Rain in the desert | Flooding in Muscat, Oman

In a winter characterized by dramatic examples of the huge shifts in weather patterns to be expected as global warming increases, even tranquil Oman has not been spared. Following two months of unseasonably low temperatures, Muscat has been flooded by torrential rains lasting more than 12 hours.

This report by Mark Abouzeid highlights the current crisis as well as the impact to worldwide events, such as the Muscat Festival which was canceled until further notice.

copyright Mark Abouzeid 2014. All rights reserved.

Traditional Dhow shipbuilders of Sur | Oman 2014

Long considered as Oman’s prime trading ports, the calm and serene coastal town is the capital of Ash Sharqiyah on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. Sur has always been the epicenter of travel and trade in this region. Its vessels have ruled the waters since many a centuries! Its strategic location has always helped in maintaining and monitoring peace in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

Sinbad, the Pirates of the Main and trade from as far as China to the Mediterranean all had one this in common: the Omani hand made Dhows sailing vessels. Mark Abouzeid report on this important world cultural heritage takes you to one of the last remaining hand built boat yards in Sur, Oman.

Here is the video teaser for an upcoming documentary reportage on this important Omani cultural heritage.

Taste temptations in Sicily

Down a small alley off the main pedestrian drag, lies an orgasm of fish waiting for the next reveler.

 

Bouquet of fishI will admit that I do like to eat fish! This may not seem like much of a declaration to most but let me add that few of my friends have ever seen me order seafood in a restaurant. The reason is simple…I like fish so much that unless it is fresh caught and expertly cooked…I would rather avoid it.

The sad truth is that even by the sea, you often cannot find a truly fresh and delicious fish meal. Experiments in nouvelle fish cuisine leave me flat while basic fish fair can be quite bland. Only a truly expert chef can balance the tightrope between imagination and simplicity when it comes to fish.

This is all true unless you happen to be next to me as I write this sitting under refined umbrellas watching the passing fashion parade of the local teenagers as your fixation with your neighbors appetizer selection becomes embarrassing. Continue reading

The Crossing, a slow ferry to Tunis

A solitary Sufi, an Alaskan elder and a Buddhist nomad board a Ferry from Genova to Tunis. This is not a joke!

 

A slow ferry to Tunis.

The three of us are traveling to Tunisia in the hopes of finding something significant, something unexpected and, most of all, something memorable.

Our project goal is to capture the oral histories of maritime cultures around the Mediterranean, a task which has taken us to numerous countries over the past two years. We have flown, sailed, trained and driven from discovery to discovery…until now.

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Oman, the Grand Mosque

In 1992 Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman should have a Grand Mosque.

 

The entrance to the Great Mosque in Oman.

The Mosque is built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone. The main musalla (prayer hall) is square (external dimensions 74.4 x 74.4 metres) with a central dome rising to a height of fifty metres above the floor. The dome and the main minaret (90 metres) and four flanking minarets (45.5 metres) are the mosque’s chief visual features.

The main musalla can hold over 6,500 worshippers, while the women’s musalla can accommodate 750 worshipers. The outer paved ground can hold 8,000 worshipers and there is additional space available in the interior courtyard and the passageways, making a total capacity of up to 20,000 worshipers. (Wikipedia)

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The Bedouin Heritage Project Launch

Mark Abouzeid announced, today, the founding of the Bedouin Heritage Project. Our goal is to help realize the dream set forth by UNESCO in helping safeguard and protect Intangible Cultural heritages, in this case the Bedouin’s of Jordan’s Wadi Rum Protected Zone.

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Florence first to pick Obama

In a mock vote held at the Americans Abroad Election Day Rally, attendees chose Barack Obama, 84 – 16, in a landslide against John McCain. Florence took its place as the first city to welcome in the new president at an event that included thousands of Americans and Italians.

Music was provided by five different bands at the Saschall Theater and a fare of classic American food was on offer all night: McDonald’s, Pizza, Coca-cola and Jolt. Dancing to the twist and hard grunge music, the crowd stopped regularly to hear live updates from NPR and CNN. By 4am as the venue closed, the crowd was already cheering Obama 2012 long before American pundits were ready to call this race.