Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Adventure Begins

Well it's been two weeks since I last posted and our lives have had a teensie tweensie change.  We've been in Muscat for four days now.  The trip over was boring and uneventful - yay!!!  We flew direct from Melbourne to Dubai on the night flight, an excellent choice by the way, it meant it was dark almost all way to Dubai.  Then the sun came up.

Dubai from the air is quite something.  There is much more green than I was expecting, but it was in higgledy piggledy patches.  I had thought that the irrigated (if that's quite the right word) areas would be far more symmetrical,more like the views in Australia or the US, but no, it's like a green crazy quilt; every imaginable shade of green from dirty sage through to brilliant emerald.  Of course the bulk of the landscape is not in the slightest bit green.  At first I thought I was looking at concrete, lots of flat concrete with enormous amounts of form-work.  Then I noticed the little piles...mmmm...not concrete - sand.  The landscape was like a huge cake that had been iced with an positively gargantuan palette knife.  Astonishing.

Flying along the gulf over Oman was beautiful.  The sea is quite a different colour to Australia's coast.  It's difficult to explain how it is different, only that you know without a doubt if you crash landed in the sea and swam to shore, it wouldn't be an Australian shore you swam to.

As we made our way to the visa queue the cry of "Mr David, Mr David" rang out.  Mr David? I wonder who Mr David is?  Ah!  That would be my husband.  We were greeted by a lovely man in uniform who took us directly to the visa station, right passed the crowd of people waiting in line - the looks on the faces of the watching crowd was priceless - "Are they famous? Are they important?  Have they been arrested?"  Next the baggage carousels.  A baggage handler was snaffled and followed us wherever we went.  With the exception of David's sleep apnoea machine being trapped inside the x-ray machine passing through Customs and Immigration was as simple as pie.  We left the passenger hall and were greeted by our driver, a lovely Omani called Sultan.  We bought new sim cards, picked up the hire-car, packed our bags into the back of the work car and, eventually, set off through Muscat to arrive at the Royal Omani Police Compound.  I say compound because I really don't have any other word for it.  If you look it up in google maps what you will see is the Royal Oman Police Stadium.

The Officer's club is built into the area under the stands of the stadium.  We were given a guided tour by the Major, after having our first experience of Omani tea - black and sweet, although Omani's call tea without milk 'red tea' which caused some hilarity.  The Major very proudly showed us the bar.  The biggest and longest bar in the Middle East, made to order in Germany.  Not bad for a people who don't drink alcohol.  The whole club is simply amazing.

We have managed to meet Dan, David's University Canberra contact, who has kept sending us the most reassuring emails throughout this crazy time.  He, and is wife Nooshin (a simply stunning Iranian lass who is due to have her first baby in July), live in a block of villas called the Rose Garden.  Lovely place, but at 800 OMR per month un furnished (multiply by 2.5 for $A) we thought not, even though there is a villa coming up in the complex.  We visited them for drinks and then went out to dinner. Lovely but sooo tired.

I started writing this a few days ago and have only just got back to it.  Life has been insanely busy.  David has been stressed, I have been driving on the wrong side of the road for the first time.  It's not as hard as I thought, but I haven't needed to get myself out of trouble yet.  I will leave you with a selection of photographs from our day in Muscat.   All I can say is that it is a very lovely city.  The people are very friendly and they all love speaking English - some better than others.

David at Dubai Airport

On the way from the airport
Who said it wasn't green

David and the hire car parked outside the Police Club villa

The unit.  You can just see the kitchen window under the tree.
The tree that fills up with 100s of loud birds morning and evening
Every tree has its very own sprinkler

David looking nonchalant on the waterfront

The worlds cutest lamp posts on the main street AS Sultan Qaboos Street

No comments:

Post a Comment