Tuesday, June 30, 2015


"How about a date honey?" he asked, whispering in my ear. A date?? What was he talking about..how was he talking at all? His breath was foul and his heavy lidded eyes put me off. He blinked a couple of times, snorted and turned to the woman next to me. I had my chance and I blew it.
The high humidity and heat are affecting my imagination. The camel wasn't talking to me at all...he's only a photo in an Oman publicity brochure.  Although we haven't seen any camels in the flesh, among the touristy items in the bazaars there are plenty of cheesy camel carvings and statues - I don't like most of them but I do like the little items they fasten to the tiny saddles and bridles. Some camel statuettes are used in jewelry stores to show off diamond rings and earrings, bracelets and other baubles. They look great in the shop windows.

Back to my camel fantasy...the date offer made sense. The reality is that nutritionists agree dates are the best food for breaking fast during Ramadan. And the markets are full of them in buckets, in fancy boxes, stuffed with nuts and dipped in chocolate. It's a long standing tradition..Mohammed started it way back when. 

Here's where we've been eating breakfast every day with a great view of the Bay of Oman and the coast line. The occasional dhow goes floating by. Dates are on the buffet but you have to be careful about how many you eat. 

The outdoor deck is lovely but too hot to use this time of year and during Ramadan you cannot eat or drink outside.

Here's where you can sit all day and drink coffee or look at the coffee table books or just stare straight ahead.

We went to Carrefours today to hunt out some local items and perhaps spot an Omani. Six kinds of mango were available, most from India, one from Pakistan and another from Kenya. We spotted avocados from Kenya, but no Omanis.

The bakery was excellent and the Arabic sweets were piled high.

People are serious about snack food. I've never seen such large bags of Cheetos...they were very popular in Iran as well. We watched people eating Cheetos and dipping them in mayonnaise. Talk about gilding the lily! And they are quick to blame food manufacturers for their extra pounds even though fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts are plentiful and cheap and readily available.

Snake gourd...interesting shape.

Gorgeous tuna - looked very fresh. Everything is incredibly expensive here. One Omani rial is worth approx. $2.75.

We didn't see any Omani Bedouin in this kind of mask...actually we saw mostly Indians who apparently  own and run the shops. The hotels are manned by Philippino workers. 

I lifted this photo from the Internet. Perhaps women still wear these masks in small villages or out in the deserts? The masks are for modesty but also protect them from blowing sand. I've read that Omani fashion designers have their models wear these masks in fashion shows. They are certainly striking. I won't comment further except to say that women probably have adapted them to accommodate their cell phones...just a guess, because everyone almost everywhere we've been has a phone. 

Thinking about camels made me think fondly of one more Nadia lecture on the Caravanserai. They were situated  30 km apart and you can see their ruins all over Iran. A camel could travel exactly that distance without water. The Caravanserai were built to accommodate 200 people and a fleet of camels...the camels carried the merchandise from spot to spot - silks, spices, weapons.They were rolling Walmarts of the desert. People came from miles around to trade as the caravans passed through. 

1 comment:

  1. I just want to be on record. I love the people of Oman.