Buraimi | What’s in there? (Oman Exit Experience)

This is a progressing story.

Running more than 100 kph, inside a mini coaster with another 30 Filipino expats exiting UAE from Al Ain to Buraimi in Oman. I was moon gazing as it stood out over the vast sky meeting in horizon with the wide desert, sometimes, Arabian architecture. I was deeply thinking then, what did I get myself into?

“We finally started the travel around 11:00 PM after a lot of compromising between the transportation provider and the “kabayans.” We had 4 stopovers. First, exiting UAE. This can be crucial especially if you overstayed in UAE. You have to pay 300 DHS for 1 day and 200 DHS for succeeding days. It will really cost you a fortune so make sure, you will be able to exit prior to expiration of your visa and to really make a stand if you didn’t overstayed in the first place. Immigration officers can be intimidating, so make sure stand on your ground. Second, entry to Oman, this one was more laidback, it was actually faster than I imagined. Third, checking baggage, it actually depends how diligent was the officer assigned to your group, during ours, the officer barely touched all the luggage but based on other veteran exitees stories, there are incidents that people were asked to stay for a follow up interrogation, so heads up. Secure your medicines especially the one you brought from Philippines. I’ve heard that they are specific about it. Last, passport stamp control. Just another person checking if all your passport has been stamped. There you go, finally, we arrived in the hotel.”

And yes, what did I get myself into? It dawned on me that this is freaking real. Not that I am unaware, but it just pierces every fiber of my being: I AM HERE.

And this is me honoring the journey. This is me, feeling everything this experience has to offer. It is definitely scary, heart stopping, mind boggling, moments which I’d like to think in this perspective: “I am alive.”

Draft 1..

Exiting UAE to a different place is left as the only choice of Filipinos as going home to apply another visa would be costly and risky, immigration wise. Knowing that I will do the same thing, I took it just like how I took any travel adventure I have. To regard it as my best travel yet. Yet, negative connotations are always tied with it. To pack as much food as you can. To bring this and that. As my brother says, people talk about it as if it is “concentration camp.”

Should I agree? Well, being here, I would say no BUT ….

Draft 2

Hearing people’s stories of dismay and frustrations during their exits really gives a negative impression and somewhat instill fear to people exiting and their families. Yes, being in Al Buraimi, isn’t a holiday. If to compare, the closest thing I can think of is purgatory, as it wasn’t that bad but neither good but it’s bothering!

Exiting is costly. It’s uncomfortable as it takes longer. Waiting game is frustrating. The feeling of not having your comforts even though your paying, is disappointing. But that’s only one side of the coin, , more often than not, worse is always expected.

However, people barely talk how fun and inspiring an exit can be as well. Imagine living days with people raised differently from how you were raised. Imagine hearing their life stories., their dreams, their plans. This exit wasn’t bad aside from non-existent kitchen things and intermittent wifi connection. It is actually a good break from the fast-paced Dubai life.

To Ate Jade, Ate Rochelle, Cynds, Mae, Ate Joanne, and Nanay Linda, the stories and laughter that we shared will surely be a highlight in my expat stories. Thank you.

Often times thoughts of how miserable an exit can be cross my mind, I am reminded how Filipinos thrive in merely the worst situation imagined.

Nanay Linda, mother of three, one of which has Stage 4 cancer, so at 59 years old she’s still tries her luck applying as helper as she supports her son’s family. Yet, among us, she is the most joyful, always positive. No wonder, everyone loves her.”

What was supposed to be a setback, become a comeback for a good number of people.

Exitees finding a full-time job and choosing to settle here in Oman or looking for small part-time jobs while waiting. It surprised me more that there’s a Filipino restaurant here comforting people with authentic Filipino cuisine at reasonable cost.

Indeed, life wouldn’t be hard if you decide to NOT make it hard for you. To be in the company of these people make me feel honored: these are dreamers in actions. And I realized, so am I.
To whatever purpose it may serve us whether to help the family or fulfill personal dreams. I honor the dreamer in each one of us.

“I remember when I was in Italy, I met a lot of OFWs, and I really felt close to them since Mama is an OFW too and now that I am living an expat life now. I couldn’t help but to think that my stint in Italy was nothing compared to this real deal. I am excited and somehow really scared how the rest of this will unfold.”

Here’s to all of us who not only jumps on two but to us who doesn’t get tired of leaping.

I actually already lost count of the days here but definitely it stretches me the way just I think I need it. To what does this experience reveal to me is really something I cannot gained in any other place. There’s a manna in the dessert. Actually a lot.

Our moments together, comforted me. Sa sobrang dami kong sinearch about exiting Oman, I haven’t seen any write ups how fun it could be with people you just met. People may often ask what’s up and about here in Buraimi, well, there’s far less compared in Dubai but fair enough to live a simple life. Kumbaga, probinsya sa ‘Pinas x 2. It can be comfortable living here actually in a way that establishments are just around. Mahal lang talaga. Pero given. Mapupurga ka sa story ng banas ng mga tao about their “visa and travel agencies” hulabaloo pero at the same time you’ll be also train your ear and mind to pick what’s what to absorb.”

I think I’ve grown here, two times more during my exit than my one month stay in Dubai. That’s a silver lining I will always look upon.

We had a trip to the Buraimi Hospital yesterday. Nanay Linda doesn’t feel well, she felt numbness on her left arm, terrible headache, and a feeling that she might fall anytime. And evidently, her BP when was checked in the hospital was 160/100 mmHg. It was my first time to be in a hospital here in Middle East, actually.

She got better after she rested , and medicine were given.

“Maybe the reason why you’re still here so you can accompany me.” And I definitely agreed. I believe God is up to something. I can really sense that He’s making His ways work. So waiting time, trusting time.

If only Buraimi could speak, I wonder what story will it be telling?
It became a fortress of many Filipinos, and walking earlier made me wonder…

Does it rant with the mom who’s raising a child about her visa being jeopardized?
Does it share with the guy’s joy on having his visa released after three days?
Does he laugh with the numerous stories? Or cries with people who worries?

Does he also learn how to smile just like us who’s staying for a while?
Does it sing with the girl who belted out her fear?
Does it pray with the dad who still believes?

This place was special, for it is a living witness of people’s dreams and screams. And I couldn’t find a better way to put it than, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” THIS. People here are not in apathy but striving to live fully.

…and this got me into my senses, Buraimi wasn’t a ghost town after all.