Friday, October 21, 2011

Rooftop Reflections

We pull aside a full-length mirror, walk up a flight of steep stairs, out a door, and enter a whole new world. The top of Muscat is a jungle of satellite dishes and dusty roofs and minarets. Up there, everything is a bit less chaotic. You can see the mountains looming nearby. Turn 180 degrees and I can see the ocean, Turtle rock, and beyond them, you can imagine Iran's cliffs. Come a bit closer to home and see small shops lining the main streets, men in dishdashas strolling in and out of them. I see endless numbers of cars, parked and driving. Turn back to the mountains and look to the left--the small mosque up the hill is perched there. The other direction, a larger mosque stands, and beyond that is another mosque, elegant even in its incompleteness. The sun is hot, hotter up here even than down in the street. It may only be a few dozen feet up, but it seems like a big difference. There's another section of the roof, and it's a ladder's climb up. We take turns holding it for each other and gingerly climb to the top. Yet another view, this one extending a full circle. We're on top of the world, almost literally. The only thing I see that could possibly be overpowering to us are the huge, brown mountains, which are definitely a significant landmark in their grandeur. The mountains shape Muscat--the restrict it to a thin section curved against the beach.
Muscat is beautiful, and I am experiencing it from an intimate yet removed location. There is no better way to get the lay of the land of a city than to see it from the rooftops. 

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