Living in Salalah has its advantages, but again it also has a wacky side. When smartphones landed in this town and people started using BBM and WhatsApp, such applications ended up becoming a virtual town hall. Wedding announcements, special offers, funeral announcements, and breaking local news. I'd receive the same damn message from 20 different people everyday. It can be highly amusing sometimes but also very annoying when it's an OBVIOUS rumor. For some reason, many people here believe anything and everything they receive on their phone (I mean, seriously, why would you question a story about Obama being Jewish or a local's housemaid being a witch? WhatsApp is the world's most accurate news agency!! (NOT).
Just this week:
WhatsApp @7 p.m: "Breaking News! Dar Al Arab restaurant in Salalalh serves dog meat in their shawarmas! Fifty dog heads were found in the house of the Bangladeshi chef"
WhatsAPp @ 7:45 p.m "Breaking news! Burj Dubai Restaurant in Salalah serves dog meat in their hamburgers! 100 dog heads found in the house of the Nepalese chef!"
See what I mean?
Yesterday, an unfortunate incident in Al Qouf (central Salalah) involved a little girl falling to her death from the balcony of her home on busy Al Salam street. I saw photos of the incident from different sources, and everyone's talking about it at work, so I assume it's true. Then again, no one can agree whether she was a 6-year-old Egyptian, a 5-year-old Jordanian, or a 9-year-old Moroccan. In all cases, send a little prayer to her family and keep an eye on your kids.
Last week someone murdered someone in Salalah. No one can agree whether the murderer was foreign or Omani, or whether the victim was foreign or Omani. They can't agree whether it was a stabbing or a shooting, honor or revenge. All we know is that someone was murdered.
And finally this morning, another sad case. Apparently, a bunch of drug addicts tossed the body of their friend just outside Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah. Apparently he died of a drug overdose. I know someone who knows his family, so I know this one isn't a rumor either. Our drug problem isn't being brought out into the open. Campaigning takes place in Muscat. I know there are plans to establish a rehab centre in Oman, but people in the regions need to know the reality of the situation. We want statistics, numbers, cases. Drugs are available in Salalah and combating them silently (hint: ROP) isn't going to work. Locals need to bring it out into the open. Fear of shame won't get us anywhere. Not now. We have real problems that need to be tackled. The first step to solving any problem is to talk about it.
I don't know what the purpose of this post is. Bits and pieces of news that I received on WhatsApp. Being a blogger, often I'm grateful for the local grapevine of news, and sometimes it annoys me to death because people believe everything. Oh, and in case you're wondering why I'm quiet these days, it's because I'm ill. Yup, the Salalah post-monsoon virus has reached the Gucci home (and not via WhatsApp either).