Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Post with Nothing Much to Say but Today was a Beautiful Day

I simply must say, that after yesturday's crazy weather [pouring rain, and then the first sandstorm I have ever experienced this close to Muscat] and the 2 hours it took me to sweep out the sand and dust down everything, today's weather was perfect. Sunny, but not hot at all, so that I didn't even have to turn on the AC, and not a chill yet, into the evening. Just sitting out in the courtyard now, having a fresh mint tea served in a Morrocan tea glass [2.5 rials for a set of six at Homesense/Centerpoint right now], listening to the birds before the adhan sounds, the air smelling of limes and narcissus. Life is beautiful.

My Own Photos: Day to See Nakhl Fort some years ago & Ain Al Thuwayrah last year

Nakhl really is one of my favourite places in Oman. I feel so calm and relaxed [not too mention cool] walking in the shade of date plantations, letting little fishies kiss my feet as I wade through crystal clear softly warmed hot spring waters, and exploring the architecture of adobe-like Sarooj at Nakhl fort. Afterwards, I always stop for a kebab stick or 2 of goat "mishakeek" and a cup of cooked corn and just stand for a while and soak in the local life as the small souq shuts down with the sun as it is setting and the dusk prayer is called. Being that Nakhl is so close to Muscat, I wonder that alot of tourists don't make a go of it as it never seems busy to me, as Nizwa fort and Jabrin fort can. Just a turn off from the Barka roundabout [the one with Lulu to the right driving from Muscat] and then less than twenty minutes straight from there until you see 3 Omani flags marking government buildings clustered to your left, and up right from there, there really isn't a good sign to show exact directions until you see Nakhl fort arise [as Angry in Oman noted]. Speaking to locals, I felt though, that some of the tourists that do come disrespect that Ain Al Thuwayrah [the hot springs] is right next to the traditional village and part of it. Playing loud music in the car park and drinking, and engaging in sexual activities [I am not talking hand holding by couples or a cute peck on the cheek] IN THE HOT SPRING have made the locals disengage themselves from being more welcoming in the traditional manner I find part of the essential Oman experience. I miss the days when no one would ever hesitate to invite a stranger for at least some sliced fruit and cardamon infused coffee in this region. The villagers of Nakhl are some of the most giving Omanis you'll ever get to know if you make yourself suitable for them to open up to [how many know Nakhl families and are forced to stay for dinner late into the night when the family kills a goat in their honour and a fresh feast is prepared for you, the guest, right? lol]. Unfortunately, in the last few years, ROP friends have given disapointing news of Nakhl where a few angry locals made off with tourists camping gear and kit, not to have stolen it, but to disregard it somewhere else. In all these cases tourists should have known their behaviour would upset the local populace. Dear gay tourists, yes Nakhl is still safe for you to visit, but do not disrespect the locals by having sex in the hot spring pools [this also goes for you Muscati Omani boys with your girlfriends] and if you are going to try and hit on a Nakhl guy local, being a guy yourself, well, when you go for a swim, don't leave your plain clothes or your gear unattended. Really, in that case, if it goes missing only to be found a day later half a mile up the road or hanging from some tree, don't be surprised, as lack of respect for local customs and sensibilities will surely get you the same in return. Yes, this is bad behaviour by the locals, but yours was culturally worse on the terms of ignorance, so I find it hard to reprimand the villagers of Nakhl for their change of attitude regarding the welcoming of guests, such an integral part of their culture. And something I guarantee you, you don't want to miss out on, because if you've stayed for more than 3 cups of tea in the homes here, you have probably found a true friend for life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Police Break Up Peaceful Protest by Omani Teachers with Violence

I guess it's been in and about on the Arabic Omani Sablah (which I am daft at reading being my Arabic is limited to fluently pointing at things and naming them in a one word manner) but I seem to have lost the Youtube link to the video. If you can search in Arabic for it, please feel free to post the link here.

Well, apparently last week or so a group of government Omani teachers went to protest the 4x salary raises of contemporaries and their 1 time in the same ammount of time raises. Not a huge issue. Nothing remotely Sohar roundabout-ish. Not all teachers went.

Watching the video, the men were composed. They spoke to their Minister. They conducted themsevles not in any radical (even looking like a protest) manner. Yet a bus seemed to arrive to arrest a portion of the group. About 13 minutes into the video (which had been thankfully very dull up to that point) police arrived with riot masks and sheilds and started hitting the gathered teachers with rubber batons.

I am uncertain from the uniforms if these are even police connected to the general ROP.

The violence was clearly unnecessary from the video footage.

And clearly UNCONDUCTIVE to whoever wanted these protesters gone because now, even teachers who DIDN'T think their contemporaries needed this salary raise will refuse to teach students until someone deals with the demands OR apologises and explains these rather extreme measures.

Teachers DID go to work in some of the effected schools to not appear as if in protest or on strike, but circumstances were explained to the students, and the students sent home.

Yes, please share the link or any information on this post please.