Sunday, 2 December 2012

Just some random images

A stationary Button

Button was on the head board of the day bed, completely still for 20 minutes.  I wonder what she was looking at?  No prizes for guessing...................................

Yup, a bird
I have no idea what kind of bird this is.  Possibly some sort of dove.  It had just had a bit of a bath in a puddle and was drying it's feathers on our wall. Since we have reflective stuff on our windows, it was completely unaware of the killing machine only a few feet away.  I shall call it the Oblivious Bird!  We have a lot of birds visit the garden.  Luckily the local cats are not interested.

The dome of the main prayer room of Sultan Qaboos Mosque

One of the spinnerets lurking behind the bulk of the buildins

We parked at the wrong gate, but the walk round was lovely.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is only open to non Muslims on working days, so we took advantage of Eid to have a look.  On this visit, we neglected to discover that it was only open from 8:00am to 11:00am, the longest period between prayers.  Of course, I left my camera behind the other times I have been.  It is a must see for soooooooo many reasons, not the least of which is astonishing combination of Islamic arts from so many different countries.

The full moon
We now have a sitting area on the roof, a perfect place to snooze away a day.  At night it's rather nice too.  So nice, that the moon came to visit

So what happens when it rains in Muscat?  Well, the ground gets wet and the water runs to the sea through the wadi's and, apparently, Mutra Souq.

The Souq is covered, sort of, and the roof is a roof, sort of.  Let's just say that it didn't rain for the couple of hours that we were there, but water kept flowing.

Equality of the sexes is alive and well in Oman - the men have to worry about their hemlines as well (as my mother-in-law rather cheekily pointed out).

One of the very lovely things about Oman is that the white, or off white, houses and landscape mean that every bit of colour gleams, whether gold, silver, celebratory lights in the streets, the loops of amazing lights on the LuLu Hypermarket (it's big, there are A LOT of lights), the colours of the traditional Omani clothes.  The rain at the souq gave a glimpse underneath the black abaya that has become the most common street wear.  When I visit the hospital I get to see the older women in more traditional dress and this time it was a chance to see the younger women flash their pretties.  The abaya is worn very long and mostly Omani women walk very slowly and gently, so as not disturb their out covering.  However, when there is water up to an inch deep flowing over your sandals, the time for hoiking up the abaya had come and revealed to the world are the vibrate colours and flashing metallic braids that hide underneath.

A little bowl of fire
Audrey cunningly told us that we needed to chose a hanging lantern - that we both agreed on.  Now normally when we go to the souq together David spends a lot of time looking at guns, knives and swords and hustling me past the fabrics and bling.  This time he had to look bwhahahahahahahahahahahaha!  We found this little gem and now it hangs in the loungeroom doorway and glows merrily to itself. 


My first piece of Omani embroidery
My most exciting purchase came in a rabbit warren of a shop, filthy with dust, crowded with mountains of stuff - old, new and ancient.  There was a glass counter hidden behind some piles, protecting the guns and swords on the walls.  Inside the glass counter was stuff, just stuff and in the corner, a little wad of embroidery.  What caught my eye was the silver work on black velvet.  What the shop keeper pulled out was this.  Yes, it's all silver embroidery, slightly tarnish, although not very.  It's stitched onto white silk, backed with linen.  The embroiderers amongst you will recognise the techniques, but something caught my eye - the colours.  When I have played with metal thread embroidery the colours have usually come from the threads holding down the metal.  In this style, the silver purl is threaded with thick coloured threads which hold the coils of silver apart just a little.  It's a lovely technique and a sample just had to come home with me.  Now all I need to do is find someone to do some curatorial type framing for me.

Another place we visited quickly was a cultural arts exhibition at the Qurm City Centre - they have an exhibition space just outside the lower entrance to the Mall.  Oh dear, I know what I'm going to be doing after the T-thing is done. Learning more Arabic so I can talk to these weavers........................

Part of traditional Omani dress, and a symbol of status, is the the curved dagger, the khanjar.  The khanjar is worn pushed into the front of a belt.  The belt itself is made of leather, but mounted on the leather is a decorative, warp faced strap, woven on the cutest table loom you've ever seen.  The warp is gold or silver thread (like a Jap thread - metal wound round a thread core - they come by the tonne from India) and black mercerised cotton.  The weft is a lightly spun white cotton.  Guess what I want to learn............

The table loom for weaving the belts
Some of the finished belts
The pattern draft for the belt on the loom

And of course Bluey needs to have equal time :-)

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