Oman: Day 1

Recap: I arrived in Oman and checked into the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Muscat (review in last post)

Breakfast review: A quick shower later, I headed down to a lavish breakfast spread. An entire table was dedicated to different types of cheese which were placed along with some grapes. Placed on an adjacent table was a tray filled with chunks of ice and jugs of fruit juices kept atop it. Cereal, crossiants and nuts lined the rest of the table.  A counter where you could order an omlette (Spanish omlettes are my favorite) and a couple of items from the South Indian cuisine formed the end of the buffet. Recommendation to sit where you have a really nice  view of the scenery outside.

Grand Qaboos Mosque: The group and I headed down to the Grand Qaboos Mosque after breakfast with the girls/women wearing modest clothing and a scarf draped over our heads. When I had read about us doing a “mosque tour” on our schedule, I always pictured a tiny mosque and wondered if we were riding out all the way here for a 15 minute tour. I have visited a lot of countries but have never really visited many mosque and esepecially not as large as this one.

In order to get to the mosque we needed to pass a seemingly endless number of corridors that had arches bordered with Arabic calligraphy and/or beautiful architecture.

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This one was the first arch we passed through to get inside the main area of the mosque.

Weather update: It was really hot and I was wearing a black scarf which made me really uncomfortable and itchy.

The tour guide was giving us quick facts about the mosque but I was too busy admiring the mosque to notice. The mosque was surrounded by greenery on all sides and the walkways were incorporated in such a way that we were walking alongside tiny fountains with beautiful flowers along the edges of the stone steps to the mosque.

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The mosque doesn’t seem like it is huge but it is gigantic and built with a lot of imported material from India (#represent).

 

 

The mosque also had a lot of beautiful chandeliers around the different segments of the mosque which were breathtaking to look at.

The carpets were peacock blue and the architecture was also varying shades of blue giving off a serene vibe.

 

A tip for future travellers: Always wear socks if you go visit in the summer because you are required to take off your footwear when you enter some areas of the mosque and the ground BURNS the soles of your feet.

The inner courtyard where prayers are held for occasionally

 

The tour took us approximately 2 hours which was not even close to what I had expected and by the time we were done, we were sweaty and exhausted because we actually had to walk a lot to look at all the different corridors/arches/architecture/prayer areas.

 

 

 

Our tired faces in front of the mosque

 

 

 

 

Roundtable conference with Hakim Al Maameri, Dr. Harith and Mr. Riad: The main reason we went to the trip is to learn about the conflict between Oman and Zanzibar and the perspectives regarding what actually happened during those events. After a quick shower/change of clothes, we headed down to the conference room where we had notepads and bottles of water laid out in front of us. Turns out we didn’t actually even need those because what they had to say was very interesting and we had a lot of questions to ask. I can’t really write about what they had to say at the moment because it would be a mini-essay in itself. However, I am willing to write about it if I’m interested to or if someone else is interested in hearing about it.

Lunch: The thing about staying at the seafront (aka the Corniche) was that when you walked downhill/ took the bus, there were plenty of cutesy food joints to eat at. There was also a really huge Starbucks cafe for all those people who have caffeine running in their blood. We took the bus to this small area located near the seaside which has a lot of food joints clustered together. We choose a restuarant called ‘Slider Station’ (totally Omani. Jk) and ended up eating lunch there.

It was a buzzing place with loud music and young people. I ordered the crispy chicken slider as well as the dangerous chicken slider (which could definitely do with more spice considering its name)

Dinner: We went to this traditional looking hotel with antique decor and majlis seating (which means you’re seated on the floor on red cushions) called for traditional Omani food (for real this time). About 25 mins away from our hotel with minimal traffic. I had lentil soup with parathas (which they kept calling bread), 4 glasses of mango juice (yea I know) and cooked lamb in rice with yoghurt.

The lentil soup in my mind was not really good because we have something similar in India called daal and we eat it with rice so I wasn’t really feeling it. Also, there was a complimentary drink which looked like foggy water and I was informed that it was rose water (?). I didn’t really like that one too.

Since me and a couple of the other missed 3 days of Oman, we missed going to the Souq to check it out or buy souvenirs. A Georgetown alumni who was an Omani offered to take us there but we learned it was closed.

Brownie with Ice CreamSo instead, me and 2 more people decided to take a walk downhill (it was still hot at night which was extremely stiffling) and we went to a homely cafe called Tche Tche where I wolfed down a brownie and ice cream (all that walking made me hungry, alright?). Also best part about the restaurant: free wifi!

 

I slept soundly.

Sania

Comments and post about what you liked, didn’t like or what you would like to know more about!

 

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