Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Errgle glug sniff, but I'm Legal!

Is there anything more miserable than a dose of the 'flu in a foreign country?  Yes, yes there is.  Having a dose of the 'flu in 37 degree heat and no Soothers.  Strepsils, yes, soothers no.  Before any of you travel, make sure you have a supply of your favourite 'fluey comfort lollie.  What I would give for the feeling of a soother melting through my system, or even a butter menthol, an anticol.  MMmmmmm.  We have a limited supply of Berocca as well.  On the upside, you can buy 800 (!!!!) mg ibuprofen over the counter.  Still, turning the A/C down as low as it goes and hopping under the "doona" is also comforting.

I am, as my darling husband put it, a card carrying legal alien! Hooray!  All in the day before my tourist visa ran out.  We were a little concerned that our marriage certificate wouldn't cut the mustard as far as proof of marriage.  While David was being assured that everything would be fine, I was being regaled by horror stories of needing to get certificates attested to say that, not only are they a true copy, but that the authority is a legal authority. It didn't help to realise that the piece of paper you get on your wedding day is not, strictly speaking, a legal document.  However, it's the only one we've got and the truly stupendous Michelle DHL'd it to us after a splendid muck up when ROP apparently gave David the wrong PO Box number...... Somewhere in Muscat are several certified copies of the certificate in two separate envelopes, goodness knows where.......  Michelle made copies and certified them to with an inch of their lives.  It worked and we were shepherded through the maze that is the resident card process.

Muscat is not very short on official buildings.  There is a building for getting your license, a building for paying your parking fines, a building for filling out your resident form, a building for having your photo and fingerprints taken, a building for having your photo taken again and your card made.  You have to go to a different part of that last building to pick up the card.  David will have gone to even more buildings today since they had to add the category of Customs Expert to their database before they could issue the card.  Thank the Lord for having the lovely Sultan to take us round.  I'm sure we would have managed eventually, but it certainly helped having someone who outranked almost everyone else making sure the queues were jumped and that someone spoke English.  I, of course, will spend the next two years with an ID sporting a photograph of me with the 'flu, at the end of a hot and long day.....

I've leapt into the pool of the Women's Guild in Oman.  They have coffee mornings each Wednesday and lots of other activities, including a book group.  I've never been in a book group before so there you go.  It was an interesting coffee morning.  I travelled there with Hilda (our British next door neighbour) and Phyllis an ever so slightly mad Irish woman.  We escaped the very badly organised coffee shop (they had been warned two months in advance, but still only had one staff member on) and Phyllis introduced us to the new golf club.  You know, that's one of the most amazing things about Oman.  It has practically no rain, except for the little sprinkle that only happens just after having  the car washed (there are lovely little men with trolley thingies in the mall car parks.  You give them 1.5 rial and they wash your car for you while you shop. Why do this you ask?  Well it is illegal to have a dirty car in Oman, no, I'm not joking.) but they have not shortage of water.  None.  Water is flung around right left and centre.  After years of programming in Australia, it certainly makes us twitch.

Desalination is their answer.  That's the only way that a very, very, very green golf club can exist at the edge of the Gulf of Oman.  The edges of the free-ways can have green, green grass with miles of sprinkler system underneath it.  I don't have any good photos of the green yet, so you'll just have to make do with these.

Looking down to Qantab (I think)

The same spot looking the other direction
The landscape is brutally powerful.  Just the thought of the seismic disturbances that thrust these mountains up out of the earth takes your breath away.  No two pieces of rock come from the same direction, they just rear out of the ground and dominate everything.  They are dry and crumbling away with no vegetation to hold them together.  It makes parts of the Australian desert look positively polished and lush.  Then, in stark contrast, there are the Wadiis.  Here there is water and plant life in abundance.  Not to mention young men washing their cars.

Wadi Shab.
A picture of extremes.
Neither Hilda or Phyllis could understand why the Omanis use desalination.  They thought it a little unsanitary really.  Phyllis especially was indignant "They've got mountains!" she exclaimed "That's where water comes from."  I demurred and muttered that there was a little more to it than that and that mountains weren't the only thing you needed to have a water supply.  "Oh," she said brightly "Do you have water problems in Australia?"  Oh dear.  I'm afraid I chickened out at buried myself in my lunch.

1 comment:

  1. Re water supply - you may be amused to hear that Canberrans are to be punished for using less water. We've used so little that the projected profit for the last few years hasn't been made, so they are going to raise the price.