Muscat. Oman November 26, 2022
After a great breakfast- the hotels all have huge buffets, six of us headed out to see the sights. Of course we soon split up and went our separate ways. My first stop was at the fish market-
and what a selection!
Prawns for $17/kg. I thought that was a great price and when I told the fishmonger I had no place to cook them, he pointed across the road that they would cook them for me in that restaurant. If I hadn’t just eaten like a pig at breakfast, I might have taken him up on that-
Conch and squid-
The people are so friendly and helpful-
My plan for the day was to walk the Lying Planet’s suggested itinerary to hit the highlights. I did it in the blazing sun but it was okay.
There are many statues in the roundabouts-
My next stop was the gold souk where they sell 21 carat gold jewelry-
The main souk-
is connected so I just followed the little streets and was constantly hassled by the merchants. Kummah-
What an outfit! All my clothes were at a laundry so I’m wearing the leftovers- my sports bra, my fanny pack around my waist with my camera attached, my runners, my sun hat and a string keeping my sunglasses on ….. and a kummah-
Notions for sewing-
and cooking pots-
I’ve seen most if not all of this before so what I like the most is to visit with the people. I found a teacher’s store and spent a good half hour visiting with the workers - one from India and the other from Bangladesh. The Arabic alphabet-
and the numbers from 1-100. They start on the left side and read to the right so the capital E is a 4-
Leaving the souk I was back on the corniche which is the walk along the water. I met a group from Iran and the first thing they asked me was if I had heard about the protests they’re having about women’s rights. I said I had and they were so pleased. They said they too were protesting as they were dressed in Western clothing. We had to have a picture-
Next I came across Mutrah Fort which is high on a hill-
and the gigantic incense burner-
That’s another interesting thing about Muscat. It’s built around the mountains so your business or home might be just on the other side of a mountain but it’s impossible to get there over the mountain. It takes a long time to go around and because of the valleys, the city is really spread out-
Entering old Muscat-
Probably the biggest surprise of the day was a small art gallery called Bait Muzna. Oh my!
Tahira Fida Al Lawati -
The largest kummah measures 1 metre in height and 1.62 meters across. It has a circumference of 5.16 meters. There are over 200,000 stitches in it and it took five women 18 months to make. They used 27.43 meters of fabric. Scenes depicted are the incense burner, the Khanjar which is the traditional dagger and the Grand Mosque-
Debjani Bhardwaj - The Air That I Breathe II is a handmade paper cut-
Juma Al Harthi’s Doors III measures 106 x 70 cm-
Also Jibreen I, my favourite, which cost $2200-
There were paintings by Anna Dudchenko and my favourite is called Sunset Catch-
The walking tour suggested I stop at a restaurant. I usually wouldn’t because I have always thought that the restaurants pay Lonely Planet to put their business in their book as a form of advertising. I had delicious mango juice and was sitting with the owner. I asked him if he knew his restaurant was featured in the LP but he didn’t have a clue what that even was. I showed him the reference and map. He was quite surprised and pleased!
Funny things: a perfume shop-
Carrying on……. People can’t enter the Sultan’s Palace but there’s nice architecture and pretty gardens-
Lastly I stopped at the National Museum to cool down and use the bathroom. I don’t need to see another museum - maybe ever! The woman behind the counter ended up figuring out how I could catch a city bus home. She wouldn’t stop looking until she had it figured out. People are so kind! The bus stop was just out the door but I had to make a transfer. I don’t mind taking the bus sometimes because then you see more of the city because it’s not usually a direct route but it took me an hour and a half! instead of probably 20 minutes. I could have caught a cab for $17 but the bus only cost $2.43. The best part was the Indian student who heard on the bus where I was going, actually everyone knew, but she took it upon herself to walk with me crossing busy streets, through a shopping mall to show me where money exchange shops were and she walked me right to the exit where I needed to go. So nice.
I had a wonderful day seeing the sights and interacting with some lovely people! Looking forward to tomorrow and its surprises!
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