I just remembered I was a short haired girl after months of grappling with the desalinated water and trying every conditioning treatment I could find. It finally occurred to me that the answer was simple – cut it off! So having sourced a decent hairdresser (it is seriously difficult in this town – in fact it’s easier to find a hooker) I did a ‘Roman Holiday’ and had all my tendrils severed and the result is such a relief – cool and easy and so much more ‘me’.
Then I looked around and realised that 90% of the women I saw (who were not covered) had long hair. The 10% were pretty much western ex-pats and I pondered that this is yet another freedom that I have – I can cut my hair – I don’t need to ask permission, I don’t have to worry about social stigma, I am in control of this and all aspects of my appearance – which I am not sure is the norm in this part of the globe. It is, of course, mere speculation but as a feminist I like to look at what I see and what it means in practical terms for the lives of women around me.
The need for a coiffure solution had become more apparent as I have finally found an aquatic solution to my presence here. I live on a peninsula surrounded by sea with months of 40+. I had been finding it frustrating that:
a. I didn’t have a swimming pool at my compound,
b. At the local public beaches you were not allowed to show shoulders or upper thighs (i.e.: the dreaded burquini),
c. The hotel beaches charged a small fortune and
d. The closest beach I was confident in accessing in a standard car was an hours drive away.
Hello ‘Oasis Beach Club’! All I need – a small beach, a large pool, a kiosk and umbrella for QR60 (AU$15, UK£10) – I am addicted. My little Piscean self has come out of hiding and I have spent the best part of my week off basking, swimming, reading and lolling on a banana lounge. A 10 min drive away, easy parking, friendly staff and apart from an unfortunate incident of a man wanking in the pool all is good. As I wear contact lenses I swim with goggles and happened to spy said man’s rapid wrist action under water – from above he had the face of an angel! I gave him a death stare and subtly told the other ladies in the water what I had glimpsed – I hope he was suitably embarrassed and I gave it three days before I returned in the hope that the chlorine had done it’s job. Filthy bugger!
Other highlights of my week off included a firework display for Eid, I’m a tad ‘bah humbug’ about fire works – I’m not convinced they are good for either the environment or world debt and to be honest – once you’ve seen Sydney Harbour New Years Eve all else is a disappointment. They were ok as far as pyrotechnics go and it was nice company but it was hot and as I said ‘bah humbug’. It did give me an opportunity to take in the Cultural Village though – an impressive seaside architectural project that includes a huge amphitheatre, opera house, booze free restaurants and a large public beach (burquinis only).
I have also spent a lot of Ramadan and the last week dyeing and spinning silk caps. The results have been very pleasing – especially the red onion skins – I felt like I was spinning gold – where’s my Rumplestiltskin? As I publish this I have turmeric root and hibiscus flowers on the boil!
I’m back at work on Sunday – Ramadan is finished and everyone is heading back into town – I have survived the holy month and the worst of summer and it really wasn’t too difficult. I have two months left of my contract – there is talk of another two months and a ‘then see’ – so we’ll see, not keeping all my eggs in the one basket though. At any rate I should have a trip to see Ma and Pa in early November and I am crossing off the days – three years is far too long to have not seen them.