One of the "must dos" in Muscat is to go shopping at the large Mutrah Souq shopping center. We knew it would be crazy at night.... the people in the Middle East come out at night... during the day it is so quiet.... so we tried to go this morning but due to the Eid break it was closed... we totally forgot that part about traveling over Eid. It is nice because Brad doesn't have to take much time off of work however.... all of the Middle East pretty much shuts down.... note to self... next year during Eid go to a non-Muslim country to enjoy the full advantages of the break! :) The things you learn being an expat!
No worries, it was kind of fun going at night to be able to experience the FULL adventure.... it didn't take us long to start our shopping. Brad quickly fell in love with the beautiful swords Oman has to offer! The beauty of the camel bone handle and the sword made out of damascus steal sold him on this being the souvenir he wanted to take home! Now that I'm writing this post late I can fill you in on the drama with the sword... one of the most expensive souvenirs we've ever purchased.... we flew home through Bahrain who has strict policies due to the uprising they had a couple of years ago.... our bag was tagged coming out of the plane and was searched. Our sword was found and confiscated.... despite begging and explaining that we weren't staying in Bahrain only driving through the sword was still taken and we were told we could pick it up at the boarder in 7 days.... yeah right, I thought! I figured we'd never see that sword again! But thankfully, I was wrong! 2 weeks later we took a nice day trip to Bahrain, did some shopping.... and got the sword... the infamous Omainen sword!
Back to shopping.... there was NO shortage of things to see and buy.... hot items were silver, camel bones, treasure boxes, lights, and
the traditional hats that the guys wear! Doesn't he look adorable?!? I really wanted him to get one but he wasn't a fan... so I'll just have to enjoy the picture!
So much to see and buy also meant for SO much for the kids to touch, get into, and break.... and managing the kids in this busy crowd while being eyed (I didn't wear my abaya.... here I don't have to... however the Muslim women cover up so I was a bit of a "sight to see") made the evening a bit stressful.... not as relaxing as I hoped shopping would be... but seriously... when is shopping ever relaxing with 3 kids... without the added stress of new country, language barrier, being a minority.... and the list goes on.
I'm happy to report that we made it out alive.... with a few more grey hairs..... a few more souvenirs than we had anticipated... but we made it out relatively happy and glad we ventured out!
We made our way to the other end of the shopping center which turns out to be the main entrance and along a very bustling street with other shops and places to eat so we took our picture in front of the sign and made a beeline to find a seat to try to chill out for a bit.... as easy going as I am... at times the crowd and being stared at gets to be a bit much for me.... topped with kids asking for everything in sight.....but it is also the feeling that everything is dirty and watching out for my kids and everyone that wants to touch them because they look different... it is all so overwhelming!
man, I need a schwarma! : ) Really, an adult beverage would have been nice but not the opportunity here.... you can drink in Oman but I think only at resorts and not during Eid.... so we settled for a schwarma!
A quick sit down place outside that still let us enjoy our surroundings (from a distance), the beautiful weather, and people watching the folks of Oman!
Whatever your needs- you can find them at the Mutrah Souq!