Thursday, March 1, 2012
Chatting up the Omani Beduoin Ladies at Muscat Festival 2012: which is on for one more week!
Muscat Festival in both Naseem and Al Qurum parks is still on so the other night MOP and I headed down to Al Qurum. Alas, as usual it was fun parking and we had to do so a good ways away from the event, and I forgot my camera in the car (so all these pics are from Oman TV). I didn't want to go back for it as we arrived later in the evening anyways.The cultural stuff is our favourite anyways so we headed down there first. MOP had to buy 'rickal' which is a thin Omani bread with egg and optional cheese, and he debated whether or not to buy Zanzibari mandazi poufs. We didn't in the end because I dragged him to the palm products area where various Omani craftspeople were doing their thing. I want to learn how to weave palm mats this year, and to make an areesh, and I found that alot simpler than embroidering Omani kumas. We also stopped to talk to the tanner to ask what seeds were used in the tanning process of Omani leather.From there we went to chat up the beduoin women (who always adore my husband lol). I wanted to know the going price for a small blanket (30-40 rials) and for the camel sidebags (110 rials before discount---people are unlikely to get the same price MOP can sweet talk them into). Also their Al Wusta style burqa (4-3 rials), sandalwood powder cosmetic for the skin, Beduoin kohl, keychains... The women were amused to find out I was from my faraway land and asked my husband how he visited there and could manage a marriage with a wife who didn't speak Arabic lol. They were so cute they never thought to think he spoke perfect English. I was also pleased to find that the areas for the Beduoin cultural things better displayed this year. The women sat in authentically woven styled areeshes (palm frond shelters) and the Bedu men had a large tribe style goat hair tent which showed their majlis area, the women's area, bedroom, ect. If you are stuck in Muscat, this is probably as close as you can get without a 4x4 to Beduoin culture. In the majlis room of the tent Omani coffee was prepared over fire and served and a man played a yababa (I am good at this, surprisingly despite my lack of muscial talent with ANY OTHER instrument).Below pictured is an area MOP says is used to goats usually, but is a quick shelter made from desert brush for any purpose. In Muscat festival it was used for the sale of goods.BELOW pictured (not from Oman festival) is a typical Bedu family's living set-up. MOP's tips for dealing with the Bedu: wear a Musayr always (the Omani headwrap). Kumas (pillobox style hats) are despised. Carry an assa, the curved Omani stick, out of respect. Do not take a Beduoin woman speaking to a man as you would any other Omani woman (Bedu tend to mix more men and women). Always sit with your feet not facing out towards any one person (thus the Bedu women I knew always squatted which is an art I haven't mastered). Those are the basics. Alot more going on at Muscat festival but this is what interested me most this year.