Thursday 25 January 2007

Oman: Bait al Baranda museum

On the recommendation of a work colleague, we visited the Bait Al Baranda museum near the corniche fish roundabout. Opened a few weeks ago, the building has been neatly renovated into a historical and cultural centre. The first room on the circuit illustrates plate tectonics with a large handle in the middle of the floor driving a video showing plate movement over millions of years. Cranking the handle in the forward direction shows the continents moving together again so that Muscat will be the centre of the world in 250 million years. Hope the new road will be finished by then. Moving past the herbivorous dinosaur exhibit, we climbed upstairs where much of the history was illustrated using maps from Ptolemy through to Arabic and European cartographers. Most appropriate for two crusty map makers.

Afterwards I popped to the fish market to find my shark man who was nowhere to be seen, so I photographed a nearby covered walkway instead. We lunched at 'O Sole Mio' with less than speedy service but the food was good. From our table we observed local taxi drivers preparing for the afternoon shift on a big comfy carpet. After (eventually) paying (and having our discount card brutally rejected because it only applied to the restaurant, not the café), we walked to the car as one driver whispered 'taxi' at just below normal human auditory levels in case the prospective client might hear, before resuming his snooze. He tried.

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