So the camels pictured in the last post, were seen on the way to a coastal landmark – Maneef Cave, where a cave in the rock under the viewing area creates flumes of ocean spray when large waves pound into the cave. This is the Indian Ocean.
I performed at the annual Salalah festival – a large outdoor cultural event lasting 2 – 3 months, featuring national and international performances of music, dance, and theater, as well as vendors of crafts and food, and an amusement park with rides. the U.S. Embassy has a permanent booth at the festival, offering information on their many outreach programs in education in booklets in Arabic as well as English. They also gave away picture books in Arabic to children who came to the booth.
Above, a traditional regional Omani dance by men, accompanied by men singing to recorded music. The dance was very graceful and stately. The dancers smiled, and it appeared that in some dances, men and boys from the audience were invited to participate, with a partner leading them through the movements of the dance. I watched this for a long time – mesmerized by the music and gentle grace of the presentation.
A diverse crowd attends this festival, as evidenced by the variety of traditional dress. Here showing probably Saudi, Omani, and Pakistani men. Many Indians also live in Oman.
Much traditional food was available, as well as western chains. The traditional food has been blended with Indian and other cuisines, so rice is often a part of the meal (although not grown here), and Lebanese dishes are also common.
I had brought poster board and markers for Arabic title cards, which my embassy contacts, Sami and Batool, kindly made for me. Sami was going to write them, but said his handwriting was bad. I told him I would not know the difference, but he had Batool write them anyway. I also asked them for some simple Arabic vocabulary and phrases for each story. I made a back stage “cheat sheet” (all this about an hour before the first show). The combination of familiar stories (Aesop’s Fables), descriptive action, and simple language phrases worked, and the children were often verbally advising the puppets. I was told that my Arabic accent was good and the language I used understandable – that a direct result of my obsessively listening to an Arabic language CD when I was on the road in June. I listened to the same CD over and over and didn’t get too far beyond “Hello”, How are you?”, etc., but apparently it helped a lot in getting the accent.
Sami and Batool, making the title cards.
After three days in Salalah, it was time to fly to Muscat for the rest of the tour.
Packed and waiting for ride outside my hotel building. Palms are view from there towards Indian Ocean.