Category Archives: culture

Muscat Festival 2014 Stage Performances – Amerat Park


Muscat Festival 2014 – Amerat Park

ImageBetter get down to Muscat Festival 2014 before it’s over!  My family and I headed down to Amerat Park on Sunday evening for our first taste of festival fun and we were not disappointed.  As we guessed, not that many people were there when we arrived a little after 5pm.  Doors open at 4pm.  If you really want to avoid crowds, I recommend going on a weekday. The festival is open until 11pm daily.ImageI love the fact that Muscat Festival is in more than one location.  We hope to visit Naseem Park (the other main location) sometime in the near future.  This year a number of festival events are taking place at  Seeb Beach in Al Hail as well.  Amerat is a nice, spacious area with enough parking for 5,200 cars.  As you can see here, some people like to just sit down on the grass and enjoy the cool temperature while many enjoy walking around sampling the food available at the numerous stalls.ImageThis interesting looking “tent” is located right in the center of the pavilions at the International Festival of Crafts (only in Amerat) which involves 29 nations and nearly 300 craftsmen from Latin America,  Europe, central Asia, the Far East and Africa.  The tent is from the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.  Feel free to step inside if you make it to Amerat.  In case you’re wondering, this is what it looks like inside:ImageImageI believe there are 12 of these pavilions with around 14 stalls in each, selling all kinds of handicrafts, clothing, souvenirs and trinkets.  The best part is watching them at work.  It’s amazing to see them so focused on the task at hand while steady streams of tourists walk by, take photos and ask the occasional questions about prices and such.ImageImageImageImageThese cultural pics around the International Festival of Crafts look much better this year.  I think it’s the simple new touch of having these frames which make the pictures really stand out more this year.  Seems like several people were getting their photos taken by them like this gorgeous lady and adorable little girl…ImageThat’s the famous Treasury in Petra, Jordan of course, made famous by the Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The Jordanian masterpieces at the festival always strike me as one of the most beautiful examples of art but I am totally biased as I think Jordanians are some of the kindest people on the planet!  The next 6 photos are from the Jordanian stall alone.ImageThe Jordanian artist, Salman, selling all kinds of artwork at his stall.  Just look at some of his work:ImageIf you’re interested in his artwork, he can be reached in Oman at 92303917 and when he’s back in Jerash, Jordan he can be reached at 00962775781171.ImageI always love seeing this souvenirs of colorful sand in bottles.  I bought several of these when I visited Jordan years ago.  I believe I bought one with my grandmother’s name written inside.  You can get your name (or the name of a loved one) etched inside one of these bottles and it only takes the gentleman about 2 minutes to do so.  This is what he is trying to explain in this message here:ImageNot only can he write your name in colorful sand, he can also write your name on a necklace (nikles) or on a bracelet (priselet). 🙂ImageThis brings back memories of being covered in the rich black mud of the dead sea!  This Mud Mask which contains dead sea mud is a great gift for the ladies (5 OR).  They also have these dead sea soap bars for 2 rials a pack.  I ended up getting both the the mud mask and bar of soap for 5 rials together.dead sea soapImageImageImageThe Children’s Creative Workshop is a nice place for kids to hang out and do some fingerpainting and such while mom and dad do a bit of shopping.ImageImageImageLots of interesting items from Burkino Faso.  My wife really loved the little girl dresses you can see there on the wall. They sell for 10 OR (about $25 US) and this guy wasn’t budging on the prices.  I thought you could haggle prices for anything at this exhibition but I have a feeling that my wife might have shown far too much interest in the dress and so he knew he could get that price from us. So a word to the wise – If you really like something you see, just try to act like you could care less whether you walk away with it or not! 😉ImageInoussa Daouda is a a master wood craftsman from Cameron who has settled in France (since 1995).  He devotes himself to the creation of African Art. Check out his website at It’s in French but you can translate it into English if viewing in Google Chrome.IMG_0126amerat park groundsmuscat festival lightsGood luck getting a picture with almost no one in it at the festival if you go on the weekend!  There were very few people at Amerat Park from 5:30pm till about 8pm.  It seemed like everyone started arriving at 8pm for the laser show and short fireworks display.  I know a number of expat families avoid Muscat Festival like the plague due to enochlophobia (the very real fear of large crowds), but I highly recommend going out to Amerat on a weeknight if you have time as crowds were not an issue in the slightest.  The park has an area of 130 thousand square metres and enough space for 5200 vehicles.sunset at amerat parkSo have any of you been to Muscat Festival during its first 5 days?  If so, which location did you go to and what did you think of the whole experience?  If not, what are you waiting for?  Don’t let the sun go down on Muscat Festival 2014 without checking it out for yourself.  It runs until February 22nd.

Muscat Festival – 4 More Days!!!

ImageSomeone on twitter just tweeted, ” “Muscat Festival is finally here!” – said no one ever. ”  I know that’s meant to be a humorous little tweet but I really disagree. I’ve certainly said that line before! Muscat Festival is a LOT of fun, especially for those of us with family!  It starts on January 23rd this year (this coming Wednesday) and lasts for one month, closing on February 22nd.  Yes, there can be a problem with traffic (especially at Naseem Park!) but it was extremely well organized in Amerat Park when we went there.IMG_4065It’s a great opportunity to get some great entertainment, learn more about Omani culture and cultures from many other nations, watch some fireworks and have a lot of fun, enjoying some good food.2000DSC_4044Anyone else excited that Muscat Festival is coming soon or am I the only one in the Sultanate? 😉  I would argue that Muscat Festival is one of the best times to visit Oman!Photo By sulaiman khusaibi       (22)Learn more about Muscat Festival here from the official website! (All pics in this post are from the official website)

Happy 43rd National Day to the Sultanate of Oman!!!

Image(Great pic from the twitter account of Oman Tourism!)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Oman is a wonderful place to live!  Mabrook to all Omanis and to His Majesty for another year of great prosperity and progress.  Long live the Sultan!

“Yours Truly Indonesia”Promotion at Asia, Shangri-La Muscat Until Nov. 26th

ImageWe were invited to the fabulous Asia restaurant at Shangri-La on Thursday evening to try out the Indonesian promotion that started Nov 12th and continues until Nov 26th.  It was an incredible evening of entertainment and unbelievable food.   For those who visit the facebook page of Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa and answer 3 questions each week (during the promotion), you will be entered into a draw to win a 3 day vacation at Shangri-La Jakarta with tickets provided by Oman Air!Image  This was not our first time at Asia.  Click here to read about our experience during our first visit there.ImageThe lucky man is this picture is Mark Kirk, General Manager of Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa.  The 2 ladies on either side of Mr. Kirk are members of the Indonesian community in Muscat who got all dolled up in traditional Indonesian dresses.ImageThe cocktails were great! These are specially made for the Indonesian promotion.ImageImageImageKaredok – Raw vegetable salad with peanut sauce.  This salad alone is worth the trip out to Shangri-La!  There really was something magical about the peanut sauce on that salad!  One of my favourite dishes of the entire evening.ImageSoto Betawi – Batavian Beef Soup – Words can’t describe how delicious this soup tasted.  Seriously one of the best soups I can ever remember enjoying.  Indescribable taste and the beef was so tender in the soup that it seemed to almost melt in my mouth.ImageSate Lilit Campur – Mixed Balinese Satay served with Nasi Goreng, Acar and Sambal.  The delicious main course of the evening  came with a generous helping of rice (with pineapple in it, I believe).ImageAnother specialty drink for the promotion called the Bali drink which contains rum.ImageImageKue Lapis Surabaya Dengan Es Krim Kelapa – Layered cake from Surabaya served with Coconut ice cream.  Yummy!ImageAnother look at the main dish that the guest chefs from Jakarta prepared as it was coming out of the kitchen for one of the guests.ImageChefs Nur Budiyono and Marlina Tulus Salam are happy to serve during their 2 week stay in Oman. True Indonesian ambassadors bringing the finest authentic Indonesian delicacies here to the Sultanate for a limited time.  These 2 expert Indonesian guest chefs are from Shangrila-La Jakarta and are here to present Indonesia’s best kept culinary secrets in a unique menu of natives’ favourites.ImageL to R: Eihab Attia (Communications Manager), Chef Marlina Tulus Salam, Ingrid Hotanijaya (Communications Executive), Chef Nur Budiyono, Samir Abu Al Majid (Advertisinglass Executive for Al Watan), and Ania Zdunek (Assistant Director of Communications).  It was great meeting so many wonderful people at this brilliantly organized event!

Thanks a lot to the staff at Shangri-La Muscat (especially Ingrid and Rasha) for the invite!  What an unforgettable evening.  For those of you who have never been to “Asia”, now’s a great chance to try it out.  Who knows, you might even win the 3-day vacation to Jakarta, Indonesia!  Whether you win the draw or not, it may very well be the best Indonesian cuisine you ever get a chance to experience!