The sands of timeon November 25th, 2012
20th Salala – Oman, we decided not to get off, having been here before, and there is a rehearsal for the variety show tonight –including a couple of songs from me, with CD Paul Reynolds on the piano…..The show went well.. Paul and I did two BG’s songs, to support a half(?) show from the juggler and some songs from the resident ships’ singers. We seem to have stolen the show…. 21st A sea day – time for everyone to relax and catch up on things…I did my lecture in the morning on Cricket –to a good house of people – and we had some fun.. interrupted by the Captain’s noon position chat. Julie did a card session in the afternoon. 22nd Today we sailed into Muscat the capital of the country of Oman (the only one beginning with an ‘O’). It is a majestic entrance with Portuguese castles, the Sultan’s palace and the huge emblematic frankincense burner on the rocks above the port. Julie and I went off on a Dhow cruise – two hours of relaxation on an old wooden ship as we perused the coastline of the country, and thoroughly relaxed on the cushions and carpets at the stern of the vessel – we found the best seat! 23rd Fujairah – one of the United Arab Emirates was next, a less than auspicious port area, again surrounded by containers, and we were off on a tour (me as escort) to see some of the sights of the city and the inland areas. It was pretty interesting to view the place but more interesting to hear the lady guide describing the life of the people here and the politics, oil and so on. The large open market we visited was a challenge to anyone want5ing to use the toilet!! Sinead Blanchfield was singing, a lovely Irish lady we had met on the Amazon – and she put on a very good show for us all. And I have to follow this tomorrow night! 24th Today we are in Abu Dahbi…a huge complex of oversized sky-scrapers reaching out of the sands and water. Whilst these are impressive sky-lines they do little for me as they fail to have a heart, and the soul is certainly one dedicated to the god of money. We again did a tour, I was escort, as most of the ship decanted onto the buses to do a ‘city’ tour. This included a strictly controlled (dress code) visit to the Grand Mosque, a huge edifice in white shining marble with 24 carat gold inlays and minaret tops! It was like a huge wedding cake – simple and impressive in design, but also ornate and opulent to the ninth degree. When I see things like this I imagine Mohammed spinning in his grave as he remembers the principles of faith that he advocated – mercy, tolerance, justice and peace. Not any mention of raising these huge cash rich cathedrals that seek only to impress others with the power and wealth of the builders! The rest of the tour was pretty forgettable – a Heritage Village, crowded to bursting point and a development exhibition on an adjacent island lauding how even more money was about to be spent on creating even more golf courses and museums…for who I wonder! The evening finished with my show ‘ Troubadour’ and I don’t think it could have gone better – a great production team to help with the sound etc, Julie making the pictures change, and Paul again on the piano for a couple of songs. It was fun to do, and everyone had fun…what more can we ask. Excellent comments after and into the night! 25th Is Doha in Qatar -the only country beginning with a ‘Q’….again a skyline reminiscent of a store full of air conditioning units….and we rode the shuttle into town and back out again. The ‘Mall’ on offer appealed not one bit. .so we chilled on the suite balcony and watched the city go about it’s business from yet another container port! Tomorrow is Dubai…..may be we’ll go to the Mall there!!