This elderly man sits at the entrance to the Muttruh Suq
selling hand-made Omani caps, which are an essential part
of a local male's wardrobe.
Old Man at the Bullfights
This extraordinary character was sitting placidly
in the sun as preparations were being made for the
next bullfight in Barka.
National Day Celebrants
I shot these men some years ago at a National Day
Celebration along the Batinah Coast. There was dancing,
speeches, and general merriment. Flags and photographs
of His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos bin Taimur al-Said, were in
Markets in the developing world are always a hive of activity, both commercial and social. The Friday Market in Nizwa is one of the best in the country with much buying and selling going on both within the formal, covered suq and outside. These people were negotiating a deal for something or other in a parking lot.
This woman attending the livestock auction in the Nizwa Market is wearing the traditional mask, the "burqa". Although rarely worn by urbanized Omani women, it is often seen in the Interior and along more remote stretches of the coast. Made of a (usually) metalicized fabric, the mask also sports a long, narrow cardboard-filled strip delineating the bridge of the nose. Its purpose? I have no idea, though I have often asked.
These women in burqas were having an animated conversation
while their husbands -- most likely -- were attending the auction.
This old man sat stoicly on a concrete step as he tried to hawk his few limes in
the fruit and vegetable market in Seeb, a thriving coastal town not far from Seeb
International Airport, which services the Muscat area.
Oman has had a strong, flourishing fishing industry for centuries. These men have just come in with a boatful of tuna, which they are dragging to shore. If you get there early, you can buy the freshest tuna steaks imagineable. Broiled over charcoal, they're a wonderful taste treat.
These 5-foot (1.6m) beauties would make any fish lover's mouth water!
Coastline near the Al-Bustan Hotel
This shot was taken from a friend's skiff just off
the Al-Bustan Hotel, one of the world's most luxurious,
which is ten minutes' driving time from Muscat.
During certain times of the year, whales of various species are to be
seen off the coast near Muscat. I was lucky enough to be out with a friend
in his fishing boat when we happened into a pod of some two dozen pilot whales.
These two young fishermen posed for me alongside their shasha, a traditional Omani craft made from palm fronds and tied together with palm-fiber rope. These small boats have been used by fisherman along the Batinah coast, which runs from Seeb to the UAE border, for hundreds and hundreds of years. Although they are gradually being replaced by fiberglass skiffs, if you're lucky, you'll see the odd shasha out in the water to this day.
Like many other coastal cities in the Gulf, Muttruh,
the old commercial district of the Muscat Municipality,
has a corniche, which offers wonderful opportunities
to stroll and enjoy the breeze coming off the Gulf of Oman.
Muttruh at Dusk
Here is the same corniche at dusk one balmy winter
evening. The effect can be quite stunning, and a certain
lure for anyone visiting the area for the first time.
The Mosque on the Muttruh Corniche
This mosque, which is very near the gate to the suq, is of Iranian design and
serves the Shi'a Muslim community in the area. Most of the whitewashed
buildings are -- or were once -- homes of wealthy Muttruh merchants.
Gate to Muttruh Suq
This busy street scene is in front of the gate to the old suq
in Muttruh on the side facing the Corniche.
Ruwi Street Scene
These are typical buildings in the middle of the old business
district of the Capital Area. Ruwi (pronounced "RUE-ee") is separated from Muscat by a mountain ridge.
Al-Alam Palace, Muscat
This palace, built in the 70s, is the sultan's official
residence in Muscat, though he lives in another some
40 km away near Seeb.
Al-Asfour Shopping Plaza
In recent years any number of spiffy-looking
shopping complexes have sprung up, especially in
Qurum and Al-Khuwair. This is just one of them.
Guys and their "Shishas" (Water pipes)
This was taken at a sidewalk cafe at the beach near sunset
in Qurum, another well-heeled suburb. The beach scene
is a reflection in the windows of the restaurant.
This beach, which is not far from the main port, Mina Qaboos, is a favorite
place for an evening stroll. In the background you can often see freighters
either approaching or leaving the area.
Sunsets are best in winter when there are clouds. Between May and October
there are rarely clouds of any importance. Depending on the dust content of the
atmosphere, sunsets tend to range between various shades of peach and pink.
Sunsets of this sort are fairly unusual.
Al-Burj As-Sahwa - The Renaissance Tower
In Oman, the period since the current Sultan assumed power in 1970
has come to be known as a Renaissance. To commemorate it, this
tower was built in the center of a roundabout at the intersection of
the coastal highway and the highway that leads into the Interior to Nizwa
and on to Salalah.
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