On the road, wounded in the sands
Centuries only by sea the traveler could reach Oman. Only Bedouins, residents of the Arabian desert – so huge that they called her "Empty quarter", penetrated into the depths of the Oman lands. Nowadays, two highways connect the Sultanate with the United Arab Emirates. This federation of the state was born 35 years ago, when in the local places found "Black gold". Yesterday’s nomads became oil kings. They dated Abu Dhabi, the capital of the country, and in Dubai – the fabulous gold city. From here begins the road leading to Oman. The plane is preparing to land at night. It seems as if the rain from the Red Stars woke up on Dubai. This is a forest of lifting cranes, shimmering signal lights. The city never sleeps. His construction site is sisha by Indo-Pakistani workers who take the towers of futuristic architecture in a few months. This is New York in his oriental version. Eldorado, in which people live a hundred thirty nationalities that make up 70% of the population. Indigenous residents in black abay. Indian women in bright sari. Egyptians with fingers painted by henna. Dubai is a big parade of Arab-Muslim coquetry.
Here all or almost all new – avenues, signs, shopping centers ("Molla"). It is here who come to the goals of families. Here are the business foreigners, because everything is surprising here cheaply: prices are sometimes 60% lower than European.
Bedouins, hurt the desert
"Molla" – These are real attractions for foreigners. To the great surprise of the Western tourist, the ladies in the Chadra are buying sexy underwear. But he himself attracts attention, if we are dressed in what only at home go. Surprise from a Western person will cause the presence of zones in restaurants allocated for families. In fact, these are zones for women. And yet this country is not Saudi Arabia. And visit them only "Local" Women how foreigners are expressed.
In all hotels, alcohol flows the river. Tourism is the future of the Emirate who wants to look in the eyes of tourists as the best place to stay. Here is already a lot of extravagant. In the desert, where the temperature sometimes jumps to 50o, in September the sports complex will open, in which it will be possible to ski for the present snow made by special machines. Considering the coast that does not satisfy his resort ambitions, Dubai wins at the expense of the sea: two artificial islands lengthen the shore by 60 km – by 166%! Not to mention "World" – 250 tiny islands, forming outlines of seven continents. And what is the project of the world’s first underwater hotel!
And here is the result: the fragrance of the East disappeared. You need to drive around the highway 150 kilometers to understand how the desert of the Bedouin conquered the Desert. Footprints of the former nomadic life have been preserved only in racing on camels and falcon hunting.
Sultanate is at the intersection of ways of Arabia, Persia and India. It is a trade exchange that I gave Oman’s unique appearance. He had even its trading offices – Canton in China, Zanzibar Island in East Africa. Her story is calling to travel. We are going to Sary, located on the coast of 165 km from the border. It was there that a sailor was born, whose adventures admire the children of the whole world – the famous Sinbad, hero "Thousands and one night", the one who "Izbordil all seas illuminated by the Sun". Then we take the course to the capital – this is 250 km south. Muscat is one of the mythical cities, such as Tombuct, Venice, Alexandria, Istanbul.
Muscat, in the past – the parking lot of Arab shopping ships – today is a metropolis with a population of a million people. Without a car, it is impossible to move around it. Yesterday’s surrounding villages turned into quarters, where traffic jams constantly arise on the roads. But the signal is prohibited. No Dubai Taxiper will risk!
Bazaar as the Babylonian Tower
"Lungs" Muscat is a quarter mattress. Here on the embankment there are still pretty houses with wooden balconies belonging to rich shipowners. Near the port is a fish market that could be called picturesque if this word was not too "lured". Finally, we see the East as we usually imagine it – alive, noisy, fragrant all kinds of spices.
Ancient bazaar, "Suk" – This is the real Babylonian tower, where Arabs, Beluhi, Indians, Pakistanis and Batina residents – spacious plain, stretching from Muscat to the Border of the UAE, are explained on the only dialect on them. Air dotted with aromas camphor and musk. Here are also harvested by Mirra and incense, which are brought from Dofar – the southern province of Sultanata. To all this is mixed by a tart aroma of coffee with a cardamon, which here is served as a sign of hospitality.
From the city, near the road leading to Sur, the largest mosque of the country, bearing name "Kabus" – in honor of Sultan, ruling by Oman since 1970. This is the first mosque, which was open to visiting tourists. It can simultaneously be 20 thousand men and 7150 women. Under the impressive golden dome lies a huge carpet, which, they say, swept entirely and in itself is the work of art.
Sur, located 295 km south, consists of low white houses. He looks at sea since antiquity. "Sur founded Phoenicians. Then they sailed to Lebanon, where they founded the same city, Tir – in Arabic "Sur" – According to the same drawings", – tells the old man sitting in the shadow of the beach kiosk. Mohammed Said dressed in all white and looks like sages. Omansky Bay identified his fate as the fate of the whole city. "The sea is Sultan", – He says.
"We are considered disgrace not to go out into the sea", – Adds Saleh Juma Hassan al-Arimi, the owner of the only shipbuilding plant in the country. It is on these wooden courts that were once built "Without a single nail", Our interlocutor swears, the Arab seamen became the owners of the oceans who passed the art of shipping to Portuguese, in particular Vasco da Gama. At the shipyard, Indian workers work on the sort of new ship. "Gift of the city of Sultane".
When Muzzin’s voice is heard, we decide to go at the not. Located 360 km south of Sura, this city is famous for the fact that for the Sultanate he is the cradle of Islam. "When the brotherhood of Ibaditis founded the city, his members brought religion here in her own", – tells the merchant sitting near his shop on the old bazaar. He reads us the Arab poem of the VIII century:
Hi I send my friends from the White Islamic City,
There is no equal to either east or in the west,
Cities famous for justice and self-denial.
He looks like a young girl, worthy and beautiful,
In the clothes of delicate, lungs, silky.