Muscat, Oman
Date:
10/12/2000

PHOTOS
 
Awaiting dinner of chicken schwarma after a great visit exploring the Muttrah Souk

Today is half-Ramadan (the month of Ramadan is halfway completed) and children run through the souk collecting candy from shop owners – the celebration is much like a US non-costumed Halloween. These boys enjoy ice-cream after collecting much candy.


 
Ten minute massage included in the cost of a hair cut (5 riyal or about US$13)

This barber still uses a straightedge razor to finish his cut.


 
We stopped in the souk for Jim to receive a trim from a local barber.

When pricing gold in the Middle East, the shop employee weighs it and adds a ‘craftsmanship cost’. The seller doesn't even expect the first quoted price to be accepted. Bargaining is a way of life here.


 
Glittering gold – 22 and 24 karat

Souk streets lined with gold


 
Jim buying Omani frankincense and myrrh.

Some old Omani silver can be found inside Muttrah Souk if you are willing to hunt, but most is new, although often aged instantly for an antique appearance.


 
Jim checks out a ridiculously priced old globe in a curio shop.

A window full of colorful prayer hats folded into pointed minaret-shapes


 
Entrance to Muttrah Souk, a traditional, old covered souk stocked with clothing, vegetables, spices, gold and silver jewelry, frankincense, myrrh, antiques and curios


 
 
PAIGE'S NOTES
 
10 December 2000 – Oman: population is 2.33 million. Omanis consider themselves Arabs, but their rich trading tradition has led them, unlike many other countries on the peninsula, to intermarry and mingle with other ethnic groups.

While it is a constitutional monarchy, the government is headed by Sultan Qaboos, who is the prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister. He’s pretty much a one-man show: he issues all laws and decrees and appoints the administrative bodies that carry out the day-to-day running of the country. The Sultan married in 1976, but divorced later, having produced no children and no heir to his throne. A cab driver told me that speculation over the successor is ‘just not talked about in Oman’.

 
VIDEO
 

AUDIO
 
  Muscat and Muttrah Souq (Paige)
  War or Peace? (Jim)