Friday, March 21, 2008

OMAN, SALALAH March 21st, 2008 FRIDAY

Leisurely Salalah

Approximately 4¼ hours
Moderate Activity  Limited Capacity
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This half-day excursion will introduce you to Salalah, the Sultanate's summer capital. Begin with a drive past beautiful scenery to a grove of frankincense trees—a species unique to Southern Arabia that originated in the Dhofar Valley. This nondescript, smooth-barked tree produces a substance that was once one of the most prized items in the ancient civilized world. After hearing about the key role frankincense had played in the region and taking in its unique scent, you will proceed to view Mughsail Beach. It is nearly two miles of white sand and features high cliffs at both ends. If the tide is right, you will witness the sprays of water up to 45 feet tall gushing from the natural blowholes in the rock face. Next, drive through the picturesque mountains to the Tomb of Job. Job was the long-suffering biblical hero admired by Muslims, Jews and Christians worldwide. Visit his simple tomb, located on a hilltop overlooking Salalah, and see what locals believe to be the footprint of Job himself, pressed into the floor. Departing the tomb, you will stop at one of Salalah's lush orchards growing coconut, banana, papaya and guava, to enjoy a local favorite—fresh coconut juice. Returning to the city, pause for photos at the majestic Al Husn Palace, summer residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, before continuing on to the vibrant Frankincense Souq (market) in the old part of Salalah. Enjoy the fragrance of frankincense and sandalwood as you walk through the maze of narrow lanes. After exploring the delightful wonders of the souq, you will return to ship. 

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