Yeahhhhh so I promised I wouldn’t let life get in the way of blogging but obviiiii life is an idiot and it just had to do the most. I don’t remember signing up for this adulting thing and I would like to cancel my subscription, so who do I talk to?
Sooo in more interesting news, one of my besties from uni got married and that meant an excuse to travel. Yay me! She’s Omani, and the wedding was in Muscat (which is why this post is called Muscat incase ...you hadn’t quite ...caught on yet).
Me and my crewwww were in Oman for about a week or so and we had so much fun! It was like a reunion of sorts because most of us hadn’t seen each other since graduation.
Shaikha (the bride) is missing from most photos because she was off doing bride stuff.
I feel like whenever we’re out in public together people always do a double take, because we're such a random assortment of humans. Like who who what what where? And also how? Long story short we all studied Chem Eng at uni and were in the same year. We bonded over our love for studying and being upstanding human beings and giving to chari..…… I’m lying. We bonded over our love for food and laughter tbh. When we’re together we just make noise, laugh and eat. It’s great.
Fun fact: we all graduated with firsts. Yes, we get mouth 😏 #firstclassganggangganggg
Day 1: We were all exhausted from our long flights from various countries but didn’t want to waste a day by resting. So we went out for brunch with one of the bride's friends at the PDO club. The food was lovely, and it was right on the beach. Perfect start to the week. We also did a little bit of sightseeing, and visited the Sultan's palace. That evening we all attended the bridal shower which was Coachella themed , it was so much fun!
Day 2: We had to get up bright and early (yay 😩) because we had a day trip planned to Nizwa. Nizwa is about a 1.5 hour drive from Muscat. It’s a small town infamous for black magic (ooohhh spooky). Our tour guide told us a lot about black magic practices and shared a few first hand stories, including one incident involving his sister and her husband. He started off by saying 'Oh I'm not really interested in black magic' .. but then ended up talking about it for like 2 hours lol.
We visited the souk (market) in Nizwa, where I bought a lot of souvenirs, probably got scammed, and had a lot of fun tasting different types of nuts, coffee and dates.
The guide kept saying 'the spicy market', instead of spice market. So we found it very amusing when we saw a jar of Omani mixed spicy (Yes, we are very easily amused).
Side note, the Omani Riyal is easily the strongest currency I’ve ever spent. $100 gets you OR37/38, and its about £2 to OR1. This made haggling a bit complicated, because they’d be like ohh this is 5 Riyals, which sounds fair because 5, but then convert it to pounds and its like shit, rip off! So I was definitely scammed once or twice in the souks.
After the Souk, we drove to Jebel Akhdar, which means green mountain (it’s not green though). The view was amaazzinggg! God is the greatest designer, like wow! We had lunch at this small Omani restaurant up in the mountains and the food was surprisingly good and so cheap (I think). Everyone kept saying it would be freezing, but I thought - how cold can it reaaally be? So I wore a long sleeved button-up shirt and no jumper or anything warm on top. It was collldddd! Shoutout Rena, for letting me borrow her spare hoodie. After lunch we went on a 30 minute hike which went through a deserted village up in the mountains. I was a bit freaked out, especially because we had spent the day talking about black magic. We saw no one except an old man at the start of the hike and a couple of stray cats. But when we asked the tour guide at the end of the hike, he said everyone was probably just siesta-ing 😂.
Day 3: We spent most of the day at the brides house. We all got henna done, and the bride also got her wedding henna done (this took 6 hours!) I was a bit sceptical about getting henna done in Oman, because they only use the red/brown henna and I thought it wouldn’t show up on my skin. (The black one we use in Nigeria is banned in Oman, because of the cancer-causing chemicals lol ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). But it did and it was sooo pretty. Legit art!
In the evening we went to Souk Muttrah, which is a large souk in the middle of Muscat. Bought more souvenirs, and gifts for fam, got ripped off some more.. it was great.
Having a Beyoncé moment
Day 4: We went to the national Oman museum. It was so interesting, there was an art exhibition and a lot of interesting Omani artefacts. I got to learn a lot more about Omani history and culture.
FYI that dagger (which is an Omani national symbol) is called a khanjar, and it holds the Guinness world record for the largest dagger. It was produced as a gift to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, to celebrate his 40 years of accession.
The Milka was in the evening, this is the traditional wedding. The bride thought it would be great if we all wore traditional clothes from our countries, seeing as we were all from different places. We looked so out of place amongst all the Omani outfits 😂
🇲🇾 + 🇳🇬 + 🇴🇲 + 🇬🇧 /🇧🇩 + 🇯🇴 / 🇧🇬 / 🇵🇸 + 🇮🇩 + 🇪🇬
Oh and Omani's spray!!!
Day 5: The plan was to have a fun day at the beach. We were meant to go on a boat trip, see dolphins, snorkel, visit a private island etc etc. BUT the weather screwed everything up. Apparently it only rains like 7 times a year in Oman, but it rained on 3 consecutive days while we were there :(. On the first day we were like yaaaasss blessings blessings, but by day 3 it got a bit annoying because all our beach plans had to be cancelled. Plan B was to drive down to this place called Wadi Shaab, where there are natural clearwater pools, and a waterfall. The pictures looked stunning! But again, we couldn't go because apparently the roads on the way there were probably flooded 🙁 🙁 .
You know how when it snows or gets too hot in England everything ceases to work, this is Oman but with rain. The roads get flooded, high tide, sometimes there are power cuts etc. So unfortunately we couldn’t have our boat trip or our Wadi Shaab trip. This was so disappointing because we were really looking forward to it.
Instead we went to the six senses spa, which is this hugeee gorgeous spa, where they have a beautiful, private, ladies only beach. It was a bit cold but we insisted on having our day at the beach and a few of us went swimming in the Ocean.
That night we had dinner at the Chedi. The Chedi Muscat is a stunning 5 star hotel. It’s massiveeee. The food was delicious. We were so hungry, so the pictures are a bit crap. Afterwards, a few of us went to Caramel which is a restaurant/lounge, to see what the Omani nightlife was like lol.
Day 6: This day was super chilled, we had the main wedding to attend at night, so we decided to take it easy. The wedding was amazzinggg, btw Arabs are sooo extra. I love how, back home we make such a big deal out of wedding guests trying to upstage the bride when they wear extravagant dresses. LOL come to the Arab world and get your life because these babes don't play games. No piccies because hijabis and #halallife. But everyone looked gorgeous, and wore the most beautiful dresses, you just have to take my word for it. No-one upstaged the bride though, her dress!!!!!!! She looked so beautiful, and elegant. I was genuinely quite overwhelmed at how stunning she was that night. Still hasn't sunk in that my girl is married 👰🏽 👰🏽 👰🏽.
Oh for those who don't know, both the Milka and the 'white wedding' were ladies only, so everyone had their hair out and beautiful dresses on. There's dinner and dancing and general funtimes. But near the end, the groom and male family members come into the hall for a bit, so all the ladies put their abayas and veils back on and the bride is also covered up. After the male family members on both sides bring in the groom, all the guys leave except for the groom, the two dads and the brides brother. Then the bride gets uncovered, the cake is cut (white wedding) or rings are exchanged (traditional wedding) there's a bit more dancing and then everyone goes home.
Day 7: Last day, I went to see the Sultan Qaboos mosque (most of the girls had already been 2 days before, but I really needed to sleep that day so I passed). It’s honestly one of the most exquisite mosques I’ve ever seen and it's surrounded by the most gorgeous gardens.
The main prayer room can hold over 6,500 worshippers, while the whole mosque, including the courtyards can hold up to 20,000. The magnificent chandelier in the centre of the main prayer room is the 2nd largest chandelier in the world.
After the mosque we had breakfast at Mani’s and then went back to the Chedi. I needed to see the hotel in daylight, because I felt like I didn’t get to see the full beauty of it when we went the other night. I’m so glad we went because it’s such a beautiful place and we took loads of amazing photos. Did I mention that it's right on the beach?
In the evening, after saying a final goodbye to the bride, (she was off on her honeymoon) ...
...we went to the Oman Royal Opera house to see a ballet. It was Cinderella, and lets just say that it was …. interesting lol. It was set in a dollhouse and all the ballerinas had these strange baby face masks on. It was a bit sinister tbh.
After the show, this really nice man showed us round the opera house. They are obsessed with Luciano Pavarotti (fair enough, he is one of the greats), and had his music playing in all the corridors. There was also a really cool mini Pavarotti museum that he showed us.
Need to take a moment to appreciate the building, how gorgeous is that ceiling??!
Last stop - we went back to Caramel for dinner, because it's in the galleria attached to the Opera house. The food was amazing once again. Then it was back home, to finish packing, a 2 hour nap, goodbyes (😢 ) and flight back home.
Oman was AMAZING (I know, i say amazing a lot).. Oman was INCREDIBLE (better?). But honestly. Muscat is gorgeous, the beaches are gorgeous, the food is gorgeous. And the People! The people made this trip! Omani hospitality is on another level. Random strangers would do the MOST to go out of their way to help us out.
Shaikha’s family and friends made sure we didn’t need anything at all, they were all lovely and super kind. Everyone made us feel right at home. Honestly I can’t thank them enough. THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUU
Shaikha & Ahmed, I wish you all the happiness in the world. May your home always be filled with love, light and laughter. Amin
Oman I’ll definitely be back (In shaa Allah)
P.S. I flew Ethiopian air and during my 2 hour flight connection in Addis Ababa I spotted this cool coffee ceremony thing... Ethiopia trip next?
P.P.S I think it's time I invested in a proper camera. These iPhone pictures are just not cutting it anymore
Besos, Mira x