Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Trip to Oman!

A few months ago we learned David had a Thursday in early May off of work in honor of the Muslim celebration of the Prophet's Ascension.  So we jumped at the chance to book a three day weekend somewhere new.

Oman is nestled in between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and Muscat, Oman is only a short two hour flight from Kuwait. 

We found a fabulous deal at a breath-taking resort through a travel website, and booked our trip quickly before the deal disappeared.

We stayed at the Shangri-La Al Waha, and even though it was likely the nicest place we've ever stayed  (save for our 10 year anniversary trip to Mexico, although this place might have been nicer still...) we spent the same amount on lodging per night as we do for a condo at the Oregon Coast.
For reals.

We counted down the days until it was finally the magical Wednesday afternoon that David cut outta work, we grabbed our bags, we loaded up and headed to the airport!

Since we were only traveling for four days/three nights, we just packed carry-on bags. The kids were each allowed one blanket and two lovies as well =).

David, aka The Master Swaddler, swaddled Bear and Darth in our son's favorite blanket for the airport maneuvering...

...and he swaddled Sister's Wiley and Frosty in her favorite quilt as well...

The Walk of Death Boarding the plane.
We've discussed this before, I do not like to fly.
Here's the thing, I'm crazy brave in many ways...but airplanes are just not one of them. 
I know, I'm more likely to crash in a car, blah blah blah. I know all the statistics.
I simply do not care.
It's really not even about crashing. I just don't like being trapped in a confined space with a bunch of people I've never met, knowing at any moment any one of them could just go absolutely ape and we're all stuck thousands of feet above ground together. 
I don't like it. 
But I love to travel.
If I could close my eyes and suddenly arrive at my destination, I'd be thrilled.
Enter Xanax.

I still don't love flying, and I have to do a lot of deep breathing and positive self-talk..but the Xanax does the rest.
God Bless Xanax.

My two cuties - and their lovies- getting properly situated for take-off...

A short two hour flight later, we landed in Muscat, Oman.

We cruised right through Immigration and got our Travel Visa's with zero complications.
We are SO LUCKY to have American Passports.

It was about a 40 minute taxi ride to the hotel, and then this guy chilled in the lobby while Dave got us all checked in...

...and I already started taking pictures, even though we were just in the lobby.
Hi my name is Kendra and I'm addicted to taking pictures.
But seriously, isn't Middle Eastern architecture beautiful??

These two little Globe Trotters had been excellent fliers and very patient all day. Dave and I were so proud!

We got into our adjoining rooms and the kids quickly grew fond of their super comfy beds and their own TV complete with Cable/Satellite =) 

A heavenly bathtub...we don't have a tub here in our apartment and although I'm mainly a shower girl, I do love a good bath every once in awhile and I've missed it since we moved here!

Dave and I's side of the adjoining room...

It was after sundown,  but we still went out and walked the grounds a bit, and enjoyed the view of the mountains that surrounded the hotel from our balcony...

The boys checking out the view the next morning...

Our rooms had slippers and robes in them, including adult-sized slippers and kid-sized slippers! So cute!
 (me and the boy)

Breakfast buffet came with our room, so made our way down to one of the restaurants and loaded up our plates =)... 
 ...turns out, like Kuwait, Oman does not have pork products =(. 
Turkey bacon, you are a poor substitute.

More of the hotel architecture...but these were taken by David - I'm not the only one who found it beautiful! ;)

We changed into swimwear, put on sunscreen, and hit the beach!

The beach was gorgeous. I mean perfect sand with beautiful, fully in tact shells, and soft sand all the way out into the sea. Gorgeous.

The hotel also boasts a Lazy River that cruises between the three resorts in the area.
I could have spent my entire weekend on that thing.

Me and Sister in tubes, Brother swimming ahead of us...

 (you can see Brother swimming up ahead...he loved the Lazy River, but there is just nothing lazy about our boy =). He'd rather swim it than coast along in an inter-tube)

The mountains and rock formations around us were truly breathtaking. These pictures just do not do it justice!

The kids played Foos Ball with some friendly people...

...and some Checkers...

...and did some swimming...

Brother navigating the pool on a noodle...

Dave and the kids on the Lazy River...

Just so, so pretty...

 (yes, those are camels. We'll call this foreshadowing. ;) )

One evening, the kids found some fun friends and they all had the best time playing together....

 Dave and I got to chatting with their parents, and learned they were expats currently living in Oman, but had also spent time in Kuwait, and that the oldest two girls were six year old fraternal twins!
We had a great time talking and laughing, and by the end of the night had exchanged numbers and have since had an offer to come stay with them in Oman.
I love that about expats. You grow so much closer to people so much faster than you otherwise would in your everyday life, as you are experiencing so much of the same things and both appreciate what it is like to be without family and away from "home".

Nothings spells VACATION like ice cream by the pool for the kiddos...

...and Adult Beverages by the pool for the grown ups!
Oman may not have had pork products, but they did have alcohol =)

The humidity seriously fogged up our camera here, but if you look really hard, you can faintly make out A in front of the Splash Pad...

The kids spent a few hours playing in there each day, which left David and I to lounge and read nearby...
(can you spot David in the haze there?)

The kids played some on this boat...

Ok, so slight derailment of vacation documentation here.
Do you see that polkadot tent there in the middle of the chaise lounges?
There was a baby, probably four or five months old, rolling around in there, playing happily with a rattle.
For over an hour and a half.
Just happily playing by himself. 
While his parents read on lounges and relaxed.
Not once did he fuss or require any attention.
Eventually, he played himself to sleep, and proceeded to snooze contentedly for a nice long morning nap.
I ask you, who breeds infants like this?!?
Surely not my husband and myself.
We had one fussier twin and one easier going twin to be sure, but even our easier going baby NEVER would have just played all alone with a rattle for over an hour and then rolled over and gone to sleep. Especially not while we were right there in view, NOT holding them!
If I birthed infants like that, I'd have at least three more. Not even kidding.

But I digress.

While our babies may not have been easily entertained, our six year olds are awesome at it =).
And we sure are in a sweet spot for traveling with them! 
They still think we're cool and wanna hang out with us, but also have no problem making friends and having fun on their own, while having minimal requirements from us.

L and a new buddy...

A and a new friend...

Sister had the best time playing with this sweet little girl!

And as you can see by Brother's grin, he had a blast as well...

And then Spiderman, Batman, and Asian Superman show up...because why not?

Sweet Sister...

Brother and his friend went on several adventures within this pool...
...and I offered up Thanks that we met such great kids each day to play with.

Muscat was so beautiful. I'd read that the Sultan had created a law that no building could be built more than seven stories tall (of course some taller buildings were created before this decree) and everywhere we went, you could see how the city is being purposeful about maintaining it's natural beauty and not allowing it to become a mega city with the newest and biggest skyscrapers like it's neighboring countries. 
We couldn't get enough of all the mountains. Kuwait has beauty, but it's very flat.
We'd missed seeing such different landscape... 

Even the currency was beautiful!

Oh. And then we rode camels.


Riding camels was high on the list of reasons to move to the Middle East, if you'd have asked the twins about why we made the choice to move in the first place.

Me and the boy...

The caretaker took us down the beach a long ways, and then back. It was...bumpy. Camels lumber along. They are so large and yet I've seen them gallop and it's quite graceful.
Since these were one-hump-camels, we were perched behind the hump, which kind of places you sliding off the camels rear. It was slightly awkward to settle into, but Brother and I were in awe the whole time. We kept looking at each other and saying "WE'RE RIDING ON CAMELS!" 
The tufts of hair on their humps were soft, and it was fascinating to get to ride on one. 

David snapped this pic of our beautiful girl while they were waiting for us to come back...

Coming back around...

What's not pictured is us getting off the camels.
This is where I learned there is absolutely zero ways to disembark a camel with any pride.
Ya just can't. 
It's an ugly, awkward, embarrassing process of the camel bending it's front legs down first, and thus sending it's back-end, and yours, up into the air, while you hang on for dear life. Then it settles it's hind legs down, while you hang on for dear life.
No elegance about it.
Those pictures will never see the light of day.

Next up was David and Sister!

Our sweet boy couldn't resist the water while waiting...

This picture is a bit blurry, but you can still make out the joy on our daughter's face!

This caretaker also had a beautiful horse you could take a ride on as well... we let the kids do that too...

...they were so happy!

Such fun memories we made.

A friendly sunset game of Chess one evening..

Nothing like a nice dinner after a day of playing at the beach...

Dave let the kids play Chess on his phone while they waited for us to finish eating. They were so cute snuggled up in one chair together...

After days of playing all day in the sunshine, we had some tired kids on our hands...

Sadly, Saturday afternoon came around, and we had to head back to the airport to catch our flight back to Kuwait.

Luckily, there were a few more shenanigans to be had, even at the airport...

 Peace Out Oman!


  1. What an awesome trip! And you all look so happy in these photos.

  2. Loved the Travelog, photos, text and commentary. Wonderful family vacation that you and Kiddos will always remember. We enjoyed it, too!
    Grannie Annie and Grand Dad

  3. Beautiful pix. Looks like you had a wonderful time. Your parents rode an elephant at Wildlife Safari, but I don't think I ever saw pictures of them on a camel. If you can just scrounge up Dumbo somewhere over there, you'll be one up on them.

    Love, Aunt Carol

    1. We're aiming for Dumbo in Thailand or Sri Lanka before we leave the Middle East!!!

  4. This makes me so happy! =) What a fun and memorable getaway.

  5. Great post and lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

    1. Thank you! ;) Big smiles from Kuwait to Canada :)

  6. Great post and lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

  7. This is my favorite post yet! That picture of L & A on the horse needs to be framed somewhere, it's like magazine-perfect.

    1. YES! I have a file already going of "pictures to be printed and framed at the New House" for when we get back home. I SO miss having lots of family photos on the walls!

  8. The picture of your babes on the horse is beautiful :)))

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