Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Farewell to Oman

Since my daughter will be moving here in June, I just made what might be my last trip to Oman. As a real farewell I took 3 of my girlfriends with me and did some things that I had never done before. First, it was wonderful introducing them to a country that I have learned to know and love and it was fun opening their eyes to this multifaceted jewel.

How to describe this Arab country located on the Arabian Gulf? First it is not a UAE “Disney Land” it is a real genuine place working hard to balance growth and development with the environment. In fact we arrived in the middle of a huge campaign against plastic bags and large substitute bags made from jute were being sold for the equivalent of 20 piasters (30 cents)at checkout counters.

The streets are clean and beautifully landscaped, the driving is orderly, people obey the rules at the roundabouts and car honking is considered an offense and one can be fined for breaking it. Houses have to have an “Islamic” ambiance and must be painted in white or pastels, their roofs are finished off with no unsightly steel bars, washing lines, or ugly water tanks visible. And the Omanis are friendly, soft-spoken, refined and polite people.

While there we drove 3 hours south of Muscat to Ras al-Jinz (www.rasaljinz.org), the most eastern point of the Arabian Peninsula, to visit the famous green turtle nesting beach. At 9:00 p.m., in a professional and organized group, we made our way to where over 20,000 females return annually to the same place where they were hatched, in order to their lay eggs. There we watched one monstrous female laying what would be a minimum of 100 eggs the size of ping pong balls. We also saw a group of baby hatchlings who had just dug themselves out of their nest struggling to cross the sand to reach the water. Through all of this we were in pitch dark with only a dim light provided by the guide. The reason for this is that the turtles follow the reflection of the light on the water to orient themselves and if they see light other than that from the sea, they will go the wrong direction and will die. It was impressive how serious the Omanis took their responsibility to protect this endangered species and this unique phenomena that Ras al-Jinz is famous for.

Other visits were to the amazing Muscat fish market, the fascinating old souk, the lovely Bait al Zubair museum, the magnificent Great Mosque and the modern city malls. A lovely week with friends and family ended with the treat of watching granddaughter Zeyna in her school play performance, The Aristrocats”. Her sister Karmah proudly called us the “Grandma brigade” and we enjoyed being that. So farewell lovely Oman, I admire the orderly way that your beautiful country is being developed. It is certainly something that the rest of the Arab world could take lessons from.
karen

1 Comments:

Blogger joladies said...

A delightful posting. Wish I could have been part of the Grandmother Brigade.
ASH

Thursday, April 02, 2009  

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