The Last King of Scotland in Oman: Never assume a kilt wearing Scot in Muscat is insane

Within a month in Abu Dhabi I was required to go to Oman for a visa run. Due to lack of work I was allowed to spend a weekend in Oman while my work permit was sorted out. This would be the first time I would be travelling somewhere where I didn’t know anyone. I would truly be on my own. Truth be told I was slightly apprehensive about it but this was a fear I needed to conquer. So armed with my backpack and iPod, I boarded my flight to Muscat.

The flight was practically empty and I noticed two other ‘Europeans’ on the flight. So I arrived in Muscat and made my way to Mutrah bay where I would be spending the night. I spent the day sightseeing walking kilometers around old Muscat and the bay taking photos and enjoying the solitude and freedom. That evening I decided to have dinner at another hotels’  rooftop restaurant which according to Lonely Planet offered some great views of the bay.

Martin, the Scot in a kilt, in Muscat

I had sat down with a book and iPod, when I saw a guy walk past in a kilt. I had to do a double take to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. Yes. There was a man in a kilt in this restaurant, though not any man. This man was on my flight! He recognized me. He walked towards me. “You were on the same flight as me, weren’t you?” he asked in an almost undecipherable Scottish accent. I said yes. He then asked me if I wanted to join him as he was on his own. (Alarm bells went off in my head! Crazy Scot in Kilt going to rape you!!!). Okay, maybe not exactly that, but something along those lines. I didn’t want to be rude and say no to invitation to join him at his table, so I said yes and took my things to his table. (what’s the worst that can happen?!?! Actually I didn’t want to think about that answer)

His name was Martin and yes he was Scottish. Obviously the first question I asked him was, why the kilt. His answer surprised me. “It’s a good way of talking to people. They know it’s a Scottish thing so they always ask about.”. Interesting way of having people open up to you. He then went on to tell me he more about himself and love for travelling. He had been travelling for four years now. Only made possible by his job, working on an offshore oilrig in Scotland, with a rotation of three weeks on, three weeks off. So every three weeks he travelled as much as he could. He would pick a region and try to see as much as possible.

He went on to tell some interesting travel stories including one where he’s backpack including passports and money had been stolen while he was sleeping in a field in rural Bosnia. To cut his long story short, he got back his passport and travel documents, through the help of some UN officials working there, who he met by accident while on a school bus trying to find his way to the closest town. From thinking he was insane, I started to admire him and his devil-may-care approach to travel. We ended up chatting for hours about the place we had visited and where we wanted to go.

At the end of the evening I went off to my hotel to sleep while he went to the hotel bar for some more interaction with people.

It was an interesting lesson that taught me some more lessons about solo travel and also to never judge a fellow traveler by his kilt.

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This entry was posted in Gulf, Oman, Travels and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Last King of Scotland in Oman: Never assume a kilt wearing Scot in Muscat is insane

  1. Shahana says:

    Woooo I grew up in Muscat! Spent some 15 years of my life there. I used to hang out in a Hula grass skirt myself. Another excellent conversation starter 🙂

    Or it was until I got arrested for disturbing the peace with my outfit…

    (About 20% of that story is true)

  2. Tonito says:

    LOL Shahana I think your alcohol consumption might have more to do with the peace disturbing than the Hula Skirt!

    Now, did you really grow up in Muscat? or is that part of 80% lie in the comment?

    • Shahana says:

      Eh no thats the 0.5% thats true. I really did grow up there 🙂

      What?! You think I make stuff up? Have a little faith Tonito have a little faith

  3. Lu says:

    Begs the question “why was Martin sleeping in a field in the first place?” I, too, am a Scot – but don’t go around in a kilt – ever. Probably ‘cos I’m a girl and that would be weirder than a bloke going around in a skirt.
    Muscat is a lovely city – my husband and I worked in Oman during most of 2010. Thoroughly enjoyed it there. It’s a great place 🙂

    • Tonito says:

      LOL Martin sleeps in fields and old abandoned forts because he feels like it. He was quite a character that’s for sure!

      Even though I only went to Oman twice, I loved it, and would be more than happy to go back and visit.

  4. Bob says:

    I spent ’83-91 in Muscat and Salalah (travelling between the two, by land and air many times). Hopefully, you have been back to Oman to explore beyond Muscat. As for kilts, the Sultan’s personal guard ride camels, play the pipes, and wear leopard skins and kilts! Oman is a wonderful place (has its issues, but where doesn’t and if you look about the region, it is even better!).

    • Tonito says:

      Thanks for the comment Bob! I went to Oman twice and explored beyond Muscat both times! My favourite trip was to the Turtle beach in Raz al Jinz close to Sur! My visits to Oman were the highlight of my year of living in Abu Dhabi!

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