Saturday, June 25, 2005

Arabs in their natural habitat

I went down with friends to the Mall to the large "Folklife Festival". The theme this year is ill defined. There is the Forest service, Oman and the "Culture of food". Go figure.
The place is not as packed as usual and we stroll into the "Oman" enclosure. There are several booths: music, some arts and crafts (pottery and metal work), calligraphy. At one of the booth, we stop to listen to a man dressed in white, explaining how to find water in the desert "If there are large and green trees, there is water". What a revelation! People are nodding their head. Clearly they never gave the matter great thoughts. A woman is working, sitting at the feet of the guy dressed in white. She is all dressed in black and we can only see her eyes. She is not looking up, although I'm sure she has already noticed that we are all dressed in short and light T-shirts because of the heat. Women at the front row wear sleeveless shirt with skimpy shorts. Their hair is free and flowing. I think about this woman, forced to sit here for us to look.
I feel like I am at the zoo. "Come to see Arabs in their natural habitat!"
We leave shortly after that.


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