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Omani hospitality

Something to be learned here

all seasons in one day 38 °C
View Oman September 2006 on erodrigo's travel map.

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Yesterday we were treated to another display of hospitality by the Omani people. We were visiting the oasis Birkat Al Mauz (Were you’ll see new houses standing very close to old abandoned houses, who were traded in for the new more comfortable ones, with running water and electricity.) and he came up to us started to ell about the oasis he lived in and then invited the entire group to his house for coffee and would not take no for an answer.
So we went and were shown the sitting room, which consists of tapestry and pillows, very comfortable by the way. After we had all settled we were treated on Arabic coffee (very strong, just the way I like it), fresh dates (fresh from the palm tree) and oranges. After about an hour of talking and meeting his wife, children, mother-in-law and sister the visit approached his end when he gave us a glass of water. We extensively thanked him and since he didn’t want anything in return we all gave the children some pocket money, because we were not counting on this visit and had no proper gifts.
What you should know though, if you ever visit an Arabic family, are some basic rules. One bottom feeder in our group refused to, but we told him off. Always take your shoes or what ever footwear you’re wearing off, sit down and make sure you don’t show the soles of your feet, never refuse food and if you’ve had enough then just hold the last thing you were given in your hand until the water arrives (to clean your hands) and make sure you eat with your right hand, the left one is used for other things (you know what I mean).
It was a really nice day and we loved it even more because of the visit, the day had one more surprise for us, a humongous thunderstorm. At the end of the day we where in Nizwa and about 17.30 hours when we where walking trough the old Souq a thunderstorm broke lose. So everybody fled in the bus and we went back to the hotel. Very slowly by the way because of the huge amounts of water everywhere you looked.

Posted by erodrigo 05:38 Archived in Oman Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Omani people

so friendly and open

semi-overcast 38 °C
View Oman September 2006 on erodrigo's travel map.

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Yesterday we visited the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is an impressive piece of architecture. The praying hall for men is very large and very beautiful. It is the only mosque in the land you can visit if you’re not a Muslim.
After this monumental visit we moved a bit more inland to Nakhal and Rustaq where we visited some of the many forts that are around in Oman, there should be over a 100 in Oman. Both forts are situated in an oasis and if you want a good view over the oasis you should climb the fort. Especially the one in Nakhal, because this one has artifacts of the people who used to inhabit these forts, the one in Rustaq is impressive just by the size of it and the many opportunities it gives you to take a wrong step and therefore a deep fall, so be careful here.
The Omani people are so very friendly, our guide talked to this one girl who was getting water and she told everything about herself. She is 23 was married at 16 and had four children, she was accompanied by her 8 year old brother and her 19 year old sister who just finished high school and wanted to do some more studying. Her marks weren’t good enough for University but she was looking for some other college. So it’s not that women have to get married right away produce some kids and be done with it, no in Oman over 50% of the students in University is female.
After only a short talk with out guide she invited us in her home, we declined as our group is 12 persons big and this would be to great an inconvenience, but still it shows how open and friendly the Omani people are, an other example was in a small village where we were standing and some woman came back from doing the dishes, our guide spoke to them and immediately they started a conversation with her as if they had known her for years. Also Omani men are very friendly, the only thing you have to know is respect, if you respect them in their customs they will respect you in yours. It’s a simple; well it would be if you spoke some Arabic :-).

Posted by erodrigo 23:55 Archived in Oman Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Lost luggage

Retreived

sunny 33 °C
View Oman September 2006 on erodrigo's travel map.

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Yesterday evening I needed a pick-me-up, because I still had received no word about my luggage, I heard a lot of people cheering in the garden of the hotel, so I went over. Ordered a beer and found out I crashed the employee’s party, but they invited me to stay and I had a blast with very friendly people who came from a lot of different countries, Sri Lanka, India, Austria, Sweden, Holland and even Oman. The Sultan tries very hard to keep the expatriates limited to only 25% of the population of his country.
After many more beers it was time for some sleep and today I had my first excursion, a city trip in Muscat, we visited the museum and the palace of Sultan Qaboos, which was home by the way, because his flag was in top of the palace. The last stop of the day was at the souk in Muttrah.
Luckily my luggage has arrived today so I could put on some clean clothes, which is advisable here, because you sweat a lot. Which off course you compensate by drinking a lot of water so you can do some more sweating and so on and so on.

Posted by erodrigo 10:41 Archived in Oman Tagged air_travel Comments (2)

I'm in Oman

One suitcase poorer

sunny 35 °C
View Oman September 2006 on erodrigo's travel map.

Well I have arrived at Muscat, Oman. My Journey starts out great, my luggage has gone missing somewhere between Amsterdam, London and Muscat. So I’m sitting here in my very warm European clothes while outside it’s already a cool 32 degrees Celsius at nine in the morning. I just hope my suitcase arrives soon. The trip over from London to Muscat with Gulf airlines was very comfortable, good airline.
Nothing much to tell at the moment, I’m just going to have some breakfast and have a rest before I’m going to explore the city.

Posted by erodrigo 22:01 Archived in Oman Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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