Shopping Day in Muscat

Trip Start Jun 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 17, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hilal's House

Flag of Oman  , Masqaţ,
Monday, July 12, 2010

Not the best of nights as that Turkish food from dinner really hit me hard in the middle of the night. (It got Pooja during the evening after our shopping trip). I went to sleep late due to the World Cup Final not ending until after 1:00 am Omani time. So, par for the course on this trip, we woke up late. Yahil (one of Hilal's brothers) had come to the house to take us to Muscat to help with the shopping. But we were still in bed and it was 9:00. So we quickly got ready, took Meme with us, and headed out in the Nissan (as Hilal has the Pajero in Dubai). We met back up with Yahil in the city of Fanja which is just 15 km from the house. Fanja is known for their clay pots and jars. Though we would like one of their jars to take home it is much too heavy to do so. So we bought a couple of frankincense burners made from clay with a cool design on it. Though it was only 10:00 the heat was in the triple digits. I drove everyone to the Mutrah Souk for our souvenir shopping. Yahil was so good at this as he bargained hard for us to get the best price. We went to an average of 5 shops before we would settle on a price to buy one item. It was pretty awesome watching him bargain with all the shopkeepers. I bet he was their worst nightmare. Things we got included a khanjar (a traditional Omani dagger) with silver holder, more frankincense, another burner, saffron, an Omani walking stick, traditional Omani hat, Omani football jersey, big purse for Pooja made in India (most of the traders are Indians), silver chain for Pooja, and a Kashmiri shawl. Not bad for a few hours of shopping. We got almost everything from our list. From here we drove to the Omani Ferries Co. to buy our ferry tickets for the Musandam Peninsula. It will leave on Wednesday for the 5 hour trip. The tickets are about $55 a piece (air tickets were $110). Plus we get to see the Oman from the sea. It should be pretty cool. Then we went to Ruwi (which is the Central Business District of Muscat) so Yahil could go pray at the mosque. Although this is considered downtown Muscat, the tallest buildings are only 10 stories high. After prayer we had Yahil pick his lunch place since he did so much work for us. So we went to a traditional Omani foods restaurant. Each "table" was its own room – so the four of us had a room to ourselves. Though there was no table – this is Omani after all. Just like at the house, we sat on the floor to eat. Yahil had a dried fish curry & rice, Pooja and Mimi had a regular fish curry & rice, while I had chicken curry & rice. Of course, we ate with our right hand. Yahil was finished in not time as he puts a fistful of rice and fist in this mouth at one time. I put just a little in my hand for each bite and did not finish the rice (but I did the meat). After a month here, I’m getting OK at this eating with your hand stuff. Will I do it back in the states? Probably not. Just like I’m not going to install a squat toilet either. My plan for getting Yahil lunch did not work out as he paid for it before I could. From here, Yahil took over the driving and we went home (his driving is much faster than mine – and I usually go around 75 mph down the highway). At home Pooja took a major power nap (so much shopping wore her out) while I hit the computer for some work. During the evening I went for a solo trip to the Hypermarket 10 km down the road in Samail. Pooja was not feeling well now (Turkish food hits another) so I wrote a list of good foods for her to get. The market was not all that great compared to the Carrefour’s in Dubai and Lulu’s in Muscat. I also went to the pharmacist to get Pooja some meds for the tummy. Small problem in line as I found out I had little money. So I had to drop everything and go across the street to the ATM. Back at home the kids invaded the room to play on the bed. For dinner, Kamala cooked some chicken burgers that I ate with pita bread, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. Good stuff as I will say meat and rice is getting a little old. Don’t get me wrong, they cook very well, but once a day is too much for me as I’m spoiled with a variety of foods.
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