Magnificent Muscat and I Met a Celebrity at a Mosque

I’m back in America and coming at you with pictures from the second half of my trip. I’ll be catching up on comments in the next few days, so bear with me! After 3 days in Dubai, Lauren and I flew to Muscat, Oman and spent two days there. We didn’t really know what to expect at all and didn’t have high hopes. We knew we wanted to take a side trip (to another country, if possible) and I read some good things about Muscat online. That said, aside from the fact that I knew it was right on the water and had a bustling expat community, Muscat was a mystery. We went ahead and booked a half-day city tour for our first morning and were pretty much immediately blown away.

img_2449-1024x576-1 Muscat took my breath away!

Our guide, Khalid, took us on an amazing tour that included the world’s fourth-largest mosque (complete with world’s second largest chandelier – apparently they keep track of these things), a fish market, a traditional souq (market), Sultan Qaboos’s palace, the oldest road in Oman, and more. Some people don’t like guided tours, but I love them – to me, there is nothing better than taking a personal tour with a local who can teach you about the culture and tell you lots of fascinating facts.

img_2409-1024x768-1 Inside the mosque – the world’s second largest chandelier! The tile work inside is incredible. img_2443-576x1024-1 In mosque-appropriate clothing. Well, I was mosque-appropriate. Lauren’s headscarf fell off about every 30 seconds, to the ongoing amusement of the ever-patient Khalid. img_2422-1024x768-1 At a traditional Omani fish market. I’m not sure why our travels always take us to fish markets, but I think it’s a tradition we’ll continue. img_2428-1024x768-1 At a jewelry store inside the souq – necklaces EVERYWHERE! We were offered coffee by the owner and given that it is rude to turn down any offer of hospitality in Oman, I drank some. I figured my heart could handle 2 sips of coffee and clearly, it did.

We were pretty heartbroken to say goodbye to Khalid after our tour. We wanted to be best friends with him and considered asking him to be friends on Facebook, but we thought that might be creepy. Our next day in Oman took us on a half day dolphin and snorkeling cruise! The Arabian Sea near Muscat is known to be full of playful dolphins, and we could use a break from the heat by this point. The cruise took us on a gorgeous tour of the coastline!

img_2635-1024x768-1 We were lucky enough to come upon a whole school of dolphins and ride alongside them for awhile! img_2973-1024x768-1 Snorkel selfie! As you can imagine, the water as nice and warm. This is actually one of my favorite pictures we’ve ever taken, which I’m not sure says great things about our picture taking abilities. img_3026-1024x768-1 I literally printed this out and hung it in my house the day after I came home for what I feel are obvious reasons.

Sadly, we had to leave Oman later that day. I was pretty bummed – there was so much more we wanted to do and see, but that’s the breaks, I guess. It’s hard to plan trips sometimes because you can never really be sure where you’re going to love and where you won’t. I have found, for the most part, that I tend to love the places that are a little more off the beaten path. Maybe it’s because I have lower expectations for them – I’m not sure. Either way, Oman was incredible and I would love to go back someday! I highly recommend it.

We flew back to Dubai and spent the evening there before heading out for a day trip to Abu Dhabi. Our main purpose of our trip to Abu Dhabi was to see the third largest mosque in the world – the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. It’s supposed to be pretty incredible, so we rented a car for the trip and figured we would see what else there was to do.

img_3082-1024x768-1 Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. It was absolutely breathtaking in person! All shiny white marble and gold.

On the highway, we passed a billboard advertising a show by the Dave Matthews Band the following day. “That’s so random,” we thought. We made it to the mosque just in time for the 11 o’clock tour and joined the group. As we walked up, I spotted someone who looked incredibly familiar and nudged Lauren.

Me: “Lauren, OMG, THAT’S DAVE MATTHEWS!”

Lauren: “What? No, it’s not. Dave Matthews is older than that guy.”

Well, long story short, it was Dave Matthews. I found out by talking to him about the headsets they were handing out (had to make initial contact about something to see if he would even speak to me) and then leaned over and asked “Um, excuse me, but are you who we think you are?” He smiled and said “Yeah, probably.” I said, “Ok, I’m not going to make it weird and ask you to take a selfie. We just needed to know.” He laughed and said “Ok, then yes.” I’m pretty sure my heart has never pounded so hard as in that exact moment because I’m a huge nerd and I’ve never met a celebrity. We spent the rest of the tour alternating between being in total awe of the incredible detail in the mosque and freaking out that we were standing right next to Dave Matthews.

img_3054-768x1024-1 The world’s third-largest mosque and LARGEST chandelier! Finally, we found it!

I thought it was very amusing that he was taking pictures of the mosque on his phone, just like everyone else. I don’t know why, I was just tickled that he was as in awe of the place as we were, given how many things he has undoubtedly seen. His whole band was there, too. As the tour ended, Lauren and I debated the merits of asking him to take a picture. We didn’t want to wreck his tour, but the tour was over, and all I could think was that we would regret it FOREVER if we didn’t ask him to take a picture. I mean, the worst he could say was no and hate us forever, right? I could live with that. So, Lauren asked him and he said “Of course!” and his bandmate offered to take the picture and took about 5 different ones. We just stood there grinning like fools because really, what are the chances?

img_3096-1024x576-1-2 It’s a big no-no for men and women to touch in the UAE, especially in a mosque. “I’m sorry I can’t put my arms around you, that’s going to make this a little awkward,” Dave said. “We don’t want to get kicked out of the mosque, though.” Truth.

We ended up talking to him for about 10 minutes afterwards as we walked out of the mosque. We asked him about his show, he talked to us about our trip, and he was just the nicest, most down to earth guy. As we left, I wished him good luck on his show and he said, “It was so nice to meet you. I’m David, by the way.” DAVID, YOU GUYS. HE CALLS HIMSELF DAVID.

Lauren and I basically spent the rest of the day looking at each other and going “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” We also ate lunch near the Corniche (waterfront walking area) in Abu Dhabi and got a lovely little driving tour of the city. But at that point, the day had already been made.

img_3087-1024x768-1 We didn’t expect much from Abu Dhabi, either, but it obviously well exceeded our expectations.

What a perfect end to an incredible, whirlwind trip! We may have only had a week, but we made the most of it. I’m already planning my international trips for next year, but it will be hard to top this one. I mean, I met Dave/David Matthews at a mosque. COME ON.

LEAVE A COMMENT: Have you ever met a celebrity?