Friday, July 31, 2015

TWO OMANIS IN: OPNO's village in the land-far-and-away

Despite the usual weather of the land-far-and-away, 2015 was an early, long, and dry summer.

So there was sunshine all but two days I was there. So abayas and a long-sleeve t-shirt were quite sufficient, and for the mornings on the water, which were still quite chilled, a borrowed men's coat did well enough, though I wasn't very fashionable.
One of the first things I did was sneak out early before anyone was awake but the fishermen (or late when no one was awake at all) and go down to the water (although these pictures were taken later in the day when I came back for a walk with my sister). I used to do this a lot in my early teens (okay, not really teens but that point one is on the cusp of girlhood to teenager-hood), when a small group of friends and I would make bonfires on the beach, steal boats, do crazy dares on the nearby islands we could row/motor out to. It is a wonder that any of us lived to reach twenty-five, though admittedly, some didn't.

Not every summer is a golden one, or silver with calm.

Sometimes I go back here, just to remember our little circle, how it was broken, how it once meant the world, and how I am somehow worlds away from the center that fell out. Despite the pain of the place, I always feel calm here, where the light is dappled, the seagrass and purple sea flowers wave, or the black rocks froth with foam as the sea is reaching for the sky.... Either way, it is as I remember, sun or storm.

Funny, current reality has changed little from memory. We were going to leave the little fishing/logging village as soon as we could, and I did. The only difference is, compared to plans, no one took me away, I went on my own, and I didn't sail off, but flew.
That's me, in fisherman fashion:
Now, I never really did love my town, beyond the forests, but I did love my friends and keep in touch with a precious few of them to this day. Most of them I fell out with when I became Muslim (or they drowned before that in a stolen boat in a storm when they should have been house-sitting) or they were guys and it just isn't proper for us to keep closely in touch when a girl has an Omani husband and is a Muslim;). Still none of the old set who used to do the bonfire on the beach thing am I friends with (the ones who drowned I don't blame of course) and it has nothing to do with me being Muslim.

You see, in a dead-end town like this one, there isn't much work unless you leave or become a construction person, a banker, or a real-estate agent.  So people tend to drink more than they should, and some do drugs, (lots of them do cocaine and pot) and I never was one for either, and drinking a Muslim gives up, so we just travel in different circles.

I hope they keep their health despite, and take better care of themselves, and realize one day that just being "from somewhere" and "living somewhere" doesn't mean life has to be that way. Leaving is easy. Or even just reinventing one's self and doing things one's own way. Coming back is always harder, because everything might be exactly the same but it will never be the same for you. ...Because you have changed.
White barnacles crust the wooden posts of the pier, waters lap, looking green under the shadow where the boys set their traps for crabs. ...I see across to my old house, off the spit, and channel where it pulls out to sea, where I nearly lost my life, for a dare. I swam across that point (still a point of pride despite the obvious foolishness of the deed), from town proper, to the east part. And that, dragging another girl with me, who was so thin she almost froze from the water. Afterwards, I had to make a fire on the beach, and hike up sans shoes, to the first house I could find and phone our parents to come get us (okay, her parents, because my dad would have killed me), because even a bike ride, it was over an hour away back to town.
Yeah, beyond barnacles, sea grass, stones spilt into the sea, very cold water, and forests (+friends) the place had nothing offer me. No adventure (just reckless danger), no variety, and love? It wasn't there for me. Every town like this has about one guy (if you're lucky) that you'd consider and sometimes, that's just not in the cards.

Me and an old friend, catching up, laughed about the idea of love in town. Our parents thought a guy with a decent job in town without a drinking habit so profound it negatively impacted him at any time to be a real catch. Our fathers both recommended the same guy to us, which makes me laugh.

You see, whether a small village in Oman or one in the land-far-and-away, the boys are the same.

...So it was never very hard to leave before, and not any harder now. 

Yet the seagrass is beautiful, and the rocks jutting out in the storms are something to see.

No storms for me, however, during my visit. Not this time.


Re. said...

Wow I miss B.C... Btw my Blog link changed to keep the freak in Vic guessing ;-)

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Re: I thought you were going back?

Are they still bothering you? I am sorry for that. I guess it isn't ok for other people to have lives and be happy. They want us to be miserable. And I can only manage that 50% of the time like most normal folks;)