Friday, January 08, 2010

51 reasons why I love Oman

I'm dating this blog in the actually blog - its 22h10 on the 8th of Januray 2010, and my reason for this is cause I want to see exactly how long it takes me to make up a list of 51 things I love about Oman. ( I was gonna make it 101 - but then realised the blog will be miles long and probably bore the hell outta you... LOL)

I have realised that I have been "kinda" negative in some of my posts - and I have had a few discussions with the kid about moving back to South Africa - but he's adamant he wants to stay here - "We can go back for a play date with my friends mom - but we have to come back here okay?" I think were his exact words - YEAH right - I'll travel that long on a plane for a play date... WAIT - dont write that off just yet - I might get that desperate one day... LOL!

Anyway - so I've now decided to list the reasons I love Oman, so you can all see it's not so bad... :)

1 - Starbucks
2 - Costa Coffee
3 - Tea Leaf and Coffee Bean .... ummmm Iced Mocha Extreme...
4 - Cafe Carribou
5 - 2 Macdonalds Drive through's RIGHT off the FREEWAYS!!! - I racked my brains and I cant think of any Mickey D's in RSA that are just on the off ramp of a free way?? anyone??? (Okay Okay - it's also inconvienent cause kiddy sees it all the time... but it is convienent! LOL)
6 - Less Fan Fare and money spent at Christmas
7 - the Driving - yes yes - can also complain about this - but it does create a few laughs at the idiots out there and its a great topic when all else fails
8 - Petrol is CHEAP... 0.120 OMR per litre - thats ZAR 2.40!!! YAY ME
9 - Cars are Cheaper... Oh I dont know the actual prices - but hubby does and he tells me they are - I know I can buy a Porsche Panamera here for the same price you would buy a lower level Toyota Landcruiser back in SA
10 - (making this another point to make up the 51!) one of the Hummers that are available here are actually manufactured in RSA - and they are cheaper here... Got love the Maximum Import Tax here... I stand under correction - but it's around 5 % I think (so I have been told - who knows!) in SA its a mathematically nightmare to work out the import tax - 100% duty + 14% VAT + 10% ad valerum tax - so thats what 124%? so a ZAR 10 000 car will have ZAR 12540 tax - so the car will really cost you ZAR 22540.
11 - Kid goes to school on a Saturday and a Sunday... LOL Oh to be able to actually SAY THAT... yes yes - no need to point out that he's then home on a thursday and a Friday
12 - Winter... YES - I say it again - WINTER... I giggle everytime I say that... its Winter here at the moment... WHAT?? WHERE?? I spent the day at the beach today - and got burnt like a lobster - cause I didn't use suntan lotion - WHY??? cause who puts on suntan lotion in Winter... yes yes (idiot!) LOL
14 - getting a ADSL phone line installed... HAH! YES... Got it within a week of application... :) YAY ME!!! and it's had one problem - and they were out and fixed within 2 hours of lodgeing the complaint... hee hee (wonder if that's the norm? or if my pretty face has wasta???) LOL
15 - School hours here run from 7h30 till 2... again YAY ME... I think for KG3 / Grade R back in SA it was 8h30 till 12h30??
16 - washing takes so quick to dry here... :)
17 - Shops are open ALL the time - okay well not literally - but all the supermarkets are open till late... :)
18 - Ladies only queues... I only recently discovered this - but there are queues in banks and shops JUST for LADIES... hee hee... nice!
19 - being able to speak a foreign language and have no one understand me... okay so this can also backfire... ;)
20 - Safe - I can walk down the street / beach at night and feel safe - I might get stared at yes - but I feel safe here whilst being stared at... LOL
21 - All the tinned food has pull off tabs... It's the lazy person in me... No need to go to the drawer and get the can opener... just pull it open.. :) LOVE IT
22 - Cafe Ceramique... yeah I promised a post ages ago - will get to it... I SO think this will WORK well in RSA - hey there ya go a biz opportunity... :)
23 - The lights on the freeway around HM the Sultan's birthday... very pretty, very well looked after
24 - Again - HM the Sultans birthday - the flowers and grass patches they put up around the city for this occasion - wow almost 2 months later and the flowers still look pretty - I guess when summer hits they will die out tho...
25 - Again - HM the Sultans birthday (can you tell I'm struggling to come up with a full list - so stretching it out?? :)) they put flags up everywhere... and unlike RSA where they would be left up to rot and never replaced - these were taken down timeously and neatly... you never even noticed the small army that must have done that...
26 - the fact that going to new places - even the local airline offices - turns into an adventure. First you have to get verbal directions, then bug someone for a wikimap, then try and get the GPS to say ANYTHING other than off route recalculting... FUN FUN FUN !!! and I get so EXCITED when I manage to find the place FIRST TIME.... :) I get so proud of myself... :) (pat on back)
27 - the fact that they work on the roads 24/7 and they are constantly changing... There's a major road work taking place here on the way to Qurum - everytime I past that junction they have changed it - one day theres a speed bump, they then realise that backs the traffic up - and over night they take it down, 2 days later they change it into 2 lanes vereing off into to different directions - so you panic as to which one to take - then they suddenly reconnect... I LOVE IT
28 - the fact that the GPS maps (well mine anyway) are not uptodate with the speed in which roads are changed here.... I hear more off route recalculating then anything else outta my GPS... LOL - okay okay - so that could also have something to do with my driving... No Comment... LOL
29 - The Total Mixing pot of nationalities here... It's great being able to meet other nationalities and find out things about them - discuss issues - even if it is things like why a Polar Bear should be clean and not dirty.... Its great - and I know my Kid is benefiting from it - he has 17 nationalities in his class of 20 and there are a total of 21 languages spoken in the class... WOW - where else can one get that type of exposure??
30 - You can go to the beach 365 days a year here... yes - even when it rains... :)
31 - they do NOT have the CAPE DOCTOR - the howling south easter that Cape Town experiences - I hated it... hardly any wind to speak of here...
32 - the beaches... thats gotta be a plus... :)
33 - OH - the snorkeling - my newly found hobbie... WOW - the seas are amazing here... well worth a visit just for that..
34 - The amount of different types of food available here - at good prices... yummo
35 - Ah almost forgot the drive thru' coffee shop... What more can a gal ask for hey... drive thru and get your cuppa...
36 - Muscat Bakery Al Khuwair (I think thats the branch) it's near me anyways - they have wraps - YUMMIE.. :) OMR 0.300 - yip ZAR 6 for this yummie wrap filled with something - I have NO FREAKEN IDEA - hubby says chicken mincey spicey whateva - then some salad and then slap chips (french fries) OH MY WORD... yummo
37 - the bread here - we just call it arabic bread - who knows what the correct term for it is... again yummo... :) erm - it looks like a pancake I guess but is more like pita breads - ie can be opened up and stuffed full of whateva.. yum yum
38 - Iraqui (does it have the u?) bread - I know the name cause I asked... :) there is a teeny weeny hole in a wall here nearby - you go in - not much there except this large round hole with a large gas fire at the bottom - you order the bread - they roll out the balls of dough - flatten it and stick it to the roof of this "oven" couple of secs later you have a yummo large piece of hot breadie / pancakey / something... flip - we end up eating it all on the way home and whatever we had made to eat with it gets stuffed in the fridge... (note to self - on the nights you dont want to cook - just go get the bread)
39 - Qurum Park - love the place - I dont go there often enough - beautiful large gardens - stunning now that all the flowers are out - large lake - you can spend your evenings there picnicing, walking, jogging, eating whateva... Now back in RSA - yes you get nice walking areas - but ask yourself this - would you go there alone with your kids after dark???
40 - Friendlyness and random acts of kindness from total strangers - yes sure they are world wide - but it seems to stick out here more.. dont ask me why
41 - did I mention the coffee culture?
42 - okay this one might sound weird... and is totally hard to explain unless you have been here - but I love the random randomness of this place... you have things all over the place, strange shops next door to weirder shops, the shop names make me giggle, seeing people on the side of a freeway on a wadi mat drinking coffee makes me smile, seeing 2 men holding hands makes me smile - randomness I tell you randomness.
(can you tell I'm struggling here... LOL)
43 - I LOVE the fact that if you are out shopping and you spot something interesting - you have to sms / call everyone you know to let them know what you have found - cause you have to BUY it then and THERE cause it will be gone within the hour... so if you see the ABC and you know X wants one BUY IT NOW! - 'cause if you call her and tell her you saw it at XYZ - she will not get there in time to get it... its weird but fun I tell you FUN - makes shopping an adventure... :D
44 - OH Almost forgot (thanks wingman) the smoking laws here... :) big plus... HAHA you can basically smoke in most places here... In malls for me was a biggie - but I have gotten over the novelty and no longer stand around like a "bergie" leaning against pillars having a fag.... I try and act with manners now... LOL
45 - okay another one that sounds good in my head... the "brain trust" as I call it - a social networking site on the internet for people who live / lived in Oman - regardless of nationality - you can get soooo much information of there its amazing - and meet a whole bunch of great people... :) no where in SA - if you join a social networking site will you meet nicer people, have accurate info, and find exactly what you need to know - I guess it boils down to the fact that Muscat itself is actually tiny - so everyone is based more or less in the same place - and not spread out in different citys etc etc.
46 - Did I mention you can swim 365??? indeed you can swim all year round... granted to water temp drops over "winter" but it drops to swimable levels not freezing levels...
47 - This one is for the kid - I know he loves this... You can sit on the floor, eating with your hands making a mess and mommy dont moan... he loves it... :) (granted I only allow that in resturants where I dont have to clean... LOL
oh bugger - running out of steam here... help
48 - I learn things here - like I have finally figured out the definition of a split second... Its the time between the traffic lights turning amber (they do that here - red amber green amber red) anyway between turning amber and the guy behind you hooting... split second
49 - There is no income tax / paye what ever you call it - granted I dont have a job... BUT if I had one it would be tax free... Now that is a good enuff reason hey... :)
50 - smokes are extremely cheap here... EXTREMELY... :) Back in RSA I think I was paying over ZAR 25 + a pack of 20 - here I'm paying around OMR 0.600 per 20 so thats what around ZAR 12.... yay ME!!!! :)

and Finally

51 - Double D, Spin Cycle, Wingman and Dave (after much debate we settled on this nick... sorry but it works...) are HERE!!!! :D Coffee buddies... Gotta love 'em... :)

Okay who spotted I didn't have a 13??? LOL

Anyways till next time...

PS - if you think of anything else positive about this place let me know... :)
PPS - its 11h30 on the 11th of January - so it did take me a while - but bear in mind I had a overseas guest - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it... :)


  1. You seem like a positive person. Really though, the weather is just great here in winter!
    Now let me think about anything else positive about this country.. hmmm.. barbequing everywhere? For me, wearing an abaya is a plus too.. << I wear a PJ when going out! yay!

  2. Reality - thanks for popping in a leaving a comment... :)

    Winter is amazing... its like summer back in RSA - okay but we dont get summer rain... LOL

    Oh the BBQ - us saffers "braai" anywhere / everywhere anyway - so thats not really a positive for me - its a norm... LOL but it is a good point...

    OH MY GOSH!!! I SO wish I had the guts to wear an abaya... was just telling one of my Omani friends yesterday I would love to dash out in my PJ's every day... :) But I dont have the guts...and will probably trip over it and knock someone out... ;)

  3. Starbucks, Costa, Coffee Bean, McDonalds, Carribou, cheap petrol, cheap smokes....

    The things you like in Oman have nothing to do with Oman itself or its people!

  4. muscati - thanks for taking the time out to read the post...

    fair comment - it's not all about Oman and it's people - but by my count its around a 50 / 50 split - or does Qurum Park, the beaches, the friendlyness, the snorkelling, the weather etc not fall under that catergory. There are also a few there that would fall under a culture heading.

    My blog was not intended to be a tourist guide - it's intended to be a Gatvol guide... :)

  5. in the voice of Clouseau of Pink Panther "I see you aare a very optismytic persson" :)
    Frankly nice list..

  6. Woohoo, I got a shout out ;)

    Don't worry, I assumed your post was tongue in cheek really and more a reference to your 'lifestyle' here for people back home than a documentary of Oman, it's people and culture.

    Also, check out Muscat Mutterings latest may have to change this one to '50 reasons' given the new non-smoking initiative?

  7. Bobby - thanks for popping in.. ;)

    Delirious - thank you also for poppin in... 'course you got a shout out.. ;)
    Re smoking laws - gonna go read it now - wingman actually contacted me today to tell me she heard about it... :( it makes me sad... LOL (and this after she was the one who reminded me off it... LOL)

  8. Hi Gatoval,

    I just came across your blog. Nice work here :).

    I don't know alot about Oman or South Africa , but I always assumed they somehow share similar things, this post kinda make them so different.

    How about posting about RSA ? would love to know more about it :)

  9. Friendlyness and random acts of kindness from total strangers - yes sure they are world wide - but it seems to stick out here more.. dont ask me why

    why? ;)

  10. hahahah thats cute and so funny... i love oman.
    from renee simonson