Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the ruler of Oman, is the longest serving leader in the Arab world. He came to power in 1970 in a coup, in which he overthrew his father and began an extensive series of reforms in Oman, transforming the country from a poor, isolated country into a rich, modern state. The first day of his reign (23rd July 1970) is celebrated annually as a public holiday known as Renaissance Day.
The Sultan Qaboos Mosque is the premier mosque in Salalah. This modern mosque was completed in 2001. Not as grand as the mosque of the same name in Muscat, it is beautifully decorated with crystal chandeliers, handwoven carpets and decorative windows and doors.
Carpets in mosques are striped, to help the faithful line up when they pray.
We headed west of Salalah today. Expecting a half-hour drive, it took somewhat longer because of detours due to roadworks and a road closure. On the way back we discovered the reason for the closure. There was a major cyclone in June, and we are guessing that is what caused this:
The drive took us through some rocky, treeless mountainous countryside. Very dry but starkly beautiful. Once again the weather was warm & humid, and there was no rain, but there was some very low-lying cloud over the mountains.
Our destination was Mughsail Beach, famous for white sands fringed with limestone cliffs, pounding waves and especially 3 impressive blowholes.
Proving that young men are the same all over the world, climbing over the safety fences and risking life and limb. If you look closely you can see several small blowholes near where the boys are standing. There are 3 main blowholes, which roared loudly and frequently (but unpredictably) shot waves 10-20 metres into the air. One was particularly high, the other two less visually spectacular, but they made the most noise. The blowholes are covered with safety grilles, and were a great source of entertainment for children (and a few adults) standing on the grille waiting for a drenching.
Two of the friendly Omanis like I wrote about yesterday. This is typical Omani dress. Who needs ice cream when you can get fresh mango for a refreshing snack on a hot afternoon!
On the way home there were camels everywhere, getting in the way of the traffic. We got honked and overtaken when we stopped to wait for a camel to get off the road!