30-Nov-2002 -- We spent three weeks in November/December 2002 (straddling the Islamic Ramaḍān/`Īdu-l-Fiṭr holidays) travelling in Oman. The furthest our circuit took us from our home in Riyāḍ, Saudi Arabia, was the southern city of Ṣalāla, where we visited our first urban confluence point at 17N 54E. On the way south we visited 21N 57E, 20N 56E, and 18N 54E; and on the way to the east coast of Oman (on our return) we visited 18N 55E, 18N 56E and 19N 57E. In all we motored 8,300 km.
After a few days R&R in Ṣalāla visiting the local attractions, we checked out and started on our return journey, which was to take us up the east coast of Oman. To reach the coast we needed to drive 100 km north on the Masqaṭ-Ṣalāla highway, and then leave it at Thumrayt to follow tracks east to the coast for 350 km.
The confluence point was pretty well en route, in an area beguilingly marked as "sources irreconcilable" on the detailed map we were using. It was also shown as adjacent to oil fields, so it was not surprising that we travelled reasonably fast on well maintained graded tracks, only having to cover the last km or so cross-country. When we reached the confluence point, situated on a vantage point, we could see that even most of this was unnecessary, as simple zigzags on tracks would have taken us closer.
The vista shows several high-tech Oil Company plants and notices close by. Before inspecting these we broke out some ḥalwā (an Omani sweet made of semolina, ghee, and sugar, and flavoured with almond and cardamom), which we had bought in Ṣalāla, and feasted.
Having inspected a selection of the notices we continued east, picking our way through the maze of pipes, oil wells and camps that make up the Marmūl oil field and camping at the first opportunity in a sheltered wādiy.
Continued at 18N 56E.