Saturday, November 13, 2010

What to do for Eid?

Seriously, I'm so sick and tired of people here whinging and complaining about the "lack of official days holiday" for Eid. Honestly, the last 6 months of the year here is a cake walk - so many days off and lower productivity expected throughout Ramadhan, you would think people would focus on counting their blessings as opposed to feeling ripped off. *breathe* and I digress...

I for one am thankful for the handful of days we have off in a row this week, as well as the fact that we still have National Day holiday(s) to come and Islamic New Years.

So in typical Omani conversational style "What to do" people?
With the weather as awesome as it is (how can you NOT like 25-30 degree days in WINTER?) there are endless options:

* Camping
* Fishing
* Treks
* Geocaching
* Road trip to UAE or Salalah
* Cheap short tips anywhere in the region or even to Asia!

We are contemplating a quick trip to Abu Dhabi to go and visit friends and check out Ferrari World since my better half LOVES rides! I'm actually more interested in visiting Ikea, checking out some of the free events they showcase along the beach & corniche etc. Oh and maybe even bump into some celebs that are in town for the F1 Grand Prix events :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oodles of Couch Surfers!

Given it is just the 2 of us living in a 3 bedroom villa, we figured we would offer our humble abode to others who are travelling through Muscat and looking for short-term accommodation. It is the least we can do because let's face it, we aren't spoilt for choice when it comes to hostels or backpacker accommodation in Muscat. Sure, there are more than enough places to camp...dodgy establishments & cheap hotels etc, but it isn't all that great and can get old REALLY fast!

Having backpacked through Europe ourselves, we know what it is like to be on a budget but also wanting to meet some nice people who can give you the inside tips & hints on what to do. Oh, and a nice warm shower, home cooked meal, glass of wine and a place to do your laundry helps!

So as a result, we currently have a full house with 3 new additions - an Austrian couple who are funky, fabulous and fancy-free! They are seriously refreshing, have some amazing stories and cooked us an outstanding meal last night! We have hosted them for the past few days and will continue to do so until their Indian visa comes through. We also had a French lass join us late last night and she is lovely, most likely staying with us for a week (and today is her birthday!).

It has been really nice to meet people who are so down-to-earth and keen to travel.
Who knows, maybe we will head off somewhere for Eid and Couch Surf for the first time?

So check out the site if you are interested in hosting, being a couch surfer, or meeting up with other like-minded people in Oman for a coffee, chat, trekking or camping.



Hidy Ho all,

It has been a while and a lot has happened since my last post. Namely:

Bali = massages. pedicures. husband's with outrageous facial hair. games of euchre. tequila. wild dogs. gin. sun. a wedding. great people. rain. more sun. awesome villa. bali belly. bop it. grocer & grind. kudeta cocktails. hens night (FAIL). hens night shennanigans. bintang!

Perth = girls afternoon tea. hangover. AFL grand final #2. engagement party. family. vino. great weather. great friends. coffee & breakfasts by the beach. enjoying a run in the middle of the day. wearing shorts above the knee. Perth Zoo. Witches Cauldron. Ecco gourmet pizza. niece & nephew cuddles. Family dinners. shopping. packing. busy!

So here we are, back in Muscat and there is a lot going on. Sports and work are in full swing, we have joined the world of Couch Surfing and are currently hosting 3 fabulous people now (see next post), and the weather is cooling down a little - with today being a 'balmy' 37 degrees!!!

More updates to come, thanks for your patience...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Moving on Up...

Since we are in the process of packing & moving, this is for your viewing/listening pleasure.

If you haven't seen this show or heard this theme song before, you must be too young or live under a rock!

You are welcome :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Something in the water...

Ramadan Kareem everyone!

I have a happy but heavy heart this much going on in my extended family & friends' lives at the moment and its bitter sweet to be in such a good personal head space, but so far away from a lot of them when they are experiencing such defining moments.

From pregnancies to christenings, break-ups without make ups, stresses of building & moving into a new house, surgeries, new jobs and missing out on my niece & nephews special times - it can be hard, but also makes you seek perspective and appreciate all over again how blessed we are.

I wanted to share a quote that I saw on a friend's FB status earlier today.

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be...for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances"

And so we send blessings across the seas to those people who need it most, as well as those that don't know they need it yet.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Limp handshakes

I don't know why I haven't written about this sooner! I had a meeting this morning and was pleasantly greeted by a Consultant possessing a firm & friendly handshake, which totally took me by surprise and made me happy! It wasn't "me caveman" kida strong, just FIRM and I liked it...probably a little TOO much given I felt compelled to blog about it.

It might sound trivial and strange, but this isn't something we experience much here (it preturbs Duma more so than I) given most men simply don't shake hands with women, even if we extend our hands. Its cultural and understandable. But Duma feels awkward when going to client meetings and other men shake his fingers or extend a soft hand - he reckons it feels like they are caressing or tickling his palms lol!

So...what of the soft-handedness??? It was one of the things Duma and I first observed having moved to Oman and starting work, because it is common practice. Whilst I expect this from the women, in our part of the world a man with a limp handshake is often linked to a weak character or perhaps someone lacking confidence (I'm not even going to go where some people will go, in reference to sexual orientation).

Now, this isn't to accuse men who exhibit any of the above behaviours as being weak or unconfident, but it does FEEL a little disturbing...or is it just us?

I will say that one thing I really like about people here is that Omani women greet by shaking hands & Indians (male & female) head wobble. I still get tickled with the head wobbling and bobbing :)

So some women kiss cheeks (I'm comfortable with this level of PDA) if they haven't seen each other in a while...BUT the nicest thing I have observed is that when they ask how you are, they REALLY want to know how you (and your family / village / pets etc) are!!! It isn't like back home where you pass someone and they ask "Hi, how are you?" while continuing on their way and not even stopping for the answer. People here actually care about your response, hang on your every word and ask more than once regarding how you are. And while a conversation or simple greeting can feel like it takes 10 minutes - it's refreshing, its genuine and its sincere.

And that's my 2c for today.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

For the traveller in you...

Duma & I came across the COUCH SURFING concept when we were preparing to backpack around Europe. Now, it sounds good in theory(especially if you are young & broke) and thank God there are A LOT of helpful, friendly & hospitable people out there. There are also a lot of crazies, but we won't talk about them right now!

If you have ever stayed in a hostel you will know that sometimes you just want to rest your weary head somewhere other than a bunkbed that is the size of a baby's cot...or shower in a space where you can raise your arms and do the chicken wing dance (you are doing it right now, aren't you?) as you clean those much needed areas ...OR do a #1 or #2's where your knees aren't hitting the wall in front of you and the walls aren't so thin....y'all know what I'm talking about!!!

SO - over the weekend and in my delirium I came across the couch surfing community in Oman. I still don't know how I got there, but I remember thinking "No way - I didn't realise there were so many travellers who spin the globe and randomly select Oman as a destination for backpacking". But I guess with the UAE, India and Sri Lanka, Africa and Egypt so close...why wouldn't you?

I was also spun out by how many people here welcome strangers into their home and show them around. Kudos to you!

Here are some stats if you are interested.

So the question(s) remain:
* Have you / would you couch surf?
* Would you let a surfer crash on your couch?
* Would you be interested in playing a local guide?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Oven - attempt # 4

The Oven technician FINALLY made it to our house this afternoon, after 3 failed visits (in the past 2 weeks) and us venturing to Carrefour and pleading with the C/Service Manager for some attention. FYI - Jesse @ QCC rocks! She kicked some ass and took some names, literally :)

I'm really hoping it is all fixed now as this is visit #4 and they know the warranty only has a few more months to go before hands are washed and shoulders are shrugged.

: So, what was the problem with the oven you ask?
Answer: Oh nothing really, it would just overheat...A LOT! Which meant that the knobs would literally shoot off the oven (I'm not even close to joking!), springs would go flying, parts were melting and food was burning...blah blah blah.

Yep - doesn't take a rocket scientist to assume that something is up with the thermometer/temperature gage and inner-workings. Oh, there was also an issue with smoke WHEN THERE WAS NO FOOD IN THE OVEN!!!!!

So that all being said - I'm REALLY looking forward to "attempting" to cook:

1) A roast & veggies (doesn't matter that it is too hot to eat)
2) Muffins
3) Baked fish
4) Banana bread
5) Scones

Wish us luck!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wonderful weekends

Kudos to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos on 40 years of ruling Oman and subsequently the economic progression & liberation of women that we all experience first hand.
And what better way to celebrate than partake in a holiday tomorrow to enjoy the happy occasion, however we all shall choose.

It's going to be both interesting & exciting to experience Renaissance celebrations this year in Oman, that's for sure!

We have friends taking advantage of the brilliant summer resident deals @ Muscat's finest 5* hotels; others have made the drive to Dubai for a change of scenery & the compulsory Ikea run (someone please tell me that an Ikea will be in the new mall near Lulu in Ghubra?!?!?!); while some have taken off to Khasab or Salalah.

And what are we doing you may ask? Today consists of:

- Sleeping in, blueberry pancakes & coffee.
- A few calls to friends & family back home***
- Visiting LeftBank for the obligatory Friday sundowner "cocktails & tapas" with some dear friends.

*** FYI - we switched from the God awful Omantel yesterday & took up Nawras' Wi-Max offer. The counters were choc-a-block but I can honestly say with my hand over my heart that Nawras service was still better than Omantel/Oman Mobile on their best day! Anyway, it seems that our VPN is now working again and we can make calls which is a God send :)

I'm going to be switching back to Nawras for my mobile too, it is service related as well as the fact that I like their logo & marketing campaign better. It's a girl thing ;)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brief update before an update...

We are pretty busy at the moment but all is good in our world. Thanks for asking :)
Note to self: If I get a chance over the weekend I should write about the following -

* My birthday bonanza = FAB!
The Chedi is amazing & the staff were great (thankfully it was the weekend before Cyclone Phet). My 3 hour spa treatment left me thinking I was a celebrity AND feeling as good as Thandi Newton & Ashly Judd look.
FYI - they are my favourite actresses, hands down, no cigar. I'm not gay but for them...pause.

* We have a new addition @ work and it feels like I'm back in HS. Ever seen the movie Mean Girls? Ok so you can't really compare American HS girls to working women in abayas - maybe I need to stop watching Gossip Girl because it is numbing my brain?

* I wanted to buy a juicer for summer = we bought a juicer + 32" LCD for the bedroom.
Did we need it? No.
Was it because of the World Cup? No.
Was it for the NBA finals serious? Hell Yes ;)
Boston all the way baby!

* My deferred Arabic classes.
Alas I was defeated by the Sudanese 'Master of the Gab' who kept (kindly) demanding that we all give more effort. Abdul Rahman is a lovely man.
Result? I quit, period. Khalas (see - it didn't all go to waste).

* I attended my 1st (but insha'allah not my last) Omani wedding. WOW.
I even had a friend do my eye-makeup Arabic style.

* Our fridge & freezer have been broken, which is not good when its 40+ degrees and you are trying to eat healthily. Fingers crossed it is fixed today, so I can buy carrots, celerey, fruit, ginger & mint to juice up a storm.

* Duma is off to Taipei in mid July for a basketball trip. It is well earned I can assure you!!!

* I was invited to play in a 'friendly' basketball tournament in Dubai - all costs covered - but bloody work & the different Oman/UAE weekends got in the way. Again.
#Prays to HM Sultan Qaboos# Pretty please change our weekend to Friday & Saturday. Calls back home & trips away would be SO much easier if this was the case...

And thats all for now folks, hopefully I will have some time to add more details on Thursday. Masalaama!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Qurum traffic

Does anyone know what the frick is going on in Qurum business district? Traffic has been backed up for days and the area opposite QCC and Muscat International School seriously brings me to tears. I don't even get road rage, but seriously the number of douchebags out there who cut across multiple lanes OR taxi drivers who have the nerve to cart passengers and risk their lives is beyond me!

Normally it would take me 5 mins to get home from QCC after grabbing grocery items or heading home from the gym...but the past 2 days it has been 30+ mins in traffic each time, where I have had to daringly stare down anyone who thinks they can squeeze into my lane IN FRONT OF ME from 2 lanes over. The hardcore Maori in me wants to start doing the haka mid traffic, but I live in a country where you can supposedly be arrested for "giving the bird" (did I tell you that one time [at band camp] I was pulled over for having a dirty car?). True story.

Anyway, this was the result of having a fly young Bvlgari-blinged out lass in front of me who wouldn't let the beamer chick in front of her = the age old Muscat battle to merge.

The picture doesn't do the situation justice at all, I'm ashamed but hey, I never professed to being Ansel Adams or Salim Al Harthy.

This was repeated by every frickin' driver out on the roads in Qurum today - Lord help me if I have to come home from that direction for the rest of the week.
THE GYM CAN WAIT!!! Roll on Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred @ home dvd*.

*After tonights meal of homemade hamburgers, washed down with Peroni that is ;)


As someone who hires & fires, reading the newspaper here never ceases to make me cringe.

Probably THE worst one I have seen here read like this:
Executive Secretary - must be non-married, preferably Philippino or Sri Lankan, attractive and personable, with 5+ years experience.

And enough with the hotmail, gmail & yahoo domains for work email addresses. It ISN't professional at all people! Get a domain already!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mango Mania - don't mind if I do!

I have officially died and gone to heaven...> 100 varieties of mangoes all under one roof = me roaming around Lulu squeezing & prodding & sniffing mangoes like there is no tomorrow!!! I love mangoes so much that Duma even gave me the nickname Mango once (pehaps stemming from my ability to devour them in seconds), but unfortunately it never caught on with the rest of my friends. But my mango fetish is now out in the open and I'm embracing it with both hands and an open mouth:)

So my mission for today, should I choose to accept it (which I will!), is to go to Lulu and buy more freezable containers so that I can join the mango train and start slicing & dicing those babies up for the mango shortage that will inevitably hit us hard! And when I say us, I mean me. Duma doesn't eat the things (thank the Lord, more for me).

Shoutout to my Mum - you would be so proud - I just need a bottle of Galliano to marinate them in and all will be good with the world :)
We will enjoy them with champagne on Christmas Day just as if we are home and eating yours!

Love you for all the evers Ma x

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two worlds collide

Duma sent me an interesting article this morning and I thought I would share, given it involves our old and new homes.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Did someone say "Birthday Bonanza" ???

So tomorrow I get another year older and supposedly that means wiser. As my wonderful other 1/2 has suggested, it is my year for a week-long "Birthday Bonanza" and since I have work tomorrow and class in the evening, it all starts tonight...

* Nice meal out for the birthday planned = check!
* Staying up until 12.01am to open my 1st (non-surprise) gift - check check!
* 47 degree day - crossing fingers it doesn't happen!!
* Surprise birthday festivities all week = TBA !!!
** UFC 114 Quinton Rampage Jackson vs Sugar Rashad Evans May 29th - marking Birthday Bonanza Week-eve; it is all a little too perfectly planned if you ask me!

Ok so it won't be an entire week of celebrating my fabulous and miraculous birth (I did technically die on the table and almost kill my mother, so I'm entirely too far off though - cue tiny violins), but supposedly this weekend is all about me. Duma has professed that turning 21 again is extra special this year since my last birthday (also celebrated in Muscat, though we were holidaying at the time) was a low low low-key event....or was it me that kept reminding him for months after that it was so? ;)

It is common back home to bring in a cake when it is your birthday, although I have never understood why this is the case - I have to bake/buy my own cake and share it with others? I have to stand around with (some) people I don't like (and mostly likely vice versa) and make idle chit chat while we awkwardly smile and eat cake??? Bah humbug.

In Oman am I expected to "do the needful" (gotta love that phrase) and bring a cake, chocolates, sweets, lunch etc to work in celebration of my birthday? When people have a baby here - they apparently bring sweets and offer everyone in the office. When Duma's colleague bought a new car - everyone enjoyed chocolates on his behalf that were offered around by the company's fine "Tea Specialist".

So people, what to do...oh what to do?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fancy a ham sandwich?

Duma was slightly hungover yesterday and as a result, we did absolutely nothing yesterday...nada...zilch! It was great to recharge the batteries, as I'm currently recovering from getting too much sun and we are both a little rundown.
I think the day consisted of couch surfing, facebooking, Grey Anatomy watching and ordering in Mumtaz for dinner :)

Lazy much???

I was, however, sent to the shops to get some food for lunch and the request was for a cheese, tomato and ham toasted sandwich. Now normally this would be an easy one to rustle up back home, a no brainer really and not a delicacy of any kind. But here? Ham isn't your wallet's friend - ham is like gold to a non-Muslim. Ham is like that expensive pair of Jimmy Choo heels or that new set of golf clubs or that ring you have been eyeing in the jewellery store see it, you want it, you envision that your life would be better with it...but you just can't justify it and totally lose out when you do a quick cost-benefit analysis in your own head.

But on this occasion, Duma was getting what he wanted and logic was thrown out the window. And that is ok, because he is the finance guy in the relationship.

After much too-ing and fro-ing about which ham to get and how much, I settled for 5 slices of fancy honey ham. The guy even sliced a piece and let me taste it (I thought it was a trick, can I eat this in here?) and it was lush...we have not eaten ham since we were back home 5 weeks ago! It is the little things in life isn't it?

Anyways, he hands me the package and wow...I almost choked on the remnants I was still chewing on. Guess how much it costs me? (I should have taken a photo of the sticker, but I don't have that BB Bold 9700 yet).

Drum roll...

5 slices (lets just say 6, since I got to eat one) = 5.9 RO = AUD$17.50!!!
I almost died, but in Duma's state I knew he needed it and there was no going back.

We managed to make 4 small toasted sandwiches with 3 slices of ham, so there are 2 slices sitting in the fridge and I will be damned if they end up developing fur like the cucumber and lettuce does in our house. I'm fairly sure that Duma was going to sneakily head home for lunch and devour the rest, and for nearly 18 freakin' dollars I hope he does!

Oh and don't get me started on baby spinach leaves, are they watered in God's tears for that price??? I for one am waiting for the copious boxes of Indian mangoes that I have heard so much about!!! Bring on Mum's galliano-soaked mangoes and champagne ;)

The ways of the world, a cup of tea & a crazy kid!

This weekend was pretty choc-a-bloc and gone in the blink of an eye - why is that always the case for weekends yet the working week drags on? And as our weekend ends, most of yours are just beginning. I'm still getting used to waking up for work on a Saturday...I don't think I will ever get used to that.

1/2 of Thursday was spent at a work function, which was really nice...apart from the crazy kid who stalked Duma and I all day and was fortunate enough to not get punched in the face or used as a training dummy for us to practice our UFC moves. This kid looked like the epitomy of in-breeding gone wrong - big ears, big teeth and the thickest monobrow I have ever seen...he followed us all day and kept staring at us saying "craaaaaaaazy" while he made this scary clown face and tossed his head from side to side. Seriously, he doesn't realise how close he came to the biggest ass-kicking of his young life, but we felt like family day probably wasn't the right time to put him in his place!

Anyway, the day was totally different to what I'm used to back home for work functions - which would normally consist of after work drinks or a BBQ, more drinks, mingling and maybe the odd prize here or there. If you are lucky there would be 1 major prize drawn at the end of the day and your chances of winning were minimal.

Here, that isn't how they do things. All the strings are pulled and people expect that they are getting something purely for showing up (which includes bringing their immediate family, additional wives, cousins, parents etc). Everyone has their own entourage it seems. There were LCD's up for grabs, laptops, perfume, vouchers, name it, it was a prize. It was amazing, it was surprising, it was intoxicating...clapping and shouting 'mabrook' everytime someone's name or employee number was called and seeing their excitement. My cheeks were so sore from smiling and seeing everyone so caught up in the moment.

Now, for me this happy day also presented a sad moment of realisation. At work we have a few men who are referred to as "Tea Boys" who are contractors. I don't like the term Tea Boy, since these are grown ass men with families and making tea is far from the only thing they do. I was hoping to see these men there but I avoided asking them last week if they woud be going, on the off chance that they were not invited.

I was so happy when I saw them there on the day, I feel as though they are underappreciated and treated like the ugly step-child and it really erks me. Sitting in the men's tent with Duma, we watched one of them make a cup of tea and I said "I'm pleased that just for once, he gets to make and enjoy a cup of tea for himself. I really hope he wins a prize today". (He is the main guy on my floor, so he is the darling who brings me piping hot coffee at the same time each day).

Anyway, off he trots with his cup of tea, smiling to us as he walks away. And then reality sets in - he didn't make that cup of tea for him, on his day off he is still making tea for people and carrying boxes and running errands. Duma also pointed out that this guy wasn't likely to get a prize since clearly he doesn't have an employee number and wasn't given a corresponding ticket :( My heart sank.

It made me sad because he is the most lovely guy and deserves to be treated like a human being and entitled to his own time. Time is one of our most precious things because we don't ever get it back once its gone its gone. I'm almost certain that he wasn't paid for the extra day of work either, but that I cannot confirm.

But in my fleeting moment of sadness and guilt for being afforded more opportunities simply because of who I am and where I'm from, I saw him smile. I saw him giggle and grin, a grin so big and wide that it warmed my heart. He was watching the kids playing a game, running and falling over and out of control. I don't know if he was smiling because he was thinking about his own kids back home, if he was just happy to be amongst a crowd of people, or if he was so overwhelmed by the innocence of kids playing and having fun. Either way, that moment was the single best moment of the weekend for me. He has such a kind smile and Duma and I made a pact that so long as our prize wasn't a 32-inch LCD, we would give it to him.

After a few more hours, we decided to leave the event early as it was just too hot and we had other plans later in the day. So imagine my surprise when this morning I walk into the office and am told to go and draw my lucky dip for my prize,which we were entitled to since we were there for at least 1/2 the day. I won a 50 RO (AUD$150) petrol voucher, which will surely last me all of about 9 months! I asked my collegue whether the Tea Man would have been given a prize and she said that everyone had considering there were so many. On the walk back to my office, I ran into him and asked if he got a prize. He beamed and told me that we had won the same prize and I was so totally made my day.

And for those of you not in Oman...just to put this into context - 50 RO is probably about 1/3 of his monthly salary - whereas that would be what most of us expats spend on 1 ball ticket, getting our hair done or on a new outfit.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ever seen an Omani "Mullet" ???

Best described as the off-spring of a jerry curl and rats tail...all business up the front in all their curly but groomed and perfectly 'edged' glory, with a distinctive 'tail' at the back. Think of an early Michael Jackson meets Billy Ray Cyrus singing "Achy Breaky Heart", meets Wesley Snipes from the movie "Blade" (the precise edgework/trim, not the flat-top)...that's it!

They are known to travel in packs and are all the rage at Muscat City Centre on a Thursday night.

Tend to be worn by (but not limited to) young men between 14 - 25, wearing bling-bling bejewelled jeans reminiscent of Ed Hardy, and too much hairspray and/or gel.

I was fascinated and dying to sneakily snap a photo of one, but the boys were so amused by Duma and all his white/tall glory (I won't take any credit for the staring, it was all about D) that they were just as equally taken by us as we were by them.
I guess you could say that we shared a mutually satisfying few moments, extended the old "head/chin lift" of respect and went on about our business.

** Tangent for the day - how GOOD is it to be able to walk through the malls now, given there is no smoking indoors? Hooray! And I digress **

So, why didn't I think to get a photo WITH them you ask? Because my current crackberry doesn't have a camera - the shame! Which is precisely why I am waiting for my 9700 to arrive in the mail (a recent purchase after getting jealous of Duma's new fancy shmancy gadget of an HTC Legend for his birthday). Let the fun times begin when I get that baby, it is going to be full steam ahead with Facebook uploads and paparazzi moments.

So don't fret, if we can bear the crazy crowds again (seriously, is the whole of Muscat shopping at Carrefour on a Thursday night?) I may just have to venture back to MCC in a couple of weeks to get a sneaky peak shot for you...which is pretty much a done deal now that La Senza is open and I'm overdue in paying Zara and MAC a visit :)

Trust me, it will be worth the wait...Omani mullets are stare-worthy and mouth-openingly awesome!

Monday, April 19, 2010


It has apparently been 2 whole months since my last confession...How in the hell did that happen!?!?! That doesn't even sound right, but I suppose I have been out for the count, all for no good reason.

But seriously, I just haven't had anything substantial to say. I haven't had anything new to report. Other than a swing by old London town and a mosy on down to the Land of Oz, life for us has pretty much been business as usual. Until now.

We have booked to go to Bali in early October for our good friends' wedding. Hip hip hooray for holidays and good times! Roll on jam jar cocktails, cheaper than cheap all day spa appointments, the Hens/Bucks night, staying with 5 other awesome people in a private villa, oh and of course THE WEDDING :)

*slaps self out of future holiday daydream bliss*
Now to focus! I have hit the wall, am brain-dead due to trawling through boring HRMS data and am in deserate need of a strong, frothy and delicious caffeine fix just so that I can muster up enough energy to make it to training tonight. Or, do I flag training, suck it up and make my 58670312590 millionth visit to the Nawras & Oman Mobile stores (this week), to sort out my ongoing Blackberry issues?

Why in this part of the world are customer service people so incompetent BUT oh so nice while they are at it??? It makes it near impossible for me to be mad at them over a basic issue. And exhale........

Moving on, I dedicate this 'return of the Mac' post to 2 friends who kicked my proverbial blogger-butt into gear. 1 with the ever sweet "please blog, I miss reading you". The other with an eloquent "hurry up and bloody write something, I now have nothing to distract me from work".

And so...I have emerged from the dust and re-joined the blogging cosmos. Did you miss me?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I *heart* UFC

I'm so excited - UFC 112 is going to be in Abu Dhabi @ the outdoor Concert Arena, Ferrari World Theme Park, Yas Island Saturday, 10th April!

Let us pray.
Dear Lord, please watch over Duma and I as we search high and low for tickets to the event. Let those who see read our plea on Facebook, Blogger and Buzz pass on the helpful information that we need to buy the much coveted tickets. We pray that we will be able to get the time off work, that our employers won't mind that we will have only one week earlier returned from our trip back home, and that they will encourage our desire to watch some serious a$$ kicking.
Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.

I know this post has nothing to do with anything but Duma and I seriously love us some UFC - we watch the replays in the morning over our conservative breakfast of coffee and vegemite toast, and we religiously follow the Ultimate Fighter shows too. Never heard of Kimbo Slice? That guy will give you a heart attack without even throwing a punch, by simply removing his shirt and opening his mouth *stares blankly*

This mofo seriously does NOT play around. Check him out on YouTube, he is stone cold!

So anyway, a little while ago I was told by a friend here that I must be hiding some 'nuts' somewhere in my bag of tricks since I guess I have tom-boyish tendencies (LOVE my cargo shorts, wearing baseball caps, I drink beer and follow sports). Oh but don't get it twisted, I can totally rock some heels and pink lippie (J* - that one you gave me is actually working for me!)...when I speak MAC it isn't the Apple I'm referring to ;)

Its just too bad really for all those people who believe that I should be sitting at home knitting a jumper or cooking Duma's dinner, because I totally dig the camaraderie and dedication shown in the UFC (hate the chatter and trash talking, but its all part of the promotion). I have a college friend from the States, Mark Munoz, who fights and I have been following his career ever since we graduated. An amazing wrestler, family man and all around good guy.

While Mark and Kimbo won't be fighting at UFC 112, I don't care. I don't care what the card is for the night, all I know is that we want tickets and we want them BAD! So if anyone knows how I can get some, I will be your best-friend if you share the knowledge.

Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top. There, is that girlie enough for you? ;)

** Edited** Mark might be fighting after all, but its yet to be confirmed. All the more reason to go now!!!

*** Edited again *** Mark IS fighting so we are hoping to get the hook-up - YES! ***

Monday, February 1, 2010

Under your skin?

I think I have a fan / a hater / a nemesis / a blogger foe?

Stilletos - I'm posting especially for you today, because according to you I am not much of a blogger as I have been AWOL this week. Touche, you hit the nail on the head, I'm not a career blogger - kudos for that bright pick up. You get a gold star, two more and you can take the yellow bus to school ;)

Unlike you, I have a fulfilling and enjoyable LIFE in my part of the Gulf and while we are at it...I don't enlist the services of a grown ass man / houseboy to do my housework for me. It isn't because I can't, it is because I'm above doing that when I don't need one. Oh, and maybe my houseboy money is feeding the people in Haiti, just another dig for you ;)

It makes me giggle actually, that I apparently hit a nerve with a woman who "doesn't care" about lil' old me or Haiti...but appreciated the increased blog traffic nonetheless. You are welcome my dear, I guess its probably refreshing to have some people stop by who aren't brain-washed or obsessed with Obama, but have a genuine opinion about life in the Middle East, as opposed to those who bow down to your Jimmy Choos - or are they stilletos of the extremely high clear-heeled kind???

Anyway, I appreciate that whilst posting about your bitch-switch today (a mutual follower gladly let me know, I didn't venture into Cowsville I can assure you) that you thought enough about lil' old me? But you aren't getting another award.

Don't flatter yourself. From one non-serious blogger to another, your douchebag award was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I retired it when you won. Hung your jersey from the rafters and announced it to the world. There will never be another douchebag like you.

Who do you think you are, Taylor Swift cleaning up at the Grammys? You don't get two awards in one week for a repeat bitchy performance.

That is all...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Douchebag Blogger of the Day Award...

Goes to *drum roll* Stilletos In The Sand.

Now, it isn't 'polite' for me to link to her blog, but those of you that care enough to know how mad I am right now will search for it...and I guess I will bypass polite later in this post by backing up my rants (which I'm sure will backfire on me later). Better not rat me out readers ;)

She didn't win the award because she hates Obama - I won't get into politics as that is as taboo as religion, which is the other thing I won't get into. She is entitled to her opinion, as I am mine (who cares if he does a good job, the US finally realised a Black President *fist pump*).

It isn't because she wants breast implants, a tummy tuck or flaunts the fact that she has a 'Houseboy' (who is a grown man with a wife and many kids, might I add) who has not been home to see them in 3 years...yet talks about him like he is the shite on her toast. That must make you feel better Stilletos?

It isn't the fact that she is about to become a Grandmother, yet she is constantly talking about the tummy tuck and breast lift and the personal 'fluffing' she will get courtesy of her husband's wage (gross!).

And it isn't the fact that she has 'polls' for the public to answer when she and her hubby have a tiff OR she has something poignant to say...ok ok so I kind of think that is funny and would like to know how to do a poll on my blog!?!?!

BUT IT IS because:

She openly admits she doesn't care about Haiti...and she shouldn't necessarily 'care' but the fact that she goes on to say things like "America will look like that soon" - as IF! 50% literacy levels in America? How about you just go get a tummy tuck and breast implants with your poverty Stilletos?

Check out the comments here where she openly says "As bad as I feel for the children getting "all shaken up," the best thing that could happen to Haiti is for another couple of rumbles to happen and then for someone to take a coat of paint to the place. Start all over."

Are you *F'n* kidding me? You are about to be a Grandmother and you are talking about innocent children in a country where they have braved the odds just to be alive prior to the earthquake...then you talk about another couple of 'rumbles' and a coat of paint? SHAME on you!!! Don't donate...that is your choice...and I guess so is freedom of speech *insert my rant & wrath*...but you are welcoming your children's chidren into this world and more worried about boobs than dead bodies...WOW?!?!?! You must sleep well at night. Go buy some more pink booties and knit a sweater, oh thats might ruin your manicure!

And then Stilletos talks about the devastation in Haiti in the same breath as the "shortage of maids in Saudi"?!?!?! Seriously? Even if you are joking, that fact that you put that out into the cosmos makes you a douchebag of utter proportions! Stroke your fake breasts and fluffy furry kids and go and berrate your houseboy while you are at it why don't you? Make you feel better? Oh Lord, please pass me more Semillon Sauvignon Blanc!!!

I digress people. Disagree or agree with me, I don't care. Just FEEL for the people around the world who are trying to live day by day that have done NOTHING wrong and have never known what its like to have ANYTHING!!!

Or if you are Stilletos in the Sand, bury your head in that silly red sand and put those designer clothes on under your abaya, make your appointment with the surgeon and buy your Grandchild some expensive items...because you are alive and can.

You are a Douche!!! And I'm spent...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Points of Contrast

So far today has been a good day - a combination of walking a measly 5k along Qurum beach front and then drowning myself in coffee - both of which are apparently normal Winter activities for Home Executives such as myself (yes, I'm still waiting for my supposed work visa AND subsequently looking at other jobs as a plan B) here in Muscat. There is something to be said for 25 degree celsius weather in winter.

But I gotta admit that my heart is a little heavy today. Sipping on my extra large peppermint tea and munching on my Banana Nut granola bar (yum) gets me thinking about how great my life is and how blessed we are to be 'here'(both geographically and emotionally). In our corner of the world there has been 2 significant things occur of late - Monday's decapitation-style execution in Saudi Arabia...and news in the UAE of Sheik Issa being found 'not guilty' of torture (amongst other horrible things) whilst under the influence of drugs, though somehow avoiding arrest for all crimes including the latter!

This region truly is a place of contrast - the good, the bad and the ugly. And whilst there is much good going on, its unfortunate that today I'm focusing on the ugly...but it is what is current and on my heart right now.

On one hand a person *insert brother of the current UAE ruler* gets off scott free for the likes of torture and supposedly one of the most progressive and liberal countries in the Middle East. Then just a hop, skip and a jump away their neighbour is carrying out 'justice' in Chop Chop Square. I'm gob smacked.

I have said it before but people in Australia often complain about Perth being small...about it lacking the lights, camera, action and all that jazz. But it has its own appeal - the beaches, the laid back lifestyle, the people and its safety (other than Northbridge at night) and yes - it is the most isolated city in the world BUT it is charming and a great place to raise a family, while enjoying nature at its best.

Oman is a lot like Perth, which is why I refer to it as the Perth of the GCC. It is picturesque in parts, it is laid back 99% of the time (100% when it comes to my work visa) and it is a great place to raise a family. Noone is threatened by Oman and Oman isn't threatened by anyone else, we tend to mind our business and are safe here, also steering clear of the results of 'little man syndrome' which is apparent in Dubai with the million skyscrapers and always having to build the next world's biggest thing.

We are lucky where we are right now and today I totally get that and I'm thankful. I walked 5k along a beach front, soaked up the sun and didn't have to wear an abaya. I was accepted in my 'tomboy attire' of cargo shorts, t-shirt, hat and runners. I was able to drive myself there and pay for my own coffee, able to chat openly with a friend about life and gossip, fortunate to make it home irrespective of the hundreds of terrible drivers in traffic, and I will thankfully be lucky enough to enjoy a glass of wine tonight and sigh because my life is good.

I love Oman! Thank God Duma took a job here in Oman and not in the UAE or Saudi.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Degrees of Separation

Today has been a good day, for many reasons. But one reason in particular is that I was reminded of just how small Oman is and how everyone knows everyone (don't get worried fellow bloggers in Oman - I don't know who you all are just yet!)...and this was a good reminder, not one of the "oh no she didn't say that about me" *finger snap* 'damn, everyone knows my business' type reminder.

Back in the day I worked for many years for Fitness First and through that job I met heaps of cool people from all over the world. Its great when some of them become good friends and you stay connected on a deeper level, but its also great when some are purely acquaintances but it all comes full circle eventually at a later time in your life.

I met *S as he hung out with some of the guys I was friends with through the gym, and they all trained together. Pretty hardcore actually, but they weren't the roids guys or 'meatheads' who would check themselves out in the land of endless mirrors, snarl, drop their weights on the floor, or grunt endlessly...they were just a nice bunch of guys who all trained really hard and ate religiously at the chicken & rice place in the Carillion Arcade in the city (leanest chicken ever! Wow I miss that place) whilst chatting about what a legend Ronnie Coleman was (IS!), the latest training techniques, Musashi protein drinks etc etc. Anyways, *S and I would often exchange pleasantries, chat from time to time, I would berrate him for forgetting to bring his ID card to swipe in (and make me break the rules by letting him in without it), and such was the friendship. I never knew where he was from, just knew he was an international student and studying in Perth, looked like he could have been anything from Persian to Egyptian to everything else, but I never asked 'what' he was as it didn't matter...Australia is like that...a melting pot of cultural backgrounds and nationalities.

So I'm chatting on FB today with a friend, one of the guys *S was friends with in the gym days, and he tells me that *S is from Oman, Muscat actually! You have got to be kidding me, thats awesome and I would love to catch up with him. I get a friend suggestion with *S's profile and low and behold he is living in Paris now, but hey, I will request him as a friend anyways.

I hear back from him immediately and we are re-connected, happy days :) Here we are chatting about Jebel Shams, the best shwarma places and whether or not I have gotten used to the staring here (yes, I stare back) and then he sends a FB private message to me and another girl (also from Perth) so that we can get to know one another and I can make a friend...and low and behold I met her at a friend's Xmas Eve dinner party. THE WORLD IS SO SMALL!

I'm not sure if you all know the concept of Six Degrees of Separation, but it refers to a 'web' or number of steps or connections that we all presumably 'know' any other person in the world...but here in Oman and Perth is sure feels like 2-3.

Its been a great day to re-connect with some cool people, re-live the past, and appreciate that things do come full circle eventually.