unexpected lessons learned

I bet you guys thought that I’d be wandering around the streets of Muscat, Oman, yes?

That was the plan, but unfortunately, as travelers know, things do not always go as planned.

My flight from Singapore to KL was smooth, and no one was sitting next to me so I was lucky enough to be able to sprawl out and get a good forty minutes of sleep. On the flight from KL to Muscat, however, I was accompanied by a seat mate. He was a really nice man. We made small talk in between falling asleep and watching movies, but I still would’ve enjoyed a row to myself. About an hour prior to landing, I was hit with the worst stomach cramps. I had to stay seated because whenever I stood up I felt like I was going to be sick. It was not a very fun hour. Once we landed, we went to the arrivals hall, where you could either go to the transit section or the visa/immigration section. At that point, it felt as if someone was pinching and twisting my stomach from the outside in, and all I really wanted to do was sit, so I went through the transit hall in search of a seat.

I decided to pay for 5 hours at the Plaza Premium lounge after searching for ibuprofen and successfully finding a pharmacy. Even after taking the medicine, I still felt sick, and the comfort of the lounge was well utilized. About 45 minutes ago, 2 hours into my 14 hour layover, I started feeling a TINY bit better. I had been feeling really guilty about not going into the town, especially since it looked INCREDIBLE from the airport, so I wandered around looking for a way to get to immigration.

I talked to 4 airport employees. Three directed me towards random gates and places, and when I finally found the person they told me to look for, she told me that I was not allowed to leave the transit area. I asked her if there was any way since I had a 2 am flight in 12 hours and that I came into the transit lounge just looking for somewhere to sit to calm my stomach, but she was firm with her answer, and I sullenly walked away from her, back to the lounge.

So here I am, typing this blog, reflecting on my mistake. I didn’t know that you weren’t allowed to leave transit areas, and now I do. I wish that I had known that prior to entering the hall, but hey, I wasn’t thinking about anything but my stupid stomach. I’ve come to learn that traveling is a big learning experience, and although mistakes, like mistaking a 3 am ferry for a 3 pm ferry, as well as this one, happen, it’s all part of the travel process. Sure, these lessons may be frustrating as ever when they’re actually happening, but when I do get these impromptu lessons, I just need to remember to step back and remind myself that it happens. The serendipity and unexpected occurrences that happen while on the road are part of the reason I love traveling: there’s always so much for the world to teach us, and there’s always more for us to learn.

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