National Day Holidays – Trip to Marmul December 3, 2006Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Pot Pourri.
Last weekend, I went on a bus ride to Marmul . For those unaware of Oman’s oil production capabilities, Marmul is a major oil exploration outpost in the Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) concession area. Marmul is 880km from Muscat and a bus ride lasts around 11 hours. I travelled in Happy Line Transport, a leading luxury coach company offering daily services to Marmul and other PDO locations in the deserts of Oman such as Fahud, Yibal, Qarn Alam and Saih Rawl.
We took off from the Ruwi Bus Station at Muscat around 7am. We stopped at Firq Roundabout in Nizwa for breakfast, which is a major halting point for all luxury coaches operating on the Muscat – Salalah Highway. Before and after Adam, we ran into a huge convoy of military vehicles probably making a ‘base move’ which significantly slackened our pace.14km from Haima, we turned left to get into the PDO concession area. The bus stopped at Rima, Nimr and Bahja on its way to Marmul (PDO outposts similar to Marmul).
A rig move between Rima and Nimr had us trailing behind the trailers carrying heavy equipment at a speed of 50kph for over an hour. We finally reached Marmul at around 6pm, 1.5 hours late compared to the normal journey time. The highlight of the down trip to Marmul was witnessing a beautiful sunset in the desert– a gigantic, resplendent orange fireball dropping down into the sands like a fireball from the heavens right ahead of the lonesome desert highway. Sorry, I have no pic… you just have to imagine the sight.
I travelled back to Muscat the same evening by car. A journey on the Muscat – Salalah Highway which is just hitting the gas on a straight road in the middle of the desert for hundreds of kilometres can be a pretty boring experience, but do keep a wary eye for camels that can jump in front of your vehicle, especially in the night. I did encounter a herd in the middle of the night. As always, responsible driving and alertness on the road pays. I also happened to see the mangled wreckage of what was once a Lexus next to the highway – the aftermath of a deadly collision with a truck – it’s left there as a reminder to all motorists that speed thrills, but also kills!
On a parting note, meet Mittu, the affable blue-cheeked bee eater who is always hanging about my flat’s balcony.