After much anticipation, Muscat did not disappoint. The scenery was spectacular and after what we saw in India and Indonesia there was just no comparison.
Muscat is perched on the water’s edge with mountains directly behind the city. Streets were paved, there was absolutely no litter and the grass was green and trimmed as if it was on a putting green. Cars were modern with every type of luxury vehicle on the road beside you.
We saw beautiful buildings, one after another with marble and granite walkways that you could eat off. There is virtually no crime here and anyone who is out of work for more than a short period of time is placed in the armed forces or the police department. In other words, everyone has a job and the country provides land and homes for all. Also interesting was the continuing tradition that marriages are arranged and the family unit consists of the children, their parents and their grandparents. They live and eat together in the family home. Children who achieve more than 85% in high school at graduation are automatically sent to schools of higher learning abroad with room, board and tuition paid by the country. How is this all possible in this day and age?
Oman is governed by a Sultan who has absolute authority. He is the commander of the armed forces, chief magistrate and country treasurer among other titles. He assumed power when he deposed his father in 1970. Also of interest to us was the fact that the sultan has two super yachts (picture below) and they were both in port. He uses them as floating palaces when he goes outside the country for meetings. We also visited the royal palace, only to learn the sultan has six residences and not all of them are in Oman. One is in Germany and he maintains another one in Great Britain. The wealth is staggering and it is all from gas and oil exports and an expanding tourism business. Another cruise ship was in port while we were there. It had 3500 passengers on board. Even the port was spotless and appeared to have been washed prior to our arrival. You have to ask yourself how all this can be accomplished—is it the fact that it is a monarchy or could this be accomplished in a democracy?
More pictures of Muscat in the next posting.