Friday, November 30, 2012

Being Blackmailed as of Late... by Saudi and Omani men leads to our amusement

Cultural notes to provide some background for my rant:

1.) For the majority of women belonging to Omani, Emirati Saudi, Qatari, Kuwaiti, Baharaini families, ect.... posting one's photograph on the internet or whatsapp ect, especially of one's face---- and that's not even getting into photos showing one's hair and uncovered skin or tighter fashions----is considered to be something unsurpassingly horrifying. It is a tribal shame for the families, and can result in some pretty horrible things happening to the girl within her culture. Divorce, lack of marriage offers, being ostercized by her family (even her husband and her brother being ostercized by association). Never mind that anything a guy does never usually get him wholly thrown out from society around here.

I honestly, as a Muslim, don't understand WHY. If one didn't have the intention of showing one's self, or if one is dressed modestly as one appears publically, Islam states for Muslims this is perfectly fine, and the sin goes to the person who purposely exposed the other. But even my Omani husband sees something different between appearing in public dressed modestly, and posting a picture of one's self dressed modestly on the internet ect... To him in public it is not my fault if some guy happens to stare at me in a pervy way but if I put my photo out there, then it is used for something pervy, then it is my fault, to his Omani-cultural understanding. Islam would disagree but anyhow.

2.) It has been the case in Oman where bestfriends [female] have inflicted revenge on one another through shaming with photographs once trustingly left in their care, or ex-lovers. As is often the case with lovers, photographs are often used as blackmail material to continue a relationship even after the horrifying character of the man has been made known to the woman and the greatness of her error in giving any intamcy to the cad whatsoever made so dreadfully apparent.

Text messages are used in the same manner. Proof of unmarried men and women corresponding between one another can cause all kinds of negative reprecussions. In order to limit any insult to one's character most Omani women use a very formal undertone to even their business dealings and don't like to be contacted after working hours or discuss any small talk or personal matters.

So onto my rant.

The Rant:

The OPNO girls (the blog's contributers) have suffered from two varying attempts at blackmail as of late. Being that we are not Omani, or Saudi for that matter, these blackmail attempts had us laughing-out-loud with hysteria instead of sweating it out. But we can surely imagine some poor local girls contending with these loser GCC guys creeps so we will tell the effect of our response upon our would-be-blackmailers to give girls out there being preyed upon some line of defense.
1.) The first case. One of my friends recently divorced a Saudi real loser. Ever since he's been threatening her, doing all kinds of things to intimidate her and thus she's guarded her current location and all contact info from him. One of these acts of intimidation included hacking into her FB account and apparently stealing the pictures of her  most vulnerable friends (those married into his culture).

So, ex-husband dumbass here decides to try and blackmail me with my own photos [without hijab] which he has stolen, threatening to post them all over the internet unless I tell him where my friend lives and give him her phone number ect... As I am married to a local and this is a shame beyond shame to my husband's proud and guarded family, he figures he's gonna get what he wants pronto.

...But it took me a while to figure out his bad English. Which of course, made the threat entirely less threatening because it very well could have been written by a first-grader.

My response was natural. Why? Because a. Like it is really any sin to me if he does that so I am like, whatever, Raken Al I shouldn't shame your family Loser, just try to choose one where I look super fly, ok? No desert trash is gonna get to my girls through me, and b. there's photos of me without hijab already floating around in the world because until I reached the age of 20 I never wore it and lived a very Western-lifestyle so... meh. We could all find photos exposing this loser too floating around out there, so its all just a big, meh.

...And as far as I know, he then never found it of any benefit to himself to post anything.
2.) The second case. One of the OPNO girls works for the Omani government and is married to an Omani. At her work another Omani loser decided that since he had her number through their work, he'd try to strike up a friendship creep-attack. She at first politely avoided any attempt at inquiring into her personal life such as "where are you planning to build your villa" "what style do you like" "how is you family" which she knew from the start were just attempts to get into her pants. Any self-respecting Omani guy doesn't strike a real friendship with an Omani gal this way.

So she texted him that she felt entirely uncomfortable with him contacting her after hours and asking about anything at all not work related.

The real creep within surfaced. Texts were sent at an alarming rate. Stalking and creepy lurking around her office commenced. She changed her number. To no avail, because he retrieved her new number from one of her unsuspecting collegues.

A new warning was sent from Creep-O to her phrased similarily: "I miss talking to you. Remember, I am in charge of parking and time-ins here in [insert the exact Ministry]. It would be a shame if you had to walk in the hot sun every day, wouldn't it? Or if [insert name of their director] knew what time every day you cam back from lunch." [Because  Creep-O was OBVIOUSLY unaware that the director was usually responsible for the lunch-time errands that made her arrive at a different time than the rest of the office staff].

All the OPNO girls agree, that is the LAMEST GCC-guy loser attempt at blackmail EVEEEEEER!!!! ..."if you had to walk in the hot sun everyday," LOLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, blackmailing someone by hanging over their head the threat of taking away their parking space PROBABLY wouldn't work on even the most culturally-bound Omani girls, so.... yeah.

The texted threats were immediately taken to her Director, along with her previous texts asking Creep-O to lay off, with a request if the Director himself wanted to handle the situation or if he preferred the ROP [Royal Oman Police] to be involved.

Alas, sadly for Creep-O, this action encouraged other Omani women from the same building he was blackmailing to come forward, and MOP [blog darling and Omani-male speciman supreme] was contacted to deliver some more traditional-Omani-tribal-related justice. Don't worry, Creep-O sadly survived to blackmail-another-day. But he won't be doing it on company time anymore:).

Do any of my female readers [or even male, there's a lot of good husbands and brother sand collegues out there] have similar stories of delightfully amusing attempts at failed blackmail to share?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Of course your kids don't like seatbelts!

Dear Omani parents,

Of course your kids don't like carseats and seatbelts when you give your eight month-old [and mine] leave to sit on your lap and steer the wheel at 120 km on the freeway. Duh.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

A post of random artworks depicting Oman

 Just some images of different artists' impressions of Oman. The photo is credited either by the name of the artist, the gallery, or the blogger who posted the image.
 Since it is a long weekend, and has been a longtime since I have been on an eye-candy cruise, I think it is time to check out if the collections of my favourite galleries have been updated.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Interior Design in Oman, and my inspiration board for a possible guest bedroom makeover inspired by Muttrah

Interior design in the majority of private Omani-owned homes in Oman, is an absolutely lack lustre affair (and I am sorry to say that). There are only really two kinds of homes that I encounter (besides the blessed exceptions).

The first type of home in Oman is where the owner spent all of their available money on building their villa and left nothing over for the furnishings. So you get these ornate Arabesque or European manor homes with marble through-out, but very obviously second-hand (and I am ALL FOR lovingly aquirred second-hand) or cheap furniture. Or some cushions pushed against the wall and a plastic floor mat. Things just don't go. In a humble rustic mud-and-stone-brick affair, yeah, the wosada (majlis cushions) are totally great, and I love them. In a replica Georgian-type home? Yeah, not so much. And that particle board furniture does nothing for the bedroom you spent alot of money on for the chandeliers and high moulded ceilings.

I serriously don't get wasting all your money on a fabulous marble gate, and then forgetting that it doesn't matter how people veiw your house, it matters how you actually live in it.

The second most common type of home is what I like to refer to as the bank-loan home. You know, people maxed out their credit and are always making monthly payments for the entire showroom set of furniture. This could totally be ok except that it usually speaks nothing of the home-owner or the actual house they live in, and usually, when they buy the whole dining set, and bedroom set, the sets for each room don't necessarily flow together. You get modern style entertainment set, and over-the-top Arabic bedroom furniture, and country cottage dining room. I am always getting whiplash seeing so many conflicting styles. And usually the exterior of the home is totally forgotten. The outside is modern, the interior is Arabic soap-opera style, or reverse. Ughhh!!!!!

It is like the homeowner has personality disorder or something. Or everything is soooooooooooooo matchy-matchy that it is like it is a catalogue and nobody ever lived there. There is nothing personal about the space whatsoever.

My veiw on great design is it either, a. reflects where the person lives, or b. the owner's personal style and likes, or c., even better, both persoanlity and location.

I have two favourite personal styles. I like either like privately-owned English country house grandeaur for homes or Parisian chic feminine apartments for smaller spaces, or Omani/Moroccan rustic influence. The English/French is my own personal backbone in design and influences how I like a living room and kitchen and bedroom to function. Where I live influences the actual colours, furnishings, ect.... and I happen to live somewhere between Muscat and the mud-brick of a 200 year old home.

My own villa happens to be a very European-style, which to me, doesn't reflect a Muscat lifestytle [at least in my area of Muscat----MQ was a totally different experience;)] so planting some more mediterreanean foliage out front will make it suit the area better. Banana leaves, a pair of coconut trees, and some bougainvilla and narcissus suit the area nicely. Also, giant Omani clay pots from Bahla and Fanja souq.

The interior goes for more middleeastern colours such as sandy browns, warm beiges, golden yellows, and rosy creams with highlighting colours of burnished orange and fabrics with paisley prints.

I also never buy all my furniture at once. I get an inspiration scheme in mind and usually take a year to complete a space (since I prefer to spend my money in a savouring fashion [and I am not rich at all]).

I got my sofa set and curtains made, and same with my dining table. It is cheaper than the stores, and in fact, better quality. I tend to buy luxury bedding sets because that makes the biggest difference to any bedroom, and I spend here and there on a knicknack, antique or purposeful peice as required. I bought my own drill, screwdriver, hammer, and sander. I prefer to paint things myself.

I also find alot of things used. I got mahogany coffee table for 5 rials and simply sanded and restained it. About 12 rials in cost total that's counting the original 5. My MIL guessed that it cost 45 rial even used, so I guess it is nice:).

I found a bedroom set from my favourite used location (not the classifieds and wadi adai as I find those both horribly over-priced) for a bargain 200 OMR and it was pure mahogany and a;; handwork. I only despair that I had not the funds to buy it, as with a little inventive bedding and sewing for a curtain canopy, I could have made it suit my Omani-English girl style. I guess I am going to have to either get a carpenter to make my own dream design or hope to strike gold once again with folooos in bank account coinciding the next.

I am curently think of a way to redecorate my daughter's bedroom, as well as my guest bedroom, without spending more than 100 OMR each for furniture and accessories (+tools and paint) for each room.

ABOVE INSPIRATION BOARD: I am thinking to do the guest room in colours that inspire me of Mutrah (since my guest who is coming to stay in that room once boarded with me in Mutrah). It is already mint green, so I am think of getting a four poster bed in wrought iron painted white, and a [turkish] Persian parpet that picks up the mint of the walls in the pattern. I have found the iron-working shops make these beyond cheap, so if you have a design in mind, it depends on how much metal is being used, but mine should cost about 35-55OMR with a mattress [not a great quality one but I am sure my guest will just stick a foamie over top of it so meh]. Bedding I will wait on as 40 rials is what a good quality comforter costs, but white sheets, white blanket and white pillows and case sin the meantime shouldn't cost over 20 OMR... or less (I have a secret place to find great and inexpensive cotton sheets and I am not going to tell ANYONE where. It's mine.).

Once when I had a naked wall in my house (a house that was beyond hopeless even for me) there were a bunch of nails sticking out and I decided to hang my husband's Omani caps from them like I'd seen done with the red velvent black-tasseled Moroccan hats, and it looked really cute, using them as decorative objects. I think in a Mutrah-inspired room I'd have to do this, with at least 3 kumas (not ones my husband would ever use too, just to prevent my display being ruiiiiiiiined).

I am on the lookout for a bargain used dresser/desk or wardrobe in real wood with a great shape that I intend to paint cobalt blue. I also intend to spray-paint one of those 6 rial folding screens turquoise blue as they look pretty amazing in any room. I also want to get some side tables made by this man in the village who makes them out of the palm fronds from the date trees and I'll spray-paint them white. 6-10 rials a table and if you order alot or bring him other orders he gives discounts. They are beautiful and so inexpensive.I've thought about either buying etched metal trays and getting them laid on top of the tables or plastering and making tile mosaic tops myself on them. But they look nice left alone as well, and even if you don't paint them.

I found a used metal table for 10 rials once and I sooooooooooooooo should have bought it and made it into a kitchen island for my kitchen. I always intended to make my own Moroccan style mosaic on one of those. Getting tiles cut and the proper grouting equipment for plastering them is sooooooooooo inexpensive in Muscat.

What is not inexpensive in Muscat?

Well, it seems any painting I like is always the most expensive one in the gallery. I am debating. I recently just sold a rather expensive handbag I owned so that I could go on a vacation but I saw a painting that looked so gorgeous of palms and it would lovely over my dining table. But.... 400 OMR is kind of major. It is my airfare.

At least I did finally find the Muscat-source of my dentist's gorgeous prints of Al Hamra, Spain, architecture. Only 15 OMR per matted print for those. Which, should I fancy 4 of them grouped together on one wall, would recall the area's colours beautifully. And still cost less than an original oil.

Though the finishing touches for the walls is the last thing I should be worrying about now. The major furniture items still need to be aquired.... Alas.

Decorative cushions and oils, while way less practical than mounting the TV, are so much more fun to me.

This post started off based in some manner of intelligent observation and has eneded in a ramble. Please forgive.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Khaleeji Designer Abayas: Roselle 2013 collections

 I myself have a penchant for polka-dots...
 And goldenrod yellow...
 And if I happened to require an evening abaya worthy of a formal event...
 Or something classic.
 ...The 2013 Roselle collection would have an array of offerings. But, nonetheless, I am still stuck on this pastel lace confection from what I'd call Roselle's "cruise" collection:
 And the Ramadan/Eid collection:
 Available through Roselle's facebook page and in certain Dubai boutiques.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Muscat Properties: Khuwair Modern, more eye candy.

I have recently been doing a bit of property-hunting. Stay tuned for the results of that +some of my own interior design adventures. And while those who know me know I am absolutely not a modernist, I couldn't help but imagining one glamourous young woman renting this semi-furnished modern Khuwair flat pictured above. Wouldn't take much to make it over-the-top glamorous. Some black and white framed art (photographs for sure). A white sculpture [but that peacock is prettyyyyyy awesome although not modern or minimal in the least bit] on the console...
Simple and streamlined crystal and silver finishings bedside.
...a pair of Jimmy Choos kicked off beside the bed.
Not my personal style but maybe you would like to live here:)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Violet daydreams in Muscat: more eye candy

My SIL is currently in the process of designing her villa, so we've all been looking for something modern enough for her tastes, but traditional enough to be comfy for her husband.

Purple flowers are so beautiful against white walls.

Muscat Style tip: I love Dubai-based blogger Zubaida Ali's style.