Monthly Archives: August 2012

Greetings from the Sultanate of Oman – As-Salāmu `Alaykum (السلام عليكم)

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We did it, we did it, we did it!

Arrived safe and well in the Sultanate of Oman after a pleasant overnight flight. The excess baggage costs almost wiped us out, financially speaking, with some 70 kg of excess bits and bobs stuffed in at the last minute. At £29 a kilo, you work out the maths. Still, a little negotiation left us just enough for a stiff drink before the big off. And, here we are!

For all those anxiously waiting of news, apologies all round but broadband and mobile connections are a little slower to get up and running out here. Nevertheless, we persevered from day one and are lucky enough to be on the internet when others are still on the waiting list. Slowly but surely we are setting up our new home and having just sold all the things from our old home, we now have to buy them all again. Essentials have to be bought because, as much as it still feels like we’re on holiday, we are now domiciled in the Gulf and will be for the next couple of years. Ask the taxman, he’ll tell you. So, we need an iron, an ironing board, knives, forks, plates, etc, etc…you get the picture. Once we have accomplished that then we will confront our other financial demons and obligations.

So, what’s it like here? This is our home.

The two windows on the far left are bedroom one and the window on the far right is the kitchen.

Oman is a beautiful country and everybody speaks good English. In fact, I can understand Omani English better than I could most of my countrymen. The Omanis are polite, courteous and kind and have not yet been blighted by negative aspects of our western culture which can only be a matter of time. Why this is not a tourist hotspot I cannot imagine. Like I say, only a matter of time before it will succumb to the mice in their million hordes – from Ibeza to the Norfolk Broads…

The one constant factor in all of this is the heat. It is hot. Not uncomfortably so because it’s autumn but it is hot by day and throughout the night. The winter will be mild at 30 degrees Celsius by day and not much less at night then, the brutal 50+ degrees Celsius during the Summer months. The weather is very predictable. It is either hot or very hot. Sometimes it can be very, very hot. It is never, ever cold.

There is so much to see and do and we will try to squeeze in as much as we can during the next two years. Even then we will be hard pressed to fit it all in but we’ll have a darn good try. For those of you waiting to come and visit, be patient because you are in for a real treat!

Insh’allah

 

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Not long now…

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As-Salāmu `Alaykum (السلام عليكم)

All fun and games at the camp site we used to call home. We have amassed a collection of suitcases and things to put in them. There is a method of ensuring that we do not incur excess baggage charges and that is, place out only the very bare essentials that you need then reduce it by half. The picture is our ‘half’ that we are left with and we propose to take the darn lot. Doesn’t look too bad, does it? Suddenly, you realise there are no clothes in the pile, or kitchen bits or toys or games or shoes or towels or toiletries or loads of other stuff we surely cannot live without. Being ruthless doesn’t really become us. We have set aside a large sum of money for excess baggage charges…

Closing down your old life can be a traumatic and expensive adventure in itself. Take good old BT for example: Having been a loyal customer of theirs for over 25 years and no longer held in any minimum contract, giving a full months notice of intention to leave, they now seek to apply charges to the end of their monthly invoicing period beyond that of the month’s notice required, they propose to charge an extra £30 to say goodbye and finish our relationship with them. Goodbye? GOOD RIDDANCE!

Now take the NHS. Over £100 to have a blood test in order to specify a blood group for an overseas driving licence and that takes at least a week. (We’ll wait and get the pinprick test over there for a fiver with results instantly); or the £30 for a doctor’s letter to get some prescription drugs over there as none will be provided for being away. These are just a few, a very few, of the reasons we decided to go. When the euphoria of the Olympics is over, prepare thyselves for this country’s inevitable depression. Ha bloody ha! Were off…

Insh’allah