You Just Can’t Walk

Ras al-Khaimah – February 2016

The banana shake in my hand seems to have a scoop of strawberry jam at the bottom. My friend agrees after an eager sample and convincingly adds: ”Why not?” I try again and decide that it just isn’t right. I love exploring new cultures and their food, but I simply cannot embrace all customs, hard as I might try.

We are waiting for our parathas to arrive, a late lunch on our way to the barber. Outside the restaurant, a couple of boxes make up our chairs on the roadside. Under the glaring sun, in the dusty heat. Nobody sits outside, except two sun-depraved Scandinavian men.

It’s 3pm, an hour until siesta-time is over, but the old carpenter next door is back in his plywood workshop. In a country with no trees, laminate goes a long way. Two hijab-wearing women in a sleek black sedan pull up at his shop and honk for attention.

The old man goes to them and a slow-paced negotiation, probably about some furniture or other, unfolds through the half opened passenger-window. The locals don’t seem to like being outside much. More

Advertisements

Killer Coffee

Muscat, Oman – January 2016

Sultan Qaboos was staring right at me in full regalia, armed with a sable and a dagger. I counted 20-odd medallions on his wide and ribboned chest. He was looking sharp and merciful.

Next to him was another photograph of the Sultan, wearing army fatigues and looking 40 years younger. All shops in Oman hang pictures of their beloved leader on their walls, but this coffee-shop was more dedicated than most. All across its tea-stained walls, Sultan Qaboos was stepping in and out of private jets, shaking hands with world-leaders, inspecting parading soldiers and waving at his minions.

Now where did that image go..?

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman

I was near the capital’s busy and touristy market, the Mutrah Souq, waiting for a round of instant coffee as it were. Made generously with milk and sugar, the way they take it, and the way I love it. From their halwar kameez dress, I figured the staff was Pakistani, but the customers wore mostly Omani dishdashas. I was definitely the blond one out… More