Muscat Travel Blog› entry 4 of 12 › view all entries
â€śTravel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.â€ť - Mark Twain
enthusiastic chauffeurs pick us up at what my brother fondly calls
Still March 8th
We finally woke up from our stupor around 11am (we are 12 hours ahead of Vancouver.) After quick shower, we depart to explore Muscat. Joel and Tina have generously left their car for us to use while they headed to work with a colleague.
We drive to Old Muscat, checking out the Gate Museum, which was an informative but tiny museum located over a four lane highway along the way.
It has a large model of the area, with a computer set up with an audio presentation, explaining the history of the area, complete with coordinated lights. We parked our car, and walked around, checking out the royal palace and the fort. I notice a woman in traditional Muslim clothing, covering everything but her hands and her eyes, talking on a cellular phone driving a Mercedes. It was one of those moments that makes you aware of the lack of understanding we have of other cultures. These are a people that are quite with the times, although prior to the 70's they might as well have been an ancient civilization. Sultan Qaboos has been building his country into the 21st century in only a few short decades. Many still live in what amounts to clay and brick shacks, but own cellular phones, and have electricity in the most remote of areas.
Everything here shuts down for a few hours in the afternoon, like the Mexicans and their siestas, so we were unable to check out the Bait Al Zubair museum of Omani heritage until 4pm. So we drove down to the Al Rowda marina, to make sure we knew where our scuba tour was leaving from on Wednesday. We had a nice lunch at the marina, then headed back to the museum. The museum is full of antiquities. Chris particularly likes the room full of ancient guns, knives and weapons. We are particularly impressed with the amount of English signage in the museum, as well as the proper grammar used.
There are rooms with traditional clothing, on mannequins as well as rooms, with old nautical equipment, photos of the old city, coins from the byzantine era.
We headed back to the house, stopping on the way to check out a watch tower on the side of the road, with a staircase leading to the top.
We met up with Joel and Tina, and went back to town to visit the souk, a market, like most markets in the world, bustling with merchants selling clothing, pashminas, saffron, frankincense, perfume, silver and other goods.
We then headed for dinner, in an outdoor restaurant. I had the biryani dajaj, an Omani chicken and rice dish, which has an Indian influence. Chris is surprised at my choice, especially since there was pasta and pizza on the menu.
Chris had the Shuwa, a meat dish, that is cooked in an in ground pit oven, wrapped in banana leaves and served with rice.
Back at the house, we crawl into bed, ready for our next adventure.