Wednesday, January 4: Moving day! This afternoon I move into my new flat, in the Abu Nooh Building. It’s around the corner from the Al Diyar Hotel, the first place I stayed in Nizwa upon my arrival in September. To get to my new home, I must drive over seven, yes SEVEN (!), speed bumps. For a mere 15 rials, I hire Sadiq from the university to help me move, and after loading all the good stuff from my old villa into the truck, we deliver it to the new flat: my hard-as-plywood mattress, my new hard-to-come-by desk & coffee tables. My kitchen table and chairs. My clothes, my bedding, all the pictures and lamps from my shopping spree last Friday. It doesn’t take long because I don’t have much. After all, I’m a nomad. I don’t need much.
I move in, organize my stuff, and go to bed without checking out the plumbing. Thursday morning, when I get up to take a shower in the master bathroom, the faucet lever breaks off into my hand. The toilet is leaking all over one bathroom. The shower in that bathroom spews water in every direction except down; it’s like putting your thumb over a garden hose, sprinkles shooting off like fireworks. That bathroom sink’s faucet lever also breaks off in my hand. I can’t seem to get water from any of the usual suspects.
I call Sadiq, who is the university’s maintenance man and tell him he needs to come over to fix my plumbing. Now! He pretends not to understand and keeps repeating, “I’m in Muscat, miss.” I say, “I can’t go all weekend without a shower, Sadiq!! If you can’t come, you need to call a plumber here in Nizwa!” He continues to pretend he doesn’t understand and repeats, “I’m in Muscat, miss. I’ll be there Saturday.” I go around and around with him, only to get the same answer. Click. The line dies.
I decide to take matters into my own hands. I call everyone I know to find a plumber. My friend Abdullah finally delivers two Pakistani plumbers. They list all the parts I need to buy. They will come back later to install the parts for 10 rials.
I go to the plumbing store for the new parts, which set me back 40 rials! I am irritated that I have to spend my own money, but I keep my receipts because I will insist on reimbursement by the university. Later the plumbers come and fix all the broken fixtures.
Once that’s done, I’ve been inconvenienced and I’m out 50 rials (around $130). This for a place I don’t own and never will. Later, after much haggling with the university, they reimburse me for my expense. They try to put the blame on me: Why didn’t you check out the plumbing BEFORE you moved in? You should have waited until Saturday and let the university plumbers fix it. Why did you call a plumber yourself instead of calling Sadiq? The questions are endless, but eventually they reimburse me for my expense.
So, I’m in. I arrange my belongings neatly into my new flat and then start thinking about everything I will need to buy in the next 6 days to make my boys comfortable when they arrive January 10.
Stay tuned for the new and updated version!!!