Oman shopping in the souks

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Wonderful Wadi

Oman shopping – from Sur to the souks

We swam in the Wadi fully clothed to preserve our female modesty. This does feel rather odd to us but we are in the Middle East and women don’t do much swimming outside.

We drove off in our large four x four Chevy fueled with our 20p a litre petrol. Gliding down the brand new pothole free highway we headed for the city of Sur. Sur nestles on the South coast next to the dreamy Arabian sea.

Oman shopping
Arabic window in Sur

The coast in this part of the world is home to the largest animal on the planet – the blue whale. We didn’t see any, but if  the Lonely Planet guide book says it, then it must be true. Part of Sur and its charming lighthouse is on a little island which is connected to the mainland by a suspension bridge. You drive over it past the dhow wooden boat building yard and the children playing. There are goats gangs roaming around like groups of Croyden teenagers.

Here’s Looking at You kid!

Oman shopping – Muscat bound

Back in Muscat shopping in the souks beckoned. Frankincense and other spices are top buys here for tourists. Perfumes are another great buy. All kinds of fragrances are available for a fraction of the price they are at home. The names are a bit different though. Men’s aftershave is called things like ‘I’ll be back’, ‘Obama’ and there were three different types of ‘Roger.’ Which naturally made us chuckle.

Love the great smell of camel

We bought lots of essential CK one and dozens of beautiful crystal bottles. We planned to decant the perfumed oil into these when we got back for Christmas presents. There was no end to the creativity shown in the perfume container department. Perfume was displayed in the shape of dollar bills and the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world.  Perfume can be purchased in a camel shaped bottle too.

Oman shopping
Beautiful Bottles

Oman shopping – it’s a man’s world

You don’t see many Omani ladies in public anywhere. They don’t work in any of the shops or bars or restaurants. Women are largely confined to the domestic sphere it would seem. They do venture out to the souks in the evening though. They glide down the alleyways in their long black dresses which cover everything except their faces and hands.

The men wear long white robes and if you see them together they look like sets of black and white piano keys. I can’t help feeling that as Oman is one of the hottest countries in the world the men have got the better of the black and white deal.

Oman shopping
Black is back!

The souks have lots of shops which sell these long black dresses. They all seem exactly the same apart from some sparkly detailing. Coloured clothing is available for ladies but they have to make sure they wear black over the top of it. Talk about missing the point.

Oman shopping
Colours are available

It is a very male dominated culture but women are educated here. Indeed and we were about to meet one woman who had a very good job indeed..Oman – tourists this way please!