Seeking for Refuge

Work pressure at times could go that high that you would like to escape from it, even just for a while. Junko and I has planned this weekend for a couple of weeks back but didn’t find the opportunity. This particular weekend was indeed a blessing that both of us were free hence we took advantage of it. We were sweetly taking our time that Friday morning, relishing each moment that the clock has no power over us on this particular day, when suddenly at around 11:30 AM, power supply went off, whew! Junko hurriedly rushed to my room saying “Mia, pack up, we need to get outta here now!”

For my beloved reader’s information, this country where I live has a very hot summer, could go up to 50 degrees centigrade and air-conditioners are as important as water. Having no power on daytime or even at night time is like hell. You will bathe in your own sweat!

We hurriedly packed our things and loaded in the Pajero, thanks to my brother’s courtesy in lending his favorite toy. A 4WD is a must in driving through the mountains although a salon car can go as well but 4WD is much much better. We drove from Barka to Muscat using the expressway, passed by Sultan Center in Qurum and had lunch at their Sushi Bar, their sushi is really good, otherwise Junko, being a Japanese could have whined about it, and  take note, the chef who do the sushi is a Filipino and his Filipina assistant. “Mabuhay Kabayan!”

After that heavy lunch, we continued our journey driving through that panoramic winding road to Shangri-la Barr Al Jissa, Shangri-la was not our destination, we preferred a more quiet and remote place. We turned right heading to the direction of Yiti Beach,  driving through the roads in between mountains.

Along the road, we found boats berthed on the shore, and beautiful spots around……….

 We drove trough a village and had a glimpse of the local community……………

Finally, we reached our destination, Jebel Sifah, this is my second time in this place, the first time was some time in 2011 where we camped for an overnight on the same place. Those days, Sifawy Hotel was still under construction.

We drove through the entrance and parked our car. We proceeded to the reception for check-in, receptionists were all locals at that particular time. We were impressed that they can handle the shift all by themselves. The lobby has a welcoming warm atmosphere with a touch of Omani culture, it has also an access to a balcony overlooking the pool.

Our check-in was quick, not much guests on a Friday afternoon having Thursdays & Fridays are the official weekend in Oman. We were also given a free upgrade to Marina Suite which added to the enjoyment in our stay. The Marina Suite was spacious with sitting room, bedroom and ensuite bathroom with 5 star room and F&B amenities.

The balcony has an amazing panoramic view of the marina and the sea, I could just sit the whole day and be carried away into a sweet oblivion.

 After having a short rest from the journey, we went down to explore the place. We headed our way towards the beach enjoying the serene atmosphere. There are several buildings erected but still empty, however, my eyes enjoyed the design and architecture, especially the hanging windows and balconies.

We reached the beach and sat down for an hour or so, inhaling the the sea water scented fresh air into our lungs, listening to the sounds of the rushing tides slapping the shore like a music to the soul, it was such a relief and empowering of the senses to once again commune with nature.

As the darkness engulfed this part of the globe, it was the moon’s turn to illuminate the serene evening. We traced our steps back to the hotel straight to the restaurant for dinner. We found a lovely corner in the terrace outside, temperature was already cooler compared the past few weeks that even humidity was high. There were only two choices for the half board package, one was Indian cuisine, and the other one was Asian and naturally, we opted for the Asian food.

The starter was seaweed jelly and noodle salad, main course was Chinese noodles and chicken tempura and the dessert was, if I remember it right cheese cake and seems like a lychee sherbet with this unusual fruit inside the dried leaves which arouses my curiosity. Junko didn’t eat the chicken, she said there is no chicken tempura in Japan (in Oman there is LOL!). The portion was too much for us, hence we didn’t finish the food. I loved the seaweed jelly and the dessert.

I appreciated the efforts of the waitstaff Naing Naing, she is from Myanmar, I asked her about that topping on the lychee, she didn’t know as well but promised to find out for me. The next morning at breakfast, she handed over to me the wrapper where the name is written, it is Physalis Columbian Golden Berry.

After dinner, we passed through the poolside,  the lighting created a warm and dramatic atmosphere and the turquoise water was so inviting but we manage to resist due to time constraints. Again, the clock was our boss!

We went back to the room, had the nightly routine and plunged into slumber. Early morning Junko woke me up, she was at the balcony and these were the reasons that she bothered my sleep.

We went for breakfast before 10AM at the all day dining restaurant, ordered omelette from the chef, some bread and fruits which was more than enough to fill the empty tummies.

After breakfast we went back to the room and rest for a couple of hours, at 2 PM we checked out and drove back to Muscat then to Barka. A worthwhile weekend, looking forward to the next one, when? that is the big question (?).



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