The green stuff is very much the focus in Muscat at the moment.
Apart from the green dollars coming in from high oil prices the new Botanical Garden project is now under way and due for completion in 2010 – the same opening time that the new ‘House of Musical Arts’ and National Museum are expected to open. Each of these will be a fantastic addition to Muscat’s attractions.
The Botanic Garden gave a very informative presentation for the Environment Society of Oman. Dr Annette Patzelt covered the project from its inception to the progress so far. The project aims to be a depository for and information centre about the plants of Oman. Amazingly, the project members have already discovered 20 new species of plants in Oman including a variety of Bush Violet.
Almost as a taster to the talk Clive Winbow an expert on Oman’s native flora guided a small group and myself through some of the hills of Muscat. We learnt about the plants that cling to life to learn about the plants that grow in on barren igneous rock in direct tropical sun. The cyclone last year has enabled a spurt of growth from normally slow growing desert plants and despite the heat in late March, many were in excellent condition.
From the hills down to the sea and May’s Sindbad Classic, the game fishing event. The winner weighing in at over 50kilos a substantial Yellow Fin Tuna which would make a good serving of fish and chips – Omani style. Remarkably the fishermen of the coast around Muscat seem to catch this size as part of the daily living – quite a struggle with a line that is required by the EU to ensure the fish are caught in a ‘Dolphin friendly’ way.