Saturday, June 16: Today is Six Word Saturday and this question sums up my day:
Where did the Oman border go?
We drove up to Musandam this long weekend for the holiday of Leilat al-Meiraj (the Ascension of the Prophet). Musandam is at the northeastern most tip of the Arabian peninsula and is separated from the rest of Oman by a wide expanse of United Arab Emirates (UAE) territory. In order to get there, you can either take a plane or a ferry between Muscat and Khasab, OR you can drive, crossing the border from Oman to UAE, and then crossing again from UAE to Oman and into Musandam. It was no problem on the way there Thursday (well, almost no problem), taking about 1 1/2 hours of driving through UAE on a moderately traveled six-lane highway through salmon-colored sand dunes.
On the way back Saturday, however, we were using my friend’s GPS, which led us to miss the bypass road and put us right in the thick of the traffic going into Dubai. After much backtracking, taking wrong turns, and arguing about the proper way to go, we ended up finally at Al Ain, UAE. When we got there, we proceeded to the Hilli border crossing, not knowing the roads from that crossing would lead us to Sohar in the north of Oman; once we entered the compound, it seemed there was no escaping. We were told that to go to Nizwa, we needed to cross at another border, quite some distance away, because the roads from the Hilli border would add 4-5 hours to our drive to Nizwa. The problem was that once we got into the compound, merging into a three-lane wide line of cars coming from Oman to UAE, we felt like we had entered the Twilight Zone and we might never get out! It was a long story, the details of which I don’t want to get into here, but after much misdirection and confusion, we finally escaped back into UAE, where we searched long and far afield for the elusive crossing at Mezyad, which doesn’t seem to have any signs until you get within 5km of the crossing. Uncountable kilometers out of Al-Ain, we arrived at the border at Mezyad, where we crossed without incident into Oman, headed toward Ibri. All in all, we spent a total of 6 hours in UAE on various wild goose chases, where we only spent 1 1/2 hours in UAE on the way north!!