May 8th, 2014 | Thursday Night
In my previous blogs, I’d mentioned that I am staying with my cousin Tara and her family.  Her husband works for Occidental Oman which is an oil company that employs so many amazing individuals that I have had the pleasure of meeting.  Marlin’s colleagues and their families are like one big community.  Children, teenagers, friends, mothers, fathers, and even cousins such as myself! This Oxy community is like one big family.  Nearly every thursday night, the whole Oxy clan goes to the only Mexican restaurant in town for margaritas and of course a good quesadilla. Now you’d think being around all of these Americans, I wouldn’t get to experience many Omani customs, but you’re wrong.
After dinner, we head to the Safari. A club that entertains many Omani men and woman, americans, and other foriegners.  Not only is it full of many normal people like you and I, enjoying a beer or 5, the Safari is also known for its vast number of working girls.  By working girls I do mean streetwalkers, floozies, prostitutes…yes hookers. They were everywhere! It was a huge shock to me.  I think mostly because of how common it was for them to be literally…everywhere. Some Thai, Indonesian, Phillipino, etc but one thing that I thought was interesting was how they dressed.  No, they were not wearing an abaya or head dress like every westerner in the United States may think all women wear here, they dressed in tiny skirts and tall heels with enough make up to disguise a man.  A typical appearance that you’d expect from a prostitute.
There are many things that I’m learning here in comparison to the states, but one thing is how this place shares a lot with our culture as well.  Even as simple as enjoying a nice drink or dance on the dance floor.  A lot of Tara’s friends were at Safari that I got to meet.  Two special Omani men in particular, Sala and Jacob.  They were so full of life and very adamant about making sure that we all felt safe and were still having a good time.  Jacob taught me some phrases in Arabic and the importance of Omani marriage.  May not seem very common bar talk, but I had a lot of questions! About their culture, how he feels living here, and who isn’t the best to answer these questions, than an Omani man himself.   I told him my desired career to one day work for the US Embassy or a position with the US Department of State, and he advised that I learn as many languages as possible and to make sure that I learn the pure languages, as each one has different dialects.  For example, if I do study abroad in Morocco next summer, I should be aware of the french dialect and influence with the arabic speakers there.  While here in Oman, learning pure arabic makes it easy for people all over the world to understand him, so there isn’t much of a barrier.  Jacob could speak nearly 6 languages! That to me is brilliant, and I hope I can one day achieve that ability.

J

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