Beyond exotic

Oman is a perfect place for peace and relaxation. Having visited the Sultanate five times, she loves to come over again.
Egle Fox, an American whose passion for travel is exemplary, says the Sultanate is beyond exotic.
The geography, panorama, lunar like terrain, people, traditions and the culture are its hallmarks, she says and captures the quiet nature of the country.
This solo traveller is elated to feel Arabic culture and traditions and the pure charm and simplicity of the Sultanate.
She is enthusiastic to share her adventures from her visit in December 2014 where local Omanis showered their hospitality and help.
Egle, a Lithuanian by birth, recollects her visit to Jebel Shams, where she got lost in the mountain and could not find the road back.
A police officer pulled her and advised her not to drive in a sedan and not to drive alone. Being a stubborn lady, she waited until they left, and continued her journey.
Being thirsty and hungry the only fruit she had was a green apple and remembered ‘A Three Apples’ story from 1001 Nights. She sat down admiring the panoramic views and was about to have a bite of the apple when a goat showed up and lifted his hoof as if hesitating to come closer. She reached out her arm towards him and rolled the apple towards the goat, got back into her car, and found her way back to the main road descending to the foothills. To her biggest surprise, she saw the police car again.
The friendliness and kindness of the local citizens continued as she travelled again.
On her next visit, she was driving erratically trying to locate halwa shops. A driver in an SUV with his family pulled up next to her and asked her if she needed help. He turned around and told her to ‘Follow’. Egle thought she would follow him for five minutes, while she ended up following him for 30 minutes until they reached a halwa shop. He went out of his way with his family inside the car in the opposite direction where he was originally travelling to show her the shop!
On another occasion, she hired Sulaiman, a taxi driver, to take her on tours. On the way back to the airport, she realised having got a plastic full of gifts purchased at the souq and did not have an extra suitcase to check in. She went speechless when the driver emptied his oversized duffel bag and told her to have it. “I was trying to give him money for it but he said when you come back to Muscat again, you can return it,” said Sulaiman.
A couple of years later, she returned back and accidentally met him and returned the bag. “I don’t know if it was a rare coincidence or because of the magic of Oman,” recollects Egle.
She was once driving towards mud houses of Misfat al Abriyeen and felt like being carried back hundreds of years walking through the narrow alleys of mountain paths, agricultural terraces, gardens and plantations.
An elderly man with a walking cane came out and greeted her with a friendly ‘Salam Alaikum’ gesturing to her something that she did not understand. But what he wanted was to pose for a photograph with her and stood there proud and stoic full of wisdom and knowledge and mystery.
Her passion for travel started while in Lithuania and lived through the stories of Scheherazade about Alladin’s wonderful lamp and life of sultans, kalifs, princes and viziers.