A desert souq

On one of our road trips to Oman,we drove two hours straight into the desert from Muscat. Our minivan was crammed full of people. Our goal was to catch a real-live, once-a-week, no-tourists-here, souq in Sinaw. It was everything we dreamed of.

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Very friendly vendor

“Souq” means “market.” These are kind of like farmer’s markets in the USA, but much bigger, and with every household item you could need: livestock, produce, fresh fish, bathroom supplies, fabric, and much much more. This is probably the closest we will ever come to seeing a Bedouin market.

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Selling textiles

Things you need to know in case you ever find yourself at a desert souq:

  • Many souqs only happens on a specific day every week. This one comes on Thursday mornings (the start of the Omani weekend when we attended)
  • Pavilions have been constructed for different types of sale of items: meat/livestock, textiles, plastics, produce, etc.
  • Animals are hitched up to anything within reach: posts, benches, dumpsters, trucks
  • Any piece of ground is an acceptable place to lay out a blanket/mat and sell your goods
  • Do not take a picture of a woman without her permission…unless you just wave around your camera on the sly and edit the pictures later to see what you got
  • The women in this region wear much more colorful coverings and wraps (all red with gold flowers is a good choice) than in the UAE (mostly black). They also have a different style of face covering.
  • Things you can buy: squid (“cod-fish”), baby sharks, shampoo, fabric, baby clothes, cheap (think dollar store) plastic toys, perfume, camels, guns, pots & pans, vegetables, goats, oxen, and chickens.
  • Not pictured: stacks of squid, kids with 15″ knives cleaning fish, stingrays for sale, every shape and size of fish stacked for sale, and chickens in cardboard boxes with oven grate lids.

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