Monday, September 1, 2014

Muscat, Oman in pictures

So I clearly have some more pics to share from my adventures in Oman. And some stories to tell - especially that one about how I *almost* got expelled from CLS (the program I was with). But that still bothers me, and I'm not quite over it yet, so I'll tell it when I'm comfortable enough to do so. And just some general thoughts of mine on Oman ... and my overall review of CLS in Ibri.

Meanwhile, though, here are some photos from Muscat. I had a good time there! Just a little tip: You don't go to Muscat for a short 2-3 days; that's a beautiful and big city, and you need at least a week to enjoy it all! I saw the souq (bazaar), known as Souq Matrah; I spent a good amount of time at the largest mosque in Oman, the Grand Sultan Qaboos Mosque, and I had iftar there; I walked on the beach; I visited the mall/City Center and bought a couple of books in Arabic and got an interesting and refreshing perspective on what Oman's version of Victoria's Secret looks like (pic below); I hung out with friends at a Starbucks there (I KNOW!! There IS a Starbucks in Oman! Just not in Ibri. Then again, I'm no fan of Starbucks, and I don't do coffee. The only thing I ever get at Starbucks is their strawberry smoothies, if I absolutely feel the need to have a drink.); and I chilled lots and lots at the hotel we were staying at, Hotel Al-Falaj. OH! And that's where I basically perfected my swimming skills. May God reward my friends for teaching me!

As for my general impression of Muscat, all I could notice, really, was that my beeblez--the South Asians--seemed to be running everything (and, yes, they're treated quite badly there, like slaves, and, no, they don't actually run anything and get less than some 30% of the money they earn from the shops they run). I'm still not ready to talk about my general impression of Oman so let's not do this, please. Another time, inshaAllah, once I've healed from the trauma I faced during the second half of my stay there.

Focus now. Here are the pictures.
Right at the end of the souq is this view.

View from our hotel

Mural at the hotel

That minaret belongs to the Mosque of the Great Prophet, originally built in the 15th century. I sadly didn't get to visit it.

Alleys through the souq (it was Friday around prayer time so everything was closed)

An abaya shop

Tempting stuff. I almost bought one, but it required too much altering (I'm short so *nothing* ready-made ever fits me)

The shaylas (hijab-like headcoverings) that come with the abayas

The ceiling somewhere towards the end of the souq

The mountains of Oman

Our hotel pool

A Victoria's Secret in Oman :D Nothing like what we're used to in the West. A refreshing sight, really, though still too pink

Those minarets belong to a new mosque that just opened there called Masjid Al-Ameen; I've heard it's gorgeous but didn't visit.
The Grand Mosque
The Grand Mosque

Courtyards at the Grand Mosque - very peaceful and beautiful

The Grand Mosque at evening

Inside the mosque, right before you enter the prayer place (for women)

So, yeah. And this is at the women's entrance ...
Still the Grand Mosque

Inside the women's musallah (prayer space)

Doors in the women's musallah

The lighting in the women's space

I liked their prettyful spaces for storing the Qur'ans and other books!

Still the Grand Mosque!

Uh-huh... the Grand Mosque

... You guessed it!

The mosque at night
This is a random place where you just sit and take pics of yourself.
These toilets were SO cool! They even had a flushing system - look at the top of the pic. I KNOW!

The mosque at night

The mosque is huuuuuge; don't remember which area this was.

Women's ablution area

The women's restroom

The women's ablution area

We walked by the beach over here. It's private during the day but public at night, so.


Starbucks in Oman!

I *think* this may be the beginning of the souq, not sure.


A little area of the souq where a friend bought a Pakistani-style dress for Eid from an Afghan shop

We ate at this restaurant in our hotel. It was okay.

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