Scott

Posts by serich:

  • Paying Respects In Dhofar
    PAYING RESPECTS IN DHOFAR   …we had discovered a real paradise in the wilderness, which will be a rich prize for the civilized nation which is enterprising enough to appropriate it. –Theodore Bent, F.R.G.S., F.S.A. in Southern Arabia, 1900 (276) …our war with colonialism, brother, is a long one. –Dhofar Liberation Front radio broadcast, March...

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  • Sultanate and Imamate in Oman
    “Allahu akbar wa lillahi al hamd!” cried the imam, sweeping his hands up to signal our response. “Allahu akbar wa lillahi al hamd!” we bellowed. The men around me were pointing their camera phones at the imam to capture what was happening, and many were hugging one another in frenzied celebration. I was in the...

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  • A Gulf Away: Muscat and Dubai
    “Our journey of development has been and will remain a race for excellence; a race to consolidate Dubai’s position as an evolving, leading, and unrivalled contender for the title of the Middle East’s financial and commercial capital” — H.H. Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai[i] “We should be open to the experience...

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  • Soldiers and Sultans between Balochistan and Oman
    Above my desk in Muscat, a large classroom map of Asia hangs from two brass rivets. It’s an old map — yellowed, crinkled, and creased where it was once folded and kept in a teacher’s desk. While there’s no date listed on the map, it’s from sometime in the interwar years: in West Asia, the...

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  • The Presence of Clouds
    Forecasting the weather is difficult in Oman. While it’s warm and sunny almost every day, problems arise when it does rain, so people tend to keep one eye on the sky. Muscat averages just a couple inches of rain per year that come in brief downpours of a few minutes. When these outbursts happen, an...

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  • At Both the Center and the Edge
    The beguiling rhythms of the tide have drawn Omanis seaward for millennia, and ancient routes and industries have continued into the present day. Oman’s biggest centers of population are former ports of importance, and their residents live at the mercy of the ocean, drawing their livelihood from fishing and seaborne trade. Nowhere is this more...

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  • Every Day Is National Day in Oman
    Oman commemorated its 45th National Day on November 18th, which was also His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’s 75th birthday. Festivities weren’t confined to just one day. Preparations were visible in early September, and some of the most anticipated celebrations occurred in December, long after his birthday. In fact, sometimes it feels like every day is National...

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  • Muscat to Mji Mkongwe
    Unguja ni njema atakaye aje — Zanzibar is good to those who will come, Swahili proverb I approached the passenger side door with my bag slung over my shoulder, dripping with sweat as I waited for the taxi driver to unlock the car. As I stood there, wondering what might be taking so long, I...

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  • Coffee, Tea, and the Cultural Sieve
    One of the first things I found myself needing after arriving in Muscat was a strong cup of coffee. Fortunately, coffee is somewhat of an Omani national pastime. Drinking coffee together is an integral part of local culture, so much so that the traditional coffee pot, or dallah, has become an unofficial symbol of the...

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  • “Try It Once More:” Muscat’s Diplomatic Tightrope Act
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The Sultanate of Oman’s economy is driven by oil, but seafaring has always been the original industry: at its peak, the Omani trade empire spanned the Persian Gulf, southern Iran, Pakistan, and East Africa. Today, Oman is in the process of re-asserting its maritime prowess in the realm of diplomacy, trade, and security, with...

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