Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quote of the Day: "For the ladies...''

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "If they spent what they spent on weddings..."

Actually this quote of the day is not terribly funny. If it had come from the other Omani guy I know also called "M"it would have been. As from him, it would have been sexist. But this is one of the most decent, thoughtful, and sweetest Omani guys you'll ever meet. So coming from him, it just kinda of rings as fitting.

M: "You know OPNO? If they [Omani women] spent what they spend on weddings on looking good everyday, their husbands wouldn't go out looking for second wives.''

OPNO: "Um, so you don't mind that I totally have not very much make-up on tonight?''

M: [lol's at my insecurity] "You have a child's face OPNO, pretty [grins] so better you don't wear makeup out hmmm. [Seeing my look of, don't be like K and start telling me what to do now to]. And of course you look more beautiful with makeup [he hurries] but.. I'm saying is, they sit in the house and do nothing and then their husband's see them as strangers off to a wedding dressed up for other women, and they come home and take off the pretty clothes and just don't care anymore. Like they are sick all the time. It is our stupid Omani culture [this from the world's proudest Omani]. Islam it says for husband and wife to dress and look nice for eachother. It IS good for the women [he grins...]''

OPNO; ''...In the long run.'' [I finish, knowing well the aversion of Omani women to second wives] [Besides, who in my mind, wouldn't want their husbands attention?].

Btw, before any crazy feminists out there get mad at me for agreeing with M, these aren't busy working women we are talking about. These are have children (but also a maid/nanny) and sit around a talk with other women and eat snacks ladies. I know the women he's talking about. They are my friends too. I love them, I respect their right to be spoiled as Islam says women have this right if they want to, but Islam also says one should try to care for their husband too if you are going to take the ''I don't even have to care for my own children or provide for myself or clean" route of your AMAZING rights in Islam. A husband has rights too, and I know alot of Omani guys use Islamic husband rights as an excuse for underhanded BS like taking SCERET (not of the sunnah and not Islamic) second wives but, it is the right of a husband to have a wife that takes care of herself and dresses up nice for him (and only him) once in a while. Like 3 or four days out of the week? Totally not alot to ask if you can manage it for weddings or your girlfriends and female family members.

I know, I know, M, lol. I am caught between both worlds, the Omani guys, and the Omani girls. It is funny sometimes the side that I take. I'll never forget the mistake I made when I called down the huge gold maher thing in front of all the female relatives with none of ya'll to back me. Hehehehehe. :D

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quote of the Day: "You have to spend your husband's money so he can't afford a second wife!"

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Spend ALL your husband's MONEY so he can't AFFORD A SECOND WIFE!!!"
On a shopping trip in Dubai. OPNO's friend (we'll call her J) who is married to local man is shopping with her local sister-in-laws. Women are spending money like mad. J though, is walking away from the mall empty-handed. The women interrogate her.

SILs (sister in laws): "Why are you not buying anything?"

J: "I don't need anything."

SILs [look at eachother and laugh. They aren't the kind of women that 'need anything' either. That isn't exactly the point.].

J [helplessly]: "I didn't see anything that I liked."

SIL #1 [shakes her head, as if to say, that is not the point]: "You have to spend all your husband's money..."

J [looks confused]: "."

SIL #2: " he can't afford to take another wife!" [The SILs grin together in an assured manner].

J [raises her eyebrows, knowing her BILs lifestyles maybe better than her SILs]: "I just try to be a good and loving wife. Seems to have worked for me."

[The SILs gather together like a flock of graceful black swans and plump partridges with a peacock's fan of shopping bags fanned out around them and just smile together over the shoulders at J knowingly, shaking their heads in patronizing manner at this sweet (but what they percieve as stupid) child.]

****When I related this narative to M he laughed so hard***

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Daily Diary: Lifestyle

How to be an Omani Princess: Mornings
Learning how to enjoy a morning in the Gulf (even during a work week---or crammed into a busy schedule) is one of my most sincere, and artified pleasures. Honestly, it takes my dedication, and hard work to climb out of bed every morning in time to enjoy this rare relaxation period. But it is worth it. Always.
Step 1. Get up and hour or two before you must be up for work. Shower. Dress simply. In loose nightgown, and robe. I love big floppy hats, I put one on. My rooftop is rather secluded. Sometimes I rotate this with going for a run before the run comes up at the beach @ Shatti. In this case I dress, then come home and shower, then breakfast.
Step 2. Make a lovely breakfast for yourself, fresh fruit salads with lovely exotic fruits, sparkling juices poured into blue or red glasses. Dips and breads, both flat and other. If you drink coffee, brew and serve as if you had guests. I make Omani coffee in the morning spiced with cardamon and cloves or squeeze fresh orange juice.
Step 3. : Go outside. Most homes have a patio or balcony or rooftop space. I carry my meal out on a tray, set the table with a colourful napkin, eat, and enjoy soaking up the not too hot yet sunshine of an early morning in Oman. I know, when it gets a little too warm, it is time for reality to come back and take me. The joy of setting aside time for this is it makes you really relaxed and awake for the day, energized because you feel like you have done something for yourself, the fantasy of being on vacation and what not.
I do this every other day. I like to pretend I don't have to work, lol, reminds me of a lifetime long long ago. But you don't have to be super successful to make time for yourself. Just use your morning wisely. Pretend you are at a spa or away in a lovely tropical exotic place. I love waking up in Muscat everyday.

Quote of the Day

"Ya, it is vary Omani to ditch work to go down to Salalah for the Karif."

-Artist in Oman

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Maaaaaaaaaybe I am going away for the weekend....

I haven't been to Salalah in a long, long, long, long time. I may go this weekend. I don't know yet, but if you miss out on the reg. postings, that'll be why.

Nationalistic Nail Polish

Kinda a cute idea for National day. Ladies this will cheer you up from..... yeah;).

Link for Tent

I am wondering if I shall splurge [$2500 USD] or make my own????? I cannot afford to splurge as of yet and soooo....

My Home Away from Home Region: Sharqiyah IN PROGRESS

Tiwi beach.
The famous sinkhole along the way. ***Also known as Hawyat Najm. One friend of ours once spent the day watching an Italian man in a speedo playing ukele here. OPNO was in the car being scolded by K for not respecting her elders so she never saw the sinkhole, BUT SHE did get to see five camels eat out of a dumpster near the parked car and angry Omani man inside car (that was a sight in itself).
Typical coastline on the drive along the coast from Qurayat to Sur. Volcanic rocks crumbling off into a mesmerizing blue sea.
Wadi Dyqah dam (made famous by this post [not really]
More of the Wadi Dyqah and driving to Qurayat. Houses, mountains, and green, and then rocks, mountain, and coast again.
Qurayat Port. Looks like home, hmmmm Baba? Yes, Omanis have bagpipes, an amusing site that IS to behold.
Traditional Dance photographed in Sur.
Traditional women's shoes, from Sharqiyah.

Oh PhantomX, you have been my most punctual commentator. Have you gone to Khareef? are you okay? LOL, did I say something to offend you? I do that sometimes;). Forgive me.

I am worried about you. Do write.

Does that happen to you too other bloggers? That a usual commentator is missing and you wonder if they are okay?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Incident Involving littering on the highway, and OOFFBITD's theory about how he personally contributes to the economy by providing employment, ha!

Despite all the "Save Water" and "Re-use Your Plastic bags" poster campaigns going on in Oman, there is a breed of Omani oblivious to this. He is one of my oldest friends, and known to almost everybody from Al Khoud to Al Ain SOMEHOW. They are probably related to him. [B & L snigger]. We've all used his name to get into something back in the day.

We'll call him.... OOFFBITD [for 'old omani friend from back in the day'].

Am not making this stuff up. He exists, wallah.

We are driving. We [OPNO A, L, B & OOFFBITD] stop at a coffee shop. We buy schwarma (anyone who knows me knows this is what I lived on when I was totally broke and jobless), we drive.

OOFFBITD unrolls window. Throws used napkin out the same window. We continue to drive. Only OPNO and B are non-Omanis in this instance. The Omanis don't seem to take this as out of the ordinary.

B is enraged. B is the evironmentlist in our crew (I am the humanist-I get mad about him not puting seatbelts on his kids ect. and driving like an idiot---I have given up on influencing him to greater good, and just try to keep him from hurting others or himself).

B [to OOFFBITD]: "Did I just see what I think I did?!" [obviously about the napkin].

OPNO [to B]: "OOFFBITD threw his garbage out the window indeed."

B [to OOFFBITD]: "How can you do something like that? Don't you care about Oman? Your future kids having somewhere nice and clean to play?"

OOFFBITD: "*&** Oman." [Keeps driving].

Napkin is forgotten until the window is rolled down and the foil wrapper from the schwarma goes out.

B: "I am going to make you go back there and pick it up."

A [crushing on B] and Oman [to OOFFBITD]: "Yeah, keep Oman clean, bro."

OOFFBITD [to B]: "See the men with the brooms?" [motions to the orange jump suited street sweepers]. "I give them jobs."

B [enraged, she is also a human rights activist]: "Do YOU know what those POOR MEN MAKE to keep Oman looking clean and beautiful? Slaves wages!" [B sits back in her seat, amazed that the rest of us are so calm and not stopping the car and making OOFFBITD get out of the car and clean his own crap. I wish B was driving this day. It would have been fun.

OOFFBITD: "Without me, there would be no work."

B: "Then Oman would have more money to spend on education or increasing the salary for your line of work. They wouldn't have to waste it on street sweepers if Omanis put their own trash in the bins."

OOFFBITD: "Why do you come to work here then?"

B: "." [Sits back angrily, arms crossed.]

OPNO [off-handedly]: "In my country, we throw our own garbage into bins. We don't have street sweepers."

[OOFFBITD, A, and L look at me like I claim to have walked on the moon].

A: "And is your city clean?"

OPNO [I can answer honestly]: "Yes."

OOFFBITD [laughs and looks back at me sitting all lady-like in the backseat]: "Give me 5 Omanis and 1 week in your city. And you wouldn't be able to say that anymore."

Ahhhhhhh OOFFBITD, you made my day. Your social perceptions, lack of delusions and your Courtney Love-esqe who-gives-a-damn attidude truly inspire me. Since I kinda care too much about the world, and people, and things... Even you, LOL:XD ;p

On that, for those with the delusion of making the world a better place and for a sustainable, cleaner Oman (like B and myself) Victoria from Sultanate Social found recycling facilities in Muscat (for the where) check out this post

Skinny Jeans for Omani Men, just 1 small pointer

To the men of Oman (dear friends, brothers, cousins, fans): If your legs are skinnier than a girl's (ie if your legs are the size of a regular man's arm from the elbow down) DO NOT go for skinny jeans. Is just NOT a good look for you.

I apologize to all the ROP motorcycle cops with arms for legs, we know you had no say in the matter.

I'd rather....

Yes, rather than a gold maher, I want my man to be thoughtful enough about me to bring me flowers everyday. Or my fave food. Or at least something he knows cheers me up. Am not big on material things, but kindness and compassion and being always in his mind? Big on THAT.

My newest driver brings me a new long stemmed rose everyday, to the annoyance of a potential suitor or two. I am starting to get teased at work.

E: "OPNO, where flower?"

OPNO [embarrassed, points to coffee cup where rose is]. "."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

OPNO loves Zara Home

Unlike my Hometown, Muscat has a "Zara Home", located in City Center Mall in Muwalla. Let me count the ways I love Zara Home... Who else has placemats embellished with coins that don't make one's breakfast nook look like a bellydancer's lair, hmmm?
Or has plates that look like tiles and coloured glasses to make Barbara Eden smile?
Or white towels with tassels that are playful, not kitsch?
These are the ways I love Zara. Who has a traditional picnic basket I am saving for. How to get here
and mall hours Saturday to Thursday : 10:00 am to 10:00 pm and Friday 02:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Enjoy.

Getting Things Done in Oman pt. II

OPNO [to M via text message]: "Soooooooooo.... the car STILL isn't fixed yet, huh Babe?"

M [to OPNO via text]: "no is not. am so mad. 'so what ur plans fer tomrrow Hayati?"

OPNO [to M via text message]: "This is Oman. They said by LAST Saturday? They mean NEXT Saturday. LOL, we better plan on walking."

M [to OPNO via text message]: "no majnoona not walk. I will have the car."
Hmmmmmmmm, M, we shall see. If you win (believing in the honor of mechanics who are probably friends of your brothers or cousins) I will buy dinner. If I win (doubting on any 'finish time' set here in Oman, pessimist that I am, YOU can buy me my fave cheap dish. Agreed?
And if you are NOT M (who has no idea I blog about our conversations) and want to know, what the hell I am talking about, see this post for part I of the 4x4 fixing saga.

Online Shopping

When I am totally broke (but ready to mooch a ride from so-and-so's cousin to UAE) I love this website Sometimes I find great deals on furniture and clothing. And sometimes UAE designers post unique designs you can't find anywhere else. Kind of like the Gulf version of K... totally not as good as Etsy but. Abaya above, for my Betsey Johnson loving girl CA. A modesty makeover I know you would enjoy. So long as you can have halal magaritas on my rooftop.

Post About Signs Ripped of from "Andy in Oman" - visit his blog for cool pics

Andy was like, um, I have to go back and take a photo of this one.
“What’s with the red car on the left in this sign?“, Andy used to wonder. It took a while for him to realize that this sign means “No overtaking by all vehicles” or as we Canadians would say, “No passing“.
The confusion of this sign stems from Andy (and my own) previous Canadian roadsign knowledge which taught us that a slash through a sign means that you can’t do the stated action (Such as a slash through a “P” means “No parking”). We have come to realize that the slashes through a sign over here mean “End of…”, so this sign really means “End of no overtaking restriction“. In other words, “You can go ahead and pass now“. Before Andy started driving in Oman, he thought this sign meant that there is some kind of “red indicator” on your car that lets you know when the water in your car is getting low! (Shows you how much I know about cars, ha!ha!-Andy) he had no idea (at that time) that flash floods can come suddenly and water can block highways. Therefore, there are red poles on the side of the roads in spots that sometimes get water and when the water reaches the red poles on the side of the road, it is advised to stop. Interesting!
Andy thought these signs had something to do with approaching side roads. (?!) This was only explained to him [at the time of his post] recently (after driving more than a year in Oman!) in a similar type of report about “confusing signs in oman” in a free weekly newspaper mostly for ex-pats here in Oman. Who would ever guess that this sign means “300 meters to roundabout“?! (2 dashes means “200 meters to roundabout” and 1 dash means, you guessed it, ”100 meters to the roundabout”.) This may be more confusing to Canadians than people of other nationalities due to the fact that we are more used to traffic signals everywhere rather than roundabouts. I wonder if they have these types of signs in other countries…
One might guess that this sign means “No musical instruments are to be played in this area“, but it (now) obviously means “No sounding of horn“. I find it strange because no car has a horn that looks like that! It really looks more like some ancient type of horn-like musical instrument to me!

In case you have never encountered his blog I love Andy. I am stealing his awesome sign post but giving him full credit. I wrote nothing here at all. nHe has more sign posts. I just have no camera right now so please forgive for all my lame pic nabbing.

And from Steve "You may think this sign means ‘wadi crossing’. No, no, no - according to the ROP website (under warning signs), this is in fact, an ‘Irish crossing’.A bit of rummaging on the Internet suggests this may be the correct engineering term, but it is impossible to find information on its rather dubious etymology. Regardless, we should all adopt this alternative terminology, if nothing else to watch the confused faces of non-native English speakers.

Getting things done in Oman...

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhh M! [OPNO with her head in her hands for dramatic effect of feigned disbelief/despair] You passport is Omani, yeah?

Poor M, who REALLY DID have the naivety to believe the car repair man when he said our 4x4 would be in working condition by Saturday.

OPNO [to M on friday]: "Did you not know it is National Day tomorrow? No one is going to be working. Even on normal days nothing is ever ready when they say it is gonna be."

M: "Yes OPNO, this Saturday, for sure." There was not even wan hope in M's voice, it was absolute innocent faith, surety.

OPNO did not hold her breath. She is SURE she is more Omani than M, though her passport is the wrong cover colour for that.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

National Day July 23rd Review

How was your long weekend aka National Day?

I slept alot. And was sick. But was supposed to go camping. But didn't. Yeah. Mine sucked.
And I just realized I didn't get to wear my Oman abaya:(. Oh Well, in November then, I suppose.
Yes, mine sucked. Grrr.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Sometimes I feel like I am a character in Jane Austen Movie"

I do not know know what it is exactly about being a young woman in Oman, but sometimes I feel like I am a character trapped in a Jane Austen novel, like I have gone back in time to the 1800s English countryside or something.
If you were a romantic I suppose it would be quite thrilling... and at times, my girlfriends from back home are quite jealous about the life I lead. I mean what other twenty-something from back home gets invited to places where women wears ballgowns and real jewels and men still believe in love in first sight, and one has, you know, a maid. [I don't, but I could afford to have one I suppose---and I am not considered 'well-off' by any means.]. Such is expat life for a twenty-something girl dependent upon her neighbors and friends in the Gulf.
For those of a more practical nature, such an existance would be seen for its confines, and if you were claustrophobic and more extroverted than I [introvert that I am] am, perhaps you would, like a young heroine from such a story, wish that life were different, that it retained all its simple romantic charms and innocence but presented the options of a wider, wiser world. Which we know, it doesn't.
Being in Oman, I am suddenly aware of something called "a reputation". Of things a lady must or must not do. Officially "introduced" to society, I may now be discussed by "other ladies". I am at times, like the character 'Elizabeth Bennet', sometimes derided, sometimes admired, for walking more than the average "Lady". I must be aware of this for my 'maritial prospects'. Due to my family connections being less than desireable, and my own financial standing nothing of great import, I am reminded constantly of things I shouldn't do. Leave the house too much, be alone without the company of other women or a man who can be protector. Almost everyone I know wishes me a "good marriage" and "soon". Happy go lucky match makers abound. I have been told to accept that a man may marry me for how I look or for how I dress, being his contact with me will be very limited and thus, that might be the only contact we get to determine eachother's potential for a 'prosperous match'. That term BTW, makes me giggle. I am not content with this. I require more of a man. There has to be that 'something'. I have to admire the man. I do not admire another soully for their shallow admirations, alas. I have also been told by other women, not every woman has the blessing of age and beauty and talented speach [like they infer I do LOL] to wait for such a man. But I would rather be a "spinster" which I suppose starts in the late 20s here?...then marry an idiot. You would think some women's soul purpose here when getting up and dressing and going to weddings and parties is to find a husband. I have been told to accept unfortunate proposals even though I am very young "for they might be my only hope" to support and provide for myself. I apparently need protection. I would not mind protection but the urgency I feel is always in others' not me. I won't marry for a villa and maids and a car. Some do. I do not judge them. Some women value things different. And yet I feel I belong here. My talents of dancing, drawing, painting, speech, reading, and sometimes song are admired whereas back home in my country more of less your college degreee and earning potential for a woman are important and your looks.Sometimes I DO despair of what one friend terms "women's talks" for they are not wholly intellectually stimulating, and while I do consider myself a reasonably religious and spiritual person, talking about "Mosque issues" is not the only risque subject I like to delve into.
I do not like waiting and feel there is far too much waiting expected of a woman (and dependancy) in Oman. But I enjoy being cared for and love the thrill of hand's simple touch when being for say, rescued, the only 'halal'/acceptable reason. There is a great Romance in that, stronger than the jump-into-bed kind. I get beautiful love letters here, though they lack the grammer and spelling of the Austen era (and whatever passes for the English language today). But at the core of all Romance is a dull thorough streak of boredom and restraint I suppose. That leaves us to fantasize more. Because we are bored.
As for the men of Oman, there are the gentlemen, the cowards, and the rakes, the "Mr. Willoughby's" the "Mr. Darcy's". I have known I rake (alhamdulilah I did not marry him), three of four cowards, one Mr. Darcy, and many other decent men. But cowards are many, and rakes, well, I am not the kind of woman they can pretend a long time with in most instances, but they prey upon my friends. It is impossible to describe how unreal it all feels at times.
And then, all at once, one can startled back into modernity, by a person, a sight, a thought, an idea, and the comparison of these two closely entwined worlds makes me dazed sometimes by Oman and her culture.
Am I the only one that feels like they are a character in a Jane Austen novel while living at times in Oman?