Day 81–Sun., Mar. 27, 2011–Muscat, Oman

Old Town

     An important trading port between the east and west since the 1st century CE, Muscat is both the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Oman.  Located on the Arabian Sea it was ruled by various factions including both the Persians and the Portuguese Empire.  Its power as a regional military force extends back to the 18th century.  Since the ascension of its current Sultan, Qaboos bin Said, in 1970 Muscat has developed rapidly leading to a stimulated economy and a diverse, multi-ethnic population.  The landscape is dominated by the Western Al Hajar Mountains and the economy is driven mostly by petroleum, trade and its port facilities.  On July 23, 1970, Sultan Qaboos bin Said staged a bloodless coup in the Salalah palace with the assistance of the British, took over from his father as ruler, and put an end to the Dhofar uprising which had threatened the area since 1962.  He consolidated the differing tribal territories in an attempt to end the interior’s isolation from Muscat.

     We had a ship’s tour today.  The first stop was Sultan Qaboos  IMG_0858Grand Mosque.  I didn’t wear long sleeves, so I couldn’t enter.  They tried to sell women without long sleeves their long dresses and scarves.  Some did buy them, but I figured I would never wear it again.  I had long pants and a scarf, but missed the bit about long sleeves.  Ray did a good job taking pictures.  Souq

    We then had a short stop at the local souk.  I made a deal and got earrings that I will remake to match my necklace.  It was very clean, but the incense was intense.  Everyone wanted you in their stall, but they weren’t too pushy.


    We then went into the Bait Al Zubair Museum which boasts one of Oman’s finest private collections showcasing the country’s culture, tradition and heritage. 


 Palace   The next stop was for photos of the Palace. IMG_0915

     The town seems to be carved out of the mountains.  They limit the height of the buildings to expand the town limits.

IMG_0835 IMG_0865 IMG_0918 IMG_0923

     We took the shuttle back to the souk at 4, as it closes from 1-4.  We walked around a bit, bought a few things and returned to the ship for dinner.  The show tonight was the music and mayhem of Davie Howes, Britain’s virtuoso of variety.  He was excellent!  He played the piano, the horn, the shower hose and walker.

Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens.” –Jimi Hendrix-

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