Friday, 13 July 2012

For Zanzibar food

Pretty much everyday since we moved into our house one or both of us have driven past the African food and coffee shop, for Zanzibar food. But why Zanzibar I hear you ask? Well for some centuries Oman was a maritime trading empire that included Zanzibar. For a time there were two Sultans one in Oman and the other in Africa. That all ended with an episode of fratricide and the Sultanate was re-united. There are many Omani's who can trace their ancestry and cultural heritage back to Africa. There are I understand people who live in parts of Africa that are or consider themselves to be Omani. Our suburb Al Hail North has strong ties in that direction.

Having seen how busy Zanzibar food is in the evenings we finally decided to go last night.  And boy are we glad we did, really nice and well cooked food that fed us to a standstill and cost, well not a lot! Even though the waiter talked us into some of the more expensive menu items.

Oh yum shrimp in coconut sauce a whole grilled and spicy herb encrusted fish, salad, muttabel dip, flat bread fresh from the making and a fabulous fruit cocktail. All for less than $20 Au.  We wobbled away from the table and had to go for a long beach walk afterwards.  Ahhh Mr Zanzibar food we will be back!!!!

Our Zanzibar food.

And drink

Of course we didn't help ourselves having dined at the club the night before.  I ordered an English mixed grill. No problem they said only to come back a while later and say, it's been so long since anyone ordered this that we don' have any lamb cutlets and veal kidney, do you mind if we replace the lamb with more beef and the kidney with chicken liver.  Hmm no problem said I (not really a lamb or kidney fan) so a bit of a win. Mind you I wilted when the plate arrived with more meat than a David can eat in a sitting.  But needs must.... Although the chips were left untouched.

My English mixed grill! Backed up by Katrina's Steak.
But that's enough of my most common sin - Gluttony!

All in all this last week has been pretty good.  I got lots of positive reinforcement and feel much better about life the universe and everything! So yay me, and tomorrow I head off for a week long tour of a number of the work places up towards the UAE.  Should be fun and just in time, because Ramadan is scheduled to start just after I get back. Methinks outdoor in the sun without the ability to drink may be a bit hard on this soft Westerner.

There's a certain buzz building about Ramadan.  A number of the guys have told me they look forward to it and feel better after the month of daytime fasting.  The radio has ads about Ramadan and the charities to help the needy that are a part of Ramadan.  Most of the food and drink places close during the day through Ramadan and I understand that includes malls in their entirety.  Although they will open for the evening and late into the night.

Eating and drinking in public is forbidden and transgressors can be fined.  Your motor vehicle is included as a public place.  So that is essentially anywhere where you may be seen breaking the fast between dawn and dusk.  Some food outlets are given permits to open during daylight hours through Ramadan, to service non-Muslims, but those permissions are few and far between and subject to licensing controls.

This will be an interesting experience for me, never having fasted. Not eating and drinking at work or anywhere in public through daylight hours, yet another new experience.

In the past week the weather has improved, its fallen down into the mid to low thirties and one night the high twenties.  A lovely relief which we and most of the locals grabbed with both hands. Off to the beach for walks up and down the sea shore for us. Dodging the joggers and fishing boats coming and going along the shoreline.  We walked at and in the waters edge, which also kept us clear of the numerous soccer games in progress.  The pitches had scraped out boundaries and in some cases looked to share goal mouths, so many and closely packed the games were.

Mid thirties, beach - ahhh that would mean humidity - you betcha! I tried to take some pictures of the thronging beach, but after about five minutes this was still the view through the camera lens..
Honest there is a beach, people and soccer games in there!

One of the things I find quite bizarre here is the dust haze.  It is omnipresent and means that most evenings you can look directly at the sun.  The blue sky is somewhat muted, but it also means that I don't need sunglasses very often and while you tan, sunburn is pretty hard to achieve.  So swings and roundabouts.

The sun at dusk
And this weekend we went to another museum, this time the Museum of Natural History. A very nice little museum that tells the natural history and development stages of Oman. There are a series of display rooms and display cases focusing on the geology and animal life of the country.  In a separate hall there is a sperm whale skeleton along with some dolphin and other aquatic animal bits and pieces.  We enjoyed the museum, but were bemused by the lack of people there.

In one corner there was a couple of sheets of paper showing attendance figures at the museum since its opening. I was very disappointed to see that each year since opening attendance figures have dropped.  While it is nice to have a museum almost to yourself, it is such a shame as Oman has so much to tell of its history.

A false killer whale - actually a dolphin species


  1. hmmm, looking at the food on that plate I think I can understand why many of the blokes feel better after a Ramadan fast.

  2. We constantly struggle to get through meals. Happened again last night, three of us out to a Pakistani restaurant. One entree three mains, backed up by fresh cooked flat bread. Doggy bag taken home! Should know better than entrees by now :-)