Monday, March 29, 2010

Book Fair Map

Fellow blogger and Google Earth addict Ma7feef went out of his way to help my readers by creating a map to the Book Fair in Salalah. Hope you're all happy!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Fair Salalah 2010 معرض الكتاب

Quick note. The annual Book Fair is on at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture (between the Governor's office and the Women's Association) for another week I think or more. This year there are some FANTASTIC reference books. I bought a book on eco-tourism and another on dragons. Oh... and I also bought Twilight (English) and the Arabic translated versions of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's books. Hmmm... I also bought Girls of Riyadh. I've read it but I don't own a copy, so I figured I should. Echoing Rania, GO CHECK IT OUT!

Earth Hour 2010

Dear Friends,
I am disappointed because I have not heard or seen ANYTHING in Salalah about Earth Hour 2010. For Earth Hour 2008 I know of a couple of professors at the local university who arranged an Earth Hour event. Last year's event wasn't so successful. Other than that, I don't think anyone in this town has any idea what Earth Hour is. In fact, perhaps many of your readers aren't aware of this global climate change initiative either.
On the last Saturday of every March, at 8:30 p.m to be exact, people all around the world turn off their lights and electrical appliances for one hour. In 2009 over 4000 cities in around 90 countries officially switched off the lights to pledge their support to the planet, making Earth Hour the world's largest global climate change initiative. Hundreds of millions of people! Oman can definitely do it. I know some of the major hotels in Muscat are joining the cause tonight, but what about everyone else?
Where the hell is the Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs? What is their role in this climate change initiative? Can someone enlighten me? Why not organize a walk along the beach from 8:30 to 9:30 ... hundreds of people would turn off all the electricity in their houses and join the walk if only it were advertised properly.
I may sound a little annoyed. Forgive me, I haven't had my usual dose of caffeine. I am definitely going to switch all the lights and appliances off in my home tonight. I encourage you to do the same. Switch off your laptops and TVs, and do something real. As for me, perhaps I'll go take a walk. Rania, care to join me?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Drugs in Salalah

Hi! I only have a couple of minutes to write ... sorry about that. I've been extremely busy! But I do want to ask if any of you know about the ROP drugs campaign last week? According to my sources, over 500 people were investigated, some were arrested, and apparently there was some gunfire. I know of a couple of people who are still in prison (it's been a week). Does anyone have more information?
March 27 Update: Ma7feef has a post up on this with more details. If you can read Arabic, check out his post here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Massage Parlours with Happy Endings

I haven't been able to write this week for a variety of reasons .. but I found an extra few minutes to get my daily dose of blogs, and I found Muscat Confidential's recent post rather interesting. Kudos to the Times of Oman for highlighting this issue again.
A few years ago (I think it was 2007), the Dhofar Municipality shut down many of these so-called shady 'Health Clubs' in Salalah after discovering most of the masseurs were pretty Moroccan women who come from poor families and who are desperate for more money. Sometimes you can't blame them. Blame the men. I met the wife of a senior official at Dhofar Municipality and she told me about it in detail but wasn't able to answer all my questions.
I was with some friends yesterday and one of them mentioned transvestites working at these parlours. Eek!
Has anyone been to one of these massage parlours in Muscat or Salalah? (And no, I don't mean hotel massage parlours with harmless little Thai women/healers). What did you think? What have you heard?

Friday, March 12, 2010

7 Random Facts

I got tagged by Kitten, and thus I am forced to share 7 random facts about me. Don't worry, I'm planning a post on crappy mosque sermons for tomorrow. Keep your eyes and ears peeled.
Seven Random Facts:
(1) I am a perfectionist.
(2) I am addicted to books.
(3) I listened to Daughtry 'Home' on my way to work this morning
(4) I love white paper and sharpened Steadler pencils.
(5) I have 653 contacts on my cell phone.
(6) I am vegetarian.
(7) I am not who you think I am.
Juma'a Mubaraka everyone!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I can comment on my blog again! YAAAAAAAAAY! And other people's blogs!!! YAAAAAAY!!! I'm so happy!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! Thank you IT geeks for allowing me to upgrade my internet explorer at work! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!! And it's the weekend! YAAAAAAAAY!!! I'm ecstatic!! YAAAAAY!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chai Salalah

No afternoon get-together in Salalah is complete without a thermos of spicy tea or plain red tea. I'm sitting in the mountains now with my laptop and a thermos of spicy Chai Salalah. Yes, the wireless internet modem works here. Thank you Nawras.
Chai Salalah Ingedients:
- Milk
- Ground cardamom
- Fresh or powdered ginger
- sugar
- lipton red tea bags
Put four cups of milk in a pot on the stove with four spoons of ground cardamom, about a third of a cup of sugar (depending on how you like it) and a spoon of ginger. Wait for it to come to a boil then throw in five teabags and let it come to a boil again. Stir until the milk is golden coloured. Turn the heat off and put the tea through a strainer before putting it in a thermos. Serve in small little tea glasses.
I love Chai Salalah.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dragon Returns

And ..... Muscat Confidential was unblocked again after 12 hours of panic. Peace.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Muscat Confidential Blocked

Dear Readers,
Is it just my PC or has Omantel finally blocked Muscat Confidential, the home of our dear Mr.Dragon? I hadn't opened his blog for a few days but fellow bloggers informed me he had posted a rather controversial picture over the weekend? Tsk tsk...
When I type in the link to his blog, I do not get the Blocked by Omantel page, but rather the 'Oops, the link appears to be broken' page, so I can't even send a message to Omantel asking them to unblock him. How unfair.
We'll wait and see what happens. Meanwhile, to the rest of you ambitious bloggers out there, if you want to keep your blogs up and running, do be careful what you post.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Booo Oman!

That was one of the worst games I've ever seen. What a bunch of sissies. Both teams, that is. Mr. Dragon, the draw means Oman has lost every chance of playing in the Asian Cup. Kuwait still has a chance.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oman Vs. Kuwait

Dhofari Gucci is on fire today! I can't wait to get out of work and set myself up on the sofa with the family to watch the Oman vs. Kuwait soccer game tonight. To those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, Oman is playing Kuwait at 7:30 tonight at the stadium in Bausher (Muscat). Omantel purchased 20,000 tickets to ensure people can go for free. Guards will grant free entrance to anyone wearing the Omani flag colors or red. Anyone coming in plain clothes will have to pay a rial to enter. Five rials for better seats and ten rials for VIP seats.
If you're in Muscat, GO CHEER! This is an order! If Oman wins, we'll play in the Asian Cup. If not, we're out. It's very important!
Have a great weekend everyone! All my colleagues have left work early (hah). Evidently having rain and a soccer game AND it being Wednesday are valid enough excuses to leave work early. Oman will never change.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sacrifice to the Sea

A few days ago I was sitting on the beach with some friends and somehow we ended up discussing old Dhofari traditions. Despite our modern way of life, Dhofaris are still very much connected to the earth and the old way of life. Yes, we are superstitious people, and yes we still do practice some forms of pre-Islamic paganism. I have observed quite often the sacrifices our people make to the ocean, water springs, etc.
Many of the older generation in Dhofar still believe that water won't run in the springs unless a sacrifice is made. And yes, I have seen locals sacrificing small black cows (slaughtering them under water) and performing odd rituals to ensure the springs continue to provide water. If a water spring goes dry, the mountain tribe that guards the spring (it's all tribal) will gather and slaughter at the spring in hope of water. Sure enough, on several occasions, water indeed does appear.
My friend's father is a fisherman. According to him, sacrifices must be made on a regular basis to the ocean to keep it calm. In fact, (correct me if I'm wrong), it is commonly known that top government officials (no names please, we all know who it is) sacrifice gold and money to the ocean to keep the peace. This old fisherman says he would never risk going out to fish if a sacrifice hasn't been made because he knows how angry the ocean can get. Over and over again, I've heard the ocean being referred to as a human. The ocean is considered a powerful force that controls us. (لازم نذبح وإلا البحر بيهيج)
I find it fascinating how connected people are to the sea. I wish I had more time to study old traditions and rituals. There is so much we do not understand about this world because we are so obsessed with materialistic development. We do not treat our planet well. We do not respect the ocean, earth, stars, sun, and moon. We merely take advantage and then complain when things go wrong (earthquakes, tsunamis, pollution, global warming, hurricanes). Perhaps our ancestors knew more about the mysteries of life.
Do people in other parts of Oman make sacrfices? Have you observed them? What are the rituals? I'm curious.
It's raining in Salalah today (in fact, all over Oman if I'm not mistaken). The weather is very odd. Dark clouds. Although I left the house at 7:30 this morning, it was still dark outside and I had to have all the lights on.