As we depart the ship today we will be handed a visitors Visa card. If they are NOT returned upon re-boarding you will be charged $10 on your ship account. Maybe they are Gold American Express cards.
Oman is bordered by Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
First impressions: Nothing here could have been built or expanded without moving a mountain. The mountains go into the sea and are solid rock. Everything has two labels one in Arabic and the other in English street signs to hospitals. Every building looks brand new. They are really trying to have some places with plants and grass. The grass is the kind on putting greens. Lots of date palms.
The king, Qubbos bin Said al Said, has been king since 1971. He promised to develop jobs and industry. He hired Shell to drill their oil. Make a port big enough for cruise ships. Built schools and hospitals both free including college. The gap between men and women changed. Women can drive, hold a job where men are employed. Their crime rate is virtually non-existent because there are survalence cameras everywhere.They love thieir king.
However on the minus, men can still have up to 4 wives. Our guide was the son of first wife and has 8 brothers and 4 sisters. His mom is suppose to chose his wife but young people get around this by asking a sister to dinner and telling her to invite the girl mom wants in the family. That way he can meet her. Much of this goes away with young people using twitter, instagram, snap chat, etc which is now available so old traditions are taking a hit. Girls can go to college with the boys in the same class.
There is a thirteen thousand dollar contract with the girls parents to pay for her dress and prepare for the wedding. An average of 4000 guests are invited and the male must pay for a meal and buy a house. Women can not wear white because it is too transparent. One of the buses had a female guide in a berka.
We visited the Kings palace from the outside. A museum of Arabic artifacts. Really out standing paintings in vivid color.
The Grand Masque, women had to be covered wrist to ankle, with a scarf covering our heads. We took off our shoes and placed them in cubbies. It was a very satisfying experience. It holds 20,0000 and has the worlds largest Persian carpet which covers the entire floor as one big rug. My understanding of Muslims and the way they worship has been expanded and although I will not be converting it is not as scary as people would want you to believe. Praying five times a day would be a good practice for most of us.
We went to the 200 yr old Souq and it was over whelming. Stores had things piled on things of other things, on walls, floors,and ceilings, It was 100 degrees and the smells were gag worthy. I lined up to go to the bathroom but could not get my belt untied. Another women in line did it. I came out and asked does everyone have tissue. Many did not so I handed out what I had left.
Alcohol is not allowed and you could be isolated from the family for being drunk. Young men do drink but don’t go home they get a rooms. The guide said there are many secrets. It appears young people are the same everywhere.
We were hot, tired, and hungry when we arrived back at the ship. What a good day doing things we would other wise not get a chance to experience.