Sunday, November 22, 2009
Dhofari Women and their BIG shoes
So I’m in the car in front of Al-Istikrar waiting for hubby to return with my twix and a cold soda when a huge van/mini-bus (you know the white ones), pulls up full of women. I’m always so curious about the women here. Despite the fact that I am a woman, I find the women here to be so mysterious…go figure.
So the first woman gets out of the van. I quickly divert my eyes to the ground, waiting for her foot to slip out of the van and hit the pavement, I’m dying to see what kind of shoes she’s wearing, you know to give me a little insight into what kind of woman she might be. I’ve always been told, “a shoe can tell so much about a person”. So when you live in a place where most women are uniform, you begin to obsess trying to get a glimpse of individuality.
She steps out and I’m shocked at her choice of footwear. The soles of her shoes are no less than 4, maybe 5 inches off the ground!!!!!. It’s not just the heal that’s high, the whole shoe is propped up on 5 long inches of rubber!!! Probably made in China. You just don’t expect that from a Salalahite, (that is, if you’re not from here). Her bright thobe/house dress quickly conceals the surprise and finally black engulfs them both. The next woman steps out, modestly, 3 inches of sole approaches the street. Yet, it was the last woman who left me flabbergasted She steps out and her sole is so thick/high I couldn't even assess its beginning!!!
Three women all wearing in my definition: the Dhofari version of stilettos??. They very slowly proceed to the supermarket, leaving me speechless. I keep asking myself “How the heck do they do it? Their black abaya is at least 5-6 inches too long, they’re wearing shoes with enough rubber to make a tire AND they can balance well enough to walk around like floating ghosts? Curtsey to you all!
Every time I step outside my house I am making a desperate dua’a (supplication) that I don’t trip over my mere 4 inches too long Abaya, and that I don’t accidentally drag home all the trash Salalah has to offer. It is not easy to walk when your dress hides your shoes, when your vision is obscured by niqab and a shayla draped on both sides. I have virtually lost my peripheral vision. I am so curious to know why they choose such high shoes when the lifestyle here demands practicality.
I see them at the beach scuttling around, I see them in the hills picnicking, I see them flying kites in their dresses, I see them hop in and out of their cars, go up and down stairs, take walks, serve tea, shop, dine out etc all in their very long abayas and big shoes.
It’s been an interesting balancing act for me. I can cautiously say, I can make it up a flight of stairs nearly unscathed.