I don’t often blog about the negative side of being a white expat in Oman because on the most part it’s a great place to be…BUT…and there is always a “but”…sometimes some assh*le just has to ruin it for you.
Personally I like to tell people about how wonderful it is to live in Oman and not the shady parts for three main reasons-
1- It really is a lovely safe place and these things don’t happen too often,
2 – I don’t want my friends and family back home to worry about me,
3 – I would never want someone to be discouraged from visiting Oman because of one bad thing I have typed.
But (there it is again) I feel I should write something about the not so pretty side of it and basically being a white female in a man’s world.
After 8 months in Oman I feel I have seen my fair share of creepy men and total pricks to write a book but I will try and keep this short…
I’m not saying that all of these men are Omani, but there are a few in there, some of them are from other countries in the Gulf and some are from other countries such as Pakistan and India. I’m not going to turn this into a race row because I have no proof on where people are from but if you look at the clothes they wear, if you have any knowledge of their dress, it isn’t too difficult to work it out.
My personal experiences have ranged from random shouts in the street to a man following me down the street videoing me on his phone to more serious things like waiting outside my house for me. Some of these things don’t happen at all to my other white friends, I am probably somewhat unlucky that I attract these people. Maybe I have the kind of face that just attracts every idiot in the vicinity? My husband even makes a joke of it now, when I return from walking the dog he will ask me “so did you manage to walk with no dramas tonight?”
These bouts of unwanted attention happen randomly, there is no specific time of day or place that they occur so it’s not where I am hanging about. Nor is it the way I dress, when I was being followed by a man I was wearing a full length dress, scarf around my shoulders, hair tied up and bug-eyed glasses covering my face. but still something made him want to follow me down the street. I was panicking and getting closer to home, was he going to find out where I lived? I didn’t want to lead him to my home but I didn’t know where else to go, In the end I had to scream so someone would come and help me. This particular incident was in broad daylight in Azaiba.
My reason for writing this blog post came after another unwanted situation this weekend and it just took the biscuit- Driving home from a night of dancing with friends at one of the big hotels we were followed by a man in a car for quite a considerable distance. He was flashing his headlights at us and indicating to pull into the side of the road, we tried to loose him but he just kept on following. Eventually we stopped and he blocked us in with his car and made some disgustingly sleazeball comments. Best that I don’t repeat them.In the end we had to phone the police to report him and his license plate. Why would anyone think it is cool to follow three girls in a car all the way across town at 1am and try and get them into their car?! I won’t tell you where he was from or his licence plate number but put it this way, not many Pakistani’s or Indians round here drive a brand new Porsche Panamera..
It would be interesting to hear where these kind of men get the idea that all white women want to be hit on and get in their car with them. I’ve heard a few theories regarding what they watch online but in the attempt of not generalizing I won’t comment on that.
So girls, please be safe! Oman is generally a very safe country but you are going to find weirdos and perverts in what ever country you travel to. Let someone know where you are going if you are going out alone, charge your phone and have credit in it. If something like this happens to you then try take a picture of him or his licence plate number as proof, they don’t seem to like that much, and report it to the ROP. Nor do they like if you stand upto them, they aren’t used to it but I wouldn’t advise this in every situation. Basically be smart and aware of your surroundings. I heard one time (I;m not sure if this is true or not) that you should never sit in the front seat with a taxi driver as this is an unwritten rule that you want a “good time”. The person who told me was also a man and he had his ging-gang-goolies felt up by an older taxi man – also not cool!!
Ohh and if I hear someone shout “hey white girl” from their car window one more time I’m gonna throw something at them!!! 🙂