Of course, when I finally reached Oman, it was not the country M.M. Kaye wrote about. The previous Sultan inherited a bankrupt country, destroyed by internal fighting and civil war in the south. Fearful of outside influence, he closed himself and Oman off from the rest of the world. Some say, he might have even gone a little mad. But his people were desperate for help. There were no schools, hospitals, or development. On top of that, Communist insurgents were coming up from Yemen, kidnapping children and taking them back to centers for indoctrination. The Sultan’s son decided something had to be done so he staged a bloodless coup and took over power. One of the first things he did was create schools and hospitals, but he was determined to keep the tenets of Oman’s faith and cultural background in place. The word Renaissance is spoken quite often as Oman emerges into the twenty-first century.
     As exciting as all that is to witness, I was missing the mysteries, the extraordinary things I like to write about. There were plenty of unusual sights…like the man who walked into the store, looking as if he’d just stepped off a desert caravan. He had flowing robes, eyes like a hawk that were wary and careful…but he was there to renew his cell phone minutes!
     Everyone has cell phones. I still can’t get over the sight of a woman, completely veiled and in a black abaya who pulls out her cell phone and begins to talk as she swishes her trailing abaya, shoves her purse on her shoulder and pushes a shopping cart. I don’t know how they do it!
      By the way, veils and abayas are not required here in Oman. But Salalah, where I live, is more rural and the women dress conservatively. However, their abayas are long and flowing in the back, covered with spangles and they wear fluffy hair pieces to give their veils a distinctive look. Women like their style no matter where they are!
     It’s all very interesting but still not the things I like to write about. I was beginning to wonder if I wasn’t going to be like the heroine in M.M. Kaye’s novel who set out for adventure and found nothing she was looking for!

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