Oman – Final post of Dekaro Diary!

Hi friends! Welcome to the last post of Dekaro Diary!! Indeed, 10 years passed since the opening of this blog and it’s time to conclude it.

The last trip of the blog, but certainly not of my life, is in Oman.

The Sultanate of Oman is in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula. It was under the influence of the Persian Empire before entering the Arab sphere of influence. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was under Portuguese control. He reached his zenith in the 18th century when his maritime empire controlled much of the coast of the Arabian peninsula, a large part of the East African coast around Zanzibar, and part of the Persian coast. Later it entered the sphere of colonial influence of the perfidious Albion.

It followed a very isolationist and reactionary policy until 1970 when Qaboos bin Said al Said, the son of the ruling sultan, carried out a bloodless coup. Since then, Oman has opened up to the outside world, while maintaining a certain moderation, as can be seen for example in the architecture which remained quite sober.

Many immigrants, especially from India and its surroundings, live in the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. In the United Arab Emirates, they are even more than 80% of the population. Their working conditions and rights are often almost like slavery, a problem that recently had certain media coverage due to more than 6,500 workers dying in the construction of the stadiums for the World Cup in Qatar.

For us tourists, the only small problem to face is: no alcohol!


Before reaching Oman, I stopped for a couple of days in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Unlike Dubai, the most famous emirate of UAE, there aren’t spectacular skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi, so in the end it’s just a sultry pouring of concrete. Worth seeing is the recently built spectacular Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.


Also worth visiting is the sumptuous presidential house, Qasr Al Watan. It is used for diplomatic meetings, including the Arab League when hosted in Abu Dhabi.


My friends Giamma and Riccardo seen also in other previous posts.


A street in Muscat, the capital of Oman. In the background, the Al-Miriani fort.
There is not much to see in the cities of Oman. On the other hand, it is extremely safe and quiet. Indeed perhaps even too much, because since there is no nightlife, no alcohol, etc… it is obvious that from the tenth night you start dreaming of a London rave with drugs and scuffle, but that’s another story.


In the Mutrah district Souq




Shop of incense, one of the main products of Oman for millennia.


After a couple of days in Muscat, we drove away with our rented car, used until that moment just to take a fine for unpaid parking. The first stop on the way was at the so-called Sinkhole, a splendid natural pool surrounded by rocks.


Giamma checks the best route between the boulders of the Wadi Shab canyon.
But it’s better to not listen to his suggestions. In fact, even if, unlike them, I didn’t have trekking shoes, I was doing quite well until when, climbing up a boulder, Giamma said: “Gianku (it’s my nickname in Malta) listen to what I’m telling you, put your foot here“. Done: foot on a thorn plant that pierced my sole. Giamma is not a prankster so I still want to believe in his good faith, but it was a moment of excruciating pain.

That night we went for a tour to Ras Al Jinz beach, where sea turtles lay their eggs. There are no photos because it was too dark and, at least in theory, flash was not allowed to not confusing the newborn turtles, who instinctively follow glitters to reach the sea in the dark night.
We saw many of them laboriously venturing towards the shoreline (despite tourists’ cellphone lights and flashlights) and, thanks to the guide, we also found a large turtle that was laying its eggs in a pit dug in the sand (I strongly suspect that it was actually a robot controlled to move its hind legs :D )
The stars were fully shining.


The desert dunes of Wahiba Sands.




Kids on a camel.


Our quaint desert tour guide. A little vain, he loved to be photographed. Great driver, the tour consisted mostly of a funny duning (I guess this word has already been invented) up and down frantically on his off-road vehicle.


The wanderer shadow.


Among the ruins of Birkat Al Mouz, an abandoned village made up of mud-bricks houses and surrounded by palm trees. It was still partially inhabited until a couple of decades ago.


In Nizwa, adorned for Oman’s National Day, November 18.






Mother and daughter.




Little girls.


Inside the Nizwa fort.


Ehh, me too a little vain sometimes. Let’s admit it.


A little girl is shooting.


Inside the Jabrin Castle. Built in 1675, it was an important centre of learning for astrology, medicine and Islamic law.
The lady at the ticket office maybe is still laughing at my bold attempt at a student discount.


Back to Muscat, at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.


The amazing ceiling of the mosque.


Little girls.


Hindus in the mosque. (Don’t ask me the reason, I just shoot photos).


Girl makes the heart.


An arcade outside the mosque.

Since it is the last post, I put the map of the visited countries. They are 116 (in total, 50 narrated in this blog). And yet, as you can see, there is still a lot to visit, especially the Pacific islands, the countries of sub-Saharan West Africa, large nations such as Canada, Mongolia, etc…


Well, that’s it. It is time for me to walk away lonely in the barren desert in the search of the truth. Diabolical challenges await me but if I can overcome them I will return.
Actually, I will not come back. You don’t deserve me… I remain wandering in the desert.
Okay, now don’t panic. I know I can’t leave you alone for too long in your cold existential bewilderment. One day… I’ll be back.

Slovenia and Northern Croatia

Hello friends! This time a small trip to Slovenia and northern Croatia, especially around Istria.


First stop Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
The tiled roof of St. Mark’s Church with the coats of arms of Zagreb and the former kingdom of Croatia-Dalmatia-Slavonia.
Like many buildings in Zagreb, it’s still uninhabitable after the 2020 earthquake.


In the center of Zagreb there is a lively nightlife.


Ljubljana, the quiet and relaxing capital of Slovenia.


The most interesting place to go in the evening is, definitely, Metelkova City Autonomous Cultural Center, a squat created inside former barracks. It’s the main meeting point for Slovenian alternative artists. They have embellished it with graffiti and works of art.
Where there is Anarchy, there is Beauty.


EZLN basket.


Lake Bled, surrounded by green hills and a castle, is one of the most pleasant places in Slovenia. In the middle there is an islet with a church.


Fisherwoman by Lake Bled. In the background, the church on the islet.


- Magic mirror on the crossroads, who’s the fairest one of all?
- For sure not you, Dekaro.
- Fuck off.


The central square of Koper. From here I begin to travel in Istria, going south.
In general, Istria has plenty of towns with Venetian architecture, overlooking the sea. Sometimes you can see also Roman ruins and Austro-Hungarian buildings.
A pleasant surprise is that they understand Italian more than English. As for me, I learned only one word of the abstruse Slavic languages: “pivo”. And that’s enough for me.


View of Piran.


Venetian architecture in the central square of Piran.


Church and bell tower in Izola. Like Koper, it was an island until a couple of centuries ago.


Again in Croatia, in Poreč.
A stunning Byzantine mosaic in the Euphrasian Basilica, founded as early as the 4th century.


Rovinj, one of the most beautiful cities in Istria.


Roman columns in Rovinj.


Roman triumphal arch, at the entrance to the old town of Pula.


The Roman amphitheater of Pula.


A cat walks along the cobbled streets of Krk, the main town of the same-name island.


The clock in the Krk’s square.


Rijeka, Fiume in Italian, a city famous in Italian history due to the so-called “Impresa di Fiume” (‘Endeavour of Fiume’), when a variegated group of fighters, led by the Italian poet and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio, occupied it from September 1919 to December 1920 in an attempt to annex it to Italy (it was disputed by the nascent Yugoslav state).
Even today, historians are divided on the evaluation of those 15 months, also because in the following years, fascism glorified that venture. However, if we really want to apply a political etiquette, it is perhaps the anarcho-syndicalism. In fact, the “Carta del Carnaro”, the constitution given to the city during the occupation, was drafted by the anarcho-syndicalist Alceste De Ambris and proclaimed direct democracy, decentralization of power, collective sovereignty of all citizens without distinction of sex, race, language, class and religion, hospitality for anyone wishing to live in Rijeka, and so on. Not surprising, the only foreign state that recognized the “Regency of Carnaro” was the Soviet Union.
But apart from the constitution, it was the experience lived by the citizens of Rijeka who resembles anarchism, with exceptional freedom for the time, thanks also to the large influx of young people, intellectuals and artists that reached the city.
Perhaps this was one of the main reasons that in the end, paradoxically, it was the Italian army that had the international task to ”free” the city with cannon fire.


For those my age, it’s hard to hold back tears of emotion in front of the memorabilia at the Peek & Poke Computer Museum.
In this photo, you can see the Commodore 64 with the Football video game and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum with rubbery keys. There was also the legendary VIC-20, my first computer when I was 12, and the Commodore 128, my second computer (the latter is actually also on display in my little house in Benevento, former Maleventum).


Market in Rijeka.


Cat overlooking via Medulica at night.


Night thunderstorm.

The Grand Canal in Trieste, Italy.
As far as I remember it’s the first time that an Italian city appears in Dekaro Diario! (it could be a symptom of senile fatigue coming. :D ). But let’s not exaggerate: Trieste became definitively Italian only in 1954.
Jokes apart, Trieste is a wonderful city, where you can stroll among majestic buildings of the Habsburg Empire, houses of wealthy merchants, and churches, also Orthodox.


Icon of the Madonna on a street wall.


And that is the poet and writer I mentioned before: D’Annunzio, sat next to a girl, pretending to read solemnly. He was in fact an astute womanizer.


Backlight from “Unità d’Italia” square.


Happily back to Malta, in the apartment where I live now, with an amazing sea view! In the evening, I sit on the balcony, watching the sunsets, always unique. The ideal place to have a little drink and meditate on the impermanence of existence.


In the meanwhile, Dekaro Diario turned 10! It was in fact 2012 when I started it, on the occasion of a long trip to South and Central America. Therefore, I believe that it’s time to conclude this blog. I will make one last episode at the end of the year, it will be Oman, and we say goodbye. Maybe I will do another kind of blog in the future, before the inevitable departure, but I don’t know yet. We’ll see.