Snapshot: A Quick Whizz round Muttrah Souk

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Shopping in Muttrah Souk

Shopping in Muttrah Souk

This morning, I found myself unceremoniously dumped in Muscat when I failed to make my connection to Thiruvananthapuram. After catching up on some sleep at the Marjan International (courtesy of Oman Air), I headed out. Simon and I spent a week in Muscat in 2008, so at least I knew a few places to go.

After spending the afternoon (aka the Hot Time) in the air-conditioned Grand Mall, I hopped in a cab and headed down to Muttrah Corniche and the Souk. I arrived just after sunset, which is when it starts to get busy: families walking along the waterfront, tourists taking photos, cafes setting out their evening tables. And, of course, the good shopkeepers of Muttrah Souk were winding up for an evening’s trade.

Souk Entrance

Souk Entrance

The best way to describe Muttrah Souk is as Aladdin’s Cave. I’m never quite sure whether the shopkeepers are real or imaginary. And I’m certainly not sure who buys the camel-shaped perfume bottles, the antique navigation aids or the endless bags of pot-pourri. (Don’t get me started on the belly-dancing outfits).

There are some nice stalls – Indian clothes (particularly useful if you need to cover up to visit Sultan Qaboos Mosque), shawls and dried fruit and spices. I bought a couple of blouses and a “pashmina 100% cashmere” shawl.

I was on the receiving end of a certain amount of “Hello Madam, please look” but it was very low-key and friendly. As a solo woman*, I didn’t feel threatened or harassed in any way.

So what to do after a quick, unplanned shopping session? Head for a snack, of course. Flatbread, houmous and peppermint tea was my amuse-bouche of choice.

Post-Shopping Snack

Post-Shopping Snack

*Blogging conventions apparently dictate that I must indicate on every post whether or not this activity is suitable for solo women. Sigh…

 

 

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