I am sick, sick, sick of people whining about the lack of entertainment in Muscat. And when I am not sick I am tired. I am sick and tired of the moans, groans, sights, blank expressions and of the whimpering. I would like to argue that the problem does not lie in the lack of activities but rather in the poor coverage and communication of these events to the general public. Look around you, open a newspaper, and check the Events section on Facebook or even call a friend! Every week there are concerts, shows, exhibitions, workshops, garage sales, classes and even educational wine evenings taking place!
I’ve had a culturally diverse couple of weeks. Let me rephrase that, I have been surviving on sugar sticks and red bull the entire month. I have been trotting around town, adoring paintings worth a fortune and even broadening my understanding of Baroque music.
It all started with my eagerness to visit the International Book Fair which was held in the Exhibition Center at the end of February. Rumor has it, we even got on National Television which showed myself, Alex and Cynthia scouting through volumes of Arabic literature in search for transcripts that looked familiar. Since the title of the fair raised my expectations to finding “International” books I was somewhat disappointed at the limited availability of English merchandise. I have nevertheless purchased a very cool book about dinosaurs (for my brother of course), a few Math/French Grade 2 workbooks (also for the little pest) and even treated myself to yet another Paulo Coelho masterpiece which I am enjoying very much. I found their merchandizing to be questionable after I located a “Cocktails 101” guide next to “Nursery Rhymes for Toddles”. But hey maybe that’s just me…
In the first week of March, the Russian Embassy in Oman organized a reception dedicated to International Women’s Day and invited members of the Russian community for a celebration. On this occasion Mrs. Edemskaya (wife to Ambassodor) has addressed her audience with best wishes of prosperity, peace and health. Coincidently this week also saw the commencement of “Maslenitsa” a traditional Russian holiday throughout which bliny (Russian pancakes) are made and offered to family and guests. Keeping in line with tradition the Embassy served Russian pancakes in abundance with a side of sour cream, jam and honey. Mrs. Pavlovna has stressed the importance of keeping native traditions and holidays alive far from home within the fast growing Russian community in Oman.
Just a few days later I found myself in a 45 minute queue to witness the wonder that is Jared Leto. Being the fidgety hyperactive ball of restlessness  anxious person that I am, I managed to lose our tickets while waiting in line- thank god they were later returned to us by a very kind woman. Overall, I was generally impressed by magnitude of the event and the quality of the music and it turned out to be a good night (3 buckets of beer later). What was missing nevertheless, is the vibe and the drive you are notoriously supposed to experience at a rock concert- and for that I blame the crowd of 14 year olds who were yelling “Get off the stage, bring Snoop Dog instead”. I mean seriously, bedtime anyone?
On the 12th of March I had the honor of attending the inauguration of “‘Drip, Spill, Spray, and a Touch of Nostalgia’” by Anna Dudchenko. Held at The Hyatt, it was a beautiful event that saw the turnout of a very dedicated crowd. Anna rightfully mentioned that some of the guests have been turning up to every single one of her exhibitions since she first began showcasing her work over 7 years ago. The paintings were breathtaking, vibrant and hypnotizing, my personal favorites were the painting of the winter landscapes- I am guessing nostalgia kicked in.

And then… yesterday evening Mom invited me to join her at the Al Bustan for an Austrian concert. I called up my loyal partner in crime Cynt (her blog is here) and we dressed up in evening dresses and the whole deal. Now, I am not usually a fan of classical/orchestra/flute but I like to venture into the unknown every now and again. The troop was very impressive and the music- well unlike anything I have ever heard before! Ok, and maybe we did run down to the café for a glass (or 5) of wine at the interval- but we profoundly appreciated the opportunity to enrich our cultural spectrum during the concert. Classy event of the year? Tick.
I guess the point I am trying to make here is that there really is a lot going on in the capital. You just have to pick your battles. Do not fret, I will help you along the way and hopefully my next post will highlight upcoming events instead of bringing to your attention those that have already passed.