Life in Sohar: Jenny Far Away’s First Impressions of Oman

Did you know that in Oman, if you run a red light, you can face a fine of 500 rials (about USD $1300) and four days in jail? Yup. They take their red lights seriously here. This is just one of the many, many things I’ve learned about life here in Oman. I’ve been in Sohar for two weeks now. I’m adjusting, slowly, and will be really settling in and doing more exploring as soon as my home is ready to move into. I can’t wait for that. But in the meantime, here are a few of my first impressions of Oman.

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A Visit to the Orphaned Wildlife (OWL) Rehabilitation Society

Daisy stared at me from behind the bars of her enclosure, curious, willing me to come closer. Robust and healthy, she looked just like the owls I saw in the wild a few weeks ago. The difference? Daisy can’t fly, can’t hunt, and thus can’t survive in the wild. So she’s here, at the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL), a non-profit raptor and owl rescue centre that takes in injured and orphaned birds of prey.

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New Zealand Walks for Wimps: Knuckle Hill Track and Kaihoka Lakes

The panorama from the top of Knuckle hill is incredible; from 342 metres above sea level you can see most of Whanganui Inlet, and in the other direction nothing but trees. The drive to get here isn’t too shabby either. The road winds around the inlet, crossing streams and small bays. At low tide it is stunning with tiny channels snaking their way through the mud flats and seaweed and the late afternoon light giving it all a silvery glow.

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Western Southland: The ‘Other’ Side of New Zealand’s Southern Scenic Route

NZ’s Southern Scenic Route is more than just the Catlins! That stretch of road is famous for a reason, but what many people don’t realize is that there’s another side to it. The Southern Scenic Route actually extends West of Invercargill along the Southern coast of New Zealand and up to Manapouri. It winds its way through farmland, historical and cultural sights, and past endless gorgeous beaches, with far less tourists around than in other parts of the country.

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On the River: Taking the Boat From Sittwe to Mrauk U in Myanmar

Taking the boat from Sittwe to Mrauk U in Myanmar is an excellent chance to see life along the river. The ferry leaves just as the sun is rising through the mist; seagulls follow the boat as it makes its way from the dock up the river, hoping it will churn up a tasty snack. Cargo and fishing boats pass, some loaded down until they’re barely peeking out of the water, and stops at villages along the way make an interesting diversion.

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New Zealand Walks for Wimps: Hooker Valley Track

The Hooker Valley Track in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is one of New Zealand’s most popular, and I can see why. Winding between towering mountain peaks covered in snow, the track is easy, relatively flat, and well-maintained. Only taking a few hours, it’s one of the easiest ways to get to the spectacular alpine views New Zealand is famous for. No strenuous uphill hike, no climbing, no helicopters needed.

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Tiger Leaping Gorge: Hiking Yunnan’s Most Dramatic Scenery

There were two choices for going back up to the road: the ‘safe path’ or the ‘ladder’. While the right choice seems fairly obvious, please understand that the safe path meant retracing our steps and going a very long way out of our way just to get back to the restaurant that was essentially right above us. Tiger Leaping Gorge was really about to test my fear of heights.

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