Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Guitars and Fishing Nets

It's been three days since my last post! I've been busy with several projects, and have been brainstorming ideas for my blog. I now have a list of 53 (yes 53!) topics that I'm interesting in writing about. Some of them need a little research (especially Khor Rori, the Valley of the Spirits and portal to another world, according to our witches). I'm not in writing-mood today, so I'll make this short. Yesterday I went to Haffa Souq (by the Sultan's palace on the ocean) with my mother to buy frankincense, one of life's necessities! Families in Salalah burn frankincense everyday at sunset. It's a traditional habit, but it's also to ward off evil spirits that tend to hang around at sunset. Haffa Suq is a series of little shops around a sort of courtyard and all these shops sell exactly the same thing basically; frankincense, Bukhoor, frankincense burners, and traditional perfumes. As my mother was busy bargaining with the old lady in the shop, I noticed something very odd. I've seen it before but it never really 'hit' me until yesterday. I was wandering around the suq, heading towards the beach, and I noticed the usual group of old (and I mean old) men sitting in a circle on the sidewalk drinking tea and mending their fishing nets. It's one of Salalah's most charming sights. However, a few metres away, on the same sidewalk, but sitting in a circle on chairs were a group of young Dhofari men playing the guitar! Yes! Four men and four guitars practicing some Spanish tune I think. Obviously both groups were aware of each other's existence. What were the old men thinking? Probably sad thoughts about the younger generation losing touch with traditions and real life in Salalah. What were the young men thinking as they watched the old men mending their fishing nets? Were they reminded, if only for a moment, of who they were and where they came from? I was dying to go up and ask them, but that would be so taboo! It was bad enough that I was wandering alone in the suq!

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