Saturday, 26 January 2013

Al- Qawaneen: The Laws

I learned about a few different laws today. I’ve only been here for a short time, but I’ve been surprised by how relaxed everything seems to be here. I’m not sure which is the chicken or the egg, but I found out one of many possible reasons why this may be. Did you know that it is illegal to be confrontational in public in Oman? That means no yelling, no name calling. It’s so interesting!

Also, you can get ticketed for having a dirty car, so keep your cars clean! It's strange because the police seem so lax here, though. People don’t get pulled over for many things. People speed all of the time, and disregard traffic laws at large constantly.

It's been so nice to start using my Arabic again, though. It’s bit rusty, but it has been really nice. Walking into different shops, just saying pleasantries is really great. The culture can be difficult to adjust to.

When I am in the Middle East, I tend to be far shyer than I am in the US. It’s a fine line to walk between being appropriate and polite. Sometimes I know that I teeter toward one or the other. Things here are really a matter of comfort, though. If you make a social gaffe, I’ve been told time and time again, the Omani won’t correct or judge. Even in Jordan things were lax. Stres are the worst that it gets. They understand. 
Obviously, keeping with certain social norms is just expected. You shouldn't go out in a tanktop and short shorts. Judgement is certainly necessary. Showing any sort of leg is pretty frowned upon. It just attracts a lot of attention. Wearing a Hijab isn’t necessary by any means for foreigners, but today I did. I try to blend in as much as possible. It really all depends. I was so worried before I came. Much more worried than I was before Jordan.

My worry leads to difficulty in some interactions. I’m never sure how chipper to be, how friendly to be. When this is combined with limited Arabic skills, sometimes it’s difficult to interact. I love it still, though. It’s an adventure, and people are always so accommodating. For example, even though I know that it wasn’t the smoothest interaction, the husband and wife I met at one of the stores tonight were so kind. We definitely became friends :)

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