We left Saudi on Tuesday night to head to Oman. This was the first time we have flown within the Middle East as all of our other trips have been driving. So, we were not sure what the best route/plan would end up being and we had some lessons learned!
We flew from the Dammam airport to Bahrain and then to Muscat. Our first flight was just 20 minutes and then we had to RUN to our next flight. We ran to security, had to have John's bag searched because a pen he had look questionable and then we RAN to our flight and boarded just before we were about to be left. The next flight was just over an hour. Looking back we wish we just drove to Bahrain and flew out of there instead of dealing with two planes (and on the way back layovers in Bahrain). We arrived in Muscat around 10:30 PM, got our Visas, went through customs and then headed to the car rental place to get our car. We arrived and they told us that they gave our car away because the arrival time on our reservation was wrong and had already passed. When we asked if they had another car, they reached under the counter and pulled out a grocery bag full of keys and started looking through. I just laughed...to myself of course! Very different experience. We finally found a key to a Ford hatchback something and so he went to find his driver to bring the car around to the front. They don't have a rental car park area or anything like that. Muscat is building a new airport which looks beautiful but for now the current airport which was built before they had such tremendous growth in industry and tourism is what they are working with. We wait for the driver, find him in the parking lot and start loading up the car. Both the guy at the counter and the driver were so helpful and accommodating and gave us great customer experience which doesn't happen often over here! We managed to get car seats (and since Graham just moved up to a bigger car seat we traveled with both our Britax Marathons), and suitcases and the stroller into the car and then were about to head out to our hotel and realized we had no idea where we were going. The Garmin wasn't picking it up, the address search feature wasn't working and then our cell phones weren't working to call. I finally found some sort of information on the reservation paper that registered with the Garmin and we set of hoping we were going in the right direction.
We were staying at the Millennium Hotel, the reviews were good, breakfast was included and it was cheaper so we thought it would be a good option however it was a whole lot farther from Muscat than it looked online! It was about a 75 minute drive and in the middle of nowhere. Luckily the kids fell asleep and we finally got settled in our room closer to 2 AM. We were all exhausted and slept until 10:30 AM the next day....missing that free breakfast! We called for room service and they told us that breakfast would be free and we would only be charged the delivery fee since it was included in our room price so it all worked out and after a good night sleep, showers and breakfast we were ready to explore!