Tinder, Dubai and Up Next

Monday, November 09, 2015

Hi everyone, I haven't updated in almost a month. I have so many things I want to but haven't gotten the proper resources together. Pictures, information, and the like. I have three drafts of new blog posts but just haven't had the push to complete them.

Today I want to talk about Tinder! If you haven't heard, Tinder is a dating app. Dating is the way it is marketed but it can be used to network socially. The app works through Facebook, that is how you log into it/create an account. I think I made one in Atlanta once but didn't use it. I was wondering about how the scene was here and decided to try it. The way it works is you make a small profile, with the possibility of five pictures max, and a short bio of 500 words max. You edit your "discovery" settings to fit the gender, age, and location of who you are interested in. On the main screen, you have what I can only describe as a deck of cards, but it is a deck of profiles. You'll have one at a time, you can click, see their pictures and read their bio. If you decide you're not interested you swipe left and give a "nope". If you are interested you swipe right and give a "yes". The cool thing about this is, if you swipe "nope" it will not notify them, and if you swipe "yes" it will only notify them if they swipe "yes" on you when they stumble on your profile. You can only communicate if you both are interested and it is anonymous until then, so there is no room for harassment and unwanted messages. Also, once you swipe "nope", you can't go back and they are out of the pool.

So again, I made a profile to check out the Oman Tinder scene, if there even was one. Luckily for me, there is LOL. I am a bit surprised seeing as it is blocked in the UAE. You can read more about it here if you're interested. The fun part of the app, as everyone knows, is the swiping. There was a surprising amount of male users. . . well maybe not that surprising, but I still ran out of people to swipe with in two days. Out of curiosity, I changed my preference to women to check out the competition. JK LOL. Not surprisingly, I ran out of ladies to swipe on in about 7 minutes. I would say the ratio of men to women is 50:1. What makes this embarrassing is that probably every guy who has logged in in the last two days has seen my profile because they have no one to choose from. The pool is not too bad, it has a mix of all the ethnicities and nationalities imaginable. One trend I noticed is that everyone seems to have "traveler" in their bio. Which I believe because they have the pictures to prove it. They are also majority outdoorsy, all having pictures in foreign places, beaches, on bikes, hiking, if it's an outside activity, you name it, all Tinder users have it. I am only mentioning this because I am sure it is not something that would be too common say if I used it in Atlanta, but I will check out in two months lol.

In total I swiped right (yes), four times. For the first swipe I have a story: when I became interested in Oman more than a year ago, I was looking for pictures of Oman on Tumblr. I stumbled upon this photographer/fashion designer guy and began following his blog. I am not sure if he is Omani but he is here all the time. Anyways, so I followed him and eventually followed him on Snapchat too. I don't watch many stories now, but for a while he had a friend who I would see frequently. He always did this funny thing that made me crack up (get upset when his friend would put the camera on him) and funny enough I found him on Tinder! So I "yes'd" him just so I could possibly tell him this. Now that I am typing it out though, I hope he never finds me. Two more I liked were cute so I just did it for the adventure, and they liked me back so we matched. Fortunately or unfortunately, not sure because I am scared, they haven't messaged me. Lastly, I swiped yes to someone else because I recognized them from Instagram as we began following each other a couple months back. We've been having a nice platonic conversation so that's cool. I usually promote my new blog posts on Instagram, but I'm not sure if I want to. If you're reading this Tinder/IG friend, I'm sorry LOL. I will change the blog title now.

Last week, I think it was last week? We made a day trip to the UAE! I live in Muscat which is about a four hour drive and a forty minute plane ride from Dubai. We left the house around five am, did a McDonald's breakfast stop, and we were on our way. I was upset because I slept until we reached the Oman border exit. When we arrived I wasn't aware it was a police station and assumed it was a rest stop. My first thoughts when entering: "wow this is a fancy rest stop" "where are the vending machines." I was then informed it was a police station, which made me laugh because only the day before my visa had expired (we killed two birds with one stone with out Dubai trip, business and renewing my visa by re entering the country). So here I am rolling up to the police station with my expired-could-be-fined self. Luckily for us, it expired on the weekend and you get a day leeway. After our restroom stop, we hop into the car, and drive to the exit/border stop on the side of the building. The guy proceeds to tell us I need to go inside because my visa is expired, we do that and we are on our way (stamp #1). We reach the UAE border and hop inside so I can get my visa (GCC nationals can go in and out without a visa and just a form of ID). HD and I go inside, I smile at the lady and hand her my passport, she stamps my 30 day visa and says finished, I say thank you and we're done. As we're walking out the door my HD says, "did she even stamp it? She didn't charge you." We look at each other and say "run!" and briskly walk out the door. I am sure she didn't charge on purpose, not sure why though oh well! (Stamp #2)

We drive a couple more hours to Dubai, do business, have lunch at Mall of the Emirates (which BTW has a legitimate ski slope) and we're back on our way. I love the way the scenery is of course, and I didn't fail to steal some sand and put it into a plastic water bottle. We made our exit out of the UAE, where we were questioned unnecessarily (yes an American can spend a single day in Dubai, you're not that special) and got my exit stamp (#3). We arrived back to the Omani entrance border, hopped off, filled out a quick form and got my visa back into the country. In one day, I got a total of four passport stamps. & thankfully they were back to back and inky, unlike my entrance and exit out of Europe that both decided to mark my passport with a dryass stamp. Hopefully, we will make one more visit to Dubai, not because it's the best thing I've experienced but because I want a Dubai coffee mug.

This weekend (Friday) we are headed for a weeklong vacation, well at least N and I are. We will be staying at the Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort. I have not been yet, but from what I have seen and know, it is a beautiful five star resort, that sits privately on a bay. N and I will relax by the pool, while host parents are busy cooking up a storm. HD is invited as a guest chef at one of the restaurants at the hotel. I have been trying their dishes at home and I know it will be a success. Excited for the experience and the beauty and will post something on the blog when it comes to a close.

for those of you on FB, sorry I haven't uploaded any pictures of Europe they are sitting on my old phone and I am trying to find the easiest way to upload them. Still need to do a post on Omani men's traditional wear, and as soon as I get pictures I will make a post about shop signs here.

Posting soon, Melissa

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