Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Setting up House - the beginning

Tonight we went shopping after I picked up David from work.  Picking up David had already involved hurtling down the Muscat Express Way at 140km/hour in a dust storm.  I'd had a bad morning - you know the ones, you have two really quick things to do and they take four hours, 14 people and the ability not to stab your computer in the screen with a sharp knife.  It was close, but I did manage to get International Money Transfer working working so that we could go shopping. Let's just say that one iPhone, one iPhone hotspot, 2 sim cards and no idea of the arcane code required to reactivate access to the local internet provider does not make a calming day.  Still, I got it done.

We've been having this little dust storm.  Yesterday temperature dropping back into the high 20s and the wind came up.  Damn. There is a lot of fine sand and dust all over Oman  (and I mean a lot - for those of you familiar with the dust during Rowany Festival site at Yass throughout the drought might think you know dusty -Ha!! I say, Ha!!!) and it all went up.  Today there was very little wind, and the dust stayed up - except for the large amounts that are on our car.  There are lots of shiny cars in Oman and lots of dust.  How can that be you ask?  Surely that's not possible?  Well I'll tell you a secret.  There are armies of little men in blue (dark blue, not sky blue that's another army of men) who lurk in each row the big car parts pulling green carts.  For very little money they will happily wash the dust of your car.  So, you go shopping dusty, you go home clean.

I'm sure there must be land further on......
It was a bit like driving into the Nothing  from Never Ending Story 

Yup, there it is, looming out of the...errr...dust
At home you'd be expecting the smell of smoke from the fires.
Wait, no fires, no smell.........weird

There are lots of different armies of men in Oman.  When we went to visit the camels (it seems like years ago) the Officer who was showing around very proudly told us that here, everyone has a job to do, they know what they have to do and they just do it.  Then it is all done.  Simple.  I think that once upon a time it was like that everywhere and we, with our level playing field, multi-skilling ways, have lost the knack of it.

So why were we going shopping.  Weeeelll, we've spent much of the week looking for somewhere to live.  When David tootled off to work on Wednesday, he discovered we were only supposed to be staying at the police club for three days.  Mmmm.  No.  "But you were supposed to organise your accommodation before you arrived!"  Errrr. No.  "But they are booked out!"  Ummmm. No. Let's just say that house hunting started quickly and has been all consuming.  (The lovely Major in charge of the complex said "Don't worry about it, we will work it out." just before launching into a very odd conversation about, of all things, lesbians.  If I'd thought about what I might be discussing with a Major in the Middle East, that wasn't going to be it...ever.)

We have seen some interesting and beautiful places.  The very first place we looked at gave us a bit of a shock.  The place was completely empty.  No stove, no nothin'. The rentals are 'maintained' after the tenants leave and completely re-plastered and painted.  So we started to look for furnished places with a mad French woman called Florence.  Florence found some horrible and some lovely places for us, drank coffee with us, drove us round, laughed when we got lost, and carefully smoked outside while we looked at places. But in the end we chose a little twin villa near the airport, in a little suburb call Al Hail.  We had been looking and looking and were feeling somewhat despondent when I met a lovely English lassie called Jade, who suggested this two bedroom place.  The landlord was looking for expats to look after his fig and lime trees and the kitchen was a bit odd -it was outside.  I was intrigued, David was intrigued so off we went at looked. We loved the feel of it immediately.  It might only have two bedrooms, but there is a room just perfect for a study, there are three bathrooms (most places have a bathroom for each bedroom and one for guests).  The kitchen is a separate  room outside.  I have to say that appealed to the cook in me.  No heating up the house in the middle of summer by cooking!  Yes!  We looked at a lot more places before we said yes, but it drew us in.  There was green around it.  There is not very much of Muscat that normal people can afford that has much in the way of greenery and it was just a little odd.  Perfect!

The Front Entry

The lounge room, notice the big trees out the front :-)

Katrina scurrying off to look into something.
You can see that things aren't particularly square.

Just outside the back door.
In fact, between the main house and the kitchen.
There is a store-room and laundry attached to the kitchen.

Another bit of garden.
 These are just a teaser....  The villa is totally enclosed in a white wall and the block next door is vacant.  It it lovely and private and I think we will be very happy there.  It is all on one level, but has a staircase to the roof, marble floors throughout and air conditioners in almost every room.  We are not far from the beach and when you stand on the roof terrace (there will be furniture up there, there will) you can smell the sea.

So, we went shopping.  We did.  Next week perhaps you'll get to see what we bought.......


  1. oh lovely. I'm glad your adventure is finally underway. I do hope you both enjoy it! I'd love to see pics of this outside kitchen. I'm curious.

  2. Yes! Show us the kitchen!!!