Edit Blog Post
Published: March 24th 2011
On Sunday afternoon, we took a taxi to Bur Dubai, an older section of Dubai. To get over to the Old Arab Souk(shops), we had to pay about 30 cents to cross Dubai Creek in an long boat called a dhow. ( This so called creek is more like a river and is filled with saltwater.) There were many small shops with Pashimas, brass items, gold jewelry, long silk dresses, stuffed camels, t-shirts, etc. The shop keepers were very polite and not very pushy. I am amazed at how neat and clean everything is in Dubai. From the white robes of the men to floors of shops, there is not a speck of dirt anywhere. I have only seen a couple of people smoking. You can only order alcoholic beverages in a hotel bar.
On Monday afternoon, we boarded a ship for Muscat, Oman. The captain warned us that we would see small fast boats as we traveled and not to think they were pirates. He said that the Oman Navy had a strong presence in the area. The Hagar Mountains come down all the way to the shoreline. They are just rocks and dirt with very little foliage.
Old Arab Souk (market)
This old section of town is called Bur Dubai.
Everything has a very dry appearance. The temperature is in the 90's with no breeze. On Tuesday, we hired a driver to take us to Nizwa about 2 hours inland. The highway to Nizwa was a modern 4 lane road. Drivers were respectful of each other and drove at safe speeds. We really wanted to see the countryside of Oman. As we traveled, all we saw was dirt mountains and very dry land. We passed over a riverbed that was completely dry except for a few small puddles. The only animals that we saw were 6 stray goats. We passed a few schools and saw elementary age children on a playground ----just girls in maroon robes and white scarves. The boys wear white robes and white pillbox style hats with designs of various colors. The boys will not make eye contact with you but the girls do. We have seen numerous women driving in Oman but did not in Dubai. Our driver was not very helpful and did not seem to know Nizwa. That was disappointing since Walt had paid him almost $200 to take us there.
On Wednesday, we visited the markets in Muscat and the Sultan's palace. His
beautiful yatch was also docked in the bay. The Sultan has workers (from India) maintaining the grounds and walkways 24 hours a day. Much of the palace was made of white marble from Italy. Several old forts sat high in the mountains surrounding the palace but on the coastline. Muscat is a favorite location for divers. Years ago, people in the UAE region and in Oman, made their living diving for pearls.
As you go in shops or businesses, you are greeted with an unusual fragrance----frankinsence (sp) or myrth. They burn it on small charcoal urns. I bought a couple of bags. I believe that it comes from the sap of a tree. Overall, the goods in the souk=markets are very high. I imagine that most items are imported from India and Pakistan. Everything from Pakistan is of poor quality. It practically falls apart in your hands.
As I sit in this internet cafe on the waterfront in Muscat, I can hear the call to prayer from a nearby mosque. Women generally go home to pray but the men go to the mosques. Shops close from 1 to 4 daily.
Tot: 3.552s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 9; qc: 47; dbt: 0.0393s; 3; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb