Three adjectives to describe Omani? Friendly, tolerant and not pushy! Evolution must have been especially generous towards the people in this area of the Arabic Peninsula. Only being equipped with extra large portions of politeness and tolerance genes could have made the Omani such relaxed, friendly and open-minded people.
Especially tourists arriving by cruise ships expose locals to sightings that are difficult to stomach. Men and women in tight shorts and tank tops roam the souk, revealing plenty of sunburned flesh and large tattoos; men with ear piercings that rival those of traditional Mursi women in the Omo Valley / Southern Ethiopia; ladies with peroxide blond hair and bright pink, sharply pointed fingernails.
Quite a number of these “boat people” don’t seem to have the slightest clue of where they are and what seems appropriate. It reminded us of an incident we witnessed in a Viennese hotel bar. A lady was asking her husband, “Today it Wednesday, so this must be Turkey”.
Apart from being friendly, Omani are extremely helpful. Asking somebody for directions can trigger different reactions – various people getting involved in finding an answer or a motorist escorting you through a city, just like that. In most countries, such services would immediately result in demands for money. Not in Oman! Never did vendors push their ware on us or even approach us.