AHHH…ARABIA. I CAN SMELL THE FRANKINCENSE…

THE ROAD TO SEEB is paved with good intentions.

But good intentions can go awry with booking snafus that wind up costing a lot of money, and officious petty bureaucrats, and long nights sitting directly behind jerks that recline their seats all of the way. The dark side of travel.

Lonely Planet says “you can’t do better than a trip to Seeb,” a village just outside of Muscat, Oman. So here we are, shortly after noon on a holiday Saturday. It the Eid Al-Adha festival of sacrifice (description included at end of post).

Steven and I arrived about 4am after 22 hours of stressful travel—which is a horror story for another day—at our hotel Al-Bahjah which was also described quite glowingly by our Lonely Planet friends.
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GOOD MORNING SEEB!

Two of my favorite things right in one place.

Two of my favorite things right in one place.

It is much too easy to be cranky when tired and, had I started writing a few hours ago my disagreement with LP would have been quite vehement. Little things with the hotel. Bigger issues with a late morning walk out in the boiling sun through bleak and trashy streets. Just a bit of a shock after the tidy shiny lusciously-green or animal-filled or just plain gorgeous environs of Kigali, Okavango Delta, Cape Town and Durban.

But, Dorothy, we are not in Kansas—I mean—Cape Town anymore. We are here. In Seeb. We’ve read up a bit on the festival and will sample its wares this evening. The hotel is kind of charming and they have a great restaurant (LP says); they also have loaned us the right adapters for our electronics and wifi is good (though expensive).

About the dirty streets I cannot say. Maybe last night was a big party? There is a street sweepers’ strike? The architecture is not as interesting, though of course with similarities, to Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Senegal. But then we’ve only seen a tiny bit to date. Everything was closed when we were out earlier but we’ll take a long stroll after the sun goes down and scope out the seafront and nightlife!

To nap and read. And here’s BBC’s (via Wikipedia) description of this holiday.

Animals are sacrificed and then distributed among family, friends and the poor. This is a four-day public holiday in Muslim countries. The festival remembers the prophet  Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to.

Ibrahim’s sacrifice

God appeared in a dream to Ibrahim and told him to sacrifice his son Isma’il. Ibrahim and Isma’il set off to Mina for the sacrifice.

As they went, the devil attempted to persuade Ibrahim to disobey God and not to sacrifice his beloved son. But Ibrahim stayed true to God, and drove the devil away.

As Ibrahim prepared to kill his son God stopped him and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead.

Celebrations

Ibrahim’s complete obedience to the will of God is celebrated by Muslims each year.

Each Muslim, as they celebrate, reminds themselves of their own submission to God, and their own willingness to sacrifice anything to God’s wishes.

During the festival Muslims who can afford to, sacrifice domestic animals, usually sheep, as a symbol of Ibraham’s sacrifice. (British law insists that the animals must be killed in a proper slaughterhouse.)

The meat is distributed among family, friends and the poor, who each get a third share.

As with all festivals there are prayers, and also presents.

 

 

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