Forums > Help! > Traveling to the Middle East

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LOCfanSILVER Member
newbie
14 posts
Location: Wilmington, NC, USA


Posted:
I was just recently invited to go on a 3 week trip to the middle east, particularly Oman, this winter. We'll be set up in a nice hotel, and we have 2 30 minute performances a day. Everything is paid for - food, hotel, flight, etc. Plus, we'll make a little bit of money for the performances.

I was just curious about a few things. I don't really know what to expect. I don't even have a passport yet, but that's first on the agenda. Have any other spinners been out that way? Any important customs or cultural no-nos that I should be aware of? And, as a woman, I'm curious about how I should dress, and what would be impolite of me to wear, or act, or say.

What about smoking? I'm afraid I've got a bit of a bad habit, there, and it might be tough for me to drop it there after learning it is frowned upon. I'd rather have a few months to adjust to a smoke-free existence. wink

Thanks in advance for all the help and advice, guys!

.: Sanity is calming, but madness is more interesting :.
~Russell


newgabeSILVER Member
what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
4,030 posts
Location: Bali, Australia


Posted:
I know a few good spinners who have worked in Dubai/Abu Dhabi (Emirates countries next to and similar to Oman). They have had a good time there.. and been paid. Those are NOT poor countries. I've been to Dubai but not Oman.. however I do know that these states tend to be fairly liberal/tolerant compared to other Arab countries.



Also law-abiding and increasingly worldly in that they they know that foreigners do things differently. But locals pride themselves on elegance and courtesy, not how much flesh they can flash. That means that women AND men look ridiculous and attract disrespect if they show too much skin on the street. Long sleeves, long skirts or trousers (without the crutch showing) are normal wear outside the house... But it's not superstrict like Saudi Arabia or the Taliban where the police will beat women for showing hair. (It's a different form of Islam)



Presumably you are doing shows- in typically skimpy/tight costumes? in a hotel/shopping centre aimed at tourists? That will likely be a bit of a cultural bubble- you may well be OK to smoke etc there or in your own accommodation but be generally a lot more conservative in what you do outside.



And sensible/respectful eg don't go around saying things like 'What do you mean I can't come in this mosque to have a look at the tiling/people/get out of the sun. How stupid a religion is this! You could come into a church!' umm or ' my body is a beautiful gift of nature and you are just dirty minded to come over and ask me how much by the hour just cos I'm showing off half my boobs and most of my thighs to strangers in a cafe'rolleyes or 'hey lady, you are culturally oppressed for wearing a head scarf and cloak in the heat, your husband must be a right censored eh' ubbloco or 'wow, you still have a king (Sultan)! How cute and old-fahioned!'



You will not create a good time or increase cultural harmony this way. People will know you are a foreigner and be personally polite and considerate to you as a rule, so be the same back. What can often feel like an exception to this particularly for women though is being looked at, stared at, beeped at: this can be hard to cope with when you are used to just fitting in. There are a lot of sex-starved male 'foreign', Indian etc workers in Arab states and they often can be visually...invasive.



Good sources for cultural/fitting in info are teaching english sites.. like This one... 'just landed' It mentions lots of basics like not giving things/eating with the left hand (aso true in india.. instead of smearing with toilet paper, people use water to wash themselves.. its a cleaner habit in the long run but does mean the left hand is out of bounds for most other things!



It's great you are asking/learning in advance.. a bit of consideration and making-an-effort go a long way in cultures that appreciate courtesy. Relax and have fun! You might even get invited to a real home to experience real hospitality... its kind of embarassing to realise that Arabs assume we would be as hospitable in return if they were in our country... Meanwhile though you will be there to work and the expected work ethic for foreign workers is high. I'm not sure there is a direct Arabic translation for 'we're just a bunch of hippies having some fun' ubblol

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....


FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
ubblol nice one, Gabe smile hug not much to add to this one...

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


LOCfanSILVER Member
newbie
14 posts
Location: Wilmington, NC, USA


Posted:
Thanks for the link and all the helpful advice gabe! I've heard that Oman is a very wealthy country, with very private, respectful people. I haven't heard a bad thing about the people, or the whole country.

One last thing... does anyone know what the rules are regarding bringing snakes back to US - venomous, or non-venomous?

.: Sanity is calming, but madness is more interesting :.
~Russell


newgabeSILVER Member
what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
4,030 posts
Location: Bali, Australia


Posted:
I think it is not as wealthy as its neighbours, Dubai and Saudi. But more pleasant...

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....


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