Monday, May 26, 2008

Two Weeks Overdue

I have been here for a little over two weeks now. I have been itching to write about my everyday experiences, but it seems that every time I try and do so, I get distracted by something else. Something shinier, possibly :p

I have so many interesting encounters with the people, and places I see in Oman. I want to share them with you, and to document them myself. This is important in achieving a goal here that is slow and ongoing. And that is- discovering who you are on earth , and how your experiences shape who you become.

Sometimes, when you see something in print, you realize what your thoughts really are, and not what you think they are. Writing allows people to organize, and compartmentalize their ideas and beliefs.

While Im thinking of it, its always important to make a first draft, and before something dreadful happens to a long thought out post- im going to save it in Microsoft Word. I know this has happened to everyone at least once.

Now that my thoughts have been interrupted I can quickly jot down the random days that I have had in the past two weeks that I have been meaning to write about.

Last week, a co worker and I went to a very secluded and hidden Hookah bar. I thought I was walking into what looked like a brothel. It was in a remote back door of a shopping center. We had to climb three floors of UN air-conditioned, and unlit stairs. I couldn’t even see the place when we walked in because the entire room was filled with hookah smoke. Surprisingly, it was packed with people. It was during our lunch hour. As I was told by my co worker. This is a place that people only know about by word of mouth. Couples come here to hide away; women and young people come here so they can smoke really cheap sheesha for 1 Omani Rial – the cheapest you can find in Oman, and so that the women can smoke without any shame.

In most places in the gulf, its doesn’t “look nice” for “Khaleeji” (Khaleej means The Gulf in Arabic) girls to smoke a hookah because of the cultural expectation that women should always be lady like. This is especially true if she is wearing abaya and covering her hair.

I didn’t try the hookah- but their Chicken Shawerma was really good and at a decent price. The place is run by Egyptians. I could not help but to wonder why the hell they are so secluded? They must be hiding from something… but maybe that’s just my American skepticism about e v e r y t h i n g .

It was an interesting experience to say the least, I did enjoy myself. We made it back to the office an hour and a half later. Boss wasn’t there- So I guess it didn’t matter 

Work is slow in the summer here. Most people leave the country because of the unbearable heat. Most days I find that im not motivated to work. I have to talk myself into actually caring. The work ethic takes a fake authoritative position when it comes to employee/ employer relationship.

I find that those in charge have to pretend to be boss like. I also feel they suffer from some kind of inferiority complex. Therefore, constantly dumping work on others justifies their position as boss, because they have more important things to do, or because they want to show that they know better than others. Bla blab la… Im not too concerned.

Did I ever tell you that I love peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches? Oh and soy milk? ----Yea- I know!


A friend and I went to a restaurant called Darcy’s Kitchen. It’s supposed to be an Irish kitchen. All the employees were Asian and they hadn’t the slightest idea about the menu, or what authentic Irish food is. This did not surprise me. The chef was Indian. I thought about contacting the owner of Darcy’s kitchen Oman for about 1.5 seconds. Then I tasted the steak and the thought disappeared.

The heat here is ridiculous. Its only May and im hearing about how “this is nothing” Today the temperature was 111 degrees Fahrenheit.

Driving is not so much fun when you have to blast the AC and sweat the entire drive home. I have to park my car in an uncovered area. It’s inevitable that it will be hot for a while. I tried covering it, but the cover was too flimsy and I don’t have the energy in the morning to pull out a huge plastic cover and put it over the entirety of my – well, small VW Polo GTI.  So now I use the simpler version of a windshield visor.

I adopted two kittens from a shelter yesterday!! Surprisingly I found the place rather easily. I trusted my instinct when I took directions from the German woman over the phone. I can’t mapquest the address so she had to describe the area to me. I was so happy for myself when I found it! I usually get lost when it comes to others giving directions around here. The roads are all roundabouts, few traffic lights and there are not very specific street names. They do exist, but no one uses them, or knows them. People simply go by “you know where this place is? And that one place…” Im making perfect sense I know :p

You get my drift.

The kittens are adorable. I can go on and on about this. But the few outstanding points about the shelter. It’s only known by word of mouth. You cannot look this place up. It is run by foreigners entirely. – And by foreigners I mean, Europeans. Don’t forget this is the Middle East. In America, the foreigners are US! THE ARABS! :p

It’s a clinic and a shelter. You adopt for free. All the animals are vaccinated and neutered or spayed. They have dogs and cats. Many of the cats were rescued. One of them is entirely blind. With no eyes. The veterinarian had to have them removed because they were so infected when she was brought in. I really had to evaluate myself when I realized that no matter how affectionate and smart this cat was, I didn’t want it. Hmm…

Now I have two very loving kittens. They think I am their mother and they follow me everywhere in the house. One of them insists on sleeping in the crook of my neck and shoulder and no where else…  its fun to watch them play and they bring me joy.

Most people here who are of the upper crest of society have maids. A good friend of mine just recently moved into a castle. When I say castle I am not exaggerating. I want you to close your eyes and imagine the long marble hallways with doors on both sides that you can only see in, well- CASTLES. Her bedroom is the size of my old apartment times 10. Again, im not making this up.

She was complaining to me about how she had a temper tantrum with her maid. She mistakenly opened a box that was supposed to go to charity, and put away the things that- im sure looked new- back into her room. My friend was explaining to me how she opened her cupboards and saw those things back in her closet. She had a complete tantrum and yelled at the maid. She made her cry. Upon listening to this story, I could only laugh. She was damn serious. But I had to laugh. If you know me at all, you would know why I had to do this. She kept insisting that her maid had no business in opening the box etc.

I tried to imagine myself in that situation. I would have little to no reaction, and I would simply put the things away and tell her that those things were not meant to go back, and that they were for charity. Bottom line. End of story.

I won’t even get started on the rest of the other details.

My days are interesting everyday, because I have taken the role of an observer. I refuse to get emotional about the injustices I witness, or the lifestyle, etc. I am simply an onlooker. It doesn’t have to affect me. I have total control ;)

I miss home and I think about you everyday.