Monday, February 6: Tonight, on a whim, my friend Christian and I decide to drive 1 1/2 hours to drop in on Muscat Festival. We had seen the major traffic jams caused by the festival around Qurum Park over the weekend, so we figure the best thing to do is to go on a weeknight.
The traffic is less than what we had seen on the weekend, but it is still bad. It is hard to find parking and, after almost giving up, we end up parking way at the top of a hill overlooking Qurum Park.
This is what happens when you don’t really know what you’re supposed to be doing. We go through the main entrance and immediately see a lot of booths for commercial concerns such as Omantel, Nawras, Bank Muscat, Bank Dhofar, etc. We pass a huge gleaming white Dodge Ram propped up on a pedestal. We head toward the ride area, but this area is not really part of Muscat Festival per se. These rides at Qurum Park are always here.
We walk past the Ferris wheel, some spinning rides, a crazy kamikaze, which is a pendulum amusement ride, an Orbiter, and an Octopus. You name it, it’s here. We ride a rickety roller coaster that is only a little scary on the first drop. We try to ride a Pirate Ship, but they won’t let Christian and I ride together because he’s a boy and I’m a girl. Shucks.
Finally we get out of the amusement park and come to a walkway around the lake, where suddenly a fountain and light show begin with brightly lit fountains spraying into the air to the beat of some tunes. A kind of ghost-like cloud arises, and images of Oman are projected onto the cloud. The most beautiful is a galloping Arabian horse.
By this time, we are about ready to leave, but I don’t think we have seen what we were supposed to see! We miss the Oman Heritage Village, the food festival, the plays and concerts. We miss most of what we are supposed to see!
No matter. We go to the Intercontinental, where we sit at the bar and talk to some Omanis and a Syrian guy, all of whom tell us they don’t like Obama as President, and one of whom says he loves George Bush! What a surprising world it is sometimes!