By D77

The Grand Mosque

Today is the start of my two week holiday from the college. Larissa only gets Christmas and Boxing day off so I'll have plenty time to mess around with my new camera which my mum is bringing out when she arrives tomorrow night.

On route to do some Christmas shopping (easier said than done in Muscat where there are lots of shops, but seldom anything nice to buy inside them) I thought I'd stop off at the Grand Mosque, largely because a couple of Blippers have mentioned it recently.

Back in the early 90s, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos decided that Muscat was to be home to the biggest, most lovely Mosque in the world; cue extravagant architects and six years of many a bus-load of cheap Indian labour!

The mosque opens for tourists between 9 and 11 in the morning. There is a strict dress code for women which requires their hair and legs (not mutually exclusive in some cases) to be completely covered. It's quite funny seeing them all the tourists turn up in their coaches and wrestle with their scarves but there is a nice Omani woman there to help them.

The mosque is magnificent.

Just how magnificent was really tricky to Blip. When you actually approach it, you can never see the full thing as you're just too close, and besides, you're not allowed to stop the car anyway. Ironically, the best view of the mosque is hurtling passed it on the highway at 120km an hour, where a bridge elevates you enough to see the whole thing. Short of jumping in a private helicopter, I fear I might not be able to show you it in its entirety. (I did actually manage to get a good photo once with Larissa was driving and me hanging out the window, but I think a better Blip came along that day...).

I may go back over the next couple of weeks to try and capture the sheer scale of the buildings, but for now this view of a linking corridor will have to suffice! (I swithered uncontrollably about whether to make this shot black and white or not. In the end, I liked the subtle browns and the fact there wasn't much colour anyway so left it as it was. Your opinions either way are welcomed.)

The sole internet provider (Omanhell, to use its affectionate new nickname) in Muscat has decided not to bother providing the speedy quick service I pay for and have now decided to employ some snails to deal with connectivity. (Think back to when you first got the internet and how slow it was; that's what it's like for me right now).

Besides uploading to Blip taking an age, leaving comments is proving to be a Herculean task which is why you've not heard so much from me lately. I'll catch up with you all soon, Inshallah!

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