Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Yippee it's holidays


In two days time Katrina and I will be flying out for home and just under a month back in Australia. Really really looking forward to time in Australia. We will spend the first week in Brisbane staying with no1 son (Rufus) - mind you I will spend much of that time at a conference, where I will be a tech talk facilitator and a workshop instructor. So my time with Rufus and Brisbane people will be a bit limited.

After that we head off to Canberra where we plan to arrive on the 11th. That will let us catch up with the Beej, our house and various friends. After that we head off to Victoria doing the round trip through Wonthaggi, Melbourne and Daylesford to finally fly out of Melbourne on the 28th. It will be a whirlwind three weeks but fun nonetheless.

So looking forward to Australia.

Just how unreliable can one 4wd be?
Since March we have been rather busy and so quiet in Oman. The 4wd has been off the road as much as on. A succession of sensors and diodes have died, usually at inopportune times. Last weekend we set off for a last quick spin up a wadi before leave. Within 2kms of the exit the crankshaft sensor died - so no spark, no go. Luckily I was able to coax the car to a tree where we sat out around four hours while our rescue was arranged - thanks to Herman and Jane and Robbie and Lucy.  Mind you a two hour outing became a full day and so now we are behind on our packing and so on.......
But as ever those views!!!

Summer is fast approaching and as a precaution I had most of the rooftop plants moved down and under the shade trees. Pretty soon the roof will become too hot to be relaxing. Unfortunate that.  But we have been lucky this winter with the temperatures staying down longer and more rain than usual. Far more rain than usual.......

The guys tell me that the last few years in Oman have been brilliant, with much more rain than they have seen  before. And boy is rain celebrated here, unfortunately sometimes with tragic consequences. You see drains have not been a part of urban planning and when it rains people come out to watch the wadi's in full spate and people get caught crossing in their cars or playing too far out into the water.

So while an upside is more rain, the downside is the deaths.
About to get it on

And the winner is - the Brown bull.
On a cultural front the only thing of not we did was going to the traditional bull fights. Interesting it was. Clearly a community based activity with a concrete bull ring and a hundred plus bulls in attendance. Apparently on the day of the fights owners bring the bulls in and tether them around the ring. Then they go into the middle and arrange the matches between each other.

I'm a comin to get Ya! - but when he got there he declined the bout!
So many bulls in one place - what a racket. The young ones are up and calling their challenges, while here and there an older bull sits and watches, as if knowing that saving their energy for the coming contest is the sensible idea - yawn.

So what is Omani  bull fighting. Well the bulls are pretty much matched for size. When their turn comes they are led into the ring and face up to their opponent. They are brought together and locking horns the contest begins. The two bulls push and shove each other around until either one is driven backwards and beaten, or time is up and an end to the contest is called, at which point their handlers pull a rope attached to their front leg forcing the bulls to separate.

Run and hide, run, run
And on occasion a bull breaks loose, or two bulls agree they've had enough and take off, scattering the spectators, as the handlers/owners desperately rush after them trying to bring them back under control. At one point two bulls took off together and made it all the way out into the car park. As soon as it was safe all spectators were back in the ring sitting down and waiting for the next match. But shush, please don't tell the occ' health and safety guys!

All in all the bulls seemed to enjoy their bouts and we saw no sign of any injuries. So while it was fun, interesting and a cultural thing, not sure that we will go again.

Cheers, bags mostly packed, an early night tonight and tomorrow night then off to the airport and Aus............

See ya

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