Friday, June 23, 2017

Souq Sinaw on Thursday Morning, Just Before Eid Al Fitr Weekend

Sinaw Souq in Al Sharqiyah is probably my favourite livestock souq in Oman. It beats Nizwa for me because Sinaw has more camels, and there is just something so fantastically authentically Arabian about wandering around so many Bedouin women in their gauzey bright dresses with their gold and black birqa masks, and all the men with their rifles slung casually over their shoulders.
To get there we woke up in Muscat super early, and left by 4 am. We took the old road, although one could come by the Izki way. We got to Sinaw around 6:30 am, on a Thursday morning (yesterday) just before the Eid weekend, when the souq is, arguably, at its most impressive.

Apparently the GPS for Souq Sinaw is  N23˚ 09' 52” E57˚ 51' 14”. The timing for the Souq is Thursday mornings, open from 7am-11am. The last time I went here was 6 years ago, and we were a bit late, and missed all the good stuff.

This time, we made it on time.

We drove past the carpets hung off the sides of trucks, parked at a closed dry cleaners, then walked through the pots, and clothes and toys, to the white gates that read in black English letters "Souq Sinaw". This little loup is the best part of the Souq: the livestock auction ring, the fish and fruit and veg, and on the sides, the knife and khanjar shops.
My children love it for the goats being crammed four to a wheel-barrow, or the baying of young camels being dragged past us after being bought at auction.

My sister-in-laws like the very authentic antique Omani silver jewelry (usually in the khanjar stores, not always in silver stores). If I wasn't broke, I'd have bought the silver anklets I saw while my husband was buying the boys new assa sticks, and bullets. Not that I need giant-ass anklets, but ya know, they were cool.

My Omani husband likes Souq Sinaw for the knives, and khanjars, which is why we happened to go yesterday. There are some really good craftspeople for khanjars in Sinaw, and decent antiques as well.

I wandered around staring rudely at people (because I love how Bedouin dress!) but I was too shy really to ask anyone if I could take their pictures, though two lovely local women in a pick-up decided to talk to me because my kids and I look strange. We were probably as odd a sight for the souq, as Bedouin dress is to me;).

The people watching is one of the best things about Sinaw, but it is also the thing my Omani husband hates the most, because it seems alright for Bedouin to stare, but I don't know, I felt fine. No one was creepy beyond staring, and since everyone was staring, that wasn't even creepy, so... And the women were friendly.

Beyond people watching, and buying my kids really crap plastic toys because you can't avoid this here, there were a few Omani handicrafts stores, but I liked the fresh smell of the herb and grass section of the souq, after spending a lot of time near the livestock section of the souq.
Afterwards, knowing how much I love Old Omani architecture, my husband took me up the hill over the souq, to see the old mud brick village part of Sinaw, and it really was impressive. I felt like I could truly imagine walking around here when people still lived in what are now ruins. The spaces, and arches, impressed me, along with the harat designs, around little courtyards. Sharqiyah architecture definitely has more arches than interior architecture.
The inner parts of the arches, exposed due to the current state of  the sites' deterioration, show how they were constructed, which I found  really interesting. Same for the outer township walls.
I mean, I literally felt like I was passing into a fairy-tale when I slipped inside through one collapsed room. It is one of the least tourist-ey tourist sites in Oman.
...I could have wandered around for hours, but my kids wanted a bathroom, and so, we had to leave this enchanted setting, alas.

I wonder what it would have been like growing up here? Would the local Omani kids have played in the ruins throwing dust and mud clods at one another, like I made war with pinecones and played at Robin-Hood in the forest when I was a little girl in the land-far-and-away?
Walking up these stairs, and coming to this little room, I totally felt like I was in that scene from the Disney movie "Aladdin" when Aladdin takes Jasmine to his place after saving her in the market, and says "It's not much, but it has a view."
Anyways, that was about it.

We went from Sinaw via the Izki way, and my kids were delighted because they got to see a camel crossing the road:

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