Friday, March 30: Tonight James has organized a BBQ to celebrate the visit of two of our neighbors’ wives from faraway lands.  There are five of us from the university who all live quite happily in the Abu Nooh Building in Nizwa: James,  Malcolm, David, Stephen and me. James, Malcolm and David are British (well, James is officially Scottish), and Stephen and I are the token Americans.

James and his asador

James and his asador

This weekend, Malcolm’s wife Sandy has arrived from Great Britain; she is on spring break from the university where she teaches.  And Stephen’s wife Meri from the Philippines, with their daughter Stevanna in tow, has arrived for a visit as well.  Since James deems my apartment, with its ground floor stoop and gravel backyard, to be more appropriate for a BBQ than his second story balcony, he asks if we can have the party at my flat.  I agree.  Henceforth, the fun begins.

Stephen, happy to have his wife here... :-)

Stephen, happy to have his wife here… 🙂

James comes early to set up his tiny little BBQ in the corner of my “backyard” near the wall. He calls himself the asador, a word which I’ve never heard before.  I say to him, “I don’t know what an asador is, but I do know what an “ass” is!”  Later, I find through Google that asador is a Spanish word that means spit or rotisserie.  Another definition from Recipes to Go is: a wire mesh stovetop grill which can be used to roast vegetables over an outdoor fire or on the stovetop.  Hmmm.  So James is calling himself a rotisserie? Not the griller, but the grill?  Very strange, that.

James in his element

James in his element

James is quite the cook, as I know from tasting his culinary experiments in the past. He has prepared quite a feast: steak, sausages, kidneys (a very British thing that is NOT to American tastes…Yikes!), ribs and chicken.  All the meat is served with a sauce James calls chimichurri,  made from finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, white or red vinegar, and red pepper flakes.

Malcolm & Sandy

Sandy arrives with Malcolm; she has two excellent salads in hand.  She hands me some special gifts from England (things I requested from her): the DVD of Shirley Valentine (since I’m going to Greece this summer) and a book called One Thousand Chestnut Trees, a book about Korea by Mira Stout. She also brings me some lovely mixed field flower seeds to “create a wonderful carpet of color.”  She’s the greatest… 🙂

Sandy & James

Stephen comes with his tiny Filipino wife Meri and his adorable little girl Stevanna, who I think is 2 or 3 years old.  James has already fired up the grill, and once everyone arrives, he begins the grilling, serving up different varieties of meat at intervals throughout the night.  Sandy shows us photos on her iPad, James plays tunes (loudly) on his iPod, and Malcolm gets out his old-fashioned guitar and plays us some tunes, including Little Feat, which he seems to be quite fond of.

Sandy & me

Later, David drops by to join the fun as well. Now everyone in our building, except the Omani families, is here. We enjoy each other’s company, some wine, good food and nice (loud) tunes!  It’s so nice to have friends in a foreign land… 🙂

the candle changes like a lava lamp! Ok, I’m showing my age!

Sandy’s chameleon candle