The sun blasted its way into the cabin this morning as we berthed at the container port of Mina Qaboos, Sultanate of Oman, sharing the port with the Sultan's massive luxury yacht. Surrounded by steep rocky hillsides the port town streets are lined with palm trees and white painted buildings/houses and all areas are scrupulously clean. We expected it to be grubby.
The port agent requested that all passengers adhere to a strict dress and conduct code for our short time in this devout Muslim country which is still observing Ramadan. Men and women are not to wear pants, dresses or skirts above the knee, shoulders must be covered, no singlets. No consumption and carrying of alcohol whilst ashore, no smoking, eating or drinking in the presence of the Muslim public.
We didn't want to go on tour and see more Mosques so took advantage of the shuttle bus going to a local souk which was the only place open again due to Ramadan.There we wandered around the many alleyways and bartered for souvenirs. The market was stacked to the ceilings with Oman silver and beaded jewellery,daggers, traditional clothing and handicrafts made of copper and camel bone.The shopkeepers were persistent but friendly. The intense heat and the smell of strong burning incense, overpowering spices and perfumes made our visit short and we needed a drink!
Muslim men wore traditional white robes, women were covered in black. I enjoyed our brief look around as it was a unique opportunity to witness a society that few others get a chance to see. On reflection we should have considered travelling further afield but five hours only in port was restricting. Not here long enough to do it justice. A lovely departure at 1pm from this interesting place.