Omananda 4
15 October 2010

September 23. My last day in Oman proved to be a bonus. I was supposed to leave at 8.30 AM but when we arrived there were a lot of passengers hanging around the check in, and finally we were told the flight was

I have had some slightly off travel karma this year and this was simply a continuance.

Fortunately the devotees had come into the airport with me so I wasn’t stranded. They re-booked me on a different airline for the afternoon (after finding out that another airline with a flight leaving at 8.30AM was charging four times the regular price for the extra customers from our cancelled flight).

Mukunda Murari, Braja Prana and I decided to spend the morning visiting one of the Sultan’s palaces. It was around the bay from Muttrah and also the site of the Sultan’s royal yacht club.

I liked a display of an old style sailing ship mounted in a pond in the middle of a traffic roundabout with water bubbling up from its keel to give the impression it was moving.

We weren’t allowed into the grounds but we took a few photos from the outside.

Apparently the Sultan never announces where he will be, so each palace has a full staff and they prepare each day as if the Sultan is in residence. That means they cook full meals; if he turns up, they are ready with full service. If he doesn’t, they eat it themselves.

Oman is built into the mountains and dotted on small peaks all around Muscat and the bays there are small fortresses, most now renovated for tourist interest rather than function.

But I guess the threat from over the water (Iran is directly opposite the Omani shoreline) means they are always on alert for potential threats, as several battery guns  mounted along the shoreline of the palace testified. Such is the life of a ruler.

There was a restricted area for the Sultan’s personal yacht

and while the guards were friendly, they would only allow us to take photos from the gate.

Going back from the palace we went back around Muttrah bay, passing a new amusement park with this rather odd looking edifice. It looks like an alien space ship but apparently its supposed to represent a frankincense burner.

That brought my brief but blissful trip to Om-ananda to and end, at least for this year. The friendly reception of the devotees and their eager sravanam of Srila Prabhupada’s katha mean more trips in the future inshaallah.

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