Where in the World is Connie? travel blog

Some of Melinda's students

Wild camel wandering on side of road

Nakhal Fort, near Muscat

View from fort window

Old canon at Nakhal fort

My friend Al at Nakhal Fort

Local smoking sheeshah (pipe filled with apple scented tobacco)

Another local resident

Locals walking along a viaduct

Local woman at Nizwa market

My friend Melinda

Old men sitting & chatting at market

Women bartering over the price of sheep

Local women wear unusual S&M-like masks

Is it just me, or does this cow look buck-toothed and smiling?

Men chatting at market

Men bartering over goats

Awww, he's so cute, I want to keep him!

Traditional women's clothing styles in country

Yes he's cute, but isn't he too young to drive?

Sign in restaurant washroom


The call to prayer echoes throughout the city and for a moment I think I'm back in Indonesia. But then I look out the window, see the dry desert-like landscape and know that this isn't the lush green vegetation of Indonesia ... I'm in the Middle East.

********

My friends and former Calgary neighbors, Al & Melinda, have been working in Muscat for a number of years. They invited me to visit since I was technically "in the neighborhood", so I made a brief pit stop into Oman on my way back to Canada.

Muscat is so clean and organized, a real culture shock after SE Asia and India, but a great place to readjust back into the civilized world. There are no noisy vendors hawking their wares at curbsides or stray animals roaming the streets. There are no beggars. There are no dilapidated vehicles pumping out air and noise pollution. The roads here are paved and in excellent condition, a good thing as drivers are absolute speed demons! Muscat is obviously a very wealthy city, there's no lack of modern houses, shops and restaurants, but thankfully there are also some wonderful traditional markets to snoop through.

Melinda teaches at the Sultan's School and had to work during the day, so Al played tour guide and showed me the various sights around Muscat. But come the weekend we all hit the road to experience desert living, which showed much poorer and traditional lifestyles than in modern Muscat. My favorite was taking in the sights and sounds of the Sunday market at Nizwa, where old men sat around gossiping, and the women (wearing unusual black face masks) bartered with vendors over the price of goats.

Omanis do not like having their photos taken by Westerners. A couple of times, when children saw Al or I taking out our camera, they'd start throwing rocks at us even though we weren't even pointing the lenses at them!

Anyway, it was great to catch up with my friends again (thanks for the hospitality Al & Melinda) and to experience a bit of the Middle East.

I just can't believe that four months have flown by already and here I am, heading back to Canada to get reacquainted with family and friends, before heading out on another adventure.



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