Oman is big country covering a total land area of 309,500 km2. When we get a job offer to work in Oman as healthcare worker, we are often scattered around the country in different health institutions. You would be lucky to be getting a post in Muscat, the capital city where urbanisation, malls and infrastructure are situated. But most often we will be posted in healthcare institutions in the interior area of Oman. There is not much public transportation in Oman except the occasional taxis and there is a necessity of having a car for you to get around. Meet up with friends can be very challenging especially if they are located in different parts of Oman.
This is quite a new thing for me living in Iloilo City, Philippines where it is a small city and meet up with friends & family is so easy as 1-2-3. Also because when I live in Singapore, one of its advantage and strength as a country is their accessible public transportation. MRT lines, buses, taxis, Grab and Uber are available for our convenience. I can go around Singapore, meet up with friends was so easy and check out places on my own without being dependent on my husband to drive me unlike here in Oman.
I have two doctor friends who are working in different parts of Oman. We wanted to meet up for coffee and a longer time for us to chit-chat. If I want to go to Muscat City, it is roughly 2 hrs drive away. My other friend also will need to get someone to drive her from her place which is 1.5 hours away. Another friend of ours is posted in an island away from mainland. She need to ride a plane to go to Muscat. Thinking if we will meet up and to calculate the amount of time for my family to do our necessary errands in the city, adding the fact that there is a lockdown by 5PM due to the pandemic, it need us to plan to leave the city early to be back in our house, considering our two hours drive back. Meeting up with friends for coffee needs to be really planned. So we decided that we will book a hotel for that day so I can meet up with my friends for coffee. So funny that we needed to do that here so I can hang out with my friend for a bit.
We arrived in Muscat a hour before lunch time, I had lunch with my family in this nice Japanese restaurant in a mall which has became our favourite restaurant. After lunch, my hubby took our kids to an indoor playground where they can stay for around 3 hours.
I finally met up with my friends and had like 2 hours of bonding time in Starbucks in the mall. We had such a great time even if the time was limited. It is funny how we take for granted how easy and accessible it was to meet up with friends before. Its is quite challenging for us here in Oman. Unless some people I know who lives in Muscat City and have cars to drive around the city. It was 2 hours of precious time with my friends because we need to rush to buy take out food before the lockdown to reach our hotel.
We bought a large pizza from Papa John at the food court mall, stopped over at a pastry shop for some sweets and headed to the hotel. We booked at Holiday Inn because of the friendly price and proximity to the other mall where we will go to the next day.
For one bedroom, we got such a good deal of 17 OMR (prices may vary depending on the dates you book). The hotel is nice and receptionist was very friendly. The room was comfortable, clean and such a steal for the price.
After settling for a bit, we headed to the pool area for the kids to swim while hubby bought a few beers which he can’t easily buy here. There was a gym too near the pool area. Once the kids were exhausted from swimming, we headed back to our room for our takeout dinner.
The next morning, we had our breakfast buffet which came with our booking. Not bad deal, right?. Food was not bad. Not much options but it was fine for us. I was happy with my Spanish omelette which the kids was enjoying the pancake maker, where you just press how many pancakes you want. The pancake will be made by machine and it will fall into a plate.
After breakfast and bath, we packed our stuff and headed to the next mall for necessary errands and groceries. We, then, bought take out dinner and headed back 2 hours drive home.
Others Funny Things Living in Oman:
- You need a license to buy alcoholic drinks
- To buy things in some coffee shops or restaurants, you can just honk the your car horn and a server will come out to get your order
- Chips are placed inside the sandwich or flat bread. This is one of their usual snack food along with white cheese.
- The rice servings are HUGE!
- They love putting cardamom in their food
- You would often see camels and hairy sheeps crossing the road especially if you are living in the interior area of Oman
- Nap time is common here so 2PM often shops are closed and will be open by 5-6PM
- Getting a driver license here is like getting a college diploma. It is very challenging to get a driver license.
- You need to follow traffic rules or else, you need to pay a penalty fee or spend a day in jail.
- Water is scarce so for water to use at home, you need to call a water truck to refill your water tank and order drinking water bottles to be delivered in your home.
I love living in another country because you get to experience different things. If you are an expat, what are the funny and interesting things you discovered in your new home country?