Day 6: Nizwa and back to Muscat
I headed down the mountain after breakfast, feeling “done” with Jebel Shams. .Going down was easier than going up of course, and barring my emptying gas tank, I was in good spirits. .I was able to fill up eventually and then head out towards Nizwa, where I’d heard there was a really good souk and some more forts. .I got there earlier than expected, and easily found the souk area. .It was actually quite nice, much cleaner and better laid out than the one in Muscat. .I saw some really nice jewelry but it was way above my budget. .I did snag some HOPEFULLY food-grade frankincense, myrrh, and sandalwood (we use these in Chinese medicine brewed as a tea to help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and increase blood flow in the body) in a back corner of the market that I mostly saw locals in, along with some really nice dates in the produce market building for just 1 rial (about $2.60) .I ate lunch at a place with wifi across the street, had some “Zanzibar curry” which was a nice chicken kinda thing with saffron rice. .I was feeling a little beat so thought maybe I’d head early to the airport and chill at the lounge. .Got there around 2pm (my flight wasn’t until early the next morning). .Fail here- #1- they won’t check you in until 3 hrs before. .For whatever reason I couldn’t check in online for my flight on Swiss to Dubai, so I had to wait a painful 10 hrs or so in the front of the airport. .There were a few places to grab something, but I was out of rial basically…also did I mention I’m a pretty broke student? .Was waiting for some big checks (scholarship money and work) to go through…so, I made do with a cup of tea, some study materials, and my favorite app, the oddly-named “Turdus” (offline wikitravel).
Fail #2 came at check-in when the agent insisted I wasn’t star gold status, and wouldn’t print it on my ticket (only silver). .Not good, as I was sorely in need of food, a hot shower, and a quiet place to chill for a bit. .I went to the lounge anyway and tried to talk my way in…they weren’t having any of it and wouldn’t even let me get the password to use internet to pull up my united status. .Luckily I happened to see a spare paper with it….went outside, pulled up the page, went back in, argued again…they told me the ticket agent would have to reprint my ticket and I had to go back to check in…past where I stamped out…not happening. .Eventually they got tired of arguing with me and let me in. .The lounge was pretty satisfactory and let me tell you, I certainly enjoyed that shower!