Out with the Krew many weekends, there is nothing like life on the ocean in Muscat. For three quarters of the year the temperatures in Muscat get to well into the 30’s, often the 40’s and for the summer time the only chance to get outside is to be on the ocean, everywhere else is just too hot.
Oman is a beautiful place and from the gulf of Oman you can see one of the most striking features – the mountains.We take the boat from the marina and travel for about 45 minutes down to Bandar Khayran.This is a series of coves inaccessible by foot or car.
Time to drop anchor, pull out the snorkeling gear, some drinks and settle down for the day.
Pick and mix of spices. Around the back are nuts, dates….
You can get pretty much anything here – some stores even stock pork in sections for non-muslims (the local version of turkey ‘bacon’ does not appeal I must admit).
There are also a lot of western clothing shops – Next, Monsoon, Matalan etc, along with the usual assortment of techie, chemists and jewelry shops etc.
What I was completely unprepared for were the local supermarkets or hypermarkets as they are called. They are truly enormous and filled with all sorts of local and international brands.
One of our local hypermarkets, Lulu, has a huge food and outdoor section on the first floor, with household and furniture on the next floor up. Why is this relevant? I had no idea what to expect on moving here – from what sort of clothes I could buy to what food would be available in what is essentially a country in the desert.
There is a big English and American influence here –I’ve found Marmite (happy days), Vegemite (yuck, but Matthew loves it), Skippy’s peanut butter, Twinings Tea, McVities digestives, and many brands I’d forgotten about – for me a home away from home.
Greek slow-roasted goat
However, of big note are the veggie and spice sections – AWESOME. There are mounds of pulses, spices, nuts, kernels, herbs, olives and soooo many different types of dates – a pick and mix of anything you could wish for – and many items I don’t yet recognise.
So, in my first few weeks I have found Oman is the place to learn new dishes, and play with old favourites – so far I have messed about with chicken, experimented with Za’atar (its a funky middle-eastern spice mix), nibbled on cheeses with names I cannot pronounce, cooked Greek-style slow roasted goat, made a delicious buffalo goulash and created a rather unique hummus from scratch – which came out a little green, but tasted fantastic. Next I will attempt to concoct some new Indian curries.
There are also some brands I am less familiar with…
Needless to say, Matthew is feeling right at home 😉
Located in the grounds of the old Ayutthura city is the temple of Wat Phra Si Sanphet. It includes the tombs of three Kings.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet was the holiest temple on the site of the old Royal Palace in the ancient capital. It housed a gold Buddah 16 meters high (over 300 kg of gold) and also included three Chedi’s where the ashes of three kings are buried. The city was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767 (and the gold taken).
The three Chedis of Wat Phra Si Sanphet
And here’s more on the history (according to Wikipedia) if you want to know more:
In 1350 King Ramathibodi I, ordered the construction of a royal palace in the same area that Wat Pra Si Sanphet stands today.The palace was completed and King Ramathibodi established Ayutthaya as his capital. The palace contained three wooden prasats named “Phaithun Maha Prasat”, “Phaichayon Maha Prasat”, and “Aisawan Maha Prasat”. However, in 1448 King Borommatrailokanat built a new palace to the north and converted the old palace grounds into a holy site. His son, King Ramathibodi II had two Stupa, which in Thailand are known as Chedis, built in 1492 where the ashes of his father, King Borom Trailokanath, and his brother, King Borommaracha III were buried.
In 1499 a viharn, or hall of worship, called “Vihara Luang” (Royal Chapel) was built on the palace grounds. King Ramathibodi II gave orders for a gigantic image of Buddha to be cast, and installed in Wat Si Sanphet. This image of Buddha was 16 meters high, covered in gold, and the pedestal was 8 meters in length. The core of the statue was made of bronze and weighed approximately 64 tons.The surface was covered with approximately 343 kilograms of gold. This statue, called “Phra Si Sanphetdayan”, was the main object of veneration within the royal chapel. Another Chedi was built under King Borommaracha IV in 1592.
The city of Autthaya including the temple compounds were completely destroyed in the Burmese invasion in 1767, with the exception of the three Chedis that can be seen today.
Wikipedia – Wat Phra Si Sanphet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Phra_Si_Sanphet Accessed 19 Sept 2015
Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula, in Tasmania, Australia.
The site forms part of the Australian Convict Sites, a World Heritage property consisting of eleven remnant penal sites originally built within the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries on fertile Australian coastal strips. Collectively, these sites, including Port Arthur, now represent, “…the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts.” – Wikipedia
Port Arthur is officially Tasmania’s top tourist attraction. It is located approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) south east of the state capital, Hobart. In 1996 it was the scene of the worst mass murder event in post-colonial Australian history.
This is the final episode in Pine Gap Teaser 06 and the last one I will be posting. I promise today to be more considerate of your stomach today. However, if you are a glutton for punishment feel free to check out part one, part two or part three once more. I hope you’ve enjoyed these […]
Bacon and eggs for breakfast? I wouldn’t 😉 Here’s part three and if you really want to avoid the fried food, check out part one and part two again. The two officers traveled in silence until they reached level fifty-eight. As they embarked the car Gabriel commented to Katana, “Do you have your handkerchief handy […]
Sorry about ruining your breakfast last week. Perhaps you should read this before eating 😉 Colonel Gabriel Drax and his queasy companion, Major Katana May, headed back to the elevator shaft and plunged deeper into the bowels of Pine Gap. As they past the thirty-first floor Gabriel’s forehead tingled with a strange sensation that was […]
In this four-part episode, Colonel Gabriel Drax and Major Katana May are investigating some of the horrors lurking in the depths of Pine Gap. The elevator doors opened onto level thirty and the two officers exited the car. Katana began heading toward the southern end of the complex but was called back by her superior […]
Here is teaser number 5. In this scene are Colonel Gabriel Drax – Head of Security and resident hero, Admiral Silas Dargan – main antagonist and nasty little herbivore, Chief Science Officer Lilakoi Paige – Gabriel’s love interest, Major Katana May – family friend of the Admiral who is now doubting said friendship, and Lieutenant […]