(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Two men - one a septuagenarian and the other in his late 40s “ sit still staring at the sand. A chess-like board has been drawn in the sand with slots and 28 pebbles. The men are contemplating their next move, engrossed in a centuries-old game of hawalis, which is said to be exclusive to the country.
The game, played by two, was popular among fishermen living along the coast of Oman, and is one of the main attractions at Amerat Park. Each player gets 14 slots and 14 pebbles.
Many European visitors were seen showing keen interest in the game and wanting to try their hand at it.
Syed Mohammad al Balushi, the septuagenarian said, ''This is a game which fishermen used to indulge in for centuries. It is relaxing yet also helps keep the mind alert. Fishermen at sea need to remain alert at all times.''
Balushi said the festival is a wonderful opportunity and place to showcase this game to the younger generations and foreign visitors.
The game is not very popular in cities. Abdul Aziz, a student said, ''We have seen this game being played by men and by taxi drivers in Ruwi. We are aware of the game but have never played it. I think there are better options and games these days, like PlayStation, which can improve concentration.'