Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Yes it happened. Yes I'm alive. Yes Rania is the person I expected her to be and my sources were 100% correct. And YES Rania is cool!
As she mentioned in her post about the meeting, I did sit in my car and wait until she pulled up and then I waited until she got out and spent a few moments observing her. She was standing nervously clutching her bag and trying not to look left and right. I decided to put her out of her misery, so I approached her from behind and shouted 'Boo!'. She jumped. I smiled. Arrogant, my dear readers? Nah.
I could tell she was nervous. I'm not that scary, but I guess after following my blog for so long, she'd created this 'Nadia' personality in her little brain and wasn't able to handle the real person. However, her nervousness didn't last for very long. After about ten minutes (and probably after I'd pulled out a pair of grilled shades for her) she started to relax. We ordered coffee (café lattes from Browniz if you really must know), and drove to the beach.
We parked at the end of Haffa Beach, took our shoes off and settled down in our chairs with our feet buried in the cold sand (it's a nice feeling). I find it easier to talk to people in the dark for some reason. Conversations are more meaningful at night. Does anyone agree with me? We talked for three hours straight about absolutely everything. We do have a lot in common, even though she's not Omani. I guess being married to an Omani and knowing many locals has expanded her 'Dhofari Horizons'. She understands the culture and blends in very well.
We talked about Dhofar in depth. Both of us are Dhofar-lovers. We discussed the fact that many people are now using Dhofari Gucci and Sleepless in Salalah as valid reference material on Dhofar, which is flattering yet scary. I have met so many people who have quoted my blog and even used it as teaching material. It's reached the point where if you google anything about Dhofar or Salalah, inevitably one of our blogs will show up on the first search page. We realized that it's our responsibility to make sure that what we write is good and valid material. We brainstormed so many ideas for our blogs, and listed the issues we want to tackle. As a foreigner married to an Omani, Rania has a unique perspective on life here. Positive and realistic. She's very down to earth and intelligent, and I trust that she will write excellent posts on our crazy little town.
She was off on a camping trip with her husband's family the next day and begged me not to write about our meeting until she got back. To those of you who aren't techie-minded, I actually cancelled comment moderation this week, and so I wasn't moderating all the comments under my last post, as many of you thought. I decided to take a break from the computer this past weekend and enjoy real life. The rain in Salalah was refreshing. Winter arrived this morning. I took one look out my window and knew that today would be the first of many dry windy dusty days.
Rania came back from camping, and told me I could write again (well, thank you!). Overall, our meeting was great, and I predict many more similar encounters. Ask any person who was on Haffa Beach between 6:30 and 9:45 p.m on Tuesday whether they saw anything … odd.
PS (In her blog, Rania accuses me of insisting on using my car to go to the beach and being bossy. Well, evidently she wasn't focused enough to realize that the beach mat and chairs came out of my car, so yes we had to take my car. Just thought I'd clarify).
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I'm anti-Twitter. Just thought you should know.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
My stomach's on fire ...
Ma'ajeen is my desire ...
Eating Meat Meat Meat ...
Eating Meat Meat Meat ..
Party people ... all around Salalah .. Eating Meat Meat Meat ...
Throw your hands in the air!
How are you all? I'm in a wacky mood today, but I promised you my Eid post, so here goes..
However, Dhofaris seemed to have other plans. I could not even get near the centre of town during Eid. I tried FIVE TIMES to buy Halwa at my favourite Halwa shop but I couldn't get near it! It was so crowded! Women on thobe street شارع عطية were busy buying clothes and blocking all traffic. I couldn't enter any supermarket because it was crowded with people buying the exact-same-items. More like Ramadan shopping! I decided not to go out. I paid my cousin a fee to go and buy Halwa for our house. He was pleased and keeps on offering his services. Perhaps he sees a potential source of income. (he's 17).
On the morning of Eid, I woke up at dawn for prayers. Believe it or not, there was like 20 seconds of rain but then it stopped. I then dozed off again knowing that I'd wake up to the sound of the Imam's voice and Eid prayers soon enough. I woke up again to the sound of 'Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar!' (God is Great), and just like a child I jumped out of bed excited for Eid. It's was 7 a.m. I know some of you are thinking 'Why wake up so early? No one wakes up early except children'. Well, to you pessmists, Eid is a celebration and I choose to celebrate. I put on a new bright green Father of the Tail, applied bright red lipstick, adjusted my poof (pompom, kammasha, qamboo3a, etc) and joined my family for a hearty breakfast. The men had already left for prayers so it was just my mother and aunt and sisters.
After breakfast we got to work preparing the Majlis for guests. We knew that by 8:30 the kids would be on the streets in their new clothes. Sure enough, by 8:25 the doorbell rang and it was the first batch of kids who came in giggling and sat down to introduce themselves and eat sweets. I gave them Eidia (Eid Money for kids) and they asked me 'Is it true that you drive a car?'. Umm.. yes? They were fascinated. Poor things. Off they went and the next batch arrived and it continued like that until 1:00.
Meanwhile, after Eid prayers the men went off to the 'garbeeb' (our plain near the mountains) to slaughter a cow. They came home bloody and tired bearing lots and lots of meat. Off they went to get ready for visiting, and my aunt busied herself with the task of making Eid ma'ajeen, which is basically small pieces of beef cooked in fat and salted and then if kept in a sealed container, can last for months. It's really tasty. I helped her cut up the meat even though I hate the sight of it.
.A 3:00 the 'adult' visiting started. . . and it contined for then next six days NON-STOP. I spent my entire Eid holidays either visiting people or receiving people. I must have seen at least 300 relatives and neighbors during Eid week. The same scenario exactly:
'Hello! Eid Mubarak! How are you? How is your father? How is your mother? How is your brother? How is his wife? Any baby? How is your health? Are you married yet?'.
.Every single majlis had the exact same food items. The big dish of ma'ajeen, Omani coffee, Omani Halwa, Danish cookies, nuts, Halwa bread, and then Vimto and mango-flavored water. I'm not complaining. I'm merely wondering why Dhofaris can't be more creative food-wise. At every single house you were FORCED to eat at least three or four pieces of Ma'ajeen. If you're visiting ten houses a day.... 10*4 = 40 pieces of Ma'ajeen a day. 40*6 days = 240 pieces of ma'ajeen in six days. Beef. Eating meat meat meat .. imagine the cholestrol and blood pressure problems in Dhofar after Eid. Eek!
Another thing that surprises me is that during Eid, it's suddenly fine to receive men and entertain male cousins, etc, whereas during the rest of the year it's 3aib عيب .. weird. I met so many male relatives, and I can't even remember half their names.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Today I am thankful for the following:
- The Peaceful country that I call home
- Our beloved Sultan
- The freedom to work, drive, travel, and be who I am.
- The ability to learn something new everyday
- Feeling safe and secure wherever I am in Oman
- My family/ My Tribe
- My friends and neighbors
- All the amazing Omanis I have met through this blog over the past few months.
- I am thankful for the small pleasures that Salalah has to offer like chilled coconuts on the side of the road or the beautiful Indian Ocean and the untouched beaches 1 minute away from my house.
- I am thankful for the banana plantations, the camels, the bedouins, the mountain people, the fishermen, the hyenas, the internet, the roads, the schools, electricity, clean water, my warm bed, my cute black car, my phone, my books, paper, pencils, grass, frankincense, rocks, turbans, abayas, clock towers, honey, tribes, colors, the cheesecake at the Hilton, my blog, and last but not least I am thankful for coffee.
- I am thankful for the Life that I am Living and all that is to come.
Have a great day everyone!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
(5) Lots of people I know are preparing for Hajj, the journey of a lifetime. I don't want to say I'm jealous (ehem.. Shahrazad), but I am! I can't wait for the day when I'll be able to go. I hope to go with a husband if and when I ever find one. haha..
(6) Does anyone have any idea how long the National Day holiday will be and when Eid holiday will be and whether they'll be merged into one nine-day holiday like last Eid? I'm craving a holiday. C.R.A.V.I.N.G.
Ok, enough blogging for today. I'm having a super-exhausting month at work and have no time for sleeping and eating, let alone blogging. I'm brainstorming posts on spirituality, life, travel, etc, .. season for deep-thinking. I've been writing in my journal almost everyday. Cheers
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Hectic HECTIC times. Thanks for all the positive comments on my OmanForum post last week. Very much appreciated. I haven't had time to write because of a 'Work Overdose' as my fellow blogger Bader likes to call it. I've been taking work home everyday now for the past two weeks. I'm also trying to write something for the new bloggers' campaign, but I need to concentrate when I'm writing, so I'll probably do it at home (with a nice cup of tea). .
Once you shut that door, you're in another world. Men would kill to see what goes on in there. Big empty well-lit rooms. Mirrored walls. Women chillin' in tights and tank tops. Nike sneakers. Yoga mats. Puma shorts. Sweatbands. Che Guevara t-shirts (you heard me right). Ponytails. Bandanas. Loud Loud Music..... Hot stuff.
At 8 p.m the aerobics class instructor arrives; dressed in pink tights and a t-shirt with a long blonde ponytail and lime-green sneakers. Women/girls start warming up and playfully shoving each other around the aerobics rooms. All the lights come on. Everyone takes their place in front of the mirror. Music system is ready. Press the play button and get ready to hit the dance floor.
Global Deejays re-mix 'San Francisco Dreaming' blasts out of the speakers (listen to it. I need you to imagine with me). The instructor usually starts with warm-up exercises then gradually starts the heavy aerobics. Lots of hopping and jumping. Step-work. Mat-work. It goes on for an hour or more. Pain. Torture. But they love it anyway. Often the instructor will ask the girls if they're in for some hip-hop and break-dancing. Everyone will shout 'YEAH!' and out comes the hip-hop CD. She usually starts with The Black Eyed Peas 'Boom Boom Pow' and everyone will show off their dance moves. My favorite is Chris Brown & T-Pain's 'Greatness'. When the girls are feeling a little wild, the belly-dancing CD comes out. One of my expat friends who went there took one look at the place and said 'This is SO Ghetto!'.
The funniest part is that some instructors like doing aerobics to Salsa music. It actually works quite well with aerobics. Lots of hip and shoulder-shaking. The best is Marc Anthony's 'Mi Gente'. Dhofari girls pick up a lot of salsa moves from TV (So You Think You Can Dance/ Dancing with the Stars). After a couple of hours of fun and activity, one by one the women head to the cloak room (literally), change back into their abayas, tie up their hair, apply all the head-pieces until the hijab is complete, tie on the face-veil (burqa), change out of their sneakers, roll up their yoga mats and sneak out. The car is waiting outside (curious driver trying to get a peek as the door opens), woman gets in, and drives off into the night.
Nothing happened, right? Nope.
Salalah's best-kept secret. Dhofari Chicks Rock.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
This morning I sent an email to the founder of OmanForum asking him to remove my blog from the forum. He wrote back immediately, bless his heart, and informed me that he had removed the entire forum completely. It was obviously misunderstood and not the success he had hoped for.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
And guess what? I FOUND IT!!
Check it out (i.e the more intelligent version that came out this year) can be downloaded off the website in PDF form. Someone told me there are some good articles written by Omanis in the magazine. I'm searching for those specific articles. I can't believe they've discussed Kanye West's stupid VMA moment in the new issue!! Like Oman needs to know?
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Have a great weekend!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Dear Reader, thanks for your rant. You made my day. I was getting around to writing about driving in Salalah, but you've done it for me. However, you forgot to mention the people who flash their lights at you and speed like maniacs, yet you both end up at the roundabout or traffic lights at the SAME TIME. You also forgot to mention the people who pass you on a one-lane road that is no longer than 100 metres, just to get to the intersection before you do. Also, my last rant is about men who proceed to put on their turbans WHILE DRIVING during morning rush hour. They're controlling the steering wheel with their knees on a highway and first they get out their lime-green plastic combs and comb their hair, then they put on their turbans. Sometimes I wish I had ready-made signs in my car that I can wave at other drivers when needed. Examples:.