on March 2, 2011
Muttrah Souk:From the mosque we drive back into Muscat and to the port area to visit the Muttrah souk which is a truly fascinating shopping experience On the tour we had a fairly crowded time being pushed along in a sea of tourists but when we returned the next day it was great as there were far less tourists as the other cruise ship had left and we had gone in to the city quite early before most others so had the place almost to ourselves and the local people.The souk is a traditional shopping souk with lots of perfume and incense stalls, lots of beautiful cashmere shawls and embroidered cloth, stalls with the most amazing braiding for clothing and then jewellery shops with gold or silver or stones. Some of the best shops were like Ali Baba’s treasure cave with beaded necklaces hanging from the ceiling and huge vats of gem stones and silver pieces. It was a real shopper's paradise and you had to be very careful to remember which little lane or pathway you had taken as you could very quickly get lost.The local ladies were all wearing the black abbaya and the burqa while the men wore their white dishdash and either the small hat a bit like a fez only beautifully embroidered or the headdress tied neatly like a small turban. The people were all so friendly and obviously trying to sell you stuff but were not aggressive or unpleasant if you said no thanks.I spent some time with the men selling the perfumed oils and incense. Trying to work out what the different oils were was quite tricky as their English was quite limited and my Arabic even more so. I did manage to purchase some myrrh, frankincense and rosewood to burn in a special incense burner, which we also bought . We bought some of the little charcoal discs too. They were really cheap, I believe they came to a total of about ten pounds. I also managed to buy three different perfume oils which smell lovely but have names I have never heard of.My husband was very lucky as I didn't go down the gold and silver lane and limited my purchases to perfume and incense. was tempted by some of the lovely embroidered cashmere fabric but resisted. We did go and enjoy a coffee and a freshly made lemon mint drink in a little cafe in the souk and the price was really cheap and the lemon mint drink was delicious and very minty tasting. It was freshly squeezed lemon blended with lots of fresh mint and water added - I can recommend it for a really refreshing and tasty drink.The souk is a must visit place if you are Muscat and in the Muttrah area which is near the main port. we easily walked from the port to the souk in about ten minutes along the lovely Corniche.
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