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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 42, Friday - Muscat

Today was mostly a rest day (since I didn’t get a nap yesterday). In the afternoon, Hannan, Shetha, Abeer, and I went to the mall. There is one little area of the mall I call the “Seattle Corner” because right next to each other are Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, Cinnabon, Baskin-Robbins, and a Sweet Factory; three of which are originally from Seattle and we have the other two so…

After the mall, we visited Hannan’s sister and got to see some wedding pictures. After that, it was dinner time and two of Hannan’s sisters came over. By the way, they have stopped trying to give me silverware now (they offered it because they know I am use to eating with it, but I am more interested in following local customs).

We ended up talking about weddings and they wanted to know how much American weddings cost and how big they are, etc. Hannan said that Basil doesn’t want to get married and he said he just doesn’t understand why he should have to spend so much money only for people to complain about everything. Which demonstrates two commonalities between the Middle East and the US: weddings are expensive and you can never please everyone. :)
In the building I am working/staying in at the university.
And now for a few random thoughts/notes from me!

1. Apparently, driving tests in Oman are very tough. There is no written part, but for the driving test you have a police officer sit in the passenger’s seat and tell you what to do. If he tells you to do something against the rules, you have to know not to do it. A single mistake will cause you to fail. Also, guys have to take the test in a manual car while women can choose manual or automatic.

2. I hope that my blog can answer some people’s questions about the Middle East, or at least provide another perspective than is given in the typical newscast, and I thought people from back home might also be interested in what questions people here have asked me about America. I get asked a lot about the American idea of independence for young people: i.e. why do young people leave their families at age 18? I also get asked questions about how similar real life is to what is portrayed on tv and in movies, i.e. family life, social problems, etc. People are also curious to know what I think of the Middle East and what other Americans think of the area. We also talk a lot about weddings.

3. Oman’s National Day is the same day as my birthday (November 18)! I knew this before I came, but what I didn’t know is this year is the 40th anniversary and they are having a huge celebration. The entire city is being decorated and lots of events are being planned. Many famous people are scheduled to come, and there are rumors that the queen of England will be among the visitors. Something else people are really excited about is that the sultan (Sultan Qaboos) mandated that on the National Day, everyone will receive a bonus equivalent to one or two years’ salaries (depending on your job). Everyone says I should be here for the celebration, and while I would love to, I have other plans and tell them that I hope to come back in 10 years for the 50th. :)

4. “Carl’s Jr” restaurant is known here as “Hardee’s”

5. Handball is very popular in Oman.


  1. I love the picture of the building you are in. That boat is beautiful!

  2. I love it when you do random thoughts. That driving test seems kind of crazy!

  3. Go Starbucks, up to 30 Seattle Best is good to Guess who Love Gods Speed GD

  4. @Ann - Yes, the detail is amazing! I hope to have one (although a little smaller) some day. :)

    @Amanda - Thanks! Yeah, they tell me no one passes the first time. I know of one person who has taken it five times so far.

  5. I concur with Amanda. Random thoughts are great!