Let’s start off the new year with unlimited fun!
A younger alter ego popped up to meet me on a shopping morning in Ibra. I was here to explore the offerings of the Women’s Souq, which takes place here every Wednesday morning. All of the buyers and sellers are women, and men are not at all welcome. So I was happy to find the jolly Debbie to accompany me on my rambles. Her dress wasn’t entirely in accordance with Omani traditions, and her language skills weren’t great, but she promised me unlimited fun, so come join me on a ramble around the market.
There were a number of shops and stalls around the edge of the souq, with women and children enjoying a chat and a bite to eat.
The truly colourful and busy part of the day is inside the souq, where the women traders are displaying fabrics, dyes, trims and soft homewares galore. Many of the women here were dressed in the traditional black abaya, but others wore the colours seen in the fabrics on sale. The dress in Oman has been influenced by neighbouring countries and Ibra has been particularly impacted by being a key location on the historic trading route between Muscat and Zanzibar.
I was enthralled by the clearly tough negotiations that were in progress at many of the stalls, and I loved the fancy embroidered cuffs that you could buy to attach to the bottom of your trousers.
Several of the stall holders were hand embroidering their produce on site; a detailed and skilled job. Time consuming too: one of the sellers told me that it takes her a month to make one of these cuffs.
“Window shopping” complete, I headed back outside to find a cool drink, tempted, just a little, by the tasty barbecued meat being prepared by the banished men.
Then a big thank you to alter ego Debbie, and I set off for the Sharqiya Sands (aka Wahiba Sands), for which Ibra acts as a good staging post.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 1 January 2019
Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walks