Ramadan is the Islamic holy month, and fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. This means that from the pre-dawn prayer (Fajr) to the sunset one (Maghrib) Muslims may not eat, drink, smoke, or have sex. If you’ve ever wondered what Ramadan is all about, how it works, what happens, and what it’s like to be in a predominantly Muslim country as a non-Muslim during Ramadan, read this!
We all make cultural faux pas when we arrive in a new place, until we learn what the norms are and even well beyond that sometimes. I’m more than nine months in and still adjusting to what’s expected of women in Oman, still learning what’s appropriate for me and what’s not. Read on for some of my stories of culture shock in Oman!
I found an opening, took a deep breath, and ran, squeezing myself through the crowd on the steps. I managed to get out of the way just as a man in a pale blue dishdasha came along, shouting and yanking his goat behind him. The Nizwa Goat Souq is quite a spectacle, and if you have a chance to be in Nizwa on a Friday morning I highly recommend that you go take a look.
Every year Lonely Planet publishes their ‘Best in Travel’ list for the upcoming year, and this time a reader suggested that I should make my own list! At the time he mentioned it, I was actually in the process of seriously thinking about my holidays for the next year or so, so it was timely and appropriate! Of course by just now when I’m getting around to publishing it, it’s the holiday season and everyone is shopping and making Christmas wish lists. I have one too, it’s just not stuff. So here’s Jenny Far Away’s Travel Wish List for 2017!
I’m driving slowly along the street, looking carefully at the shop names while also dodging haphazardly parked cars and wayward pedestrians darting out in front of me. Suddenly my destination is there, on the right, and I am a little astounded that it actually exists. I park across the street and get out of the car, heart pounding, already feeling a little ashamed of myself. My face reddens a little as I walk towards the shop. I feel as if all eyes are on me, aware of what I am up to.
Did you know that in Oman, if you run a red light, you can face a fine of 500 rials (about USD $1300) and four days in jail? Yup. They take their red lights seriously here. This is just one of the many, many things I’ve learned about life here in Oman. I’ve been in Sohar for two weeks now. I’m adjusting, slowly, and will be really settling in and doing more exploring as soon as my home is ready to move into. I can’t wait for that. But in the meantime, here are a few of my first impressions of Oman.