Friday, March 23: This morning I start my walk at 8:00 a.m., a little late here in Oman because it is now baking hot outside as soon as the sun comes up. I usually walk along my little 4km walking trail, but this morning I decide to walk up the main road through Firq, the town adjoining Nizwa, where all the businesses are lined up on either side of the road. I don’t normally think this an interesting walk, but I think my readers might like to see the kinds of businesses that operate in this town.
It has been very dusty weather here in the last 4 days. There’s a constant haze in the air, causing many of my colleagues to suffer with respiratory problems. Luckily I’ve been spared. I wonder if this dusty haze is because we haven’t had any rain in a good long while. The last time I experienced rain in Oman was in early November, right before the Eid. When I went to Salalah in late January with my sons, I heard there was some rain in Muscat, but where I was driving through the Empty Quarter, there was not a drop in sight.
Can you imagine this? In a place where there is little vegetation and an abundance of rocks and dirt, it’s no wonder there isn’t a constant dust haze in the air. I don’t know how long this will last, but it isn’t pleasant, I’ll tell you that.
I’m not sure you can see the haze in the air in these pictures. The one with the Nissan truck above shows it. Usually Oman has clear blue skies and not a single cloud.
I park my car at the Al Diyar hotel, the first place I stayed upon my arrival in Nizwa. I start my walk, past the Nissan dealership, then past the Majan car wash and the Shell station where most of us stop for petrol or Nawras (phone or internet) cards. Then I pass a colorful little restaurant where I’ve never eaten.
Majan FurnitureS is the furniture store used by the university to furnish our flats. This is where I bought my purple futon. I love how sometimes non-English speakers make plurals out of non-count nouns.
Bank Muscat is the bank of choice for the university. Our salary is paid into our accounts here. This particular branch houses the ATM machine that double-charged me for a 100 rial withdrawal ($270 twice, or $540, when I only got $270!!). What a hassle that was, but I finally got reimbursed!!
The Falaj Daris Hotel is the nicest hotel in town, with two pools, a poolside restaurant, a bar that caters to Westerners, and a gym. Attached to one side of the hotel is an Arab bar and a Hindi bar. I’ve spent many nights here meeting friends or colleagues for a drink or two. I know I can come here to escape the loneliness that is part and parcel of the expat life.
Many nights we sit outside at the Turkish restaurant at plastic chairs and tables set up in the parking lot, with a football game on the big screen. Now that it’s getting hot, we probably won’t be doing this much.
I finish my walk about 9:30, drenched in sweat. After a shower, I put on my pajamas and stay inside my flat the rest of the day, where I nap and dream of flowers and trees and rain….. 🙂