Winter break has officially started. Three glorious weeks away from spoiled children shouting, “Miss, we have a quiz tomorrow, you can’t make us read half a page in our novel!” Three glorious weeks away from never-ending grading and lesson planning and worksheet-making. Three glorious weeks away from deadlines and bosses and paperwork. Three glorious weeks away from hearing other teachers bitch about the things I just bitched about.
Just kidding. Teachers never stop bitching about those things.
Many people who get three weeks off are taking the time to visit exciting locations. I have somehow managed to save zero dirhams, plus my boyfriend cries if I’m not here to pay attention to him, so this break will be spent locally. Luckily, there are other countries within driving distance!
So, some friends and I decided it would be a great time to visit Muscat, Oman. And it only took us eight hours to get there. (It’s supposed to take 5.5. We are excellent at using paper maps that don’t come with a GPS dot indicating where we are and need to go.)
The most interesting thing about Oman to my roommate was that there are no women in abayas. When she asked why that was, I asked, “Have you seen any women, besides the scandalously dressed Westerners?” (Muscat is a big city for cruise-lines, so there were a ton of tourists showing off their shoulders and knees.) When she confirmed that she had not, she asked where all the Omani women were. “At home,” I replied. “But don’t they get to go out, like to the store?” she asked. And I just shook my head sadly, as if they were never allowed to leave the house ever.
I was being overdramatic, obviously. But there were a lot less women out and about than our modern, prosperous, consumerist Abu Dhabi.
Oman is also famous for its black magic. Both my boyfriend and my roommate’s boyfriend were amused by the Omani hats that we got them as gifts. But they also both vehemently refuse to wear them in public. “People here hate Omanis,” they insisted. And when pressed to explain, they said, “They use black magic and shit there!” My roommate had told us that tidbit of gossip while we were in Oman, but she is very gullible, so we’d assumed someone told her that as a farce. (My response when she first said it was actually, “Did I tell you that? Because I was lying…”)
Sadly we did not see any black magic while there. I did see a black cat though. And a tour guide encouraging tourists to eat plants that were decorating a park. And a man somehow sold me an Omani hat for more money than I’d been quoted. And there were so many plants growing that it was impossible to imagine we were near deserts. So maybe I’m just naive, and I saw all kinds of sorcery…