June 30th 2016, Doha, Qatar, coming from Dhaka, Bangladesh, traveling to Muscat, Oman
I believe in the cyclicity of events. Of life.
One year ago I was operating my first flight to Muscat, a fact I will never forget, unlike my first time pleading in front of an Appeal Court – before I even graduated Law School, but that’s a whole different story, which might fade with time.
How much my life changed in the last year or so is impossible to quantify or write down. It’s not an easy path, but I’m trying to grow every day.
I’m off to Muscat, Oman, again, one year down the road and maybe not by chance.
One thing that this year and the places I’ve been to and the people I’ve met is that there’s much more to this world than what meets the eye.
I’ve had some intense events happenings and some revelatory meetings. I’m here to meet my destiny.
As usual, I don’t know what this new city will bring, why I am going exactly today exactly there. Yet again with my beloved cabin crew trolley that literally took me around the world, my green dress from Phnom Penh, my oversized black leather purse and a light pink jacket that I bought from London many years ago, close to Harrod’s (now property of Qatar).
Oh, I want to be here forever, just study, grow, fly, evolve and travel. Meet people and be around good vibes.
I’m really excited and also glad I’m well rested for this flight, meaning I did not rush – like I would do before – coming from flight, running for another flight. Have I lost my enthusiasm? No way! I think I preserve my energy more. All I want is lifetime discount tickets. Is it much I’m asking?
All right, now it’s time to be honest. I want to private jets and a chain of 5 star hotels.
Well, let’s talk about more worldly stuff such as money. Oman currency is the Omani rial and it’s very strong. $100 is around 38 Omani rials.
Still struggling to understand this culture. Remember that series El Clon? Filmed in Rio and Fez? I’m watching it again and I think more and more it was made for me. As opposed to Autumn in New York, which gave me the same feeling from the first time I saw it, this one I had to watch again (after more than 10 years) to realize that.
The urban architecture is beautiful and there are no tall buildings. A flag every now and then. Wide streets, very clean, palm trees and a lot of green. The Sea somewhere close.
Love my hotel overlooking the sea and some ministries. I’m at the huge rooftop pool. It’s hot, but that’s nothing new. All the buildings are dark/dirty white, making it a pleasure to watch the scenery of this ivory and green of the palms and extensive lawns of the city. The mountains in the background.
It’s still Ramadan and it’s not crowded at all. Lebanese restaurant in the lobby. Reading some local newspapers in the business club of the hotel, which is suspended between two buildings.
Next stop, The Royal Opera House Muscat. Overdose of luxury and Islamic Art. Authentic and breathtaking. White marble construction, carved wood details and metallic elaborate lamps.
In the main hall of the Opera I dream of attending a concert here. And I will. It’s just a matter of time. Actually, my beloved George Enescu Philarmonic Orchestra (with whom I share a very long and tight story with all sorts of implications) and my adored Angela Gheorghiu performed on the scene of the Opera only a few days after I left the city.
Impressed with the luxurious simplicity of the interior of the Opera. Indeed, I was not long in Oman, but it only opened my appetite, it was as a preview for what is going to be next. Keeping my eyes on the mother of pearl and wood table in the middle of the room where I am. Pure art.
Wearing a long day dress and a white shirt on top, I imagine myself arriving in the drive in of the Opera in a long night dress, with a silk turban on my head, feathers in my hair, pearl on my neck, stones on my shoes and purse, ready to embrace the love spread by the marvelous notes. The Sultan himself is a great admirer and promoter of classical music.
Another attraction is the Opera Galleria, a place of chic cafes and high end shops. A dress with the print of the building of the Opera and a sowed pearls cape. I thought about living in Muscat many times while in Oman. How would it be? I would love it for sure, but I’m still in love with Doha.
Before going through the Old Muscat Gate, we stop at The Cave, an interesting restaurant looking like a cave, both on the inside and outside. Nothing is out of place.
Al Alam (The Flag) is the royal palace in Muscat.
Nearby is the Bait al Zubair Museum, but also the 16th century Portuguese built forts Fort al Mirani and Fort al Jalali.
Qaboos bin Said bin Said is the Sultan of Oman and he is around 76 years old, having lately some health issues forcing him to live mainly abroad, in Germany. Nobody knows who is going to take over the Sultanate, yet some voices say he has a son who was sent to study in Europe, following his own pattern.
The places are wide and the palace looks like a piece of modern art in blue and gold, having shiny marble sidewalks.
The axis travel-explore-dream-create is in my mind. Lonely girl in Muscat. Again, the only one I see for hours. I’m a confusing creature.
In Muttrah Souq in the afternoon, where I admire the stained glass cupolas of the souq intersections, the charm of the narrow and going to all directions paths (called lanes, which are numbered accordingly), more Islamic motifs, the merchandise of the Omanis, a minaret every now and then, the traditional things you find right outside the back exit of the souq, shops selling men’s Omani traditional cap in different deigns.
I buy a bracelet that is linked with a ring and a head jewel made from gold coins, looking like a coins hat.
Muttrah is Old Muscat. The city is spread and you need a car to go from one place to another.
The most beautiful mosque I’ve seen in Oman is the one here, called Lawati Mosque, built in the lane of the buildings along the Corniche, very near to the entrance in the Mutrah Souq. It’s minaret and cupola are covered in Turkish blue tiles, decorated with yellow and white. A walk on the Corniche will reveal beautiful buildings, little white balconies and other mosques, all unique in their own way.
Amouage perfume ads everywhere. Next time I must visit the museum. –
Sultan’s boat rests in the waters on the other side of the street, guarding the surroundings. The trees, the airport, the decorations on the pavement, the utility items on streets are all in the same story, one that seems to have no clock ticking.
Back through the Old Muscat Gate at the lobby of the hotel, where an Iftar table is waiting for me together with a complimentary desert in my room. I go to buy some food and coming back the jewelry shopkeeper stops me and gives me a necklace, so I buy some earrings from him. Paintings of the Sultan and of horses and lions. I eat well and stuff myself with Reese’s peanut butter cups. I remember when I visited the factory…11 years ago.
Tanning on the rooftop, by the pool. With my thoughts. Again, I’m the only woman. When the others arrive is only to watch their kids under the hot sun. I don’t understand, really. I fall asleep for around two hours and then I swim for a while. Still with my thoughts. Always with my thoughts. It’s dark, but the city got light up. I cannot see the sea anymore.
I need to get out and walk, but the night brought a wave of heat – around 46 degrees. I need to walk or I’ll go nuts. Admiring the Al Zawawi Mosque by night. Being in the Middle East during Ramadan is a great experience. Might not be if you spend your only vacation in a Muslim country during Ramadan, in the hot weather, though. But for me, it’s bliss. Long flowery skirt and green very large shirt, tucked in the skirt. People look at me…I’m confusing, deceiving and a woman, therefore dangerous. Yet have more balls than most of the men I know. And it happens that the men I know are quite powerful.
Time to shut down for the day. Tomorrow I’m leaving at 5:30 to Wadi Shab, somewhere around two hour drive away from Muscat. Tomorrow is exactly halfway through the year and yes, I’ll make the most of it.
P.S.: Next big thing – healing the inner child. Heal your inner child by listening to what you want and need now. Power struggles.
July 1st 2016, Oman, traveling from Muscat to Wadi Shab
Driving on the excellent streets of the country. By the scenery, this could be Jordan, yet the architecture is totally different. I want to see, to really see and absorb the world. The driver tells me about a big flooding in 2006 following which these roads were built.
It’s exactly halfway through this year. 2016. 9. End of cycle. New beginnings. Finding purpose. Codes and revealed secrets.
6 more months to make this year great. It has been good so far, but it has to be a work of art.
If I have him, I have everything.
Endless amazingly fortified and brand new roads. Me and my thoughts here in Oman.
Yesterday I saw some doors that I’d seen before – not in another lifetime (or maybe…) – in Zanzibar. The Sultanate of Oman extended with the slave trade all the way to Mombasa in Kenya and…Zanzibar. In fact, the Sultan settled his throne in the wonderful island.
Small neighborhoods at the basis of the small mountains which are very similar to the Jordanian ones. Teatro, la vida es puro teatro – thinking of Teatro Colon and Buenos Aires.
Even the toll fee cashiers on the highway look like gates from oriental stories.
Nothing is out of place in Oman, no eye killer in the beautiful harmony of Islamic details and motifs, of arches, geometrical figures and white marble, mother of pearl and mahogany.
Oman is cheaper than Qatar and I see myself living here. Yet, thinking about leaving Qatar makes me feel unrest. Is it my comfort zone now? Am I complacent? No, I simply belong.
Yet, if I ever decided to move, it will for sure be one of these Middle Eastern/Arabic countries. Thinking about D. and his life away from his home, somewhere in Asia. Another “friend” of mine for another lifetime.
Houses are maximum two floors and all look like small palaces. No roof and some simply decorated towers. They are surrounded by a wall with no windows, serving both as a fence and property delimitation.
We’re at Wadi Shab Hotel.
There’s nobody here, but it’s also kind of early. A guy crosses me by boa to the other side of the pond and I’m by myself in this rock and water endless place. Just me. I hear I need to walk around 45 minutes and find the pools. Natural pools, I mean. All I see is stone mountains, water and palm trees. Water and rock. Around 40 degrees.
Banana trees, bananas and banana flowers. Date trees and many dates drying in the sun on some plastic foils. Beautiful flowers. Such a heavenly place. Reminds me of Zanzibar. Not by chance, of course. Zanzibar was under Omani occupation.
This solitude, this silence, these beautiful places where to be completely alone with my dreams and thoughts, the green of the nature and the greenish natural water is exactly what I need right now. Wild scenery, wild me. My very private resort, my private territory, with natural pools, all private, all for me. My private tanning bed made of the rock next to the incredibly clear water with a frog hopping by, bees flying around, fish doing my manicure to the hand I’m caressing the water with.
It’s hard to describe the feeling I had in front of such pure beauty, natural beauty, simple beauty. Real beauty. Source of life. Water and sun, sky and rock.
There should be 46 degrees by now and this cold water is all I could wish for.
What matters is the spirit. We’re driving towards the Hawiyat Najm Park (The Falling Star), known as the home of the Dabab Sinkhole, where it is said that a meteorite fell, leaving a deep hole in the ground, now filled with water. Again, I’m the only one around and I love it. Although I changed my clothes after the long swimming time at Wadi Shab, I jump directly in the water. I feel like this kid from a story who goes swimming in the nearby river.
Listening to Daily Quran in the car. Later to the radio program Stories from the Holy Quran. Some ideas: pleasures and vanities that dilute and fade away. Follies. Light and mercy of God. Adam and Eve. Angels. 95.5 Muscat. In time of Mohamad there was no separate prayer place in mosque. Security and safety of woman.
A goat under the shade of a tree.
Woman should not to travel alone without man. Well, I’m here alone in Oman and I’ve been without my man pretty much everywhere around the world. If married consent is necessary from man. Fasting should be done onward not backwards since confessing. The night is the night of the following dat.
Cabin crew syndrome: Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Oman does not seem that luxurious to me.
Walking along the seaside with the waves washing my feet. Meaning, a lot of meaning. That’s what I’m looking for.
I’m in an American restaurant in Oman. One girl came in with an Aeropostale bag. It’s clear where we’re standing, but I’m thinking about how life changes. Aeropostale somehow represented the lifestyle I carried in US – careless, fancy young, very comfortable. Now I’m living in the Middle East and I don’t even know how to describe my lifestyle. I’m living continuously between (minimum) two worlds. Crazy on the outside, even more crazy on the inside.
I break the fast and then go for some Omani sweets. There are around 10 types displayed and they offer Omani coffee to have it together for the tasting. I choose the laban taste – which is green – and get ready to go.
One last view of Oman from somewhere up. Lights, peaceful lights of the city, my formula 1 thoughts and energies.
Listening to Arabic music in the Dreamliner, having about half of the cabin for myself. Warm welcome from my colleagues and I’m happy.
This was another impressive holiday that I’ve had just by going with my heart opened.
Time to go back. Half of this year is gone another one is waiting. I have straight plans about it and the top of the list is learning Arabic and working in business class. Of course he is my priority and will be probably all my life. My mom’s health and wellbeing as well.
That moment when you know by heart ALL the albums in a company’s in-flight entertainment system you know you fly too much in you days off. When you find at least ONE crew you know on each of your days off flights, you know you start to be here for a while. Well, this is my life!