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I am now half way through the book, but I felt I had to write a review now while I have the time rather than later and not have it done at all. As an Omani, I still found this book thoroughly enjoyable. It's nice to see how a foreigner perceives us and our customs and traditions. As of the point where I have reached in the book so far, I do find that the authors Omani social circles had focused on one ethnic group out of a vastly varied mixture of cultures.So far, it seems that the author has spent most of his time with the Badu and missed out on mixing with African Omani's (I am not talking about people who have been in Oman for 5 generations, I am talking about Omani's who even today speak Swahili and can give you a mile long list of relatives in Africa), he also has not covered the culture of Baluchi people from Baluchistan and the culture of Lawati people who are mostly based in Mutrah.
I also find his stories about wildlife very comical but totally inaccurate. Camel spiders might be the ugliest thing you could ever run across, but they have no venom and no numbing poison. They do however have a very powerful bite that can go through your clothes and because they tend to eat things like mice, they are very likely to be carrying diseases that they can infect you with. Similar inaccuracies about other critters. But it's OK, because it does make for a more entertaining story to tell people that we have this terribly ugly spider that you could eat you alive and you wouldn't even notice till it was too late.
The author romantices Oman in a wonderful way and paints it s a land of fairy tales, as a measure of the success of this book, even me as a native Omani started seeing Oman in different more romantic way while listening to this book.
On the down side, the narrator would occasionally swallow words at ends of sentences and you couldn't make out what he was mumbling even after rewinding several times. I assure you this has nothing to do with English being my third language. There has also been many editing errors where the narrator would make mistakes and repeat a sentence then not edit out the error. It would get rather confusing to the listener sometimes. There have also been many instances where the Narrator paused for a very long time. This could have easily been edited out.
A message to the author just in case he hasn't been to Oman for a while. Development goes on and sometimes at the expense of loosing some of the charm the country has. The old dirt road Quraiyat to Sur has been replaced with a modern super highway, but as a result, the road has lost all it's charm and the entrance to Wadi Shab is no defiled by concrete pillars holding the highway in place. Lots of the beaches in the north of Oman are now allocated for hotel projects and if you really wanted a nice isolated beach, you would either have to go by boat or drive very far our of the capital.
Many gems still remain, some of them have benefited from the modernization. Misfat Al-Irbiyeen is now more accessible with no risk of your 4WD vehicle falling of the edge of the mountain, you can now safely take that ice cold shower under the waterfall to ward off the summer heat. Little villages near the Wadi Shab tombs are now far more accessible but still retain their charm.
Anyway, enough straying off topic. Buy the book, it's funny, engaging and offers a pleasant distraction from daily life. I highly recommend it.
A note to anybody tempted by this book to visit Oman. If you want to enjoy Oman, you need to do lots and lots of research. Oman isn't the sort of place you would enjoy just dropping into with your suitcase and fully enjoy. There are two ways to enjoy Oman. Either get a tour company to arrange your activities for you...... Or, just make Omani friends, preferable ones driving around in unwashed 4WD vehicles
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
The story was a fascinating snapshot of a part of the world that is often overlooked and misjudged. I loved the journey the author takes us on. The narrator was good, but the editing terrible--places where words were repeated when they should have been edited out, spots where the narrator misread and fixed his mistake that should have been eliminated in the editing process yet remained in the final product. The story is absolutely worth putting up with the foibles, however. Glad I bought this one.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Oman the most enjoyable?
A wonderful traveller's tale where the author takes us on an odyssey through this enigma of a country that takes in the length and breath of this exotic area of the world. Few of us even have heard of Oman, yet after listening to this you will want to visit this land that time has almost forgot. The author takes us over mountains, across deserts and into villages where little seems to have changes since biblical times and even before, where the author points out that, with its Frankincense Trade, Oman was a major player in the ancient and classical world.. The author gives the listener an deep insight into the culture and people of Oman, its long rich history and ancient sites, villages, forts, castles and so much more. There are moments of great joy, wonder and sadness as we travel through time and space and enter the world of the author and his journey through "The Land of The Sultans." Highly recommended for any armchair traveller or someone travelling to Oman. Just do as I did, close your eyes, dim the lights and allow yourself to be transported to the place that is called Oman.
What about Alan Pelz-Sharpe’s performance did you like?
The narrator told this story with great sensitivity and understanding of the thoughts and emotions of the author. He also manages to carry us along effortlessly through this fascinating story evoking sights and sounds that leaves vivid pictures in the listener's mind.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Several stories in this work moved me, "The Prophet" where the author visits the tomb of the prophet Job in Salalah and "The Final Journey" a trip to a Bedouin necropolis in the desert and many more stories contained in this work.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful