An Armenian from Russia has fallen in love with the Sultanate. For Tsarukyan Kristine, travelling is a hobby and a passion. This backpacker’s visit to the Sultanate was decided by a chance lottery win organised by her partners, Art Tour Company, for its top 25 travel agencies during the 2016-2017 season. The company rewarded their agencies with a free trip to 25 countries including Oman.
Countries such as Argentina, Mexico, China, Indonesia, Mauritius, Tanzania, South Africa, Brazil, Seychelles and Maldives were in the race but the ring finally stopped in favour of Sultanate for Kristine.
Her mother Karine accompanied her during her maiden visit, and turned to be the photographer. Ani Egoista, her sister and a jewellery designer, came out with a special collection of jewellery under the brand ‘Made in Jungles.’
Kristine relishes her role much as a ‘gallivanter’ having travelled to over 41 countries covering more than 200 cities. Says Kristine: “Oman is an exciting country which will remain in my heart as a handmade box, with the scent of incense that you want to carefully save.”
“I travel a lot, of course most trips to work, but for my vacation I choose the exceptional countries in which I fall in love. And I go back again and again.” In Oman, she finally discovered for herself a beautiful and unique postcard which was the fabulous Sultanate.
Recalling the lottery draw, she literally froze with a shiver in her heart, moments after she pulled out the ‘cherished ball’ with the inscription ‘Oman’ on it.
Three months after the draw, she landed in Muscat and with the very first breath of Arab warmth; she fell in love with the Sultanate, the country and its culture.
In Muscat, she and her mother were received by Dawood, a surprisingly sensitive driver, who treated them with sweets from his own preparation. She was made to feel at home with Julia, her guide for the trip.
Dawood and Julia explained to Kristine the customs, traditions of Oman and how Omani weddings are held, how girls are raised, progress in education, health, infrastructure and the role of the youth in nation building. In Muscat she mingled with the local women at the mosques who showed them about eastern hospitality which radiated harmony and happiness.
During her visit to Al Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountains), which she says are ‘fantastic landscapes’ was surprised mingling with children who at such high altitudes walked, ran and smiled despite the summer heat.
What impressed her were the well-groomed streets, wrought-iron lanterns, beautiful squares, incredible architecture of the houses. At Jabal al Akhdhar, she bought a Bedouin handkerchief. “It was a great experience and which seemed local much like my own image.”
She reminisces trying out local cuisines, which she found to be yummy and misses the delectable taste of Khalas dates as her heart cringes for more.
Kristine hails from the generation of girls who read fairy tales in childhood. She recalls watching cartoons and dreaming about Princess Scheherazade, beautiful image and character from ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ paintings of beautiful palaces, bright colours and carpets which have been preserved in her memory to this day.
As for visiting Oman, she admits to return back again and turns nostalgic. “I hope this was not my last meeting. After all, love at first sight never goes out in the heart and always beckons back.” And the music that just made the heart fade.
For 10 years now she owns her little travel company in Moscow. As about the future, she plans to travel further and publish a book and write a travelogue by the time she turns 60 chronicling her experience of years of active travel.