Monday, December 17:  This evening, right after work, Neziha from Tunisia, Anne from France, and I go on our own little multicultural drive to attend the InterNations gathering at the Lazy Lizard Lounge at the Radisson Blu in Muscat.  This is the same venue where I met the famous Joanna Lumley on October 15 (absolutely fabulous: a surprise encounter with patsy stone 🙂).

We arrive early, grab a table outside, and order some cauliflower soup to warm up.  Finally, the weather is cool in the evenings in Oman!  We eat and chat and, of course, I have a glass of wine while we wait for the event to start at 7:00.  Since we are some of the first 100 ladies to arrive, we each get a little gift box: a festive-looking tin with nail polish and makeup in it.

I’m not usually good at these kinds of events where I don’t know anyone.  Once I get to know people I can be quite lively, but when I don’t know anyone, I tend to be a sort of wallflower.  Luckily, Neziha is quite connected at InterNations, so she draws a crowd.  We meet a young guy from Syria, a girl from Azerbaijan, guys from Palestine, Bangladesh, Greece, and even Brooklyn.

The night is crisp and the appetizers are … popcorn.  We ask the waiters if popcorn is to be our only snack for the evening; no, they tell us, something more is to come.  Later, they bring us some bruschetta, which I proceed to gobble down, sprinkling myself and my clothing with bits of tomato and onion.

I get into a long conversation with the Palestinian guy who is so in love with Prague, Czech Republic that he plans to move there and start a business.  It’s funny, because I have been enamored with the idea of Prague for quite some time, so he got me thinking about a possible trip there IF we get a week off in January. It would be cold, of course, but I haven’t experienced cold in nearly 2 years and wouldn’t mind it one bit.

The night ends early (9:30) for Anne and I as we have to drive 1 1/2 hours back to the exciting & cosmopolitan Nizwa.  I arrive back home around 11:15, at which time I realize I forgot to bring my little gift box home. 😦

I guess there will be no gifts for me this holiday season.  Except, the best gift of all: the arrival of my sons and husband in Oman on January 1. 🙂