By Farhad Nibir, a participant of this one of a kind academic excursion
I have divided the whole 8 day trip into 5 parts, to make it easier to read. I have also made vlogs from the trip which I have attached here. This part includes brief of our day 1 and day 2 in Muscat, capital of Oman.
The date March 6th, 2020, was quite a bit of mixed emotion for me. On this day I had to miss out the river-cruise picnic of my department, since I had to catch the flight at 9:30PM. All of my friends, and acquittances were having hell lot of fun in the cruise and I was sitting at my home packing my bag for an epic experience. Through out the day, I was a bit sad for missing out the picnic and excited for the first international trip.
It was first time for me flying on a plane let alone visiting another country. Upon reaching airport and meeting my travel mates and our Vice Chancellor, my excitement for the trip touched its highest level. The view of whole Dhaka City, at night, after the take-off was amazing.
We arrived in Oman very early in the morning, hence having a full leisure day ahead of us. Upon landing in Muscat, we stayed the night at Naseem Hotel and shifted to Al Amana Centre later that day, since there was a group from Concordia University, New York yet to check-out. We landed in Muscat at 12:40AM, hence we could not dare to miss the sunrise from a new and different place.
In the morning, at first, we met an old friend of Al Amana Centre, Mr Shah Nawaz Rafiq, who is from Kashmir and doing business in Muttrah Souq for many years now. We visited his shop first, had a little chat with him about Kashmir and his migration to Muscat.
Later we went to the famous fish market in Muttrah, to see the bustling historical market. After that, we visited Bait al-Baranda, a museum located near Naseem Hotel. After having lunch, we shifted to Al Amana Centre to check-in, since it was our home for the next whole week. We had a chill time till evening in the centre as we joined the pizza party with the students of Concordia University at the centre. Later, we had some leisure time in the famous Muttrah Corniche, had a little leisure time with our new friends from Concordia University and head back towards the centre as they had to leave for New York that night.
Our activities started from the second day. We had met our friends from University of Notre Dame, Indiana via video conferencing but not in person. So, we had a little introduction session in the morning prior to leaving for Oman Tourism College (OTC). Taif Zamal Al Zajjali, an official of OTC, gave an astounding presentation as to Oman and its culture, heritage, and history to let us know in-depth as to the country we were visiting. After the presentation, we head towards the training kitchen where a chef was waiting for us to teach us cook some traditional foods of Oman. All the dishes he taught us cooking were cooked for our lunch in OTC.
After having lunch, we started for the National Museum of Oman and the Ceremonial Palace of His Majesty of Oman. First we visited the National Museum of Oman, where we have seen the history of Oman and many artefacts from the early days of Oman. In every 15 minutes, they premiere a documentary on how today's Oman was built.
After roaming in the National Museum for about an hour, we went to the Ceremonial Palace of His Majesty, also known as the Al Alam Palace. We spent some time in front of the Al Alam Palace and head back towards centre to have a discussion session.
Throughout the whole trip, we had many discussions since it was an academic excursion for both the groups for the course “Religion and Political Affairs”. Hence, we had multiple discussions in disparate aspects of religion, politics as well as the religious-political aspects of both the countries - Bangladesh and United States.
NB - We were allowed to film and click photographs inside the museums since Al Amana Centre had a very good friendship with the authorities. We also came to know that, the copy of Bible found in the National Museum was provided by the Al Amana Centre.
About Al Amana Centre: Al Amana Centre is an inter-faith dialogue centre, established in 2013 in Muscat, Oman. They host various groups for inter-faith dialogues from all over the world. We were there for their “Inter-cultural Exchange Program”. They also have some other programs. For more details check out their website.
Al Amana Website: https://alamanacentre.org
Holy Cross-Roads Excursion Part 2: https://tripnownet.wixsite.com/eatsleeptravelrepeat/post/holy-cross-roads-excursion-part-2
An Architectural Marvel (Visiting The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque) - https://tripnownet.wixsite.com/eatsleeptravelrepeat/post/an-architectural-marvel