Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Word on Omani Time

Fun fact, after searching for and failing to find any pictures pertaining to time, I just went downstairs and took a picture of our dining room clock, which gives you a sense of how long it took me write this post.
One thing that varies drastically among cultures is the concept of time. "Meet me at noon" means something different in New York City than in Berlin, Bangkok, or Barcelona. In Oman it means, why the heck would we meet at noon?? I'll be staying inside where there's A/C thank-you-very-much. 

Back home, I'm not exactly known as the most punctual person, to put it mildly. But I have nothing on the Omanis, where procrastination is basically a norm. Even public holidays (think the equivalent holidays of Labor or President's day) aren't officially announced until days before they happen. Until a few days ago, I had no idea whether or not I would have today off of school, even though everyone knew that a holiday was supposed to happen sometime around now. The Muscat Festival, a big month-long Columbia-Festival-of-the-Arts-esque shindig hypothetically begins the end of this month, but apart from a few sponsor signs, there has yet to be any kind of schedule published. 

And, it works. Sure, it's difficult to plan ahead, but then you realize, the problem isn't that it's difficult, it's that you're trying too hard to plan ahead. In Oman, I've learned that I'll save myself a lot of strain and frustration by just doing as the Omanis do, being spontaneous and going with the flow. And by assuming that any plans that are made will commence a good 1-2 hours after the agreed-upon time. 

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