Saturday, January 28, 2017

After my dune-surfing fail...I am assured that this works

After my dune-surfing fail a couple weeks ago, my surfer-girl BFF Am (Tofino days, that was us) assures me this works.

"It's a West Coast thing," she assures me.

"Isn't it kind of our 'red-neck' thing?" I ask back, since we totally did this with shopping carts and trailer hitches, couches, and everything, as small town kids.

"If it's a surf board, it isn't a red-neck thing to do," Am insists.

"What about if it a silver tea tray?" I ask her.

That, apparently, remains open to debate. So, sand-surfing...well, sand-towing... I wonder if I should try it. Like all the good 'ole days, I can see myself under the tires somehow lol. Anyways...

BTW, does anyone know if they they sell sand-surfing boards anywhere in Oman? I'm just curious? Or are they custom? And both ways, how much do they cost?

Friday, January 27, 2017

DAILY DIARY: What to do if you're bored in Dhakliyia/the Interior over the weekend?

OPNO: "I swear I wasn't always this boring. I used to do stuff. I had adventures."
SAM: "You have adventures. You have so many stories."
OPNO: "But I don't, like, climb any more. I used to climb. I want to climb."
SAM: "Your husband would be okay with that?'
OPNO: "Maybe. He's bored too. He used to do stuff too before we married. I blame Omani culture, that men and women have separate adventures. Or we become house bodies. And boring. If I have to have another wadi picnic or another walk around City Centre mall, I'll die. And a village weekend means sitting in a warm room, stuck in a headscarf all the time even with other women, eating and making limited conversation in Arabic."

But, apparently, it doesn't have to be...if only I can convince my Omani husband to take me to his childhood play places. As pictured in this post.

The last time we escaped the village to explore though, was three kids ago, though, so... enjoy what I haven't managed to in a long time. I remember swimming in a mountain wadi, no one in the world around. ...And climbing to an abandoned hill tower, seeing the sunset.

Good times. Before kids.

If you don't have an Interior-Region-Western-Hajar-Mountain-Omani-husband to take you then Canyon Adventure Tours offers climbing, rappelling, caving, horse riding, and trekking through the mountains. The guides are all friends with my husband (I think they all grew up together), and know the wadis we go to, and all the hidden interior stuff we see, plus can explain all the Omani cultural stuff as good as I would anyways. I don't happen to know their rates because I never pay to do any of this (but would if it meant I could escape lunch and just go!!!!) but you could phone to ask [91104466 and 99412660].BTW, they didn't pay me or give me anything to write this. They actually don't know me at all (us Omani men and women keep pretty separate you know) but I know my husband loves this stuff, and it definitely beats the more usual, duller interior stuff.
 And away from our village, to Jebel Shams, for that awesome selfie shot:

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Weird Old Omani "snacks": when your Omani husband thinks a craving for dill pickle flavoured potatoe chips is odd but likes to eat locusts

Now the tourism ministry in Oman definitely doesn't promote this, but Oman totally does have weird snacks, depending on the region. You will likely never be offered these as an expat in Oman, except as a joke but...

I was telling my husband, that I kind of miss different potatoe chip flavours from back home, like 'barbecue" and "dill pickle". He thought that dill pickle potatoe chips sounded disgusting. However, my husband does miss an old Interior/Dhakliyia snack of roasted locusts. Apparently.

Yes, you heard me. Roasted locusts.

Mmmm. Yum. So much less weird than any flavour of potatoe chips, right?

In the Interior they also used to cook/roast up this bug:
...which my interior-region husband doesn't miss.

For which, I am glad.

Along the coast here in Muscat and Al Batinah, dried lemon flavoured sardines were an old-time favourite, which always made me want to retch.

I buy them...but for my cats.

But it does get weirder...
In the desert (Sharqiyah, Al Wusta, Bedu areas etc.) there's this lizard (Dhab/Spiny Tail Lizard/Uromastyx Microlepis) that people eat. Usually with biryani rice these days. Looks like this:
I've been offered it...

Yeah. Tastes bad to me.

...But still better than the idea of locusts or bugs... I dunno. Maybe chocolate covered locusts would be fine. But like, dried lemon and chili flavoured-roasted locusts? Probably couldn't swallow it even to be polite.

Like the tongue or any brain part of an Eid shuwa. I can put it in my mouth. Chew. Smile...

...First chance I get I spit it out and dispose of it. Toddlers are awesome. They usually love 'tongue'.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Oman's National Museum pt. 2: Some of the First Floor Galleries

So I already blogged about the ground floor gallery here: [ ] but really, the first floor had what I was I was looking for in terms of collections.
My thing is definitely late-bronze to early iron age civilizations.

I wanted to spend more time in the Prehistory and Ancient History gallery (where a stone axe head is on show, being one of the oldest ever found in Arabia) but my kids were bored, so we mostly spent time in all the other galleries but the ones I actually wanted to see.

Still there was some Magan copper. And bronze age amber necklaces and pottery.
There was also a Nabataean script? (don't quote me, in uni. ancient languages was something I beyond sucked at) tablet.
Also, I liked the Splendors of Islam gallery. Below is a quiblah taken from a masjid in Oman. The tiles were mostly imports from Iran.
I found this to be a surprising piece in the collection [below]. A letter from the Ottoman Empire annexing Oman from them (in the Prophet Mohammed's SAW time he gave Oman permission to collect and distribute the Muslim version of taxes [zakat] independent of the Caliphate in Madinah, so shariah law holds this one country is a separate tax jurisdiction which is kind of interesting).
More of those lovely Iranian imported tiles:
In the Renaissance Gallery? they had the old flag for Muscat for the Royal Family. Oman's old flag was white;) for the Islamic Imamate. Politically.... interesting, to only have the red flag on display...hmmm. Unity, if one is kind, could be the reason, historical re-write... if one is being unkind. I digress.
A royal family (from Zanzibar) life-size oil portrait:
Royal family traditional dress:
The old gate to old Muscat? I believe, or maybe the palace (I forget):
Sultan's custom China service:
This diverged into the Oman and the World and Collections galleries (I like old furniture):
(I read in Zanzibar, the slaves used to sleep under the bed that's why it is so high but I forget the source. Could be wrong).
And then we saw this Portuguese canon and my husband and I argued about the blow up on it. He argued it was made with a flaw but I remember reading somewhere in "A Peninsular War" (oh God, what volume or chapter I have no idea) by Sir Charles W. C. Oman that these lightweight canons weren't good shooting up at fortified hill forts etc... So maybe some idiot gunner thought to increase the range to beat the slope by overloading it beyond its capacity in terms of ammunition or powder. There's an awful lot of hill forts in Oman...;)
Anyways, there was more to see but not time left on the kid's attention span timer.

Next time.