Saturday, November 28, 2009

Movember vs. Indian moustaches

** Disclaimer ** This post comes with a few socially inappropriate comments (not mine I assure you) so please read on at your own expense or don't say I didn't warn you :)

Once again it is that time of year, where many of our Western male compadres have grown/attempted a moustache to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer & Male Depression charities all over the world. It is a great cause and really, the only time that many of them can get away with the porn-star/Magnum PI look at work.

Duma has never participated in Movember, but each year we sponsor a bunch of our mates and make sure that we recognise the good that comes out of so many guys having crappy, wispy, scratchy of my girlfriends wrote on facebook that "my bf's face looks like a botched bikini wax - thanks Movember!". Friggin' hilarious, and I'm sure there are women all over the world who feel the same!

So the concept of Movember came up at Duma's work, where there is pretty much a mixed bag of nationalities - Omani, Indian, Filipino, a few Saffers, a couple of Italians and an Aussie. So you can imagine that leads to many interesting conversations over lunch and Duma revealed the idea behind Movember BUT moreso to lead into asking about why SO many Indian men have these fabulously MASSIVE moustaches!?!?

Can you imagine the smell? Gross!

His colleague explained that having a big 'mo' is a sign of masculinity, and that for the older generations if you didn't have a mo you were considered gay. Now, the younger generation are apparently less inclined to follow this trend and are breaking away from the 'big mo' phenomenon. Interesting no? But bear with me for a minute as I explain Duma's dilemma/reaction...

We see Indian men walking around town, holding hands and arms around each other in a seemingly 'intimate' way, giggling and enjoying each others company. So the question he poses is "So no mo means you are a homosexual, but hugging and holding hands with other guys doesn't?". Go figure.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

OO7 and the dress...

The Crystal Ball is only 2 weeks away and thank God I was fortunate enough to find a good seamstress with a friend. I gave her a picture of the dress and was then advised about the amount and type of fabric I needed for the dress, so ventured to a HUGE fabric store to get what I needed or at least...what I thought I needed.

The thing is here, if the person you are talking to isn't western, you are going to get confused (as I'm sure is the case if it was vice versa). Ami - The Chinese Australian lady told me to "go to the fabric store at Al Khamis on the left, not the right" (ok, so she got it backwards...which way was she facing when she was giving me these directions?) and ask for the 150 good quality silk @ RO 6.5, not the RO 3 crap if I wanted a good dress.

So I went to the left store, asked for the best silk and it was RO 3 but looked nice. They had the Sapphire blue I wanted and all was good. Except they didn't have the 4m I required (or the right coloured/textured lining) so I needed to choose another colour. Now, I was trying to stay away from black, but was avoiding Pink (for fear of looking like the Oman version of the UK's Jordan) and Red (for fear of wanting to break out the Spanish Flamenco dance @ the ball and shouting 'ole') so I chose a teal/emerald green colour...beautiful...but they had just under 4m and I didn't want to take the chance.

So off I went across the way to the forbidden left-hand side fabric store and low and behold...they were the right place, but lacking in the sapphire blue and emerald green also :( They had the RO 6.5 Japanese Crepe Silk and while it was nice I wasn't sold that it was WAY better quality, but when you are paying RO 39 for a dress you want to make it last. So I bought 4m in purpley-blue material and 3m (@ 900bz/m) of purpley lining, so all was good and I was done. I couldn't bear anymore fabric or cricket conversations ("Gilly!") with the guys from the store :) Nearly 2 hrs in total was enough already...

A quick walk across the parking lot back to Ami and she was happy with my fabric, happy that her advice panned out, and we had a deal for my dress to be ready for the ball. Here is what I'm hoping for, but in Purpley-blue:

A few days later, Duma was mortified that we had to go to a tailor to get his measurements and buy fabric for his tux. Yes, this ball is black tie and means that he has to buy one or he will be the freak of Muscat, so he sulked a little but came along anyways and I was proud that he did.

Our friend have us directions and I'm wikimapia challenged so I grabbed the coordinates, which in a desert location don't often work (roads spring up FAR too often and you hear the phrase "recalculating" all too often by your GPS) but we eventually managed to find it. They measure him up and unfortunately only had enough fabric in the most expensive cloth (RO 8.5m) so we had to suck it up, much to his disgust! And then came the shirt, bow tie, cummerband and all so it cost more than we bargained for but we didn't have it in us to negotiate...we were exhausted by this stage. Then, we realised we didn't have enough cash to pay for the fabric AND the store was technically closed as it was just after 1pm so we had to dawdle for 3 hrs until they opened again since we couldn't be assed going home and coming back.

When Duma gets "the face", you know he has no more sulking because he lost a basketball game/challenge/didn't get what he wanted/has spent too much money, so we just left for greener pastures until they opened again.

So we ran some errands and then 30 mins before we had to be back at the tailor, I had a ridiculous urge to wee...AGAIN! I swear, I try and be good and drink 3-4L a day but it just makes me wee more, so we try to stop @ Zakker Mall = no go, closed! So we try and look for other places and I'm literally busting, swaying in the car and singing to get my mind off it, but every song on Hi 95.9FM is about waterfalls, rain or something of the we stop at the old faithful McDonald's and surprisingly the toilets are clean and free, and Duma gave my first dibs on the mens toilet since the women's one was taken - BLESS!

And then we get back to the tailors and it costs us more money than we originally thought but we didn't care, we just wanted it done (but still cheaper than getting one tailor made back home, but thats not the point he says). But seriously, for this look I don't mind giving up my first months paycheck... damn!

Muscat - Dawn Call to Prayer

We have been trying to sleep with our windows open instead of using the aircon every night (the ceiling fan creaks similarly to that evil movie Psycho) and the other morning I was woken up by what wasn't my alarm (a soothing John Legend - Ordinary People) but the dawn Call to Prayer. Duma sleeps through anything and although he is the one working and getting up early, I was the one annoyed and given the morning cue to wee...Duma still snoring away and oblivious to the goings on.

Here is an example from Muttrah, Oman though its a different time of day.
I have an evening recording from my Sony camera, buts it on my laptop and needs to be transferred.

So it was about 5.45am and entirely too early to make a coffee (I'm on the instant Nescafe Gold now w/ creamer since we are too broke to buy a Nespresso machine and I'm apparently somewhat lactose intolerant these days, so no Duma....I'm not a Yankee Doodle just because I use creamer!) and too early to get on Facebook. *sigh* This not working thing is starting to get on my damn nerves lol!

You see, since I know I'm due to start a new job after Eid and have to start getting up @ 6am instead of 8.30am, I have been telling Duma "you need to hold me accountable to get up when you do" knowing damn well that I won't and will get mad at him for even suggesting it when the time comes. So bless his cotton socks, he gets up in the morning and limps past my side of the bed (he has a sore knee at the mo'), I make my usual smart ass comment with one eye open (similar to a pirate, yes) about him walking around in his undies as he passes me, I think about getting up, he makes a smart ass comment back about "go back to bed, your exhausted!" *insert sarcasm* and then I do exactly that :)

I'm one of those people who gets more grumpy when I go back to sleep for a short amount of time, rather than getting a decent hour or so. And knowing this, you would think that I would stay away or do something productive like make Duma some lunch? No, I chose to sleep (because I could, of course!) and that starts my day off totally wrong, but I do it day in and day out religiously because its habit lately. Period.

Call to Prayer happens 5x daily and we live in decent proximity to a few beautiful mosques and its actually pretty relaxing once you get used to it. I get to the stage where at 12.2* something o'clock pm I try to time/guestimate when the call to prayer will occur (without having to look it up online) and feel a sense of relief when it happens...who am I turning into? :)

It's moments like this that hit you like a 2x4 and you realise where you are in this world. We are no longer in Australia where there is no real 'Aussie' culture other than drinking beer and enjoying a Sunday sesh, calling 'mates' by shortened names (Bazza, Gazza or Dazza) and eating Vegemite on toast. We are in Oman where people wear dishdashas, wear Abayas, drink Vimto and eat creme caramel by the pound @ Ramadan...and Indian males hold hands walking down the street. It is different and we stick out like sore thumbs, but we love it.

Now if only I had enough wasta* to reschedule the dawn call to prayer later in the morning, that would be happy days.

* Wasta post still to come, as is the insha'allah one!

Monday, November 23, 2009

You ducking like a bobble-head!

That was a phrase from the dance movie "Honey" (Jessica Alba) and it made me laugh today because when I was watching the movie it reminded me of something I have witnessed often here, wait for it..."The Famous Indian Head Wobble". Note to self: wobble can and often is replaced with wiggle, niggle, bobble or wizzle (only if you are Snoop Dogg of course).

What is this, you ask? Its talked about a lot in Gregory David Roberts book Shantaram as a form of expression or a peaceful gesture, which often got him out of some tight spots as a foreigner in Bombay. But read here for more fascinating info! Surprised by the number of web pages about this interesting action AND the fact that there are different head wobbles for varying regions in India? Seriously its the coolest thing but who would have known? And it is something that both men and women do.

Put simply, I love it...its contagious*, and they love it when you do it back. The problem is that unfortunately I can't do it and its frustrating the hell out of me! Well maybe I can do it (believe me, I have practiced in the privacy of my own home AND in front of the mirror...actually I'm doing it right now and you are probably trying it too!) but not the way I want to and I thought I had rhythm like a Black girl stuck in a Polynesian girl's body but alas, my neck is too stiff and I can't wobble with the best of them (but dance, thats another ball game).

*If you ever get caught up amongst a group of Indians just stop for a minute to observe the head wobbling going on, its fascinating! One wobbles to say "yes, I agree/understand" and then the other starts to wobble as a sign of "thank-you/very good" and next thing you know there is wobbling back and forth and the only still head in the store/place/restaurant is mine and Duma's :)

But if you are an westerner and you manage to pull off the head wobble = HAPPY DAYS! You will experience the biggest grin from your Indian compadre EVER and its sure to make you giggle a little, no matter how old or mature you are :)

It's like a western conversation which goes back and forth - only we refer to this as being "like a tennis match" where we move our head from side. But these wobbles are totally different, they are a delicate blend of sideways and up-down action that uses all of the neck muscles possible, truly a sight to see :)

In this part of the world there are Indian bobble-heads on every corner and in every store and I LOVE it...their wobbles and bobbles and niggles and wiggles (and wizzles) make the world more colourful and cheery, so long as they aren't the person who is trying to cut you off the road or push in the service counter line @ Carrefour!

Enjoy this, its a funny video by a Canadian guy and is meant to be a tongue in cheek about his experiences teaching in India, so please don't get offended! Feel free to stop watching at 3.22 as thats where he starts talking about other things.

Like I said, I LOVE the head wobble and wanted to share :)

Melancholy moments

I was reading this post the other day by Silver Jewel Oman and felt a closeness to someone I have never met, purely because her thoughts resonated with mine. And then yesterday, chatting with a lady about holes in communication and 'voids' that she feels having given up everything back home to move to Muscat and support her I felt inclined to share.

When you leave your home country you are caught up in the whirlwind of excitement and anxiety about conquering new horizons and the journey ahead. Its great, a mix of euphoria and being scared shitless, but home is always home and you can always move back if things don't work out right? It's not the case for all, but it is fortunately the case for us.

What you fail to see through those rosy coloured glasses is that whilst your life is totally changing and doing a 360 (whether it be for a year or 10) - your friends and family are still living 'business as usual' and generally speaking their lives are only changed by a small percentage given the fact that you have gone away and that means no more seemingly insignificant chats over coffee, morning walks, play dates with your niece/nephew, shopping trips or family dinner nights.

And yes, that may seem logical and straight forward to many of you out there in the bloggersphere (and yes, before you say anything, it was our choice to move and we don't regret it a single bit) but everything is magnified 100x when you are going through this stage (holla if you hear me K-Nash, lol!) and on some days you become super-sensitive once the euphoria disappears and feels like someone ripped off that proverbial bandaid without warning - the realisation that life goes on without you and the lack of your physical presence does not stop time. Full stop. (or period, for our Americano amigos).

Don't worry, be happy.

As is the story within Eckhart Tolle's fab book "A New Earth" it's moments like this that we need to remember the phrase "This Too Will Pass". (read up here if you want more info and to feel a little enlightened and uplifted). No, this isn't a Danoz Direct infomercial and I'm not getting commissions for selling the book, I just like the simple concept and think it applies to this situation :)

Back to the my post - I assume this feeling affects women mostly as Duma handles the void well and has the amazing good fortune of being blessed with a crew of long standing HS/Misc mates and an amazing mother (Hi Anne!) who is email/internet savvy :) He and his friends may go for many months and then sure enough are back to drinking beers, sharing jokes and stories like they didn't skip a beat. I truly love that about them. But what is it with men and women being so different - women being so emotional and men being so matter of fact? :)

And then there is the process of making new 'friends', which of course never replace the old, tried & true ones...but are critical to a happy and sustainable life in your new world. Sure, initially they may feel fabricated or superficial, but then what about our Facebook friends? How well do you really know them and how honest and 'real' are those interactions? Long story short is that they start out with a genuine need or intention of meeting like-minded, interesting and fun (albeit different circle people) to function and feel connected to this new life.

And one of them so wisely told me that when you move to Muscat, you make friends with people you wouldn't normally be friends with back home, not because they aren't nice people...but purely because your circles wouldn't intersect or your bubble of networks (work, friends and family) wouldn't fly in the same path. Touche! (I love that word but don't really know when to use it or whether I ever use it correctly lol!). Ok, so I added the bubble analogy but its the same idea only different fluffy explanation :)

So far I acknowledge the point and am trying to embrace mornings with random cool ladies (the ratio of cool to uncool is about 3-1 in my humble opinion and experience to date), surfing the local internet forum and chatting with people about events/activities/gossip, as well as being the only western woman in my new office = only one not wearing an abaya AND using TP in the bathroom so that has to lead to new friendships, stories and moments right? Its all alien to me but its great and has totally opened up my world.

So there are some great moments to be had here for sure, really great ones...but I wanted to focus this post on the melancholy moments because that is what has been poignant lately throughout my conversations with people and my own feelings. And I have deduced that it often comes from being anal and a control freak in our previous lives...which leads to imbalance here purely because there are elements out of our control in our new environment - in our case:

* Not being able to talk to friends and family other than every other week, purely because it costs >AUD$1 per minute to call
* Not being able to sms our Mums or most friends because Vodaphone AUS is the only mobile phone provider to not be able to send AND receive from our network
* Our internet connection keeps dropping in and out so Skype calls (which are highly illegal here I might add!) are severely lagged and frustrating
* My gorgeous, loving mother doesn't know how to use the internet *sigh*

It all boils down to the fact that you miss out on 'moments', details and stuff that seems trivial to your circle back home, but help you function and feel 'connected' to both worlds.

It's a 2-way street and I totally get that. I can't expect people to communicate with me when 'I' feel like it or just because I'm sitting at home and have the spare time or energy...but I think its all a case of priority and making time for those you love and care about. I would like to think that things will all settle down soon and given I start my new job after Eid Al-Adha holidays next week (woohoo!) I will have a renewed appreciation for being busy, having a routine and structure in my life...not to mention my own money :)

So for all the expat women who are in my boat - chin up and hang in there. This Too Shall Pass.

For my beloved family & friends back home - I love you, miss you and hope we can talk soon xo

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tales from Giants

Another funny shopping trip last night to Ruwi high street (looking for sunglasses, shirts and cologne) made me realise just how foreign and BIG Duma and I look in comparison to the Indian community. (another post soon re: male affection within the Indian community).

Over here we are giants, and I don't just mean tall. We are surrounded by lovely but tiny people of the Filipino, Omani, Indian, and varying expat community and sometimes its depressing. Not so much for everyday life because we like being tall...but it hits home on uneventful shopping expeditions (about 99% of the time) and results in my feeling very unfeminine (in my case of course).

I have a large foot which some have come to describe as "Ronald McDonald foot" idea why? Being a size 10/11 shoe or 42 Euro is hard in Oman, where literally the ONLY place I can find shoes in my size is Marks & Spencer @ Markaz Al Baja mall, only a measly 30 mins drive away from where I live. And don't get me wrong, I like turning up the tunes in the car and driving in general... but in Muscat, driving is unorganised chaos (not like Bali where its organised-mad-chaos and people are smiley and courteous) is utter madness and a deathtrap on the best of days. Plus, the choice is pooh :(

Duma on the other hand is a 14/49 Euro and we both have the same problem, there is only 1 store that fits each of us and go figure, they aren't the same store and the quality is NOT good! The Sales Assistants - bless their cotton socks - look at us like we are crazy when we ask "Do you have a 42 or 49 in your sizes?" because the answer is always "No, the biggest anyone has here madam is 41/46".

So I'm making damn sure that when we go home in March, I am bringing a shit load of shoes and clothes back :)

Oh and the clothes, don't even get my started! We have a shop that we always go to to buy...wait for it....genuine fakes! Oh the irony but I laugh whenever they say that, we grab shirts to send home to family and they love them because seriously, who knows and who cares for a tee shirt? Anyway, they sell ladies Lacoste polos and I have a couple myself, so was looking to grab some for my friend back home. Now I'm a sz. 12 normally so what does that equate to in Indian or Filipino sizes??? SIZE XXL people - WTF?!?!! Are you trying to make me feel inadequate? Oh and when we first arrived in Muscat I bought a business suit from Sacoor Brothers @ MCC and again, being a sz. 12 in Muscat, what does that equate to? SIZE 18 people - shriek, the horror!

Seriously, no wonder many of the expat wives visit beauty salons and spas everyday here, because when it comes to clothes and making yourself feel don't unless you bought them from home!

Now, I'm off to start the Jillian Michael's 30-day shred that my friend got for me (and has worked wonders for her) and see if I can shrink to at least an XL Lacoste polo :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Aussie Rules Friday & Socceroos vs. Oman Saturday!

First home game for the Muscat Magpies season, this Friday @ 3pm.

Dubai Heat are the 2008/9 premiers (beating the Magpies in the GF ) so it should be a good re-match!

Also looking forward to Saturdays Socceroos vs Oman, which is sure to be interesting given there is a lot riding on this game for Oman and this place loves a good game of 'football' :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's the Little Things in Life

They say that things happen in 3's and I guess that over the past 2 days I can attest to that. Well actually that doesn't really make sense does it, because things just happen and we make the saying fit when we feel like it? (Cue 'incessant ramblings' description from our blog profile!) Oh well, anyway the concept applies given three small but profound things happened to me and I'm very thankful they did :)

Yesterday was frustrating as I was following up on an outstanding job offer that has been literally doing my head in for the past 4 weeks - I just don't understand why people say they will do something and they don't come through, it is one of my pet peeves! To me, its better to under-promise and over-deliver therefore exceeding expectations, but maybe thats just me.

Long story short, I have 2 other offers but this 1 pays considerably more and is an internal HR role as opposed to being a Consultant and having to 'sell' my services. And hey - I'm fully aware that my sense of urgency is totally different to theirs, I'm not here to flatter myself. But yesterday I felt like a stalker in order to just get a straight answer (I got something of the sorts, hopefully the contract will appear today), because I have to let the other 2 businesses know where I'm at (by COB today) before jumping on board with them or burning a bridge.

Anyway, I was in a 'mood' of sorts and Duma's advice came right on time, it totally changed my perspective. It's pretty matter-of-fact but then again, thats just how he is and I love him for mucking around, just a kick in the pants and get on with it (which is what I needed and he knew it).

"No point wasting energy worrying about the things that you can’t change. If you can’t change them, you must accept the way things are & use your energy concentrating on the things you can change".

2nd to that, my Mum called me this morning and it was such a nice surprise! There is nothing like a call from your Mum when you live in another country...a familiar voice, chatting about nothing, just catching up and smiling through the phone. And she is sending me a care package next week with recent pictures of my beloved niece & nephew who I'm missing so much = happy days!

After that, I was trawling through the internet and came across a cool note that reminded of how good life is...when you stop focusing on the things that just don't matter in the big scheme of things.

I hope this post comes right on time for you too, just like these words did for me xo

Saturday, November 7, 2009

007 Eat your heart out!

We have just over 1 month until the Diamonds Are Forever Crystal Ball @ the Amphitheatre of the Shangri La Al Jissah Hotel - Time to get our butts into gear and get a dress and tux made (much to Duma's disgust, he hates fuss and extravagence!)

Hopefully it isn't a stuffy/posh event...I guess they may all start out that way (considering its a fundraiser night) but with copious amount of alcohol and the table we are sitting at (young rugby club crew) we are surely in for a messy and forgettable night!

Pics and stories hopefully to come...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bum Gun ???

Ok, so this has been on my mind since we made our first visit to Muscat in May - the infamous toilet hose and its place in Omani society. Curiosity (and survival^) finally got the better of me and I actually googled Arabic toilets/toilet hose/Oman toilets = endless images and info :-)

The toilet system here is a little different to the Western world, much like many of the ones in Asian countries. This can definitely be confusing at first *tilt head to the side, eyebrows squeezed* kinda confusing and quickly escalate to panic!

Walking into your first Arabic toilet (this one actually has a seat, whereas once out of the city many are holes in the floor with foot pads) is an experience to say the least...and I'm sure vice versa for our Omani compadres when visiting our shores.

The floors are wet (often the seat too...begs the Q - wee or water? hmmm), there is sometimes a strategically placed squeegee, and often no TP. I must admit this scared me at first - no TP and only a "Bum Gun" (not my term, read the article)? How? (picks it up, inspects and looks around). Where? (looks down at body). Shriek! The horror...

And when I say scared, I don't mean that I thought it was dangerous, I just mean scared because I didn't know how to use it if forced to AND avoid soiling my entire outfit, shoes and looking like a wet dog once I exited the bathroom!

I had a good idea of 'what' it was for but no idea of the process in doing so. Oh the joys of being a woman, no explanation required I'm sure. I actually carry a pack of tissues with me everywhere in case I am stuck in a sorry situation since I wee every 5 seconds to Duma's amusement and wonder :(

Interestingly enough, this isn't the first article/blog that I have read where many Westerners actually prefer the Bum Gun method, but this Aussie couple aren't game enough just yet to give it a go...

^ re: survival - I have had 2 job interviews at one relatively large organisation and upon my 2nd visit, I asked where the bathroom was. Upon entering, shock horror there were 2 toilets, each equipped with a bum gun and NO TP!!! Needless to say I went to Lulu immediately after and stocked up on handy pack tissues and thus the googling for more info...actually, I wonder if there is a youtube video???

Things we love :)

As stated in the last post, we have grown extremely fond of a few things here and wanted to share them with our friends. Sure, this place can be crazy, mixed up and backwards in many ways...but once you get past the bad driving and the time it takes for things to get is an amazing place that has changed our lives forever:

We love going Wadi Bashing and trekking, this gorgeous place is wadi shab

MAC is everywhere, happy days! In Perth we only had one store :(

This neon spectacle is 'Lulu Hypermarket'. We love late night and 7 day trading!
How will we ever move back to the shackles of Perth?

Channa Masala, mmm. I have always had a thing for chickpeas :)
Indian food here is SO good!

Best coffee and service in Muscat, hands down!

Camping on the beach = fun and serenity! This is As Seifa beach...

Turkish House = cheap & yummy turkish food (duh!)

5G water = AUS$3

Sucks that people talk on their mobiles in the movies, but its seriously cheap!!!
Popcorn, 2 tix, large drink, bag of maltesers = AUS$20

Muscat Rugby Club - great people, chilled out atmosphere and cheap drinks...whats not to love?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Things we miss !!!

Moving to the desert has been a delicate balance between temporarily letting go of a few things we love...and embracing our life here. We are pretty open-minded and have fallen in love with some things here also (next post) but for the sole purpose of this one, here is a snapshot of our life back home and a few things we miss:

An Aussie super food!

Many days I have contemplated a 5hr drive to Dubai just for these delicious 'bikkies'

One of our favourite Margaret River wineries!

If only our internet connection let Duma play online w/ his mates :(

Playing's pre-season back home and we are missing out.
So I'm playing netball and Duma is playing aussie rules :)

Bonds underwear and tank tops *sigh*
It's the simple things you know?

Our lovely local Asian eatery...delicious, cheap, lightening fast meals :)

We miss this tomato sauce, ketchup is NOT the same thing!

Good 'ol chicken crimpys = the whole box annihilated in one sitting

Mail that gets delivered to your HOME!!!

Long time No speak...

Sorry for the lack of blog action lately guys! It's not that there hasn't been anything going on, just that we have had issues with the internet, as well as me temporarily losing my mojo* (I was in a funk actually) which led to me having no interest in reporting the goings on - got to tell it like it is right?

* If you don't know what mojo is, go here to find out :-)

There still isn't anything poignant that I have to share but I do have my mojo back! I feel like Austin Powers (minus the bad teeth) but I have that spring back in my step ... sometimes I just want to bust out dance moves 'Austin Powers style' for no good reason - is that wierd? lol. The things that go on in my head sometimes, I tell you...

I think we all have those days where we have zero motivation = just can't be a$$ed and don't care. Only mine felt like a week long hangover minus the copious amounts of alcohol - I just didn't want to do anything and why not, when I didn't have to?

I think my mood was born from the fact that I'm still not working yet & constantly waiting on contractors and service providers to show up or do what they should, when they should. (There is a total lack of urgency here in Oman to get things done, as well as all the hoops you have to jump through just to complete a simple process). But still, its a beautiful country - you can't win for losing!

Now, what has happened since I last posted?

* Duma was in Dubai for a week's work, so I was left to entertain myself. This meant avoiding the urge to clothes shop (I did buy MAC makeup though, an addiction of mine - oops!), but LOTS of cleaning and baking which I enjoyed...all but scrubbing the floors and walls! (If you ever want a recipe go here and here, these 2 sites are a gold mine for ideas and they are all rated by other users. I have been using them for years!

* I finally got my resident card, after being here for almost 2 months! I pretty much had to stalk Duma's PRO though to get him to do the paperwork and meet me, but we got there in the end.
The funny thing was, they told me to meet him at the place and to "look out for the short Omani, with a long beard, who barely speaks English" - great! So after waiting for 30 mins in the smelliest place on earth (do Indians not wear deodorant at all?) Mustafa and I found each other and off we went. This is where being a woman was truly an advantage, as the women's waiting area and lines are much more quiet and speedy :-)

* I went back to the dress shop here in Muscat, since they bought in a wedding dress from London that I really loved...tried it on and it was a great fit - simple & elegant. Yay, happy days and my gorgeous Mum offered to pay for it so now I just have to go back with a friend and take some photos to send home to Mum/MIL/BM's to get some opinions :-)

Dress shopping by myself was actually ok, but when you have 2 Filipino Sales Assistants telling you what you want to hear, it isn't particularly objective...only a massive ego boost but I welcomed it nonetheless :-)

* I was offered a job - great news right? Yeah it is great and I really like the sound of the company, the team (I will be the only female), and the work they do. BUT (there is always a but right?) they work Sat - Wed + 1/2 day on Thursdays (our equivalent of a Saturday), which is less than ideal. Also, the pay is about 2/3 of the other job I am waiting to hear back about so I'm just in limbo at the moment.

How long is too long before giving them my decision? I'm thinking a week is ok, but don't want to burn my bridges by taking any longer. So I'm trying to speed up the other offer and finally (after 3 weeks of waiting, since my 2nd IV) I sent a 'stern but tactful email' highlighting the situation and my other offer. Within a day the HRM emailed back an apology and said "your contract is sitting on the GM's desk, waiting for his initial". So it sounds positive, but you just never know here - it could sit on the GM's desk for weeks before anyone actually tells him its there or puts a post it note on it lol! God knows how long it has been there already - you have to laugh about it right? :-)

* We now have an ADSL connection, only I had to go back to the Omantel office a few times as per their process of "come in and apply for your phone...then wait for the technician. Then come back in and apply for internet...then wait for the technician. Then come back in and get your username/password before you can use" - we are now 5 weeks later! Tell me that you don't see the duplication and the inefficiency in that process?

Funnily enough, they stuffed up the plan that we wanted because the CSO was flirting with me. He was talking to me about his cousin living/studying in Sydney, which led to some banter about the recent Socceroos win over Oman. Then he said "he says the women in Australia are very beautiful, this is true I see" and I didn't know what to say but smiled and said thank you.
Then I looked at the receipt and noticed that he had put us on the wrong plan, proof that men just can't multi-task by flirting and processing a transaction at the same time!

So what happened? Of course I had to go back to the office yet again (the next day) as they couldn't correct it on the same day as the mistake. It would be entirely too logical to just make a note in the system and call me the following day, to let me know it was done *insert sarcasm*

* Duma came back from Dubai late on the Wednesday night, then flew out to Bahrain Thursday morning to play footy (he is playing for the Muscat Magpies in the MEAFL). Unfortunately they lost by 2 goals, but they managed to drown their sorrows and enjoy a boozy night out. Then their flight back to Muscat on Friday afternoon got cancelled, so all the hungover Aussies/Irishmen/Canadians decided to hang out at a local pub for the 6.5 hour wait = a long and tiring flight after a big night out & hair of the dog!

So during my down time (a total understatement) I caught up with some friends who I have been neglecting for a long time. They did not disappoint me either - eye candy and entertaining!

I am spoiled because Duma came home from Dubai bearing gifts - duty free alcohol & Greys Anatomy season 1 (I couldn't find it anywhere in Muscat, the shame) and I watched all 9 episodes in 1 day! I *heart* this show...the sexual tension....the chemistry...the sarcasm and the sexual tension (oops, did I say that twice? ;-)

We went to Home Centre last night (armed with our 70 RO voucher) and bought Season 2 = happy girl! I'm looking forward to parking myself on the couch later this afternoon with coffee in hand, to relive the shennanigans of Seattle Grace Hospital's finest.

* Looks like we have sold our beloved Getz Sxi back home in Perth, so all is good in the world and our credit cards. My brother has been instrumental in this, thanks Muss!!!

* My friends Ant & Gaz (its an Aussie thing to shorten names - Barry = Baz, Gary = Gaz etc) may visit us this month...we aren't sure yet as Gaz is currently in Dubai working so insha'allah they will swing by Muscat at some stage, which will be exciting for us...our first visitors! So Duma & I need to prepare a fun weekend itinerary just in case, jam packed with Omani adventures.

Ok so enough babbling, I'm just recapping the past 1 1/2 weeks and you are probably worse off for reading but I am back on the blog train and am glad to have my mojo back!!! x