We set out on our first morning in Muscat to check-off one of the major tourist attractions: The Grand Mosque. This magnificent building is one of the many stately construction projects completed during the current reign of the beloved Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. He is widely praised as a god-like figure by the Omani people, and guided the country through its recent renaissance by vastly improving infrastructure and public resources throughout the country. The Mosque is a breathtaking expanse of marble, and boasts both the (second) largest handmade carpet and the largest Swarovski crystal chandelier in the world. Definitely a must see on a visit to Muscat.
In the evening we took a stroll on Qurum Beach, just an easy walk away from our accommodation. The golden-hour scene on the shoreline is electric... Pickup futbol games, families soaking up the last bit of sun for the day, large-scale barbecues and young Omanis showing off their slick cars on Love Street all comprise quite a unique atmosphere. Add the Call to Prayer riding gently on the wind from distant mosques and there was no mistaking that we weren't in Kansas anymore.