Thursday 3 August 2006

Oman: Mutrah fish souq

‘I wonder how many tourists book rooms in the ‘Marina Hotel’ opposite Mutrah fish market without considering the combination of early morning fish, high heat and unbearable humidity’. Just a thought as I entered the market in search of something slippery for dinner tonight. I confidently tested the locals knowledge with my ‘fishes of the souq’ card, but this backfired, as there are usually two names for every beast – standard Arabic and local Arabic. I just ended up more confused.

A limp looking shark on the ground next to a stall drew my eye and I purchased a block of pale pink flesh that was deftly hacked into useless-sized pieces. I wandered to the back of the hall to the area where fish is prepared to customers’ choice for 200bz. It looked like a scene from a horror movie with bloodstained men sharpening knives, slashing fish parts, spurting blood and throwing the results into inadequately sized bags. Cool.

I stopped briefly to watch the arrival of some of the late morning catch, intrigued by the sight of boys wrestling enormous tuna and shark into wheelbarrows, which they then tried to push up the stony beach.

That evening we dined heartily on a fish curry. Akhi polished a bowl of shark in record time.

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