The first full day is really where the adventure begins. I was able to get to know my flat mates better, and I am blessed to be with some amazing ladies. One of them actually attends school with me and it was a pleasant surprise to see a familiar face and the other two attend universities in the states as well. My group is small compared to the other groups that are here to study at the university, but I do like them. We got to know each other better and learn more about each other through the day’s activities.
Our First task of the day was orientation. We were informed it was 111 degrees Fahrenheit which was the hottest in The Middle East and possibly the world. We went over a few things here and there about logistics of the program and Omani cultural dos and donts. For example, one only uses their right hand because the left hand is seen as dirty. Women must wear skirts, dresses, or skirts to their ankle and their arms must be covered to their elbow. Also swearing (using curse words) is an offense punishable by law. Orientation, though useful, was not the highlight of the day.
After orientation and a very good Omani lunch, we visited a museum with our tour guide about Omani culture. If you know me at all you know I love museums. So naturally I had an amazing time. The museum consisted of paintings and sections that explained Omani traditions and cultures. There was a room with BEATIFUL traditional wedding garments. I wish we allowed take pictures because they were gorgeous. They also had a section on commemorative coins which I found very interesting.
Our second stop was the Sultan’s Palace. Though we could not go in we could see from the outside and take pictures. And if you really know me you know I enjoyed that. The palace was huge and breath-takingly beautiful. I was informed that the Sultan unfortunately has no sons.
The last stop on our first day was the market place. Like expected to make deals you haggle which I did and enjoyed. Many of shops sold similar things such as perfumes, scarves, jewelry, and clothes. Some stores sold compasses and postcards as well. The shop owners would stand outside their shops and begging you to make a purchase. I haggled at bought a beautiful ring for myself.
Riding around during the day, I saw familiar American names of companies such as pizza hut, kfc, H&M, Forever 21, and of course Mc Donalds.
All in all it was a GREAT day I am so excited to be here and see all that this beautiful country has to offer. And of course learn some Arabic.