First impressions of Muscat, Oman
We are week 2 of living in the suburb of Bausher in Muscat, Oman. Still missing a dining table etc our apartment has a ‘nearly moved in’ look. The view makes up for it.
Curious about the new place we find ourselves in we did some research: Oman has a population of nearly 5 million of which 1.5 Million live in Muscat the capital (for comparison, the population in London is currently nearly 9 million).[1,2] The type of Islam practiced here is called Ibadism  more liberal compared with that of some of its neighbours. Traditionally Oman has a welcoming community where other religions can be practiced and there are churches for various denominations to be found in Muscat.
The Government here is an absolute monarchy. The monarch is called the Sultan and he is Qaboos Bin Said. His Majesty was educated in Britain and there is a large British influence here.
It is said that there are more expats in Muscat than local Omanis. The population consists of a large contingent of workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Jordan, and the Philippines, as well as Americans, Australians and British. Clothing is modest but expats in their western gear, Indian women in traditional dress and Omani men and women in their white Dishdasha and black hijab mingle without so much of a glance. On our first visit to the local mall more than one Omani welcomed us to their country as they passed by.
Tourism is encouraged and Muscat is well worth a visit – only five hours drive from Dubai in a truly beautiful setting with the Gulf of Oman on one side and mountains on the other. Any guidebook worth its salt will give many things to do here and if you are into exploring the big outdoors this is the place for you.
Traditional Omanis do not drink alcohol so most restaurants will not have a liquor licence but drinks are to be had of an evening in hotel bars and some additional venues of which there are quite a few in Muscat, many along the beach front. If you have a license (for which you need to be a non-muslim with a work visa) you can also buy alcohol from designated stores.
If you stay here for any length of time you may notice a slightly different taste from the tap water as Muscat has a desalination plant – but nothing that fresh mint and lemon can’t fix or some people buy bottled.
One of the things that has taken some getting used to is that the working week starts on Sunday and the weekend starts on Thursday evening. What this actually means is that it completely throws your calendar out and you have no idea what day of the week it is at any given point.
One word of advice if you are planning a trip: the times to avoid are Ramadan (most places shut during the day) and the summer months (June – August) where the weather is too hot to be outdoors for most. This is the temperature currently at the beginning of May for the week. The words on everyone’s lips are “Summer is Coming”.
 http://countrymeters.info/en/Oman – accessed 5 May
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscat,_Oman – accessed 5 May 2016
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Oman – accessed 5 May 2016
Useful facts about Oman:
http://country-facts.findthedata.com/l/181/Oman – accessed 5 May 2016
http://www.heritage.org/index/country/oman – accessed 5 May 2016