If you are reading this from within the vicinity of Muscat, I hope you’ve had the chance to enjoy Muscat Festival by now. This evening (Mon., Jan. 30th) will be the 5th day of its running. Anyone who knows me will guess that I’ve already taken a million pics of the festival by now and that is true, but there is something I wanted to share with you as soon as possible before this gem of an event finishes up at Muscat Festival in the next few days.
This area is located on the left side of Qurum Park’s “lake” as you walk from the direction of the main entrance. Until Thursday (some said Friday?!?), embassy staff from several of the embassies here in the Sultanate of Oman are providing information and food from each of the respective embassies. Did you hear what I said?! Free authentic dishes from several embassies! In many cases, you also have an excellent opportunity to meet and greet ambassadors and embassy staff from Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries stationed here in Oman. A lot of fun! If you time it right, they occasionally even have live cultural entertainment on the small stage there.
These gentlemen are from the Islamic Republic of Iran and are at the first table on your immediate right as you enter the “embassy participation” area. They have artifacts and posters from some of the more popular locations of Iran. It was great talking with Mohammed (on the right) about my wonderful experience in Iran in 2005. Don’t listen to all the hype out there. Iranian people are some of the warmest people I’ve ever met. If you make it here, don’t hesitate to chat these guys up. They love it!
This Iranian chef with a giant smile is Hamed and he hails from Isfahan. He was generously serving up a famous soup from Isfahan known as “Ash soup” (with lentils and noodles). This soup alone is worth the trip! My wife and I made a great team. I would chat up the embassy staff and take pics. They would then offer up one of their traditional dishes, and my wife would gladly sample the food, haha! 🙂
This Pakistani Mouton Biryani was a big hit at the festival!
Dr. Fatih and friend offer up warm greetings at the stall for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Dr. Fatih was extremely gracious and offered me free pamphlets, tourguide info and even a DVD with info on Jordan when chatting with him. I love Jordan and the Jordanian people. I still have fond memories of my visit there in 1997-1998. I couldn’t agree more with the Lonely Planet’s report on Jordan as “One of the most open, friendly and welcoming nations in the Middle East, Jordan is an example to other states in the region of how to modernise while preserving cherished ancient traditions.” (Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries for 2012)
This is Ibtisam from Sudan who is ready and able to answer any questions you may have about Sudan. Everyone was more than happy to have their photo taken, but as a common courtesy it’s always good to ask, right? 🙂
Wario has been with the Kenyan Embassy in Oman for only 3 months now. Nice chatting with him. Great guy!
Wario with Yabesh Monari, “Chargés d’affaires” for the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in Muscat.
Tanzania and Zanzibar– a colorful and complicated history that is connected to the past glory days of Oman. So much to learn!
People from the Algerian Embassy
This last pic is of two Yemeni gentlemen. I only got the chance to talk with Akrim Mohammed who is on the right in the pic. That’s an interesting khanjar he’s wearing there but actually in Yemen it’s known as the Jambiya.
If you are in Muscat and want to visit some fascinating countries, try new food and learn about different cultures, art and traditions without the hassle of visas and hotel arrangements, head down to Muscat Festival in the next few days! 🙂 A great learning opportunity for anyone!