Calendar   Home
Previous Day

April 5, 2002

Next Day
Three cities comprise Greater Muscat: Mutrah, Ruwi, and Muscat. We tackle Mutrah first. Our guidebook says, "If you only do one thing in Greater Muscat, make it a walk along the Corniche." So we walk the Corniche. It starts at a fish market, runs along the water, and ends at a giant incense burner statue. Rickety dhows float in the harbor next to a cruise ship. White washed houses stand with their backsides facing the waterfront; the houses show no interest in their location. In most other places in the world, shops and eateries consume harborfront property, especially in a place where the harbor is the main attraction. Not here. No flashy signs, no boardwalk games, no waterfront cafes, just a few small hotels, a grocery store, juicebar, and the backsides of some houses. A Shi'ite community owns the houses and they've closed off their neighborhood with a formidable gate. No one would accuse the Corniche of being built for tourists, yet people find things to see. A fort and its watchtowers overlook the harbor. The harbor's souq offers a wide variety of souvenirs. Juicebars - no alcohol in Oman - serve tall glasses of mango, banana, and orange juice.
Mutrah's Corniche, whitewashed buildings and brown-rock hills create a strong contrast
Omani beachwear. Many tourists visit Oman for its pristine waters and beaches.
Small settlements and private beaches exist in isolated coves along the coast.
Best accommodations: a tent on a deserted beach.