Naseem Garden is one of the 2 major locations of Muscat Festival. The other being Amerat Park. The festival continues until Feb 22nd but don’t wait until it’s too late! One of the aspects of Naseem Park that makes it different from Amerat Park is the Consumer Exhibition. You can buy just about anything you’re looking for as there are around 400 stalls. The kids love the “made in China” toys for sale that we end up buying every year like the angry birds light up toy (1 OR) and ball that lights up when you bounce it (1 OR).
Here is a Naseem Garden festival area map from the Muscat Festival website: “Al Naseem Park also includes a city of entertainment and games that has many electrical games that suit different age groups.” (from Oman Observer) The Superbowl made it to Oman, haha! Some of the gentlemen working at the amusement park area really annoyed me this year. Omanis are free to take all kinds of pics and videos but once they see a white guy (me) taking a pic, they almost always order me to put my camera away. See what I’m talking about in this video as I’m trying to videotape the Superbowl ride. The guy totally ignores the Omanis already filming to tell me to put my camera away:This is not a matter of “culture” but rather of discrimination. Either no cameras or videos whatsoever or have the same rules for everyone! Horse rides are available for the kids as are horse drawn carriages for a small fee. All kinds of balloons and toys which almost always seem to be one rial. Barney and one of the minions chilling out at Naseem Garden. I think all these mascots were getting ready for a parade. (?) Many parents (including us) took the chance to take pics with the kids! Hello, Hello Kitty…kind of. Nice deal at Pizza Inn: Buy any pizza and get the 2nd one for 1 rial! Chicken Biriyami (1.1 RO) Gentlemen from Shinas making Omani Halwa. They told me it takes about 2 hours of stirring to make it. If you’ve never tried Halwa just after it’s been cooked, I definitely recommend trying it out at the festival. It was delicious!
Let’s call the trick in this video “Stabbed with over 20 umbrellas”:
Here’s another trick that I’ll just call “Tie Her Up & Change Clothes”:
“The magic show is presented three times in a day on the main stage at the Naseem Garden at 6.45pm to 7pm, 8.45pm to 9pm and 10pm to 10.15pm. The routine will continue till February 22.” (from Times of Oman Muscat Festival report)
Better 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.I 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.This 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:I 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.These 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…That’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.The Jordanian artist, Salman, selling all kinds of artwork at his stall. Just look at some of his work:If 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.I 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:Not only can he write your name in colorful sand, he can also write your name on a necklace (nikles) or on a bracelet (priselet). 🙂This 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.The 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.Lots 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! 😉Inoussa 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 http://www.inoussa-art.com. It’s in French but you can translate it into English if viewing in Google Chrome.Good 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.So 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.