing about winter in Oman is. 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Life lately: Home Sweet Home

I can't quite believe I am already half-way through my visit back home. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about coming back. I had been told that expats can end up having expectations of home that don't match the reality and the result is this feeling that home isn't quite home anymore.

I'm glad to say that all my fears were unfounded and I am having a wonderful break. So far I've spent a lot of time with friends and family, eaten in some fantastic restaurants, and just enjoyed being able to walk around without dripping in sweat.

What has been really nice though is experiencing London a little like a tourist again. When you are travelling through the city every day it is easy to stop noticing things -- I tended to stick my head in a newspaper or a book and never really looked around -- travelling on the underground or train now I've just taking the opportunity to appreciate the sights and soak up the atmosphere.

I've been a rubbish at taking photographs, but I'll make sure I do better this week and share those with you next time.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

I'm leavin' on a jet plane....

You know I have never actually heard "Leaving on a Jet Plane" but for some reason I always sing it as a rap in my head.

Anyway, tonight I leave for three weeks in London. To say I am excited is an understatement. I do plan to keep posting here, but we'll see what time allows. I've jammed packed myself with activities, lunches, dinners, and activities pretty much straight from landing. If you are interested in seeing what I am getting up to though I will keep social media updated, mostly my Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Before Ramadan, I also downloaded Periscope and intended to start live streaming parts of my day in Oman. Then my days got very boring, so instead, if I am brave enough, I'll give this a try for the first time in London. 

Until next time, Eid Mubarak! I hope the unexpected dates didn't ruin too many people's plans! Let me know what you will be getting up to this long weekend. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Eating Out: Iftar at the Al Bustan

Last night me and my husband were treated to a lovely iftar at the Al Bustan's Al Khiran Terrace restaurant. We've chosen the lazy option of eating iftar on the couch in our pj's for most of Ramadan, so the opportunity to dress up a bit and get out of the house was a welcome one.

If you haven't been to the Al Bustan you really should: it is beautiful. It has one of the most impressive entrances to a hotel that I have ever seen. The staff are also exceptionally friendly and helpful; you miss that service in a lot of places in Muscat, and it did take me by surprise, but the effect is that you feel extremely welcome and comfortable.

The Al Khiran restaurant offers a buffet for iftar. There is a lot to choose from: salads, bread, grilled meats, and stews as well and the fried foods that you come to expect at Ramadan. I particularly liked the lentil soup and the traditional Omani shuwa (a slow cooked, spiced lamb and rice dish). There was also a dish called Shuwa Madrooba, which is unique to the menu and was created by an Omani chef. The dish is a fusion of shuwa and madrooba (which was described as being like baby food and is a combination of meat and vegetables). Admittedly, this doesn't sound that appealing, but it worked and wasn't at all as heavy it might sound.

Of course, I saved most of my appetite for the dessert table. The lemon-mint sorbet, in particular, was very good, as was the creme brulee, which freshly had the sugar melted on top so you got to experience that satisfying crackle and crunch once it cooled. There were also Arabic biscuits and other sweets, Um Ali, some very fresh Turkish delight, a chocolate fountain, and fruits too. I think I tried one of everything on offer.

If you want to catch the iftar at the Al Bustan you have until the end of Ramadan. It starts every day at 7pm until 10pm and is 18 OMR each for adults, which includes drinks (I suggest you try the Tamarind juice).

A huge thank you to Al Bustan for inviting us to experience the iftar, they did not ask me to write anything but we had such an enjoyable time it only seemed right to document it.

Let me know where you have enjoyed iftar this year, and what are your plans for the upcoming Eid holidays?

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Beyond Oman: One week in Koh Samui

My probation period at work is over and I've had the luxury of being able to plan and book my future holidays. The plan, while based here, is to explore the east while we can enjoy the reduced traveling time. We spent our honeymoon last year in Thailand, with four days in Bangkok doing the typical tourist attractions and one week on the beautiful island of Koh Samui.

Join me as I reminisce...

We flew to the island from Bangkok airport via Bangkok Airlines. They are the only airline that fly directly to the island, or you need to make the journey by boat. We stayed at the SeaDance resort, which had only been open a matter of months by the time of our stay. The resort was new and the staff friendly and keen to do all they could to make our stay a pleasant one. I loved our room, which was decorated beautifully, and we had a fantastic view of the pool and the sea when we woke each morning. Although the hotel hasn't defined itself as a couples hotel, I would say it is more suited for couples or friends than a family.

Day 1
Having arrived late the previous night we spent the first day lounging by the pool, tanning and, after all that relaxation, went for a pamper session at a local salon. We enjoyed an herbal ball massage, a traditional full-body oil massage, and a facial.

Day 2
While my husband spent the day scuba diving, I spent the day with Sonja, a French/Italian German-born trained chef, who has lived on Koh Samui for the past 17 years. She taught me how to cook three Thai dishes: Tom Yum soup, green curry, and Pad Thai. The class was one-on-one and got to benefit from being able to ask questions whenever I needed. Sonja is a character, and she had me giggling all day as she shared her anecdotes of life on the island. Although I have only attempted some of the dishes a handful of times, Sonja really got me excited about cooking and I was much more happy to be a bit adventurous with our meals when we got back home, which my husband appreciates.

Day 3
We enjoyed another semi-chill day, we hired a moped for our time on the island as it was the easiest way to travel around. We visited Fisherman's village for lunch and my husband had what he still considers the best meal of his life at the Happy Elephant restaurant (pictured).

Day 4
We hit the waters on our fourth day and set sail on the Chantara, Junk Boat. According to the captain, the idea behind the day was to do whatever we wanted as long as we had fun. We sat outside and caught some more sun, and after a while had lunch, which was freshly prepared on the boat. We then stopped a bit for snorkeling and continued towards the island of Koh Lanta, which is meant to have a gorgeous beach. Unfortunately, we got hit with heavy rain and ended up inside the boat, which turned out to be just as fun as the staff kept us entertained and provided hot drinks and nibbles while we headed back to the island. Even though the day didn't quite go to plan, we still had a great time. Actually, it rained every day we were in Koh Samui, but it is usually not for long and you can’t complain about it because it is what makes the place so beautifully green.

Day 5
After a day at sea, we headed up to the hills of Koh Samui and spent a day riding a Polaris quad car. It was essentially a tour of the island, with stops to take pictures and appreciate the beauty of the island from a high point. After a home cooked Thai lunch, we then visited the waterfall, which was the highlight of the trip for me.

Day 6
For our final full day on the island, we decided to hit the road on our moped. The island only has one main road, which does a full circle, and it is small enough that you can drive around it in a couple of hours. We stopped at a pub, run by an Englishman, who had been living on the island for 20 years. The location was quite isolated, which can said of any part of the island once you get away from the main tourist areas. It was here we decided that our retirement plans include running some sort of guest house somewhere beautiful.

Day 7
For our last few hours in Koh Samui we decided to treat ourselves to a visit to Eranda Spa, after checking out of our hotel we had a few hours to kill and a pamper session before the long flight home seemed like the best way to end our trip. After picking the various scents of the scrubs and oils we wanted used to our own hut where we were left to start with the steam room and jacuzzi before, getting our scrub, wrap, massage and finally a facial. The whole treatment took around 3.5 hours, and in between each treatment we were provided with drinks and even a cake. It was the perfect way to end the holiday. 

This year we will be visiting Singapore and Bali, and I can't wait. I have been using TripIt to organise all our bookings and to come up with a rough itinerary. If you have any suggestions for activities, or places to stay I would love to hear them.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

One week in Oman

One Week Adventures Oman
What what you do if you had only one week in Oman? It's hard to narrow it down, right? Well, that is what I had to do as part of a guest post for the blog One Week Adventures.

The blog run by Clement -- who loves to travel -- but like many of us is a professional and only has a short amount of holiday time available. His blog provides one-week adventures to destinations all over the world with the idea that you can make the most of a place in one week just as much as any long-term traveler.

Please head over to the website and check out my post as well as the many others on there. I like the sound of Japan for my next adventure.

Also, let me know, if you only had one week in Oman what would you do?