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We decided to take a trip to Muscat, Oman for Chris’s 4 days off and make our own ‘Christmas Vacation’.  The drive from Abu Dhabi to Muscat was only supposed to take 5-6 hours.  Google maps said 6, so Chris stated he would be able to make it in 5.  For some odd reason I thought it was only going to take 4, which is why I agreed to the trip with all the littles.  If I had only known.

We left and were off to a fine start.  Nice open freeway, just cruising along.

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Google then had us take a turn onto Truck Road.  I guess we should have known by the name it was a bad idea.  It was a road full of… well, trucks… duh.  It had a speed bump (or speed hump as they are known here) every hundred yards, and a lot of these street signs…

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and a lot of this….

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When we first started on the road it was exciting to see the camels.  We would get the kids attention and point to where they were.  Some had men on them, some were just wild roaming the desert.  After 20 minutes on this awful slow road and 1000 camels later it started to be a joke and we were all sick of them.  Chris of course took advantage of this and pointed out every single camel and even Ava told him “enough of the camels dad.” To make things more fun we had been running very low on gas and there were no gas stations in sight.  We finally found one just in the nick of time.

We finally got past Truck Road and came to the UAE border control.  The van that we were driving to Oman was a rental.  Little did we know that we would have to have permission from the rental company to take the vehicle across the border.  We made some phone calls and there were some papers that had to be written and sent here and there and signed by this person and that person so that permission could be granted.  An hour later we were still sitting there getting impatient.  The boys were out of the car seats but there really was nowhere to go out of the van so we all just sat there.  Chris was holding Zachary while I was doing something and he decided this was a grand time to explode out of his diaper… all over Chris.  It was perfect for how we were all feeling.  I laughed (because it was on Chris) and then changed my little mess of a baby while Chris wiped himself off.  At this point we started talking about hotels in Dubai and started making some phone calls.

Becks got to take a turn in the driver seat

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The police must have taken pity on us and finally just told us to go, but next time to make sure we got permission from the rental company. Chris swears it was the green stains on his shirt that got us the free pass.  90 minutes later, we got our exit visa from UAE and felt like we were finally getting somewhere.  20 minutes later we came to the Oman border control.  To get entry visas we had to stop and go into a building.  It took about a half hour, but we got it all done and really actually were on our way again.

We were pretty sick of the car at this point but had more than half way to go.  Beckham hates his car seat and was not happy.  Ava kept asking why it was so far and why it was taking so long.  We answered her only to hear the same questions 5 minutes later again and again.  Kelli Jo inherited my tiny bladder and had to go to the bathroom really bad so we had to make a quick pit stop… for this…

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That’s the toilet that she had to use.. squat and pee.. and no toilet paper.  You can guess what the blue buckets are used for.  I don’t even want to know.  I passed and decided I could hold it.

After what seemed like a drive that would never end, we started feeling close to our destination.  The scenery changed and it was quite amazing… These pictures can’t even begin to capture the sights.  The mountains are like pure rock and they seemed to glow in the slowly setting sun.  It was awesome.

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We got a bit off track the last few miles and went through some rough back streets but finally found our way again and made it to our destination… The Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. Our home for the next 3 nights of our Christmas vacation.  The resort is nestled away from the city of Muscat and feels like they must have carved a spot right out of the gorgeous rock mountains for this resort right on the beach.

The next morning this is what we were looking at from our balcony.

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It was Christmas Eve and we spent the entire day in the sun.  We had a blast swimming in the pools, floating time and time again down the lazy river, and playing on the beach.

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Here is the splash pad with the resort in the background

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They had giant checkers and chess boards and a mini bounce house

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They even had a snowman

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Grandma and Zachary

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My ever selfless mother spent part of the day up in the room so the boys could take a nap.  Thanks mom!

Kelli Jo and Zoey went on a camel ride down the beach

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That evening there was a candle lighting ceremony by the tree outside.  Some of the resort employees sang Christmas carols and then they had all the kids light candles and stand by the tree.  It wasn’t our normal Christmas eve tradition, but was really nice.

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We had a delicious Christmas Eve dinner at one of the restaurants.  We figured we were meant to be here because in true Burgess Christmas tradition, there was a big red tree in the lobby…

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We then headed back to our room for some of our normal traditions…. we read the story of the birth of Jesus and opened Christmas pajamas.

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Then it was time for bed so that Santa could make his visit…. little did we know that it would be one of the strangest Christmas’s we have ever had.

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