Author Archives: admin

Cambridge Conference…

Cambridge University

Cambridge University

It was a delight to speak today at Cambridge University on Omani literature at the Gender and Identity in the Gulf: Cultural Constructions and Representations Conference of the Gulf Research Centre. Many thanks to the organizers who made it all possible!

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Cambridge Conference…

Birthday Boy…

asdf

Celebrating Anubis (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Happy birthday to the sweet heartbeat at my feet! I enjoyed a quiet day at home yesterday in the Sultanate of Oman celebrating Anubis’ birth and fourteen years of growing old together! Lots of snuggles and treats!

asdf

My old man (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Birthday Boy…

Naadam in Mongolia…

This week in Mongolia (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

This week in Mongolia (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

And the award for cutest Mongolian baby wrestler goes to…this little guy! A delight to celebrate Naadam in Mongolia!

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Naadam in Mongolia…

Our Town in Oman…

Our Town in Oman (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Performing Our Town in Oman (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

This spring in the Sultanate of Oman, the seemingly impossible happened – a cast of expats and Omanis put on the first performance of Our Town in the Middle East. While directing this intrepid cast of mostly ​university ​students and teachers and performing the central role of Emily Webb, I was forced to contemplate the relevance of the play’s timeless themes, and the significance of performing this American classic on the Arabian Peninsula.

asdf

Grover’s Corners in Muscat (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

The actors in our staging of Our Town in Oman this spring hailed from towns around the globe — the Sultanate of Oman, the United States, Somalia, India, Great Britain, Holland, Ukraine, and beyond. To represent this diversity, I posted color photographs of “our towns” on the walls of the performance space like postcards, to bring together our far-flung geographies – from the desert dunes of Oman to the bombed-out buildings of Donestsk – as we tried to bring this masterpiece to life in Muscat. Stay tuned for more on this historic theatrical event that we staged in the Arabian Gulf…

asd

Bringing this dramatic class to life in Oman (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Our Town in Oman…

My New HuffPo: Ode to Anubis…

Anubis at Brown University (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Anubis at Brown University (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I am happy to share with you my new Huffington Post article, Ode to Anubis, about my (chihuahua) guardian angel that flies with me around the world. Thank you for any help sharing the piece via email and social media — enjoy!

Ready for his close-up (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Ready for his close-up (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My New HuffPo: Ode to Anubis…

Today in Mongolia…

Today in Ulaanbaatar (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Today in Ulaanbaatar (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I enjoyed a cute street festival this evening in Mongolia — nice to see drizzle since I’m used to the desert in Oman!

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Today in Mongolia…

Atana…

asd

Infinity pool at Atana Musandam (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

If you visit Musandam to enjoy the northern fjords of the Sultanate of Oman, I recommend staying at Atana Musandam or Atana Khasab. I enjoyed a stay at Atana Musandam, but journeyed just a few minutes down the road one night at sunset to dine at Atana Khasab with a phenomenal panoramic view of the Musandam shorline. Atana Musandam is a brand new hotel — and definitely the nicest one in the area. The entire property is intended to resemble a traditional Omani village — from the falaj irrigation system to the colorfully painted wooden beams of the restaurant. The tranquil atmosphere of the hotel makes it the ideal place to unwind and rejuvenate — either in the infinity pool or on your own private balcony. If you have a family, however, I would recommend Atana Khasab for the larger pool and distinct family feel. Atana means “come to us” in Arabic — and that’s just what you should do if you find yourself visiting the northern tip of the Sultanate of Oman.

asdf

Atana Khasab (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Atana…

Today in Mongolia…

Strolling in Ulaanbaatar (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Strolling in Ulaanbaatar (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I passed by this lovely blue yurt (ger) near my home today on my way to get bimimbop — Ulaanbaatar’s awesome!

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Today in Mongolia…

Peace from Musandam…

asdf

Peace from Oman (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I enjoyed swimming & snorkeling through the majestic fjords of Musandam in northern Oman — turquoise tranquility!

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Peace from Musandam…

Dolphin Mirror…

asdf

I see you (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I was drawn to this dolphin weaving through the fjords of Musandam, its arch a mini-mountain rising from the water…

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Dolphin Mirror…

Dolphins in Musandam…

asdf

Dhow time (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I boarded this dhow in Khasab to go dolphin watching and swimming in the fjords of Musandam in northern Oman…

asd

Riding the side (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Dolphins in Musandam…

Anantara: Paradise in Arabia…

asdf

Welcome to paradise (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

This spring, I had the chance to enjoy a serene stay at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara while doing research in southern Oman. From its stunning beach (where guests swim with dolphins) to the quiet luxury of its pool villas, the hotel is without a doubt the best accommodation available along the southern coast of Dhofar.

asd

Our pool villa (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Desperately in need of some rest and relaxation, my friend and I booked a pool villa to unwind in the comfort of privacy and quiet. Upon entering our pool villa, we were delighted (and surprised) to be treated to a relaxing complimentary foot massage — the perfect way to begin our stay. In addition to the inviting striped couch in the living room, we also had multiple lounging options for relaxing outside near our private pool.

asd

Villa lounge time (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

The red and white pillows stationed around the pool add a subtle Middle Eastern touch. We used these cozy pillow platforms to read and snooze after cooling off in the pool. The private pool can be entered from the living room on one side or the bathroom on the other — so you can take a dip and then directly hop in the shower or tub.

asdf

Where’s Waldo? (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

As you can see, the secluded privacy of the pool is ideal for families and covered Muslim women who do not feel comfortable wearing revealing swimwear in front of non-relatives (the pool villas were likely designed with that in mind). For venturing out of the villa to head towards the beach or infinity pool, old-fashioned blue metallic bikes (shipped from the United States) are provided for rides under the property’s towering palms.

asdf

Biking in paradise (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Since I could not ride a bike due to an injury, I instead whirled to the infinity pool each day for a swim and snack. The stunning infinity pool that stretches all the way to the beach is the centerpiece of the sparking white hotel buildings — and the restaurants surrounding it got our taste buds whirling too.

asd

Whirling to infinity (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

From thin-crust poolside pizzas to a magnificent (and large) mezze platter, the menu of the beach cafe Al Mina (below) next to the pool is filled with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean culinary treasures. I had been told by a local friend before our stay that the food at Anantara was fairly priced, and I was relieved and glad to find she was right — we could have our fill and not worry about overspending.

sdf

Poolside Mediterranean dining (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

The breakfast buffet — an impressive display of international fare — is also served poolside at Sakalan Restaurant. In addition to the enormous selection of breakfast cuisines (from Oman, Lebanon, India, Japan, Europe, and the U.S.A., to name a few), there is also a menu from which you can order special breakfast dishes and drinks.

asdf

Brunch at Anantara (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I ordered the Eggs Florentine from the brunch menu, and was not disappointed. I liked it so much that I ordered it again the next day to fuel up on protein before heading out for another long, fun-filled day at the beach. From breakfast to dinner, we were pleased with the culinary offerings of the hotel. We especially enjoyed feasting on Thai food (pad thai along with a sumptuous vegetarian Vietnamese appetizer platter) at Mekong — an elegant restaurant on the property that specializes in Asian cuisine from countries bordering the Mekong River.

asd

Eggs Florentine, yum! (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

After powering up each morning with a hearty breakfast, I hit the beach to go look for dolphins (one dolphin pod stayed near the beach for a good hour while I swam), enjoy a long sand stroll, and collect unique shells. After communing with nature in the strong turquoise waves each morning (the summer monsoon was beginning to brew), I spent my afternoons swimming, bobbing, and floating in the infinity pool. It was just what the doctor ordered.

asd

Swim time! (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

While it was tempting to spend all of our time on the grounds of the hotel, we pushed ourselves to go out and explore Dhofar in between meals and swims. Fortunately, Al Baleed Archaeological Park sits literally right next to the hotel. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it contains sprawling archaeological ruins (including those of the grand mosque and citadel) in addition to the Museum of Frankincense Land — a slick, modern museum which documents Oman’s history. Al Baleed Resort by Anantara opened just several months ago — and from what I can tell, they are already doing everything right. We were greatly impressed by the high quality of the service, the heavenly vision of the grounds, and the welcoming luxury and comfort of the pool villa. I was grateful to enjoy this special slice of paradise in the Sultanate of Oman — and can’t wait to return one day soon.

asd

Finding peace at Anantara (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Anantara: Paradise in Arabia…

Traffic Jam in Dhofar…

asdf

Beep beep (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I got caught in this camel jam in Dhofar while cruising towards the Yemeni border to explore this stunning beach…

ads

Exploring windy beaches in Dhofar (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Traffic Jam in Dhofar…

Blending In…

asdf

Exploring Salalah (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I got dressed in these traditional clothes (that match the couch and curtains) while visiting this Omani family in southern Oman.

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Blending In…

Khor Rori…

asd

Enjoying the view at Khor Rori in Oman (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

While doing research in Salalah in southern Oman near the Yemeni border, I visited the ancient port of Khor Rori / Sumhuram (4th century BCE to the 5th century CE). The ruins of Khor Rori (Sumhuram)​ ​–​ ​which are about a 40 minute drive from the city center — overlook a breathtaking harbor and excavations there are ongoing.

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Khor Rori…

Frankincense Land…

Al Baleed

Come explore Al Baleed (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

While doing research in Salalah in the south of Oman near the Yemeni border, I visited the archaeological ruins of Al Baleed (8th century to 16th century AD). The archaeological park of Al Baleed was directly next to my hotel (Anantara) — so at sunset, my friend and I took a lovely golf cart ride around this enormous site on the sea.

asd

Ruins at sunset (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

The park is also host to the “Museum of the Frankincense Land” dedicated to the history of Oman (well-curated, high quality, no photos allowed). If you visit Salalah, definitely plan a visit to these impressive ruins and the adjacent museum.

Land of Frankincense​ ​Museum (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Land of Frankincense​ ​Museum (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Frankincense Land…

The Wadi of Kumzar…

asdf

Exploring Kumzar (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I had the amazing experience of strolling through the lovely town of Kumzar into the stunning wadi that sits behind it.

asd

Wadi wanderings in Kumzar (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Wadi of Kumzar…

Approaching Kumzar…

ads

Docking in Kumzar (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Words cannot describe the thrill I felt while approaching the isolated town of Kumzar in the Sultanate of Oman…

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Approaching Kumzar…

Fishing in Kumzar…

asdf

Exploring Kumzar (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Sardine central! I learned about fishing in Kumzar firsthand — these kind fisherman showed me the ropes (literally!).

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Fishing in Kumzar…

Boarding the Boat to Kumzar…

Shipping off to Kumzar (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Shipping off to Kumzar (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I was very excited to board this small boat for a one hour ride into the Strait of Hormuz to visit Kumzar — and I was grateful for all of the Omanis who made it possible.

asdf

Approaching Kumzar (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Boarding the Boat to Kumzar…

Gone Round the Bend…

Telegraph Island in Oman (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Telegraph Island in Oman (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Before I left the Sultanate of Oman for the summer to do a fellowship at the American Center for Mongolian Studies in Mongolia, I took a boat ride to the isolated town of Kumzar (the northernmost tip of Oman). On the boat trip, my friends took me ’round the bend to Telegraph Island, a bare, rocky islet within one of the fjords of Musandam which served in the 19th century as a British communications post to relay messages from India to Britain. The isolation, heat, and hostile local tribes allegedly led British soldiers stationed there to go mad — hence giving birth to the phrase “going around the bend” (it’s not clear if the deaths on the island were from suicide, murder, or both). I have to confess: as we were swerving through the endless fjords, I felt myself going a little bit mad — the imposing, encircling fjords mask the horizon line, and the monotony of fjord after fjord makes one feel like they might just be the last one left on earth. In June 1867, Col Stewart wrote: “In a purely sanitary point of view, it would be desirable to move the establishment to a less confined locality. The heat…the high encircling rocks and limited view to seaward must have a depressing effect upon Europeans, especially during the hot season.”

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Gone Round the Bend…

Land of Genghis Khan…

asdf

Summering in Mongolia (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

A joy to be spening my 4th summer in Mongolia, where even the airport is named after legendary leader Genghis Khan…

asdf

Following in Genghis Khan’s footsteps (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Land of Genghis Khan…

Camel Surrogates…

Camel time in Mongolia (Photos: Emily O'Dell)

Camel time in Mongolia (Photos: Emily O’Dell)

The friendly camels in Mongolia help me deal with the pain of leaving behind my camel friends in the Sultanate of Oman…

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Camel Surrogates…

Mongolian Election…

Presidential campaigning in Mongolia (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Presidential campaigning in Mongolia (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I walked out of my apartment in Ulaanbaatar to find this yurt (ger) — set up to campaign for one of the presidential candidates in the upcoming election…

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Mongolian Election…

Postcard from Mongolia…

sdfasd

At work in Mongolia (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Postcard from Mongolia…

Postcard from Mongolia…

Enjoying Mongolia (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Enjoying life & research in Mongolia (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Postcard from Mongolia…

Transdisciplinary Research in Mongolia…

This week in Mongolia (Photos: Emily O'Dell)

Presenting research this week in Mongolia (Photos: Emily O’Dell)

This week, I had the joy and honor of presenting my research at a conference in Ulaanbaatar sponsored by the American Center for Mongolian Studies and BioRegions entitled, “Transdisciplinary Research in Mongolia: Bridging the Cultural/Natural Science Divide.” I loved seeing my name and the title of my research in the program in both English and Mongolian. It was a wonderful conference, and I was grateful to be a part of it (and to have my work well-received).

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Transdisciplinary Research in Mongolia…