Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sohar Weekend

The trip to Sohar was a really long time ago but it still holds a lovely place in my heart. While I love going on trips with the YES students and doing touristy things like souq-shopping and swimming (because despite two sides of the country being surrounded by gorgeous coastline and dotted with oasis-wadis, public swimming is just not a normal Omani thing), what was really special about Sohar was the opportunity to stay with a family overnight.

We also hung out with the Access girls in the Sohar program and gave presentations on American life. Mine was a remarkably cheerful take on the American high school experience which tried and completely failed to show that american teenage life ≠ Mean Girls (a hard thing to show because, if we're being honest, high school IS Mean Girls)
We all had lunch and then went bowling, which gradually morphed into group-picture-taking (as things often do) and then each American went home with their respective family. We also stopped by this tiny bakery by the school where I asked the man running it if I could take his picture and he obliged me quite happily. 
I stayed with the family of one of the Access girls; she, her mom, her sisters and cousin all took very good care of me. The stuffed me full of delicious foods, very different from the ones I'm used because my family in Muscat has Zanzibari (East African or Swahili) roots, while the family in Sohar was Balushi (roots in Baluchistan, a region near/in Pakistan).  
Fried bread called Lolah, similar to the Mundazi my host family eats in Muscat
The park at night
When I told this shopkeeper I was American he made me promise that I would go home and tell everyone that Omanis aren't terrorists. I told him I would try my best.
The Old Souq
Sohar Fort
No, I didn't have to wear an abaya, I wanted to! I still don't exactly blend in, but people are definitely more confused and more likely to speak Arabic to me.
I got to see a lot of Sohar, the beautiful park by the sea, many many souqs, and the crumbling old fort (that we ninja-stealth snuck into because I'm pretty sure that technically no one is supposed to go inside). I also visited innumerable houses of their extended family, meeting more Aunties than I could keep track of. And of course, I was asked several times if I was looking for an Omani husband ;) So I think that makes it a successful weekend.