Friday, July 6:  I wake up at Safeer Suites where I have seen there is a small gym directly across the hall from my room.  Before going there to work out on the treadmill, I pop downstairs to enjoy their extensive breakfast buffet.  Sadly, because I’m on a diet, I only partake in a few items.  Then the treadmill for 30 minutes.  After that, since I don’t have a bathtub in my Nizwa flat, and because I adore soaking in a hot bath, I soak at my leisure for a good long time.

the view from my lounge chairs

I’m ready to go directly to the Intercontinental (Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts), but sadly last night my American travel hair dryer, which I have used now for the last 2 years living abroad, burned out.  I cannot live without a hair dryer, so I decide to break down and buy a new one.  I find one at the Carrefour at Qurum City Center; I also buy the DVD of The Help.  In addition, in a spontaneous purchase, I buy 4 cute tops at Promod, my favorite clothing store in Oman so far.

Now I’m ready to go to the Intercontinental.

bridges and islands in the “laser” pool

I check in to the pool at the front gate, where I pay 10 rials for the privilege of using the facility for the day. This fee actually includes use of the gym, the sauna, spa and pool.  Also the hotel has quite a nice changing room with showers, lockers, attached hair dryers, and plenty of space for everyone.  A better deal than the Grand Hyatt, although the actual pool itself looks a little shabby compared to the Hyatt. It seems maintained enough, just a little old.

the Intercontinental in the background

The guy at the desk tells me there is a lap pool in one direction and a “laser” pool in the other.  I know I’m not going to swim laps, so I head directly to this “laser” pool, curious about just what this is.  I never see anything resembling lasers, and only later does it dawn on me that he was probably trying to say the “lazy” pool, because the pool has quite an extensive lazy river.

the lazy river leads under bridges

I find a spot with two chairs that I claim for myself.  One is in the sun and the other is under an umbrella.  I park on the sunny one.  When I get hot, I jump in the pool or move to the shady one.  It’s quite an operation, jumping around here and there to keep cool.

lazy river

I do this for about 4 hours, relaxing, reading my book of Greek short stories (Little Infamies), flipping through the Middle East version of Cosmopolitan magazine, swimming, floating, sleeping, reading some more, and eating some lunch.

over the bridge to the island

I don’t meet anyone today, nor do I even talk to a soul.  I just bask in solitude. It’s all fine by me.  When all is said and done, I hop in my oven of a car and drive home to Nizwa.  I’m glad I’m finally discovering how to “do Muscat” right!

another afternoon in paradise