February 20, 2014. Just like any other countries in the Arabian Peninsula, Oman has a yearly festivity of cultural and artistic activities. It is the Muscat Festival that usually happens at the beginning of each year and lasted for a month. Many spectators will witness remarkable entertainment and performances coming from multinational participants. There are also lavishing exhibits of wonderful creations and food festival of various cuisines.
This year, there are two locations for the event – Naseem Garden and Al Amerat – where people and children from all walks of life will experience a magical touch of past and present senses throughout the whole activity area. In Naseem Park, there are Omani Concert, Folklore and Traditional Art Bands, Consumer and Government Exhibition, Amusement Art Park, Family Village, Theater Shows, Circus Display, and Fireworks Display. No wonder it is the most visited site because of the various events happened in the area.
But tonight, we opt to visit Al Amerat Park because it is much closer to my home in Al Khuwair. We just drive the long winding and climbing road across the Hajar Mountain and gently get our way down to the park situated on the wide lowland, which is about 15 minutes ride from the downtown proper.
In Al Amerat there are also various things to look for like the Heritage Village, International Festival of Crafts and Arts, Theaters and Arenas Events, Dazzling Shows, Government Contributions, Muscat Municipality Corner, TV Shows Direct Live Broadcast of the Contributions of the Omani Associations, Art and Specialized Events, and Fireworks Display.
If you like to get a good parking, you have to be in the place a bit earlier because the park opens at 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon until 11:00 o’clock in the evening. For us, we arrive at 6:00 PM and only a handful of visitors are there. There’s a site map installed at the entrance to see other parts of the activity area.
We decided to eat our dinner first before roaming around and head off to the restaurant booths. Because we are always an eater of fast foodies, this time we want to try Asian dishes like the Malaysian Cuisine from the Café Malaysia Oman. We have tried their Mee Goreng Mamak (1.000 OMR) which is special fried yellow noodles, Tom Yam Soup (1.000 OMR) which contains seafood in a sour and spicy soup, and Teh Tarik (300 baiza) a Malaysian Style Pulled Tea with Milk. All are very delicious and quite affordable.
At around 7:30PM, a dazzling show of bright laser lights and multimedia are shown on a mist of water, a modern techniques to display breathtaking pictures and videos, accompanied with original Omani compositions. The sceneries and neon lights are coupled with fireworks display that runs for about half an hour. It was really amazing and fascinating. It is a kind of exhibits that has something improved over the years.
After the show, we visit a display of recycled materials that turned into magnificent art crafts like dining set from used tires, wooden statue from used wood blocks, lampshades from plastic spoons and plastic bottles, colorful tree from used mineral bottles, flower pots from used tin cans and tires.
On the opposite side, there’s the botanical garden of various flowers in full colors. My wife, who is equally a gardener like me, loves that area so much that she asked me to take pictures of all the flowers in various kinds. In here, they encourage to use plastic bottles and car tires as flower pots. There are nice landscape designs and water wells.
We proceed to the International Exhibition for Arts, Heritage, and Creativity where all countries from Asia, Europe, and Middle East will showcase their craftsmanship and cultural heritage.
Our next stop is the Oman Heritage and Culture Village. For me, it is the best part of the Muscat Festival because I was able to witness the old and traditional Omani lifestyle.
You can see some tools used by local people in the old times as their way of living. There are varied displays for talented crafts including weaving, wood carving, coffee making, etc while at the same time Omanis are showcasing their talents in dancing, singing, qur’an reading, and even their old style of living like fishing and farming. They all have made it in a pretty much the same manner it has been done for hundreds of years ago.
Finally we get out of the village and head off to the theater show where we watch Bollywood dancing for thirty minutes.
All of us are a bit tired of going around the vicinity and we all decided to leave the park at 10:30PM.
We arrive home with a wonderful and another amazing experience of Muscat Festival for the third time.
Thank you for reading!
Jesse – The Blissful Husband and Dad