Day 70 & 80 -Wednesday & Thursday, March 26-27, 2015 – At Sea and Muscat, Oman

Wednesday, At Sea

After two full days in Dubai my respiratory symptoms which have been an aggravation since Mumbai become much worse, leaving me with a deep chest cough. Since there was very little of interest scheduled onboard for this sea day, I spent the day resting. After lunch I enjoyed a two hour nap and awaked feeling much better.

Returning from dinner this evening, we found new “pillow gifts”. We had two sun powered/USB battery packs which also have an LED flashlight. The look like very useful gifts.

Thursday- Muscat, Oman

We arrived in port just before dawn. When we leave Muscat we will have a day at sea on our way to Salalah, which is close to the Yemen boarder. We are somewhat concerned with the recent militant activities in the area. Hopefully our trip through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea will be uneventful.

We arrived in port just before dawn. When I awoke, I immediately snapped this photo of the early morning. The mountains which came all the way to the sea were stunning.

We had an excursion scheduled with Cruise Specialists called “Mystical Muscat”. Our first stop was Oman’s Grand Mosque.

Construction on the mosque complex began in early 1995 and was completed six years later and inaugurated in May 2001, by His Majesty the Sultan. The Grand Masque can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers.

The mosque is a beautiful piece of architecture.

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Our local guide, Ahmed. Ahmed is a Bedouin, who lives in the desert about 5 ½ hours away from Oman. He is one of 13 children by his father’s two wives. He is the eldest son by the first wife. Ahmed is recently married (less than one year) loves his large GMC truck. He works in the city for four days and drive the 11 hour round trip home on the weekends. He was a most engaging young man.

This is the bath, where you prepare yourself by cleansing prior to worship. There were many of these ‘stations’ which could accommodate a large quantity of people at a time, not only in the center station but also all along the sides. This was a men’s bath. You were expected to wash your hands, face, ears, mouth and feet prior prayer. As non-Muslim visitors, we did not have to partake of this ritual.

One of the many minuets of the Mosque.

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The main chandelier inside the main Mosque.

Ahmed, our guide. He always had a twinkle in his eyes. He, as most of the Muslims we have met are very concerned about the perception of the Muslim community and actually became emotional while talking about the radical elements which make the news. He wanted us to understand that most Muslims do not share the beliefs of the radical fraction.

This lovely lady is not an Omani local but instead one of our fellow passengers. Stephanie had previously purchased this dress & covering and certainly could have passed for a local. We joke that Stephanie is our token “young person”…

A view from underneath the grand chandelier.

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A very nice middle-east toilet facility. Most of the facilities we saw were certainly not this nice. This one was located in the Mosque.

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A view of the Old city from the side of a mountain, you can see the old fort in the background.

Al Alam Palace, the official estate of Oman’s ruler.

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Our final stop was at the colorful Muttrah Souq, or market. This might be the favorite market we have visited so far on our trip. It was large, clean and you were not hounded by sellers. You were able to browse the stalls and enjoy the sights and smells.

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Oman is known for its frankincense and myrrh. There were literally hundreds of pounds of frankincense resin in almost every other stall of the mall. Myrrh was also available but in much smaller quantities due to its more expensive cost.

I visited this Pharmacy in the market. Unfortunately the Pharmacist was working alone and quite busy, but he was friendly and welcomed me to look around.

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The entrance to the Souk.

I took this photo from the ship of the fort above old Muscat.

We very much enjoyed Muscat. It is a very modern, very clean city and the people were very kind and generous. Dubai was over the top, Muscat was a much more “livable” experience. I believe I could enjoy spending some time here.

Another sea day and then we reach Salalah where we have a half day tour which includes a visit to Job’s tomb. We are looking forward to that experience.

Until then…

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1 Response to Day 70 & 80 -Wednesday & Thursday, March 26-27, 2015 – At Sea and Muscat, Oman

  1. Sharon says:

    Your beautiful pictures brought back memories of our recent visit. We too enjoyed Muscat a lot. And we would love to return. We had an all day tour and especially enjoyed our drive to the Nakhal Fort and Oasis. The Frankincense who too strong for me. And we had to leave the Souq early. Al has a funny story of me bargaining for a
    Pashima scarf in the Souk.

    Like

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