A six-hour bus ride and one border crossing later I'm in Muscat, the capital of Oman. Oman is everything Dubai isn't - it's low-rise, staunchly traditional and scenically spectacular. It's also welcoming in a low-key kind of way. When I booked the second-cheapest hotel in Muscat I cheekily asked for a room with a view - I didn't think I'd get this. The photo was taken from my window just before sunrise this morning. When it's too hot to go outside I can watch the fishing boats come in, workers fixing the Sultan's superyacht, or Omani men in their flowing white robes and embroidered hats chewing the fat in shady spots along the waterfront.
So far the only downside of Oman is the heat. I'd naively hoped it might be cooler than Dubai. I was wrong. The temperature hits 30 C about 8am, yesterday it peaked at 43. I'm sure today's hotter. I'm learning to do what the locals do, which is lie low from 1-4pm each day. After sunset, when the temperature drops back to a refreshing 30 C, the city comes back to life.