A large chunk of Monday and most of Tuesday were filled with rehearsals and our first performance. So many amazing things happened during that time that it deserves its own blog post. So here is the tale of how we filled our in-between times those days.
Exhausted from our long hike the evening before, we spent most of Monday morning relaxing. After rehearsal, we headed up to the pool deck to enjoy some post-sunset pool time.
Next stop was the “Lulu Hypermarket” (basically an Omani Costco from what we can tell), where we gaped at an enormous fish tank. The assumption was that if you ordered a fish, they would just catch one for you out of the tank. We didn’t text that assumption. We DID, however, spend about 20 minutes in the candy aisle, discovering new versions of our favorite treats as well as some we had never seen before. I made sure to pick up some Kinder chocolate. That stuff is incredible.
As it turns out, a mall had just opened next door to the hypermarket, so we headed over to ponder the assortment of western stores (H&M, Claire’s) that sell the sort of clothing we haven’t seen most locals wear.
Side note: many Omani women wear what’s called an “abaya,” a long (typically black) cotton dress/tunic with long sleeves that reaches to the feet, and they keep their heads covered as well. From the conversations I’ve had with the women, they dress this way for both cultural and religious reasons, and they take great pride in it (this could be a much longer discussion, but this blog post is supposed to be about our free time so I’ll stop here). Moral of the story, somehow I don’t see these women breaking down the doors of an H&M for jean shorts.
We spent most of the day Tuesday at the theater, but not before Tarah, Chops, Jason, and I took a walk to the Natural History Museum (with two pit stops: one at a music store for a quick jam sesh and one to take pictures of a beautiful mosque). With just a few Omani Rials as entry fee for the four of us, the museum offered taxidermy dioramas displaying the various landscapes and wildlife found in Oman. There were also a LOT of bugs on display, including a spider that we all agreed was probably the most terrifying thing in existence.
The museum also holds the “Whale Hall” (its a room big enough for a sperm whale skeleton and a few dolphin skeletons.) Apparently much of the Indian Ocean is a whale sanctuary, and the waters surrounding the coast of Oman are filled with many different species (the more you know!). We also learned that the clicking sounds made by a sperm whale sound a LOT like a prog-rock drummer, and that Chops is afraid of blue whales.
The rest of Tuesday was filled with AWESOME experiences from our first performance. So more on that next!