This morning we had an overcast sky and some light showers…. the second rain I’ve experienced since moving to Muscat. It reminded me of the first rain….. and oh, how different.
It was December 28,; Sue and I headed out early to get to Muttrah Souq before it gt too busy. She was headed back to Kuwait the next day, and we had things to look for… fabric, trims, silver – and anything else that might catch our fancy. We got a parking spot not far away and stopped at the ATM for cash. The sky was pretty black out over the ocean, but it looked like the storm would pass by. There was a light sprinkle as we headed into the souq…. but we were going to be under cover, so what did it matter?
Up the first side alley we went.. we’d been told there were fabric stores up there. Past the pashmina sellers…. such pretty shawls they showed us, but we were single-minded in our pursuits. Funny how important it was to find quilting fabric to take back to Kuwait, which is full of it! Up high stairs we climbed into a narrow shop sporting African prints…. a bit light, but really interesting colours. As we were paying for out purchases, we heard a sound like thunder…….. the rain was pounding down on the roof overhead. Merrily we headed out to find our next stop… and to our amazement, water was tripping down the steps from a narrow side-alley. Oh-oh… I guess not all of the alleys are covered! Soon, we were wading up to our ankles in rushing water. We looked at each other… laughed and rolled up our pant legs. We stood in the water outside a shop brimming with laces and beads and fancy trims, and Sue bought some lovely silver lace. On we went to a large fabric shop, where we found some real quilting fabric, and where the shop keeper gave us calendars and a bag to put them in to keep them dry.
As we headed back toward the main path through the souq, we joined many people, in abayas and dishdashas and long pants… all with their skirts held up or their pant legs rolled. We found that a lot of the shops were actually closing…. with their shop fronts barred, it was quite dark. we could see now why the shops are so much higher than the paving stones. We headed uphill against the current and into the souq… Ali Baba’s was still open. This store has wonderful barrels of silver and pendants and rings and coins… and all sorts of treasure hanging from the ceiling and pinned to the walls. Sue was able to find gifts for everyone on her list, and I found some wonderful things as well….. nice and small and light for packing.
An hour later, we emerged to find the path no longer under water. Ali Baba’s is on a lesser side alley in the souq, however, and when we reached the main walkway, the water was still racing down toward the sea. As Muttrah is on the coast with mountains all around, the rain from the whole area was down the street and through the souq.
Sunny skies outside…… we stopped at a nearby coffee shop for a drink before heading on home.
What a shopping trip! And you know, after that thorough soaking, my sandals looked new for a week.