So here I am in Muscat, the truth is I haven’t decided if I like it here, I have only been here about a month so I do not want to make judgment until I have stayed at least six months. It’s not that it is bad here, but I have decided that I want to make sure that while I am here, I get to see and know as much of this country as much as I can. I really do not want to repeat what happened in Libya where I spent most of the day inside doing nothing, and thankfully unlike there, there are a lot of things to do and see here Muscat.
I regret that I did not do my best to get to know Tripoli better, I guess I took for granted the idea that we would be staying there longer so I put everything on hold thinking that I had a lot more time to do it. In fairness to me though, it wasn’t so easy to go around Tripoli, compared to Muscat, for one thing they did not have street signs in Libya (the few places that had them was written in Arabic) so imagine trying to find your way around there. Another thing that whole Libyan crisis taught me is that you really shouldn’t hesitate and do what you can because things can change very quickly.
Thus I declare that my mantra for Oman would be Carpe diem. Now I realize as quickly as I typed that I, can be very fickle sometimes, also have a very solid track record of not following through, but I would really like to make the most of this. Hey if all goes well, we’ll be here four years so it would really be a waste of a lot of time if I at least did not try.
So how is it so far? It’s okay, there are a lot of places to go to, and it’s great that I can walk around by myself because it is pretty safe here. There are a lot of Indians, which is only logical since India is only an ocean away, but another great thing is there are also a lot of Filipinos here. And they are mostly in the customer service department so buying stuff for the house wasn’t so hard; I hardly had to speak English or pantomime with my hands like what I usually did when I encounter language barriers.
The funny thing is I’ve talked to people from India, from Egypt, from Sudan, from Sri Lanka, even from Ireland, but I rarely speak with a real local yet. My landlord is one of course but I only spoke with him briefly; I had dinner with another two with other Filipinos, but we hardly said much to each other. I see most of them in their cars (btw most of the cars here are really bad @$&m [sorry]. On my first day I saw nine different kinds of Porches); going in their homes, but not much interaction with an Omani. If you don’t find that weird, imagine going to someone’s home, meet everybody else, except for the owners. I read that they are a really friendly and hospitable bunch of people, and I am very curious to learn more about their culture and way of life.
On the downside although they have massive malls, great places to shop and eat, it’s a little bit pricey here compared to Libya where everything was in the budget. On the marital basis, these are one of those cases where JG and I are being tested with different views. For example, another thing I did not want to repeat was no not live in an empty house again, so I was determined to make sure our house here is a place I we can really live in, as a start get more furniture. JG is okay with it but of course puts on the brakes on some of the things I believe are crucial to everyday life. For instance a small rug which I thought would look nice in the living room, he said it wasn’t necessary but I bought it anyway. Nevertheless I can really understand where he is coming from when it comes to that, so I do my best to control myself as I go about buying things for the house. Well, at least I try…
And as expected with a Middle-Eastern country, the heat can really get to you. Same as the Libyan dessert summer, it feels like being baked in an oven, you stand outside long enough and you are sure to expect to see a mirage, or faint. It isn’t so bad anymore compared to when I arrived a few weeks ago, but if you are ever here, I suggest you refrain from trying to go outside between noon and three. If you can’t help it, loose clothing, comfy shoes, and a bottle of water is always wise to remember.
So there, my very first impression on my new home away from home, maybe you can look forward to more posts on food, and nice places here. I hear they have great beaches here as well. Plus the diversity of people makes the food choices really varied and fun. For now I leave you with this beautiful mosque near my house…