Thursday, February 24, 2011

WHY I WANNA LIVE LIKE AN OMANI PRINCESS: a thing she forgot

It seems we forgot something universal from our list of why we love living it up in Oman.
We love that we can wear flip flops to the most formal of business meetings (or State Occasions, nudge nudge Sultan Qaboos;D) and no one ever breathes a word about closed-toes or stockings.
Ahhhhhh.
C'est la vie.

Dear Omani Women: Female Circumcision is Not a Sunnah, and a weekend in Nakhl

Sooooooooooo, everyone seems to be on vacation. Except for this OPNO. Who has no computer to call her own.

I just read a post on Shy Rebellious Arab Girl [the blog, book coming soon], that struck a chord with me.

I posted before on female circumcision in Oman. I wanted people to know through that post, that Islam forbids FGM, which is, removing the entire female clitoris from the vagina. So people tend to call the practice of pricking or cutting a very little of the tip of this part of a girl's body, "ISLAMIC FEMALE CIRCUMCISION".

Fact is though, and PLEASE READ THIS MISINFORMED WOMEN OF OMAN (and elsewhere), that there is no such thing as "Islamic female circumcision."

My proof for that statement that contradicts whatever the women of your village or tribe believe ignorantly:

1.) The Qu'ran does not require women to be circumcised.

2.) The Prophet Mohamed never told anyone to circumcise their daughters.

3.) The Prophet Mohamed never had his own daughters circumcised.

4.) The Prophet Mohamed never PRAISED anyone for having their daughter circumcised.

5.) The Prophet Mohamed never praised or required his wives to be circumcised.

Hmmmm, well, if the act of doing do so, were a good thing, wouldn't the Prophet Mohamed have told us to do it, or, well, God/Allah in the Qu'ran??????????????????????

He didn't, so it isn't a "sunnah".

Non-muslim readers and Islamically ignorant Omanis: the definitions of what a sunnah is as follows.

A sunnah is something the Prophet Mohamed told us to do, or something he did, or some action he praised.

Female circumcision is NONE OF THESE THINGS!!!!!!!! Islam mentions no benefits of the act at ALL.

But it does say that FGM, the act of cutting the whole clitoris up and out, and stitching the vagina back up, is haraam, i.e forbidden and sinful.

While the Prophet Mohamed never accursed female circumcision, just FGM, he never praised or encouraged it.

That means that Islamically FGM is haraam.
Female circumcision is merely a halal cultural practice, but certainly not a sunnah.

Any one who calls something a Sunnah does an act of shirk, claiming something that God did not, so be careful when you excuse your cultural behaviours and sully the clear commands of God with your own whims and traditions.

Why does this strike a chord with me?

Because my 3 year old step-daughter had this done to her, because someone told my husband and his family it was a sunnah in Islam, when it is not. They had no other justification to take away her future sexual pleasure, and my in-laws aren't educated enough to know the difference between culture and religion. Nor my husband in women's issues. Ask him about prayer and fasting and zakat charity and he has you covered, but in women's issues he's clueless, as are most men in Oman.

It breaks me heart. And it will never be done to another child in the family even if I have to make war with the whole tribe and the mothers of these girls. Honestly, I don't care.

I am not the most liked person in the world anyways so I don't really care.

To me it is a shirk to call something a sunnah that is not.

That's why ya'll Ibadhi from our village bad mouth the Shia you barely know anyways right? I am sunni, and Sunni Dhofari girls are told FGM is a sunnah too. Educate yourselves and stop being hypocrites, O my Muslim Ummah!

Arggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

On to happier rantings,

I went to Nakhl on the weekend and climbed a mountain over the village that had a crumbled watchtower on it. Great veiw of the hot spring, the village, and the Fort.

Lots of goat poop though, and not an easy trek. Especially not when you are wearing an Omani "lael".

And then I hiked up the wadi of Ain Al Thawarah hot spring, and found a pool with those fish they have at the Dr. Fish spa at the Bareeq al Shatti mall complex. The ones that nibble the dead skin cells off your feet?
So I had an awesome pedicure for free, as they tickled my toes gently.
The mountains were a pretty purple shade by the time I made it back to the car park. Then I went and had mandhi (Yemeni yummy rice with meat on top and delish sauce) in Barka before heading home.
Yes, goat poop, skin eating fishes, and female genital circumcision, all topics bright and sunny for this OPNO.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why I wanna live like an Omani Princess ;)

I love Oman. I have so many reasons why, and this post is just to remind myself why my life is so much better here (since lately, I have been focussing on the things I hate about Omani culture;p). Now, onto why I love living like an Omani princess in Oman xoxo -OPNO
Safety and Religious Freedom: As an expat many years ago, before I embraced Islam, I was impressed by how no Omani woman [or man for that matter] insulted me or was insulted by my Western clothing, and lack of a headcovering.

I remembered that. How as Christians, my family was safe and welcomed in Oman, a Muslim country unique in the Gulf, for my experiences in the UAE were not quite the same, despite UAE and other Gulf states being toted as modern and safe for expats and tourists.

My Western home country is actually one of the most famous countries in the world for tolerance and freedom, and yet, sadly, when I became a Muslim, I had difficulty in continuing in my profession (in fact, I was practically reduced to poverty and I am more fortunate than many) , and in fact, sadly, and due to a very small portion of the population, did not feel safe to just live my life as my non-Muslim neighbors did. I could not walk down the street everyday without being hated and insulted for no reason. Most people were good. But the ones that were not sapped me of my strength to keep on fighting for justice and equality. I just wanted to live.

Here in Oman, all praise be to God, I have the blessing to be able to just walk down the street without having to tell my life story and geneology to justify my way of dressing, and I can get a job regardless if I cover my face or hair or body or not if I am capable at it.

This is the most Islamic GCC country to me, and I have finally found peace here, and place to build my life up from:)
My Omani Husband: because he's my love and this is his home. And he'd be prettymiffed if he didn't find himself #2 on this list;p.

I loved Oman long before I ever loved him despite popular opinion, but my love for him helps me continue to love Oman when things in its culture get me down. Why? Because MOP is all that is the best in his culture, and has the patience to deal with all that is the worst in both of our nationalities, while I, well, don't anymore. As I am constantly raging at him about Omani village mentalities "I converted to Islam, not HIS-lam!" he has the patience to find a way around things or to explain things to those more ignorant, and I do not. Allah bless him, ameen.
Shopping: Khaleeji designer abayas. I came here to shop right? Now this may be something totally mysterious and untranslatable to a non-Muslim audience, but for a girl from the West, Oman is SHOPPING HEAVEN! We have a choice in abaya styles, cuts, and embellishments, as well as an array of headscarfs. Which totally takes away the toil (and expense) of trying to convert/tailor regular American and European clothing into something that meets the Islamic requirements of loose, not see through, covering all the right body parts, ect. And still have individual style whereas in other Gulf states that is a no no? Hell yes! And you know what? There is no law in Oman saying you HAVE TO WEAR abaya, so you get all this, + the option of wearing whatever else you want. Which I do, CONTRARY to village mentalities remaining in Oman.

Omani women, you have NO IDEA how lucky you are that you can do what you do and keep up your beliefs. Don't let that go, or let men or people dictate how you believe you should be able to dress. A right that is not taken, is taken away.
Omani hospitality: it's part of the culture. In Oman, people are always inviting you for Qhawa [Omani coffee] and dates (plus a huge lump of meat on a stack of rice on a giant plate!). And if you are a traveller in trouble (and boy, have I been!) people go waaaaay out of their way to rescue you.
Shout out to KH and AH who saved us from a hellish nightmare in UAE and wouldn't take a dime for anything!My backyard: What Muslim girl or housewife doesn't daydream of having a courtyard to let her hair out (and her arms) in the nice sunshine?

I love my yard, and that pic? The archtecture genuinely resembles the little villa where I live;D Alhamdulilah, mashaAllah right? Omani history & Culture equal the best weekend road trips!: Oman has a rich heritage and history, which accounts for differing regional customs and dress, and as well as a pantheon of forts and castles and splendours of natural beauty to explore, all on a 1-2 day weekend.
Camping: Oman has some of the most amazing nature you'll ever see. From the green tropic foliage of Khareef in Salalah, to the serene sands of Wahiba, to the Wadis in Sahrqiya, to the world's second largest Canyon of Jebel Shams mountain, and fishing on the Qurayat coast, camping in Oman is one of my favourite things in the entire world to do. This is what I do when I have a vacation.
Where I live: it's a plantation farm with mango and banana groves, and I love walking in the dappled sunshine. The road to our house is lined with date palms, and I love to sip tea on the swing and watch the workers in the feilds.

People, when they think of Oman, think of desert, and are very much disapointed to see how green Muscat is, so no, I don't live in Salalah;p. Western friends are always surprised that I seem to live like Scarlet O'Hara, lol.

At sunset, the physical beauty of the place is breathtaking, and I have to thank God that I was born, and that I am here. And it is so surreal to wak up to the sounds of parrots singing!
Horses: Oman has some of the finest stock of Arabian horses and some of the most skilled riders you will ever find.

I love spending the morning running on the beach watching riders work out their horses, or ride myself in the surf on a hot day.

I am so thankful that Sultan Qaboos is enlightened enough to allow [what men should have to allow what God himself already ordained good for womenkind?] Omani women to do sports like riding.

Thank God I can ride down the beach without some man going "haraam, she's a whore for making a show of herself like that" or parents going to their young daughters "oh she'll break her hymen."

Alhamdulilah Oman has bigger minds than those for the most part! Tourists: Now I know this is a personal one of mine, since no one in my village is as thrilled by them as I am, but I love showing english-speaking expats around the country and explaining the culture. I guess I just want them to see the Oman that I know and love, not just the stops on tour bus route;D
Omani children: and Omani babies. Another personal bias but I think Omani babies are just about the cutest in the world and little kids walking around with khanjars and kohl in their eyes make me smile.
No destructive nationalism [for the most part, we have to keep an eye on this one]: Omanis are indeed Patriotic, but not in the "local are better than thou" attitude I am seen and experienced in other GCC countries. Omanis are generally welcoming and respectful, and this can still be improved!!!!!

I love what the mix of cultures in oman lets me experience, from how to tie a sari lesson from my friend Z, to an Emirati traditional weddding invite from friends from Buraimi.
Decorating with Omani handicrafts and archtiecture: I love Omani traditional building methods (as do all the OPNO girls) and it is my goal to mix my traditional English easthetic with Omani peices from my travels in my home.
The weather: which will make most Omanis and expats laugh. But I LOVE the sun. I am sick of cold and rain and had too much of both as a child. Once I adapted to the climate of Oman, I was never able to aclimatize back for my home country. I love living in a tropic forever-beach setting.
The juice: I love that I am sipping cocktails of fresh mango juice when my little sis is stuck with apple concentrate. And that I am eating exotic fare like Arabic, thai, Indian, ect, when she is stuck with Turkey dinner. Don't worry Little Sis. When you come, you'll get your fix;p
Well, that's my list, on why I am in Oman and not going anywhere else without a good fight.
Why do you love living here?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tales from the Tarmac: Differences in Dining Habits Observed in Oman

My family back in [insert country of OPNO's passport] liked to [some of the time] set the table for dinner.
I am talking the following ecroutment requirements: table cloth, table runner, cloth napkins, placecards, plate chargers, dinner plate, soup bowl, bread plate, desert plate, salad fork, dinner fork, desert fork, dinner knife, teaspoon, dinner spoon, water goblet, red wine glass, white wine glass [even if you are not drinking wine], [and/or champagne flute], + the service trays.

Not to mention candles, and floral arrangements. Find room for the food on that table, I dare you! http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_f92HEOB-IsE/SdJSl2jF0NI/AAAAAAAAFjA/ezumQ9KCbhc/s400/Artfool+-+MSW.jpg

That's why we also have buffets, a seperate peice of furniture to house and present the food, and store it while we eat in courses http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_f92HEOB-IsE/SSN6rd4k5SI/AAAAAAAAC_U/CON8_qolYxM/s400/MS+BAT+3.jpg.

Doing dishes was a nightmare. You see, we don't have maids back home. Well, Boxie did, but that explains why she is still so messy;p.

As was trying to spare certain friends with a less European background which fork to use for what http://www.acornadvisors.com/Kitchen%20Newsletters/2007-09-06%20Setting_the_Table/Placesetting-Diagrams.jpg. Like that scene in "Pretty Woman" where the hotel man is trying to teach prostitute turned escort Julia Roberts how to eat for a night out at a posh restaraunt http://mrjam.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/julia_roberts.jpg. BTW, they play that movie on repeat waaaaaaaaaaaay too much here in Oman.

Anyways, I want to relate to you all, because I have nothing better to write about today, about the time I went to the trouble to throw myself a housewarming party and invited some players from the Oman handball team (I won't tell you which one;)).

I cooked/prepared 4 courses. Appetizers. A salad. Main course. Desert.

I set the buffet (a crappy plastic table covered in a lovely table cloth and well-disguised).

I set the table. Table cloth. Table runner. Plate chargers. Cloth napkins folded with personalized name cards for the settings and napkin rings. Plates. Silverware. Glasses, for our non-alcoholic beverages. Glasses for water. Floral arrangment with floating candles. Very pretty.

Ready for the guests!

My guests, all Omani (most from Seeb, Mubela, and Al Khoud), arrived.

Replay of the proceedings:

The portions (since they were not served together in a heap) were at first regarded as small. Most of the service was disregarded. Cloth napkins were replaced quickly by the ever present kleenex, an Oman essential, and hands replaced the many forms of utensils available.

It was fun, but a TOTAL waste of my effort.

I have learnt my lesson.

As they say.

When in Rome...

[Note: for my Omani friends who are GIRLS, this wouldn't apply. They eat in restaurants in Qurum more than at coffee shops and mishkeek stalls so lol]

Monday, February 7, 2011

Omani teachers sign petition requesting wage increase: why one teacher said no to signing

From what I have heard on the grapevine, a group of Omani teachers are passing around a petition requesting a salary increase.

One Omani teacher said he didn't need or deserve a raise and refused to sign. Here's why:

"I make close to the upper end of OMR 1000 a month. Most of those I work with, make much the same, excepting of course, the new teachers.

I know people who make only OMR 360 a month and live better than me, they just know how to save and spend their money. My job isn't that hard. Most teachers signing that position, their work isn't either.

If you want to argue, that the prices of food have gone up to justify a salary increase, I am not with you on that. We have what we need and more than that. If you want to buy a fancier car model or a bigger home than your family needs, that is a problem with your spending habits exceeding your earnings, not a problem of the Omani government that you should be looking for a Government hand-out to feed.

The prices for things have indeed gone up, and if you were handing me a petition to have the government control food prices and other essentials like housing, electricity, water, ect.... I'd sign it in an instant.

But we already make more than the average Omani who might have a harder job than ours, and who works more hours, so how does raising our salary help those out who also have to deal with the rising cost of living? If I know a man who can afford rent, feed a family of five and keep a housemaid for 360 rial, while costs are still rising, can you tell me honestly that someone who makes OMR 800 needs more than that to live decently?"

I read today in the Times of Oman that the government was making some effort to control agricultural prices. This is kind of a random post, but this was a totally unique statement I wasn't expecting from an Omani so I thought I'd share it with you all:D

Sunday, February 6, 2011

tales from the tarmac: decorating like a [Western] Omani

This is my own tales from the tarmac story. Even after knowing all I do about Omani history and culture, sometimes it still happens, that some ridiculous supposition reveals how little I really understand in the end:

MOP: "Habibti, what are you doing?"

[OPNO is hanging a broom made from date palm leaves on a wall in her home like an ornament.]

OPNO: "It's like a cute Omani cultural decoration." [She smiles at him, knowing MOP loves anything from his own culture that she had adopted as her own.]

[MOP shakes his head.]: "In Omani culture we don't hang dirty old brooms on the wall as art."

OPNO: "This one is clean. I bought it for a rial."

MOP: "I could buy six of those for 1 rial." [OPNO too, does indeed get ripped off.]

OPNO: "You don't like it?"

[MOP demonstrates his point, taking the dust brush and mop from OPNO's laundry room in hand]: "Say I am making a traditional American house. I am taking this broom and mop as part of your American culture. I nail the broom to the wall, and hang the mop from a peg. Is this what you would do in your country to decorate. Cuz I've never seen it in 'Architectural Digest'?"

[OPNO regards the ridiculous mop hanging from the wall by MOP's hand. There is a mop hanging from the wall like a framed photograph. She immediately feels very stupid. The two laugh. End of cute story, moral being, don't hang cleaning objects on your walls and call it an Omani traditional;p]

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This post is dedicated to Kasey: Oman and UAE are getting Tim Horton's!

This post is dedicated to my friend Kasey in Canada who lives sometimes in the Gulf, but hates it here at times, and we all know why: the Khaleej, as it now stands, lacks a Canadian girl's coffee and sweets pick, Timmies.
But as Muscat Mutterings http://www.muscatmutterings.com/2011/02/help-local-blogger-and-tim-hortons.html wonderfully informs us, we are getting our Tim Horton's, so Kase, it's safe for you to move back now;D
Thank you MM for the glad tidings. Keep us abreast if you learn any developments of the TH's planned {Muscat?} locale.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekend Review: I went and saw a Bullfight

You totally wouldn't think of it on a day to day basis, but the Portuguese who once captured the Muscat and Al Batinah coastlines left their imprint on Omani culture indellibly. Some architecture, Portuguese rifles and canons, and antique 4 poster beds betray Oman's (partially anyways) period as a Colony (this didn't last, Alhamdulilah) of Portugual.

But, going with MOP for his morning run on Barka beach, OPNO having a picnic of fresh strawberry juice and a thyme [called Zatar in Arabic] and cheese pastry called fateerah [which everyone should try!] to snack on while she watched Omani riders excersing their horses on the beach, OPNO was reminded of Portugual. Two young Omani men were running a rather massive bull down the beach, taking it for a stroll almost as if it were a pet dog. It was certainly a thing to see.

They were, of course, warming it up for its fight in Barka that day [Friday] at 4 pm. A usual event most times in Barka.
This OPNO has lived in Oman a long time, and while I had heard of the Omani style of bullfighting: no betting, no matador, just headbutting angry bulls and live crowd to see which bull is strongest, I had never gone before.It wasn't my cup of tea but it was interesting. When OPNO P's friend Boxie comes to Oman in the summer we intend to make another day out of it, and pretend we're in Spain or something.

I also went to Naseem Gardens to spy which things to take the kids to. Lots of fun things there including these giant plastic balls you can go inside and walk/float around on a pool. That looked fun. Rides.

And of course shopping. Little sis, I am going to grab you a fake Chanel to go with your pseudo LV, and a classy jalabiyia.

I am going to grab myself a beige jalabiyia (Arabic style party dress) and a jersey sleeve abaya (going for 13 rials). Nothing unique there, but decent prices like at the Seeb exhibition center so...

Quote of the day: "You are the daughter of a Jinn Chicken!"

"You are the daughter of Jinn Chicken!" was the excited comeback on the boy's front.

Today I drove to work with my Omani boss's children. LOL, do not ask why. We joke it is not part of my job description to pick up dishdashas from the tailor and to iron them either but since my job totally suits me, and my boss is actually a very interesting, totally cool person I respect who overworks himself before overworking any of those in his employ, I just consider it one of the quirks of working in Oman. And I think it cute that his sons are scared to death of grown up women.

Anyways, in the car were a couple of 7-9 year old Omani boys, and one 10 year old American girl.

Apparently, this morning was girls versus boys. I apparently, don't count on the girls' side, because since I am a friend of their father, and thus, am on their side regardless of sex or whether or not I wish to be counted on either side at all.

Well, I got in the car in the middle of an insult throw fest, and I was quite amused to see how different cultures insult eachother. The American girl's culture and way of insulting being similar to what I am familiar with, the Omani insults from children VASTLY amused me.

"You're fat," was the American girl's retort to some quip I didn't hear. [In the USA, calling someone fat or picking on how they look is a way of insulting people].

"You are the daughter of Jinn Chicken!" was the excited comeback on the boy's front. [In Oman, calling someone an animal is bad, as it saying you are less than human, same with acusing them of being possessed by an evil spirit, like a Genie."

The 10 year old girl was complexed. "Like... what is that?"

"Jinn, as in, Genie, stupid."

The girl raised her eyebrow, and turned back to face the front seat and ignore them. "You are too stupid to even insult." [Insulting someone's intelligence is also a very Western characteristic when it comes to the art of insult].

Their father phoned. Put onto speaker he admonished them. "Is this how boys who pray Fajr [morning prayer] in the Masjid [Mosque] behave!"

Yep, lol, that was my morning. How was your drive into work?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Daily Diary: Events for Muscat Festival 2011

Omani Heritage Village and Cultural Festival
Dates:- 27 January – 24 February
What is it: A live and active village, the Festival will enable visitors to learn some of the key techniques used in some traditional crafts including how to weave baskets of date palm leaves, used in most Omani villages both to store and collect dates. There will also be displays of traditional Omani dresses, a souq, silversmiths working on the creation of traditional coffeepots, weavers assembling goat hair cloaks and experts in Bahla pottery. The village will be open for the entire length of the Festival and for those interested in Omani history and heritage, this will one aspect not to be missed. It also featured live preformances of Omani music and dance, and with laser shows starting at 8:30 pm from the start of the festival until I believe its end. I could not find out how they are doing their firworks in the schedule. They have fireworks. When, remains unconfirmed but when I went, they had some.
ENTRANCE COST Adults: 200 Bzs/Children: 100 Bzs
Location: Qurum Park
Audience: Family
Nassem Park Fair & International Market
27 January – 24 February

what is it: rides, displays, food (your usual amusement park with 500 vendors from different countries selling their wares, and performances)

ENTRANCE COST Adults: 200 Bzs/Children: 100 Bzs

Location: Naseem Park on the way to Barka after Seeb. Big blue and yellow wall and gates, you can't miss it if you keep driving straight from Seeb.

Opening: 16:00-23:00 hr daily throughout the festival

Audience: Family

Omani Food Festival
Dates: 3 February – 24 February

What is it: The Omani Cooking Festival will feature the fabulous smells of Omani food as part of a live cooking show. Taking place between 3rd- 24th February, there will also be an opportunity to buy tickets to a sit down gourmet meal on the 10-02-2011 ( 06:50 pm ) . I am assuming, in Qurum park.

Location: Qurum Park??? I will confirm.

Audience: Ticket only

Times:
03-02-2011 ( 04:15 pm )
04-02-2011 ( 04:15 pm )
05-02-2011 ( 04:15 pm )
06-02-2011 ( 04:15 pm )
07-02-2011 ( 04:15 pm )
08-02-2011 ( 04:15 pm )
09-02-2011 ( 04:15 pm )
10-02-2011 ( 08:50 pm )
11-02-2011 ( 08:50 pm )
12-02-2011 ( 08:50 pm )
13-02-2011 ( 08:50 pm )
14-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )
15-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )
16-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )
17-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )
18-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )
19-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )
20-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )
21-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )
22-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )
23-02-2011 ( 05:30 pm )

Muscat Fashion Week
Date & Time: 22-24 February

22-02-2011 ( 07:00 pm )
23-02-2011 ( 07:00 pm )
24-02-2011 ( 07:00 pm )

What is it?: The inaugural Muscat Fashion Week will present high-end contemporary Arabic styled designs, creating the leading showcase of this genre in the World.

Location: Riham Park is what is advertised. I will confirm.

Audience: Ticket only

Tour of Oman
Date & Time: Dates: 15 -20 February
15-02-2011 ( 12:30 pm )
16-02-2011 ( 12:30 pm )
17-02-2011 ( 12:00 pm )
18-02-2011 ( 12:00 pm )
19-02-2011 ( 02:00 pm )
20-02-2011 ( 12:30 pm )

What is it?: 6 Stages 848 km 16 professional teams 128 of the World's best cyclists.

Location:
Stage One -15 February:-al Sawadi to al Seeb.Distance 158 km12:30hrs Start - Finish at approximately 16:05hrs
Stage Two - 16 February:-The Wave, Muscat to Al WutayyaDistance 150 km12:30 hrs Start - Finish at approximately 15:50hrs
Stage Three - 17 February:Sur – Sur Distance 208 km12:00hrs Start - Finish at approximately 16:45 hrs
Stage Four - 18 February:- Sultan Qaboos University to Jabal Al AkhdharDistance 157 km12:00hrs Start - Finish at approximately 15:55hrs
Stage Five – Time Trial – 19 February:-al Jissah – al JissahDistance 18 km14:00hrs Start - Finish at approximately 16:44hrs
Stage Six – 20 February:-Qurayat – Matrah CornicheDistance 157 Km12:30hrs Start - Finish at approximately 16:15hrs

Audience: Family

Free Concerts
Dates: 3, 10, 17, 23, 24 February
03-02-2011 ( 09:00 pm )
10-02-2011 ( 09:00 pm )
17-02-2011 ( 09:00 pm )
23-02-2011 ( 09:00 pm )
24-02-2011 ( 09:00 pm )

What is it?: There are three concerts and two theatre shows confirmed in the Qurum Ampitheatre starting at 2100 hrs
3 February – Arabic Concert
10 February – Indian Concert
17 February – Shah Rukh Khan ie Indian Concert apparently though the website says Arabic???
23 & 24 – February – Theatre Shows

When I get more details I will post them.

Location: Qurum Park Amphitheatre

Audience: adult

Extreme Sailing Series
Dates: Public Viewing 22 -24
22-02-2011 ( 02:00 pm )
23-02-2011 ( 02:00 pm )
24-02-2011 ( 02:00 pm )

What is it?:The Sultanate of Oman will play host to one of the world’s most exciting sailing events as part of this year’s Muscat Festival. Ten top professional teams will compete in Muscat as part of the first leg of an 11-month, 9 event global circuit that continues to change the way sailing is seen. Over 10 teams representing eight nations [including gold medalist atheletes] will tackle a unique mix of open water races and high-octane ‘stadium’ showdowns. After leaving Oman the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series will head off to China. The Series consists of nine events on four continents over 11 months, ending in Singapore in December

February Location: The Wave, Muscat Audience: Family Public Village open from 1000 hrsRacing starting at 1400hrs with activities being:

1.) Racing, which will start at 2 pm every afternoon
2.) Learn sailing. The registration desk will be in the public race village and open to all children (over 8 years+) on a first come first serve basis.
3.) Shopping. A number of retailers and exhibitors will showcase their products as well as Omani heritage and culture stands and food outlets.

General Activities: Bouncy Castles, Red Bull, 5-a-side football, volleyball and kite surfing competition and stunts and lots more!

No experience of sailing is necessary, so bring the family down to watch, take part in the fun and support the two Oman teams! More details can be found at
www.extremesailingseries.com and on www.omansail.com

& if you want to know why sailing is important to Oman....

National Geographic Exhibition
Dates:- 14 December – 18 February
14-02-2011 ( 08:30 pm )
15-02-2011 ( 08:30 pm )
16-02-2011 ( 08:30 pm )
17-02-2011 ( 08:30 pm )
18-02-2011 ( 08:30 pm )

What is it?: Over a thousand years ago, Arab and Chinese Merchant Ships began to brave the vast, unknown waters of the Indian Ocean. These voyages sparked myths of deadly monsoons, fierce pirates and untold riches from foreign lands.

And now these myths have come alive in Muscat for the first time, as part of a unique exhibition: National Geographic's “From China To Arabia: Ancient Treasure Ships and the Great Oman Voyage." Located at Qurum City Centre, entry is free.

More details can be found at www.ancienttreasureships.com

Location: Qurum City Centre

Audience: Family

Series of Lectures
Dates: 31 January – 22 February
07-02-2011 ( 07:30 pm )
08-02-2011 ( 07:30 pm )
09-02-2011 ( 07:30 pm )

What is it?: A series of lectures, poetry reading, classic cinema and Arabic novels will also be hosted throughout Muscat during the Festival. Timings and dates are subject to change, so please check the website http://www.muscat-festival.com/en_All%20Events_18_3.php for the latest information.

31 January: Lecture by Wole Soyinka @ SQU University

2 February: Classical Arabic Poetry (in Arabic) by Nabila Al Zubair and Ghassan Zaqtan
@ Grand Hyatt Ballroom

3 February: Cinema by Mohammed Hassan @ Shatti Cinema

4 February: Lecture by Dr Ali Al Kithery, Mr Ishaq Al Khanjari and Mr Shawkat Al Rubaie @
Grand Hyatt Ballroom

7 February: Lecture by Prof Ali Mazrui @ Sultan Qaboos University

9 February: Classical Arabic Poetry (in Arabic) by Abdullah Al Balushi, Ibrahim Said, Zahran Al Qasmi and Reem Al Lawati@ Grand Hyatt Ballroom

10 February: Movie by Andree Tharkomansky and a lecture by Mr. Abdullah Habib @ Shatti Cinema

12 February: Story telling by Arundhati Roi and Ibrahim AL Kooni @Grand Hyatt Ballroom

14 February: Lecture by Fatima Al Marnisi, Isabel Allande and Joseph Musaad @ Grand Hyatt Ballroom

15 February: Silent Theatre by Abdullah Al Saadawi@ Oman Society for Fine Arts

17 February: Local Poetry by Humaid Al Balushi, Mahfodh Al Farsi and Ahmed Al Saadi@ Grand Hyatt Ballroom

19 February: Lecture by Nasser Al Rebat @ Grand Hyatt Ballroom

20 February: Story Telling by Yahya Al Mandhari, Adel Al Kalbani, Amal Al Mughazwi and Mohammed Al Shahri @ Grand Hyatt Ballroom

21-23 February: Workshop for Children suffering from Cancer with Artists Anwar Sonya and Samira Al Yaaqobi @ Royal Hospital Gardens