"Suburban Muscat" Al Khawd by DesertRat
Al Khawd Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 3 photos
Al-Khawd, which is more commonly transliterated as "Al-Khod" is a very rapidly developing town on the western end of the Muscat Municipality. When I moved to Oman in '88, there were maybe two or three streets and a few crowded houses. Today, there must be upwards of five thousand people who live in town.
There's not a lot to see in Al-Khod, to be perfectly honest, but there is lots of shopping, including two very large sized shopping malls, though they're located just off the main highway as opposed to being on Al-Khod High Street. One, City Centre, which was built by a Dubai -based shopping center of the same name, would look quite normal in any upscale suburb in the US or Canada. Carrefour, the French equivalent to Wal-Mart, is located here and draws customers from a radius of 60 miles and more.
Gulf Arabs have in many respects adopted many aspects of American commercial culture. The one that strikes visitors from Europe first is the massive scale of things: Streets and roads are wide, air-conditioning is all-pervasive, and shopping centers are gigantic. In recent years Muscat has come to emulate this value as well. City Centre is but one of several new monuments to the Almighty Rial.
City Centre's chief attraction is Carrefour, the second largest retailer in the world. Here, prices are lower than just about anywhere else in town. There are more sales, more 2-for-1 specials, and more variety than just about anywhere else in town. This is especially true in the grocery section of the store. Since Omani families are huge -- 7-8 children per per family is probably average -- price is important, and here they can get things for relatively little money AND buy everything in one place to boot.
But City Centre isn't only Carrefour. There are numerous other shops including such names as Boss, Mexx, and Woolworth (the South African clothing chain, not the N. American 5 & Dime). Boutiques sell Nino Cerruti and Pierre Cardin; jewelry stores sell gold, Rolexes, and even Patek Philippes; and there's even a Chili's Restaurant!
- Pros:Lots of shopping, lots of restaurants, lots of student & expat residents
- Cons:Not a lot to see
- In a nutshell:This is a typical Gulf suburban development.
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