The Pearl of Arabia, Oman as a local
Why is Oman called the Pearl of Arabia? This country, located on the Southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula and bordering the Emirates, is said to encapsulate the epitome of the Arabian experience. From its extremely diverse culture and history to its stunning coastline, vast sand dunes, magnificent landscapes and the general aura of tranquility and calmness, Oman seduces all visitors. Let’s have a look at the general rules that you would have to be aware of if you fell in love with Oman and want to live there as a local.
What is the working life like for Omanis?
Like in the Emirates, Oman has different working hours from the West. Government institutions generally operate from 7am to 2pm and businesses take a huge 3-hour break during the day. They operate from 8am to 1pm and then from 4pm to 7pm. However, private companies following Western regulations will operate on the usual 7-4 shift basis. As any other Arab countries, the weekend is on Friday and Saturday in Oman.
How do Omanis greet each other?
If you want to live as a local in Oman, it is important to know that traditional Arabic greetings are an important custom. You will see its impact every day! Even for the most mundane interactions, you would have to use the elaborate greeting form: close male and female friends and relatives will kiss one another on each cheek. However, male strangers will stick to the traditional handshake.
Important: Any form of physical touch with someone of the opposite sex is discouraged. Do not offer your hand to someone of the opposite sex unless they initiate contact first.
Accepting an invitation as a local
Omanis are extremely hospitable people. It is not uncommon for a complete stranger whom you have met on that day to invite you for coffee and dates and a house tour. Take your shoes off before entering anyone’s house and do not refuse whatever form of drink or food being offered. If invited to a formal meal, it is customary to take a small gift, such as chocolates or dates, for the host. Bonus points if you gift wrap them!
What should you not talk about?
Omanis have a strong sense of national pride and locals would generally not criticize their country, especially in a gathering with others around. The same goes for negative comments about Islam. In fact, criticisms about the Muslim religion would strongly reduce your popularity with others in Oman. When it comes to Politics, it is best to keep your views general and harmless since this is also a sensitive topic.
Behaving as a local
It is important to make the extra effort to keep your cool in Oman. Showing anger or raising your voice, regardless of the situation is extremely disapproved in Oman. Even expressive hand gestures, which might seem harmless to you, is considered as offensive. In some cases, this is even punishable by law. However, there is no exact descriptions as to what exactly is punishable. Regardless, it is best not the disturb the tranquility and peace which Oman is known for.
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