I live in a small town inside of Bausher. This area is one of the few older urban spaces left in the greater Muscat area. Most people would not consider it a city in the literal sense, but for Muscat it is unusual to see houses so densely built. The majority of the houses are very geometric boxed concrete buildings. Some have the remnants of different white or yellow paint, worn away since days past.
With the highway and the construction of more residential areas nearby, the town is really nothing more than a couple of roads put together. So, because of its size, it’s more like a small village. Though life here moves slower, word definitely gets around. By the time we arrived here the first night, half the town already knew we were coming.
All of the women are very close and form a tight support network. That holds true for the children as well, the little girls are always traveling from one house to the next, looking for some afternoon activity. Young boys play football on dusty fields, until they get a little older and you see them congregate in the center of town
In the neighborhood we have a little toyshop of sorts, where kids come to buy those small little popping toys that are mildly explosive, but it is all in good fun. Next door there is a small café that sells bottled drinks and sambosas, similar to a samosa but filled with fried onions. There is also a tailor here who sews abayas, school uniforms, and the like. Sometimes my siblings and I will go down to visit. We have a bread shop as well, I heard at one point they even made their own bread, but because of expenses and rising prices they bring in hamburger buns from the city.
People here really help one another. I’ve seen shop owners offer people to pay them back later. Women will drive up to a store window, where shop owner will courteously offer to bring their desired purchase directly to their car.
I have never lived in such a traditional place before. When we go out to visit friends I have to wear an abaya with a loose shayla or hijab. I don’t mind and usually you receive less attention that way, which is always appreciated. Most of the town covers themselves after puberty, so it is definitely important to respect that by dressing conservatively. Girls here are very protected. Unless you live here, it is unlikely you will really get to know them, because they are so private.