Feb 20 2008
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'The Immaculate Beauty of Oman'
A passionate traveller, Hilary Alexander has been the fashion director of The Daily Telegraph for three years, after 10 years as fashion editor. She was the stylist for Britain's Next Top Model on Living TV in 2005 and 2006, as well as for Clotheshow Live in Birmingham, and has contributed to GMTV, BBC Breakfast, plus a variety of documentaries for BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4, as well as national channels in Germany, France, Spain Russia, and China, as well as numerous cable channels.
"Could a motorway ever be pretty; a four-lane highway described as a delight to the eye?" the writer asked, and went to answer: "They can in the Sultanate of Oman, where the road system is built hand-in-hand with landscaping, gardens and sculpture. The snaking coils of tarmac are softened by neat hedging, lawns and flower-beds a-gleam with purples, pinks and reds. Palm trees and ficus are planted to give them shade. Underpasses and retaining walls, built to prevent mudslide and rock-fall, lose their concrete anonymity and toughness beneath veils of bougainvillaea; bridges and overpasses are decorated with mosaics of minarets, towers, and palaces."
The author is taken in by the city's aura. "Closer to the capital of Muscat and other major towns, roundabouts are like small works of art, punctuated with the familiar flower-beds, lawns and trees and with clock-towers or stone monuments telling historical details of Oman. The trees and plants, our guide from the Ministry of Tourism tells us, are all watered through an irrigation system which relies on recycled water and desalination schemes."
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