We are back in Muscat. No tours planned as we did a long one in 2011. Instead we have a day of walking planned. The goal: find a specific bracelet for a friend of ours.
Muscat has a very convenient harbour: take a short shuttle bus ride (you are not allowed to walk inside the port) and you are at the gate. Outside are expensive taxis! We didn’t bother negotiating because the main souk and downtown are only 800m from the gate.
The map provided by HAL is useful here, esp. if you only plan to wander the souk area. There is one main entrance along the shore into the souk but if you look up the alleys as you head there you will see many other entry points. The place is huge. Wandering the souk with a purpose is surprisingly much more satisfying (to Gerrit at least) than aimless wandering.
We found items that were similar but no luck on the specific item. In the process I think we did visit every shop that sells silver, which is a lot of shops. Much of the silver is dull, they don’t bother polishing each item until you decide to buy. As a result much of it looks old which is perhaps the intent as it then looks antique. All items (including gold) are sold by weight. In case you are wondering, there are a LOT of gold and silver shops here. They are all busy, mostly with locals buying gold.
One vendor thought he could help us with the bracelet, but went back to the shop in the evening but no luck. We then walked through the entrance on the city side and were greeted there with traffic jams and crowds shopping for materials, clothes, shoes and restaurants. No tourists there! Pat was also looking for buttons for a knitting project but we came to realize that material shops don’t sells buttons. Looking at the clothes people wear here there are no visible buttons!
There is a seaman’s store in the port area. We walked there and back to buy some snacks. This is where Gerrit bought razor blades in 2011 at a very good price. None to be had this time though. Later in the day there was an announcement saying not to walk anywhere in the port or you will get a fine so our timing was obviously excellent
Today is also the day when a persistently ignorant person who routinely smoked on Deck 3 was finally dealt with. There had been many reports, the front desk staff knew the room number before we even mentioned it! We are very disappointed that this took almost 60 days to be resolved. In general there have been very few transgressions except this one person. The Crows Nest lost its lingering smoke smell after the first week of the cruise so now the whole area is useable.
Night time brings a wonderful surprise, a light show from the monument. This is new since our 2011 visit.