Alvin Thomas finds the natural and man-made wonders of this impressive city irresistible, and his camera survived a stray football.
There’s something oddly satisfying about gawking at two marvellous creations – one handcrafted by Mother Nature herself and one engineered by man. It’s a contrast, yet one that is fitting. And somehow, this juxtaposition manages to define the exquisite skyline of this gorgeous city. I’m not talking the mystical city of Atlantis. I’m talking about Sur; its beach and the suspension bridge that sits atop the dazzling waters.
As is evident, this is my first visit to the city, so please excuse my enthusiasm. But I cannot imagine anyone coming here and not taking back a memorable tale to tell: there really is so much to love about this city.
I start my adventure in Sur after the long but relaxing road trip from Muscat to Sur with members of the Muscat Stangs Club and Ford Oman (which you can catch in last week’s Y, if you haven’t already).
My comrade for the day is my mate Elvis, who is a former resident of Sur. We split from the crowd to head towards the beach in the hope of catching a glimpse of some traditional dhows and even some modern watersport activities.
It doesn’t take us long to reach the Corniche road but there’s definitely a lot of hustle and bustle between families visiting the packed beach. To avoid the rush, we take the road that leads to the Khor Al Batah suspension bridge that lies next to the beach. It is also an opportunity to click a few pictures so, without any further ado, I grab my camera, get out of the car, and start snapping.
The setting sun makes the suspension bridge stand out like a silhouette portrait but the camera really cannot do justice to the setting – it has to be seen to be believed.
We get closer to the bridge in the hope of taking some more dramatic sunset shots. We avoid the packed beach and make our way towards the bottom of the bridge by sticking to the abandoned rocky terrain on the side of the beach. I would not suggest anyone takes this path, though, as it is filled with boisterous kids who will take every opportunity to start a fight. I know my way around pesky youngsters (you know, being one myself) so the road ahead is smooth for me.
While near the rocks, I notice a small watch tower atop a slight hill. I quickly snap a few pictures of it. Elvis tells me that it is one of the many watchtowers that exist in and around the city. The rocks, however, look stunning too. The rocks look comparatively polished – probably because of water erosion. It makes walking on them harder but both of us manage to avoid slipping into the water.
Closer to shore, I also notice a beached dhow. It looks like it has been recently painted, so I deduce that it hasn’t been abandoned. The bow also has designs etched onto it, to make it stand out from other dhows sailing around the area.
From down here, there is a clearer view of the stunning suspension bridge. It doesn’t look too big (or even elongated) from the top but it is only when I get to the bottom that I begin to appreciate the true magnificence the engineers have pulled off.
The sheer effort that has gone into the metal works is evident; the tension in the metal cables that hold the road intact even in the toughest of times deserves to be applauded.
By now, kids have descended on the area to play in the water. They use the rocks as a makeshift dive board and begin jumping into the water. Some even use it as an opportunity to pull off some crazy summersaults.
The kids also begin jokingly taunting some locals on jet skis. I cannot make out what they are saying but the jet skiers come close to the rocks and splash water on the young kids. They take it as an opportunity to taunt them further – setting a game of cat and mouse, where the kids run away from the shore to avoid being splashed by water.
It is a hilarious sight.
The game goes on for a few minutes before the jet skiers decide to retreat. By now, the sun has gone down and an orange hue dominates the sky. And before I know it, I find myself staring into a state of oblivion. And it is only when one of the young kids throws a football onto me that I come back to reality.
And before we create any more of a ruckus we retreat back to our car for our long trip back to Muscat.
Oh, and of course, the kid isn’t getting his football back.
From Muscat take the road that leads to the Muscat Expressway, before making an exit to Baushar. Follow the road to Al Amerat and head straight through route 17 for the next 200km. Once at Sur, take a left from the second roundabout and keep heading straight. In a few metres you will be able to find the Khor Al Batah suspension bridge and Sur beach.