Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oman Air

Yeah, I'd say I had a pretty good weekend. I really like the friends we have in Muscat and so our business trips always end up more pleasurable. But with every flight from Muscat to Salalah I am prepared for the inevitable chaos that will surely ensue. This time however, Oman Air really annoyed me.

My entire family were given seats all over the aircraft. I told the ticketing agent that my five year old will not sit with strangers…trust me. He gave us a sympathetic smile and assured us the flight attendants would be able to rectify the problem. The flight was completely full and we boarded first (one advantage of having small children). The flight attendant was helpful and told us to sit together in one row and that she would sort things out. Things only got worse.

If you’ve ever flown the MCT to SLL flight you’re aware that Dhofari women don’t like to be seated by men. So we play Musical Chairs until everyone is happily or not so happily seated. This one guy got moved three times and finally blew when he yelled at the flight attendant “I’m not moving one more f-ing time!” He took his things out of the overhead bin yet again… and red-faced moved to a seat with two other men. He shot us a not so pleasant look since we were the culprit of his first time move. Women huddled together peering through their burqas letting the flight attendants know they were not about to sit next to any strange men. I watched the flight attendants’ patience wear thin, even getting a little feisty with their co-flight attendants when their seating arrangements didn’t pan out. Sam kindly switched seats with the last woman standing and he sat between two rather large men, I couldn’t help but chuckle seeing him squeeze between them. On a more serious note, they really need to get it together.

1. No matter how you splice it, Dhofari women are not comfortable with sitting next to strange men and will continue to request being seated with each other.

2. Most expats don’t care where they are seated (next to men, women, or both) but feel being moved around three times is a huge inconvenience and annoying.

3.Oman Air experiences this person-shuffling every single (MCT-SLL) flight, so why not try to resolve the issue for their own sanity as well as for the passengers.

So I decided to write a little suggestion letter. Why not have the plane split in three??. Men’s section, women’s section and family section? The airline already knows the gender of the passenger prior to boarding so just put the passenger in the appropriate section. If you are part of a family, don’t put little kids in a seat all alone, far away from their parents. Easy no? Maybe easier said than done, but I think on this particular flight Oman Air should pay special attention to needs of the passengers considering this has become a big problem for all those involved on the flight.

Salalah ramble:

Although nearly two weeks in, I just noticed that summer has crept in on us. I accidentally leaned on the glass door this morning and nearly burned my forearm and part of my bum. Its blazin’!

The reconstruction of Al-Istikrars parking lot is taking too long. Cars are parked all over the place and it’s a hassle to shop. What are they doing anyway? Putting new pavement?

I really enjoy discussing the topic of Globalization/Americanization of the world, its both scary and intriguing.

Lastly, I need more motivation to drag myself to the gym. Last weeks motivation was to check out the rumored prostitute who works out five days a week. I want to muster enough courage to flat out ask her if she is one. I’ll just play the dumb expat asking an innocent question and who has no idea what ayb (shame) means.

Happy first day of the week!


  1. lool.. i thought Oman air's service is getting better?

  2. tell us about the PROSTITUTE! ha ha ha

  3. ... Excellent idea to write a suggestion letter! The Salalah Shuffle is getting worse and worse.

    But I must say I don't understand that a woman wouldn't feel a bit ashamed of letting a little child sit away from its parents so they can avoid sitting next to a strange man. That's just unbelievable and to me seems very egoistical!

    About this prostitute, it's rumored that there are quite a few of them in Salalah. Some are real prostitutes and some are lured into it. The other day I heard the story of a maid who was offered 20 Rial (about 20% of her monthly salary) by a taxi driver for a little detour to the beach. She refused of course..... but can all poor ladies just resist the offer?

    But Sleepless, there must be better reasons for going to the gym such as: good health, slim figure and getting rid of some excess energy ;-)

  4. Yo Rania, can I tag along next time to view the so-called prostitute? We do have a problem in Salalah and Dhofar Municipality had to shut down several men's health clubs when they sent people to investigate and found they were Moroccan massage centres with happy endings. Poof. MEN!

    One must always remember as you said that some of these women are very poor and any money helps.

  5. .....Ladies, come on now! Don't tell me you get a kick out of seeing a prostitute! And what is there to see anyway? I bet you she's a women like any other even though she has one of the oldest professions in the world.

    I'm pretty sure this woman NEVER chose to be a prostitute. When somebody asked her in primary school what she wanted to be it wasn't "well, when I grow up I want to be a prostitute" No, she probably wanted to be a teacher or a stewardess or a movie star....

    And NO I don't think this person enjoys having sex with dirty men who treat her like shit and maybe give her bad diseases. This lady might have been pushed into this "lucrative" business by her family or by hunger. Who knows. But like you could probably imagine, it very rarely is a woman's' own choice.

    I don't know any prostitutes personally but always remember, this woman is probably worse off than any of us are. You might not like her profession but neither does she probably....

    Sorry if I crossed a line here but I hope it might put something into perspective.

  6. Nadia, youre more than welcome to join me at the gym and check her out...but youre working when I go. Areyou willing to play hookey??

    Anonymous: Its not that I get a kick out of seeing a prostitute, its just such a rare encounter for me. I am very curious about her lifestyle whether she chooses it or not. I am really tempted to confront her and ask her some questions. It really is a problem here in Salalah and we should be more aware of it. These women are having sex with men for a Muslim conservative society. I think thats very interesting, in a disturbing way.

    I'm not judging her, so to speak. I have no idea whether she enjoys her job or not, but I am still eager to hear her story. Plus, I want to ask her where she gets her spandex pants, black and grey stripes, really cool.

  7. About the "rare encounter", I've seen prostitutes before....but this would be the first prostitue I've actually met.

  8. Let us know if you manage to get a price list and the young lady's number ;)

  9. Its good to see that you are back to blogging.
    Do u think prostitution is one of the many bad products introduced to conservative societies through globalization/americanisation? Think this is good topic to write about "social side effects of globalization on conservative communities". Can some good writer pick it up please?

  10. what's the update ladies>>>

  11. A mother of a salalah sonMarch 24, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    What a shame it is yes AYBB to see some anon users here asking for numbers and costs... haram alik ya rajal.
    Salalah is a family orientated, conservative area where deen ( religion) and family mean much. How any man has the nerve to leave such filthy comments i do not know. Allah yehdeek anon ameen.

    Sis sleepless, can u direct me towards a good guidebook online for the cost of living and general cost of daily life in salalah, i need to get our budget up n ready before arriving. Shukran ukhti.

  12. A mother of salalah son: If you email me I can perhaps give you more information on cost of living, budget etc. inshaAllah :)

  13. hi i would like to share my view on Oman air services : i'm a regular traveler SLl- MCT-SLL and also evry year to india my experience with Oman air is horrible almost all time
    1- the food Veggie ppl are given the spoilled Pasta ..... its better they dont serve the food in flight or take the advice from any indian airlines for veggie food .
    2- non-veg. always they run short of chicken dishes last time i got angry & then just before landing the flight capt. came to me and said srry etcs.... i asked him why dont they have survay the food requests daily flight what passnger needs/asks most of the time .........

  14. well, for starter...good to see a blog entry about Salalah. I have always loved this place... my first home. Grew up and did schooling here. Though, i must say I think the Omani women are becoming more educated and broadminded that they were earlier. Give it some time.

    Well, its just a last few days left for me in Salalah, and I am back to india. But I hope this blog keeps me updated.

    Btw, i hope you visit my blog: as well, Raina !