Oman's 46th National Day & National Museum

Friday, November 18, 2016

Al Alam Palace in distance

Today is Oman's 46th National Day! I cannot believe another year has passed, you can read about last year's National Day here. Unfortunately, I am in Atlanta this year and have missed out on the city lights and celebrations. I have been living vicariously through social media. Good wishes and festive sweets have graced my feed.

(obviously) not my photo

Happy National Day Oman! And Happy Birthday to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.

One of my favorite blogs, How To Live Like an Omani Princess, wrote a post on the occasion and one sentence in particular really resonated with me:

"The most maddening and beautiful thing about living in Muscat, I have learned, is that anything is possible. It simply is. What was yesterday, can be changed another day. Tomorrow is not, the same as today. Your dreams can change, and that's okay too." - This morning in Muscat, my National Day post

It struck me because this is how I feel about Oman. It makes me happy to know that my perception of Oman is not just a result of my girlish dreams. That there is at least one more person who sees the magic, the mysticism, of this beautiful country. (Trust me, I am fully aware of Edward Said's interpretation of Orientalism, and I use the aforementioned words for how I feel about Oman without any relation to the country's . . . erm reputation)

I can't really go to into depth without talking, or typing, your ear off, cheesiness included. But, when I think of Muscat and my future there (Inshallah), I feel very optimistic about life. You know the old saying, "the world is your oyster", it is simply where I think it will transpire. The goals, ambitions, and aspirations I conjure up in my head (some more seemingly ridiculous than others) seem achievable. When I change the setting to elsewhere, they seem less likely, dry, not feasible, and frankly, I'm not interested. I know what you're thinking, but no, I don't have a bad case of tunnel vision. I honestly do think everyone has their own place (not necessarily a location), where they can be their best, flourish, and ultimately be succesful. & I have found mine. I think because I imagine a career that contributes to Oman's prosperity that I am more invested than someone who might be solely attracted to Oman's physical beauty and rich, complex culture. Perhaps contribute in the efforts for economic diversity (in lieu of oil dependency), protecting wildlife and preserving the environment, non profit to improve life for the underserved, focusing solely on women's issues, or maybe in tourism. Though I don't feel half as smart and qualified for half of what I mentioned. But, do I sound excessively optimistic? I'm sure even Omanis would roll their eyes. Trust me, I've spent the last year plus preparing myself for disillusionment (especially in the workplace), I talked about it here back in April.

The concept of "hope" is something that I have revisited over and over since my teenage years (yes it feels weird to say teen when I still feel like one). My relationship with God then was much more zealous then it is now. As I said in a post in January of 2012, I had always felt God's presence and outpour of blessings. Fast forward five years and my sentiments remain the same. I remember having an intimate conversation with a friend and saying that I could never imagine a life without God, because my life would feel empty and hopeless. No matter my situation, so far in life, I have always felt hope. And a life without hope might just be my greatest fear. I guess that is the argument of many atheists and others, that humans create these fictional deitys for answers and comfort. Although I am confident in my faith and religion, I honestly think I would take the fictitious over say, nihilism. The thought of that alone gives me anxiety. My point is to say, that I think Oman is my place of hope. And if in time, God were to take that from me, take me from there, and I was confident he was redirecting me elsewhere, I'd like to think I wouldn't put up too much of a fight. (God always has more in store for us, than we do for ourselves right?)

I would feel less weird talking about this, if it was France or Spain to be honest. Perhaps because they are more mainstream locations, Western (. . . and okay international) capitals of fashion, culinary, art, CHEESE. I always said Muscat is to me what Paris is to others, and I always get the same bewildered look. 😉

*all photos are mine

The content above took a wildly unexpected turn, it wasn't meant to be an outpour of feelings. But, I just vomited what can I say? 😅

I was lucky enough to be in town for the opening of "The National Museum." And actually went on (the public) opening day. It's located in Muscat across the Al Alam Palace. 

bf & bff

The prices were more than reasonable, Omani & GCC nationals paid 1 OMR, residents 2 OMR, and tourists 5 OMR. Luckily, I had my KSU ID and students had free admission. Walking in, I felt like a child in a candy store. The museum is divided into several different galleries that showcase different aspects of Oman's history and culture, from it's very beginnings, before civilization, to modern times.

I think we really took time to appreciate each display and artifact, so much that after probably three hours spent, we did not even get the chance to go to the second floor! They had so many modern and interactive displays that really gave the visitor a comprehensive insight. You could listen, touch and see. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. I think one of the highlights of our excursion was a 15 minute film they presented, a display of it's own, that alternated showings in English and Arabic. The film was on Oman's history, people, and essence. Other than the fact that it was beautifully made, the nature of it, especially towards the end, was one of optimism and moving forward, that I am sure stirred something in many of us. So much so, that we even went in to watch it a second time in Arabic. Overall, it was such a beautiful experience and such an outstanding museum and it doesn't help that it's in the heart of old Muscat. Whether a tourist or local, you cannot miss it.  

*It has proper special needs infrastructure and I read that it is the first museum in the Middle East to include Arabic braille. 

Unfortunately, I'm not a photographer so I didn't capture many/good pictures.


museum selfie with body guard in tow 😉

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