Three Things Thursday; ancient things of Oman

Q: What do you do if you’re a fast-developing oil economy with outrageously beautiful natural resources caught in a slowdown ?

A: Turn to tourism and hope you can successfully diversify in time to stop it all going down the pan.

Winter Is Coming. And in Oman this is time for great celebration. We can finally venture out of the house during daylight hours without the fear of being burned up like vampires. The Eid holiday at the start of September gave me an opportunity to take advantage of this and head through the Hajjar mountains and into the Interior for a couple of days. In my inimitable “explore-by-random-accident-rather-than-any-conspicuous-planning”style, what I encountered was glorious and wholly unexpected. Wonderful for me, problematic for the country unless it seeks to dramatically expand its capacity and infrastructure for tourism.

With few road signs and little in the way of a comprehensive guide to reaching and enjoying the best of Oman, I cobbled together a great couple of days’ of exploring. In the spirit of sharing, here are three…

… wonderful ancient sights in Oman. More

Oman green update

It’s been six months! I can hardly believe it, but it’s a year since I left Korea, six months since I arrived in my latest home, and about two months since the heat began to ease off enough to allow for exploration. And the first thing I needed to explore, quite desperately, was a recycling centre.

Yes, since my last post about keeping carbon-footprint conscious in Oman, progress has been slow, but significant. Happily, this is not only true for me personally but also in wider society, where energy conservation is being nurtured. As the oil price slump continues and Oman seeks to diversify, belts are being tightened, expats are flooding home, and the answer to a number of problems is decidedly Green. More

Travels and changes

How much can change in six years? Well, it turns out pretty much everything. Hair colour (used to be kind of brown-and-blonde, now obnoxious red over far too much grey), goals (didn’t really have anything specific in mind other than ‘travel’ and ‘have adventures’, now aiming for early retirement somewhere warm with a farm and a goat), hobbies (used to be dancing at every opportunity, now brewing tropical ciders in my broom cupboard and tropical compost in my garden) and a host of other superficial and more profound things.

A younger me in pursuit of adventures. Shortly pre-CELTA

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Run day Monday: Worldwide WordPress 5k (wwwp5k)

The start of the WordPress community’s Worldwide 5km community blog n’ run coincided precisely with this month’s runday Monday, so rather than a new route, I did an old route at a new time of day and hit the road early.

MSQ 6kmMap courtesy of Mappedometer.com. Route 539820.

Well – early-ish. I intended to set out by 8am but eventually got out there at 9.30am. The temperature already read 31°c and humidity was at around 75%.It was pretty hot, but nowhere near as bad as the height of summer. More

Three Things Thursday

This month for your added-value delight I present…

…three more great museums in Seoul.

After a period on peculiar working hours in my last job, I found myself with three months of Friday afternoons going spare and undertook to visit a different museum every week. My top three museums were wrapped up in a Three Things post that proved enduringly popular, but there were other, equally interesting and beautifully put-together museums, three of which I’m sharing here.

This time, it’s a combination of ancient and modern history which, taken together, furnished me with some invaluable cultural reference points and a much greater appreciation for a number of aspects of the national psyche. It also gave me a lot to talk about with Korean friends and students who appreciated the interest in their history, culture, and language. More

Three Things Thursday; Food in Oman

I’ve landed in a totally new destination which has confounded all my expectations in wonderful ways. As always, my best settling-in technique is to dive in mouth-first, so this month here are three more…

Dried food

Dried dates, dried bread, dried fish, dried milk balls, dry black lemon powder

…unusual nutritional items.

Amazing Iranian restaurant

Amazing Iranian restaurant

One thing I’m really enjoying about living in Muscat is what a multicultural city it is. This has its perks and downfalls, but compared to the places I’ve lived in the last five years, there’s greater level of diversity, and this is most easily appreciable in the food on offer. The slowly returning Omani diaspora from Baluchistan and Zanzibar bring fusion Arabian / South Asian and Arabian / African dishes. There’s also a wealth of Iranian food from our neighbours across the Strait of Hormuz, famous for their sweets. My nearest cheap meal out is an eye-popping Iranian restaurant which I mistook for a light fittings shop at first glance. And I’m in my personal food heaven as the huge Indian expat community dominates food outlets and supermarket options.
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EnvirOman

There are a number of reasons that, on the surface, a move to Oman for a feminist environmentalist seemed like more of a challenge than other choices available and attracted various reactions of surprise and concern from family and friends. In fact, as my pre-move research revealed, Oman is quite a laid-back country with a harmonious live-and-let-live attitude. I certainly fare no worse here based on my gender than in other far-flung parts of the world. Some of my clothing choices have altered somewhat, but little more so than in subtly Confucian-influenced east Asia. Environmental lifestyle choices, however, are extremely limited. Today, I’m sharing my discoveries so far.

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Run day Monday: Shatti Al Qurum bike-run-swim

Shatti Al Qurum bike – run – swim: run 6.5km

Shatti Al Qurum bike run swimMap courtesy of Mappedometer.com. Route 522054.

And lo, it came to pass that the Parrot did become totally addicted to running on the beach. Indeed, once she found a house in a quiet neighbourhood a good half hour walk away, she fired up the trusty Bicycle and cycled to beaches just so she could run on them. And then… she realised that nothing cooleth one down so much after a great run in ridiculously high temperatures than jumping in the handy sea fully clad so that the damp clothes would keepeth one cool on the cycle ride home. And thusly… a triathlon dream was born.

Idyllic island

Idyllic island

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Of goats and forts

Fort view over Nizwa

Fort view over Nizwa

Everyone loves a goat. And surely every traveller enjoys a good fort, too. My recent travels have included both, together, in two different countries and very different parts of the world.
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Around Vietnam by coffee

I may have previously mentioned (harped on about, bored everyone to tears with) my love of Vietnamese coffee. Not only is it thick, potent and delicious, it’s also cheap and can be presented in a stunning array of visual and gustatory styles.

Traditional drip coffee

Traditional drip coffee

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