Writing The Gulf: Tea Corners in the Gulf

Tea shops around petrol pumps in Muscat are important social nodes of interaction over a 100 Bz Karak Chai and an Indian Savory such as Vadai. These petrol pumps are the end of the supply chain assets, which offer last mile connectivity to the consumer, in the global circuit of petrocapitalism, with epicentres from Vienna to the oil fields of Al Wusta in Oman.

Expatriate workers are feeling the hit of a low oil price environment, with fewer jobs and a constant stream of one way tickets back home.

These ‘Bachelor Bodies’ (Ye 2014) have a moment of life lived over small sips of chai and nibbles of samosa.

Writing the Cities of the Gulf need a language which is fresh and new, and decoupled from the lens of western anthropologists which analyse everything from an exhausted vocabulary of resource flows and globalisation. The gulf has its own nuances with a social conservatism anchored in, with the eyes looking to a future of innovation and entrepreneurship.


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