Interesting but useful timing last night for a travelogue by American chef Anthony Bourdain on Oman. Bourdain epitomizes the guy who's pretty much lived it all, been around the block several times and to hear him speak in awe of the desert lifestyle was particularly touching. It's no wonder he liked the kind of rugged cooking, the spices and the peaceful inspiration of the sand dunes. He couldn't believe the level of friendly hospitality he encountered and he praised the place highly. Maybe more Americans need to make a stop, go on a picnic and gaze out to the horizon a bit...and broaden theirs?
It's on the Parts Unknown website I think. The YouTube video was removed. Probably copyright stuff. It also showed city and resort life, not just desert life btw. It was very enlightening, especially when that culture can be so hard to get a read on sometimes. But if I ever do end up near there, I'd love to visit or sail on the gulf. One fine day...
The Sultan of Oman - a modernizer, moderate, and supporter of the Iran Nuclear Deal has passed away at 79. He is replaced by a cousin. World leaders are chagrined by the huge loss for the region, at a time when his absence will be most felt. R.i.P.
Everyone has converged to offer condolences first among which Prince Charles and the Emir of Qatar. QE2 has sent a heartfelt message as well. African kings and even Nicolas Sarkozy were there. An interesting thing to point out is that Oman follows a more ancient form of Islam, that probably gives them the vantage point of understanding the natural differences between the two more famous branches and being able to broker peace.
The new sultan has made a generous donation towards the welfare of Omanis. (Unlike the "billionaire" president of a democracy who'd rather jeopardize workers' lives so his govt-freeloading businesses make money and don't go under.)