I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.
The flight from Ahmedabad, India to Muscat was a long one…6.5 hours. The usual fueling delays and problems with leaky hose nozzles, etc. I was still refueling when the ATC folks sent a truck out to see why I had not called for my clearance. One has to work at maintaining demeanor in situations like this one. Finally got in, received a start clearance quickly followed by a “taxi now” clearance. Zipped right into position on the runway, did the runup there, and away we went. She was heavy but performed beautifully. A direct course to Karachi was not available so an extra 50 miles was added to the journey by flying north to Chor, Pakistan, making a hard left to Karachi, then out over the Arabian Sea paralleling the coast line.
Headwinds in the early part of the flight but then some nice tailwind and we were zipping along about 160 knots groundspeed for a while. Nice. Over Karachi I could not help but think of a movie from my youth with Jerry Colona (sp?) He was a comedian in many Bob Hope/Bing Crosby movies which most of you are too young to remember. In one of them Jerry included the phrase, “Come in Rangoon, come in Rangoon, Karachi calling!” It was a goofy, silly thing that has always stuck with me. Oh well, so much for trivia.
Very nice weather with very few clouds all the way to Muscat. Got a vector straight onto downwind and bingo!..I was in Muscat before dark. The normal formalities and there was old Army friend Bill Kosco waiting for me. The rest of the family appeared and a wonderful week of reunion, touring, story telling, and good times and interesting food ensued. One of the highlights was driving approximately 100 plus km to Turtle Beach. Accommodation had been arranged by the Koscos since they had been there before. The “Ritz It Ain’t” palm covered camp shacks contained several military style beds but when you’re tired they looked pretty good. A nice dinner buffet style was included, then tea on a “open to the desert and sky” community sofa under a full moon and the stars was a fitting end to the evening. We had an excellent dissertation by a very well educated guide on the history of Oman. Off to bed early since the wake up call was at 0300. The goal was to wander down to the nearby beach in order to watch the giant green sea turtles lay their eggs. It was a most memorable event and well worth getting up in the middle of the night for. A nice breakfast awaited us upon return to the camp, and by that time it was time to wander back towards Muscat. Stopped in several villages along the coastline to take photos.
Hollis Kosco, Bill and Betty’s daughter, had been in Oman for approx 6 months helping develop the Muscat Asian Beach Game event. It had been just completed when I arrived and Hollis was breathing a sigh of relief. She had made many local friends and over the week of my visit some of them are now my friends as well. Learning that I was headed to Bahrain next, one of the chaps not only gave me a sim card to Bahrain but offered to have one of his friends pick me up and “look after me” during my visit in BAH. More on that later.