November 6, 2013
The last three weeks have been extremely busy, bizarre and challenging. Let’s see: I got in my first serious car accident ever. Ok it wasn’t serious in the sense that no one was hurt, but a friend driving in front of me stopped quite suddenly at a round about and I ran into the back of his Ford, and my Renault Logan proved itself to have approximately the sturdiness of Renault Logan-shaped tin foil.
Additionally, I performed Lambada (a Brazilian dance) in a show at a hotel here with my friend Lux (who is half Brazilian half Sri Lankan). That was a very scandalous affair outfit-wise, so we were required to wear abayas to the event and before going on stage. That was my first time in an abaya (Oct 26th I think?) and it was absolutely remarkable how powerful I felt the second I put it on. Like all of a sudden the distaste and unfriendliness and danger and all the negative emotions I had been feeling – even while driving from other Omanis staring at me through the windows of their cars – it all vanished. Lux had told me before: “abaya changes everything,” but I had not understood or appreciated the gravity of her words. I need to buy one. And wear it. A lot. It is incredibly empowering. The difference between coming into an office in an abaya – compared to wearing pants or even a long dress – is undeniable. I still haven’t bought one since that night, but I was truly shocked at the elation I felt the second I put it on and went outside.
Additionally, my home life has been rather difficult (lol at this sentence). Evidently there was a 10:30pm curfew that I was not aware of until I egregiously broke it a few times, and during the past two weeks I have been in pretty bad emotional shape because I’ve been kicked out of my house twice. For the moment I am going to stay (apparently), although I am working on moving to an Arabic speaking host family which, even though it will in all likelihood be just as strict, it can at least provide me with language practice. I guess I’m just ontologically bored with the whole men-spewing-vitriol-they-don’t-really-mean-at-women-they-ostensibly-love-in-a-building-misleadingly-called-home lifestyle. On to bigger and better things, be omideh khoda (in shaa allah in Persian).
In other news, I’ve made a few sweet business deals by diligently visiting/finagling my way into somewhat terrifying places like Ernst & Young (they literally rolled their eyes at me and didn’t let me past the front desk), Halliburton (“OMG I Cannot Even; or ‘Nuff Said”), and Nawras (biggest cell phone company in Oman, except for it’s mammoth competitor, the state-owned Omantel).
Nawras was an interesting problem. My first week here, I got shamelessly hit on/harrassed by some Baluchi managers who work there while sitting in a coffee shop next to their building. It took a certain amount of brazenness (but who are we kidding I’m long that) to dare mobilize those connections to my advantage. But of course, when I ultimately went to Nawras last week looking to make a business deal and entered the reception, I did not have an appointment, but rather simply pulled out their business cards and asked to speak with them directly. This, as you might imagine, greatly facilitated my visit. When in Rome, be a Roman. Slowly but surely, I guess I’m learning to play hardball.