Sunday, July 30, 2017

Things I hate about Oman, this year, 2017

So many things suck about living in Oman. I can't lie. Number one annoyance-wise is that nothing is efficient here.

Go to a bank at the time it is stated to open. Rarely is a teller or CSR accounts person ready for you until at least 4-5 min. after the opening time. Grocery store says it opens 8:30 am? 8:36 am they unlock the door. Let's not even get into employers doing your paperwork for your visa or your salary etc.... I mean, I work in gov. not private sector and I still missed a flight that cost 600 omr TWICE because of a visa screw up from my work (and the fact that the Omani ROP stamped a visa date in my passport so this visa was valid still but in their computer system it wasn't and so I also had to pay a fine on top of missing my flights (twice)). Whenever I renewed my contract my salary was at least one month late, but once it was almost four months late. Apparently I was allowed free travel on my type on contract also, but no one ever told me or cared to, or wanted to. Which really sucks when you pay for the same trip four times and it should have just been once, and you end up spending like more than four months rent to do so.
Religion-wise Omani is pretty great. It is very free, and yet, very conservative as well, so I like that. Of course, religion is ignored in terms of the marriage laws. The marriage laws banning Khaleejis from marrying non-Khaleejis really are unislamic. I'm just tired of them. I mean, we have friends who have gone to court for the punishment for not getting permission for marriage, they received their punishment, and now they are in limbo. They can't apply to be on their husband's resident card. They can't apply for a passport. They have to wait to try through naturalization I guess? But this means, even if the wife works, pays for everything, she can't own a house unless it is somewhere like the Wave in her own name, she may very well have to be on a tourist visa and driving forever and ever through the borders, and to me, this just does not make sense. Clarity in legislation does not exist here.

This makes it iffy for laws concerning journalism, marriage, and even business.

I am happy coloured abayas are in, and I haven't heard any fatwas that they shouldn't be. Thanks Oman for that at least.
History-wise, again, I love Oman. Few places in the Gulf (excepting war-torn Yemen perhaps, and difficult KSA) have such a rich natural environment, combined with the architecture and history of Oman.

Sadly, conservation of archaeological and architectural history is quite limited to forts. The new national museum is a step in the right direction, but preserving places like old Nizwa, Mirbat, old Sinaw, Al Hamra and Misfah Al Abriyeen in Oman has been very badly done. Omanis who own the houses should not have to give up or contract out their heritage in order to preserve it, I'm sorry, because that doesn't work for things unless they are museums or forts. You need solutions that get Omanis into the tourism industry in other ways. And, say for those rare Omanis, who want to live in their old ruinous houses? There is NO FUNDING for them in terms of housing loans because of the laws. Say you want to turn a heritage listed residential home into a hotel, shop, or restaurant? Many of the laws governing the opening of such places do not necessarily accommodate heritage-graded buildings so these places end up falling down.

Because of the recent economic slow-down, the free provision of sarooj, mud, palm and beams by the Heritage Ministry is also on hold, so I expect to see another two or three of these buildings I enjoy seeing fall away in the next couple of years.
Hospitality-wise I have nothing to complain about. Omanis are still as friendly as ever, at least to me. I get invited to weddings and tea by neighbors, even the daughters of the neighbors who hate us in Muscat.

I still hate the segregation of the sexes at dinners and stuff if one is married to an Omani. If one is living the village life, men and women have very separate hours and I just hate that, and will never, ever like it ever. Some of my husband's male relatives are realizing that they can sit and have tea in the same room as my husband and I and that's great, because it is only awkward because they think my husband or I will be upset over it, and I can talk to men. I have no problem with most subjects that people are brave enough to venture in a family living room while having tea, I'm afraid.

I don't like that if I make dinner though, I sit and eat it with guests, and not my husband. I am like, ugh can't we go back to like, at least medieval seating, and we share a table, and the guests can sit on two sides, one for women, and one for men, or something? I dunno. Because this doesn't work for me.

I don't hate guests. I hate having no time for my family, my husband and kids, because of guests. So I don't get guests because I have told them I hate this. Which isn't really what I want exactly you know?

I also just cannot wear hijab in my own home (or someone else's if we are visiting) for 20 hours of the day. I hate it.  I love my hijab, I just don't love wearing it at home.  This is the less major issue about guests.
Weather-wise I don't really hate the summer. When there is a breeze it is lovely. It is a time to swim in the ocean, swim in a wadi, go atv-ing, go jet-skiing, go to the islands in a boat, or to like, camp up Jebel Shams or something. If you have money, malls and movies are great. Like don't shop all the rest of the year. You'll have money to be crazy in summer.

If you're broke like me, you'll read a lot. I sew. I paint. I write. I am learning to bake. I am trying to not to need to go outside too much in the day.

I hate that the car ACs always break in summer, if they are going to break though. I hate that house ACs leak in the summer if they are going to leak. I don't hate but I dislike that my own seat-belt does occasionally burn me. Actually, I seem to be one of the few people who does not hate summer in Oman I guess. I just wish my husband's vacation from work was in the winter not the summer. I don't think it is harder to work during the summer.
Natural-life? Uhhh. Oman's wildlife doesn't really affect me. I am sort of like meh. But I don't why this bugs me, but I hate that every single bird in Oman looks ugly to me because it always has its mouth open, like it is really thirsty. I don't know why, but this bugs me. I consider re-setting the satellite more of a Khaleeji safari.

Arabic dramas mostly bug me. What the hell if the problem with these people? Always divorcing their wife because their mother doesn't like her (for no reason whatsoever) or making all second- and third wives look like Disney villains somehow. Kuwaiti soap-operas are the worst really. The reactions of people are so unrealistic. I kind of like the Bedouin-revenge dramas, but other than those.... yikes. I find myself agreeing with crazy Saudi Muftis and Muttawa blaming tv for ruining Khaleeji women;p and hating on Mahaned from that Turkish drama show. But my re-casting of Mahaned would make those dudes go REALLY mad. Re-cast as non-handsome Indian or Bangladeshi menial laborer, who is still kind and romantic, and have women still love him. That would vastly improve the show to me, and would really say something about what is happening in Kuwait and KSA;).

Another safari is the handling of any court-case.Trying to take someone to court in Oman is like, a combination of everything I hate about Oman. Inefficiency. How can every judge in the country be on vacation at the same time for one thing? I dunno.

That's my rant for the summer of 2017.  Oh, and that I can't protest the war in Yemen here outside the Saudi and Emirati embassies without getting arrested and possibly deported for it. I mean, Oman isn't fighting in Yemen, but there is a super bad cholera outbreak there right now. They need clean water. Oman could drive right in, but SOME countries are still bombing the crap out of roads and hospitals, and villagers.  So life, could be worse right?

xoxo
-OPNO

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