The sun wakes you up at dawn that is at about. 6.30. You stretch your bones lazily, boil some water for tea and coffee afterwards. At about 9.00 finally you start moving, trying not to complain to yourself, that you promised yourself to get up early today, to see the livestock market. Do you celebrate mornings.
Less than twenty kilometers pedaling, and you see Lulu on the outskirts of the city. This is the best supermarket chain in Oman with brilliant gourmet food, hot dishes and decent clothing. It's not good.. Lulu always makes you soak in for a long time. Here it is 10.30. You promise yourself, that you drop in just for a moment, and you leave after 1,5 hours. All in all it is not so bad. Well enough, you left your phone in customer service, at least it could recharge. As usual it hard to accommodate shopping in your bags, but where like not here you could buy fresh labneh (soft curd yoghurt, great for breakfast) with spices – I prefer a mix of Middle East zataar, Bagels (you take two, it's better than bland toast bread), rose jam (generally I do not eat jams, but this one is unique) olives as big as plums, some fruits. The most time today you spend in clothing department since you need, you simply have to replace those hideous old T-shirts, also you could do with something with long sleeves, because the sun here is more then enough.. and maybe one more pair of pants. This kind of long loose pants, necessarily loose (basically there's no other type here), which make, you feel good finally, and men's and women's looks do not land on your bare calves. They will be very useful here, and then in Iran. (Girls, whatever you see wrtitten online or in your guidebooks, or if you were convinced by locals – that as a foreigner you can wear what you like it is not true. Forget about tight clothing, bare arms , shorts less than knee-deep .. in Oman and in most Muslim countries you say to such clothes NO. For your well-being and local, not to mention safety.)
Well, lunchtime. I look for a place to eat – called here coffee shops, although there is no coffee there, neither anything intoxicating as in some places holding same name in Amsterdam. Coffee shops are mainly run by Indian, Pakistanis and Nepalese people, that is representatives of the immigrant population, whose number exceeds the number of indigenous Omanis – These are places to eat for workers mostly, Thus, food is cheap and tasty. It is a good for a budget traveller like me – simple menu, most often rice with chicken biryani, or curry, veggies dal from lentils. and salad, plus a soft drink - all of it for the equivalent of 12-15 PLN (3 EUR) which is less than the average lunch price in Warsaw. This does not mean, Omanis do not use them – usually, what really strikes me, This is the type of service “drive-in” – Omanis only deign to leave the window in the car and place order.
Now I know already how to behave in a restaurant and go straight to FAMILY ROOM. This is a separate part of the restaurant desiganted for women (usually, there will not be any sitting alone there anyway) and families. A woman should not sit alone in the company of men. Well, my first days here , I would refuse to go to Family room..
Well fed, but all in all could do with a wash. this action, which I practice every day but often you have to be quite creative to do it . The toilet in the supermarket is not a good choice, too many people. The same in a small mosque nearby. But! Here we have Shell petrol station! the toilet is ok, It can be locked, well ok. I'll wash my hair as well, What! it is only 14.00 so maybe a small laundry, it's lunch break anyway, no one wandering around.
Of course, at this time of a day I need a nap , that helps me to reset usually. Oh, it is 15.00. but I still have to drop by to another store, that, opens at 16.00.. Let's have a tea, then.
Wait, what I was supposed to do today?
ok, visit the fort of Al Sulaif! It is only a few kilometers from the center of Ibri.
Fort Al Sulaif is different forts in Nakhal, Rustaq and Nizwa – It is only partially restored, making it, more authentic, and this increases its attractiveness. I do not like excessive restoration of monuments so, they tend to look brand new.
Al Al Sulaif fort I am greeted by the guide and guard. What a volcano of energy he is, and he has some kind of obsession about taking photos. He wants me to take it everywhere. Tht is this and that.. he explains – take a picture. Bla, bla, bla. Here, take a picture… Please, picture. Do you want a picture? No? And here? hmmm.. He doesn't seem to care what I think about it, taking pics all over, which is a bit tiring.
Mr. Guide before mentioned already, that I can put my tent somewhere here byt the fort. or.... wait, You might prefer centuries-old guest room by the entrance? he asks me? Making sure, that it can be locked from the inside I settle there for the night, of course.
– But are you sure you will not be afraid, all by yourself here?
Guide-watchman is standing very close behind me and I almost feel his breath on my neck.
– Go away, please, or I complain at the police.
– Good night he says. I will be here tomorrow 7 morning and he disappears behind the gate
Sometimes as a woman you just have to set aside all courtesy. Seven a.m? a bit too early for me , but at least finally I'll make it to visit livestock market. Today I'll be a watchman here. I shut the door, lock it from inside and go even to check, for possible other unwanted entrances.
Before gettign asleep I scroll some news about Oman.
"Every citizen of the country above 18 age, earning less than 600 rials (ok. 6000 PLN - 2 USD) is entitled to receive 200 liters of subsidized petrol per month (l ca.. 1,8 PLN - 2 USD).
„Every citizen of Oman is entitled to receive from the government a free plot to build home. As of 2010 this year this law referes to women as well"
Well well,, not bad, but. would I really like to live here?