Friday, 26 October 2012

It has been a while

Pretty much a month to be exact.  Although to be fair in my last blog I did say things would be busy for both of us.
So what's been happening in Muscat?

Well as predicted work has been busy and rather politic.  Sadly.

On the Katrina front the THESIS has taken her time and then with the absolute destruction of the ANU school of music (think root and branch) "reform" it would seem that the cultural luddites have racked up another win.  Sad as any culture needs artistic expression to survive. A pretty pattern atop your Latte is not art!

So what have we done and where have we been.  Well my Mum and Dad transited Dubai a couple of weeks ago en-route to Europe for a month followed by two weeks in Oman on the way home.  Because they were in Dubai for a Thursday/Friday we saddled up the Chevy and drove across to Dubai as a surprise for them.

We booked into the same hotel as they did. Then because there had been fog in Dubai squillions of people were delayed in flying out and we were the lucky recipients of a hotel upgrade!  Luxury studio apartment here we come.  Oooh yeah.
Desert alongside the highway.....

Eating out in Dubai
So we spent a day and a bit driving around Dubai with Mum and Dad. Introduced them to the two big malls and Arabian dates.  Yum leave the pre-packaged garbage you get in Australia for dead!  But the big surprise was when Mum bought an iPad! My techno averse Mum? The one whose dishwasher died because she never used it?  And since then pretty much daily emails, often with pictures attached - way to go!

The drive to and from Dubai was interesting it was actually the first time we had driven through the desert.  Our travels thus far in Oman have been in the coastal regions and it's not until we crossed into the UAE that the real desert kicked in. Amazing colours of the sands, tonal changes that you would swear was caused by water colouration but can't possibly be.  I am looking forward to getting out into the Desert and exploring those colours.

As we drove on into the UAE there was quite the build up of sand against the median dividers. And just like snow ploughs they had vacuum/sweeper trucks scooping up the sand and dumping it straight into dump trucks for disposal.  Guess this is a problem that doesn't go away at any time of the year.

Mind you we knew that we were back in Oman when the driving standard changed.  Indicate to exit the round-about then cut across two lanes of traffic to go around. Yep we were home.  The next two hundred k's were a solid re-inforcement!  We both swore "Never again" will we drive the Friday night end of weekend return to Muscat from Dubai.  That there were only two accidents and neither serious were surprises!

Exploring islands at Sawadi
Since then we bought a two person kayak, which we got to christen this weekend. Yay.

BBQ's lit, storms coming.........
 That we didn't last weekend was totally down to the weather!  As we drove home from the corner kayak store (well all 50 k's away) the sky turned grey and then black developed.  So it was off with the kayak and up on the roof to watch our biggest Omani storm yet and give the BBQ its first outing.  Hmmm poor decision that one. High winds, torrential downpour.  Water leaks in a house built for dry weather! Wet marble floors = skating rink of death. Wet marble stairs = guaranteed ouch!  Yep a week on and my bum is till sore and I have yet to replace all the damaged camera gear.

And then to make matters worse while on the roof I went to check on the outflow into the central void space.  Hmmm water building up, dust on roof gets wet = grease, one step, one fall and a broken water pipe later - which wasn't discovered until the following morning.  Lots of little men around to fix things and the hot water in our shower still doesn't do anything more than an insipid dribble.  Sigh.

So now we are up to date.  But the big news is that it is now Eid Al-Adha and the office is closed for a week.  So while Katrina writes and stresses about the School of Music and supervision of her thesis I will day trip and or study Arabic.

As some sort of Katrina de-stress we went out this afternoon and discovered that our local Souk (marketplace) was much more extensive than we had thought.  End result a good start on Christmas shopping and another place to take guests. And in the herbal medicine and perfume making supplies store we discovered that somewhere near the dried leaches were boxes of branded snake oil! Yep that's right snake oil salesmen do exist and we can now say we've met one!

But seriously this is a pretty fine Souk, so now when we want to take people for that Eastern Souk experience the Seeb one is within 5k's rather than 45.  Although it still pales in comparison to the Mattrah Souk!

After that I introduced Katrina to one of my "special" Omani "gifts" for Australians stores ( been the cause of more than one Australian bound parcel).  She loved it and together we managed to to put together a "CARE PACKAGE" that will shortly wing its way to Australia.  Brooke, Michelle and Naomi we know who you are and we have addresses........

And no Brooke the money box will be dealt with separately!

Eid Mubarak to all.

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