Saturday, December 3: I drive to work from Muscat early on Saturday morning and leave Guido behind to explore Muscat on his own. I give him instructions on how to take a shared taxi to Nizwa from the clock tower roundabout, and he shows up near my house at around 4:30, soon after I get off work.
Tonight I’m exhausted from getting up so early, so we simply go to visit the Nizwa Souq, where we wander companionably among the shops.
We have a fun time just browsing. I’m looking for some jewelry for my daughter Sarah for Christmas, and he’s looking for a little Omani flag pin to put on a hat where he pins all his travel flags. I come across a little bookstore where I find several books I want on Oman, but one in particular is Oman Off-Road. I know I want this book, but I say I’ll wait until payday. I’ve been traveling so much in November that I don’t want to spend one cent unless it’s absolutely necessary.
I point out the Nizwa Fort so Guido will know how to get here tomorrow, while I’m at work. I also speak by phone to one of the many taxi drivers I have in my telephone contact list about taking Guido tomorrow to Al Hoota Cave, Bahla and Jabrin Castle, all of which I’ve already been to see. They want to charge him an outrageous 20 rials (>$50) for this trip, which is no more than 100 km of driving and no more than 3 hours. I think this is highway robbery but he’s willing to pay because it’s his vacation.
After our walk around the souq, we have dinner at Al-Masharef Turkish Foods, a little Turkish dive restaurant in Nizwa where I eat quite frequently. There we sit at the white plastic tables on a wide expanse of asphalt parking lot. He orders some Fish Tikka and I order a variety plate of hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabouleh with pita bread. It’s delicious as always, despite the restaurant’s decidedly unglamorous setting.
Sunday, December 4: Sadly, I have to work all day today, but while I’m at work, Guido visits Nizwa Fort, Al Hoota Cave, Bahla Fort (which he can only see from the outside because it’s closed for renovation), and Jabrin Castle. While at the Nizwa souq complex near the Fort, he says a Pakistani man tells him he has beautiful blue eyes!
In the evening when I get off work, we go across the street to the Falaj Daris Hotel, the favorite watering hole for all the expats in Nizwa. We drink wine and chat, or rather Guido chats and I nod as if I understand. We eat a nice dinner there and as we’re leaving I run into my friend Lazina from the College of Applied Sciences. She is sitting with an Omani man named Mohammed who she often hires to do tours throughout Oman. He tells me to call him Moo. I think, Voila! Here is the man who can take Guido to see some of Oman while I’m at work the next couple of days. I ask him about Jebel Akhdar, where I am planning to take Guido tomorrow, Monday, after my class ends at 1:00. Moo says we could come up the mountain and spend the night at his flat and he can take Guido hiking on Tuesday. I take his phone number and resolve to call him tomorrow.
We come back to my flat where we sit and watch my favorite Italian movie, Bread and Tulips. I figure this will keep him quiet for a while plus make him feel at home. I’ve seen the movie so many times, I fall asleep on the couch halfway through.