Quite a Day

Holidays are fun. You get the city to yourself. Especially if you avoid all the touron targets. It’s an opportunity to see the city as it usually is not.

So I dropped by Adams Morgan, a place I probably wouldn’t recognize in daylight. I took pictures of all the nice spots. I had no idea that Madam Organ’s was painted onto the side of the building, or that her front porch was so well ornamented!

After taking in some of the regular spots, I dropped by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. I was especially looking forward to seeing the Oman exhibits. Oman is an Arab nation a few hundred miles to the east of Bahrain, where I grew up. So I was really looking forward to seeing what they had. They did not disappoint.

I only saw a small bit of what they had, and they pretty much cover all the bases of life in the desert/mountain Sultanate. Oman was the last of the Arabian Peninsula nations to develop their petroleum resources, yet they have been seafarers for centuries. They controlled sealanes from India to eastern Africa.

Reputably, Sinbad the sailor was an Omani in the tradition of sailors who plied all across the Indian Ocean. In fact a delegation from the Sultan arrived in New York to sign treaties with the American government, in 1834. They are a very polite and unassuming people who fiercely protect their traditions and cultural identity while exposing themselves to as much of the outside world as possible.

I was surprised at how many different exhibits they had and as many aspects of traditional Omani life as possible. Including thing’s like Arabic Glade, camels, caligraphy, textiles, smithery and even making Halwa (but Bahraini Halwa is always better).

I must check with Muscati, but I was surprised that they used the red keffiyeh for mussar’s (or turban). They usually use rich cashmeres, mostly in patterns that would rival the most exquisite Persian Rugs. However, I was surprised that the hot color for the season was pink.

Oman has been trying to promote it’s Tourism Industry and Bahraini jounralist/blogger Amria Hussaini even paid an official visit to the Gulf’s newest resort. You can get a taste of the mystery and magic through Monday afternoon. Head on over to the Mall, over by the Smithsonian and take in a foreign culture. There were a lot of people out there, and it WILL be the talk at the water coller on Tuesday! Take it all in, I promise that you won’t be sorry!

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