Friday 20 July 2007

Oman: Bose and Concept come to Oman

Muscat has come a long way from sweaty souqs where the smell of warm human flesh mingled with the waft of exotic spices and frankincense. These days, marble-floored malls are popping up around the city selling items beyond the comprehension of most locals. The new Bose store in the Shatti mall is such an example.

We entered the shop on a (virtual) Sunday afternoon to be immediately pounced upon by one of the two assistants acting as if we were his first ever customers. He demonstrated the buttons, knobs and dials on every appliance as if we had never seen buttons, knobs and dials before. Green dustbin-like garden speakers sitting on artificial greengrocer grass were cranked up to maximum warp speed causing mother to retreat because she hates loud noises. A lecture on noise-cancelling headphones followed with the salesman’s excitement reflecting his belief in a potential sale. He was wrong.

Another item high on Omani shopping lists is the rowing machine which can be found in a sports shop in the mall behind as Sarooj. They even have the new Concept Model E which looks like a rodeo horse on its extra long legs. The lady explained this was for people who could not bend very well. The lack of logic in this statement washed over her.

It is unusual to see any cyclist on Muscat’s crazy roads, so the sight of a triathlon as we left the mall seemed most incongruous. Brightly coloured racing whippets whizzed past while the police observed in a confused manner until the less-than-regular triathletes drifted by. The last rider we saw was mounted upon his son’s mountain bike which was stuck in the lowest gear judging by the frantic speed of his legs. Still, he was braver than me on those roads.

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