Sunday, April 03, 2005

Muscat Musings

Friday I returned from Muscat, the capital of the Middle Eastern Sultanate of Oman. I went there last Sunday to present a paper on E-learning in an international IT Conference.

The sluggish Thai Airways took me to Muscat via Bangkok and Karachi. Almost took me 22 hours to reach Muscat. From Karachi to Muscat and on my way back, it seemed as if I were travelling on a Pakistani/Indian bus.

The conference was well-managed and all speakers were provided with efficient service. Everything was well taken care of. There were IT experts from all around the world.

Muscat is a small but beautiful city of white buildings and Islamic architecture, located in the valley of rocky hills, by the side of a natural harbour. The roads are perfect. The pace of life is easy and people are generally relaxed.

The city does not have highrises. There are hypermarkets all over the city. Carrefour and Lu Lu Plaze are the most famous.

I loved the grand mosque of Muscat. It is breathtakingly beautiful--it is the apple.com of postmodern Islamic architecture. The other places I loved are Qantab and the Qurm beach. You have to see it to believe it.

The conference was held in Al-Bustan Palace Hotel, a beautiful piece of work. It is one of the best hotels in the Middle East.

Two interesting nuggets about Oman: Did you know that Sindbad the Sailor was from Oman? Did you know that Oman ruled over Zanzibar?

4 comments:

she said...

muscat is a really beautiful city. at a time when all the other cities in the gulf are being taken over by glass and steel, this one is a relief.
and that's a nice pic of qantab. did you drive all the way to the top? the view is stupendous.

Susan Abraham said...

Hi Zafar,
No, I didn't know that Sinbad was from Oman. It sort of gives that country an ever greater exotic feel. The Zanzibar happens to be one of my favourite 'travelling' places but the people talk about the Aga Khan, mostly. Right now, it is ruled by the Government of Tanzania.

Zafar Anjum said...

Asya, I went up as high as my host took me. I think we reached a plateau kind of a place where this resort was being built. The photo is from there only. Amazingly pretty!

Zafar Anjum said...

Susan, I have only heard about the Zanzibar; you have "been' there!

I have been enjoying your posts in your blog. You can actually compile them into an essay for TLS or something like that. Very well done!