Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Khareef Update

Sleep-deprived Nadia on a Wednesday morning isn't something you want to see. I have no idea how I managed to keep track of all four soccer matches yesterday, but I did. And no Rania, I don't hang out at Shisha cafes to watch the games. I gather my female relatives in front of a 52 inch plazma TV in our outdoor majlis with tawa bread, red tea, and Chips Oman.
(1) Coming to think of it, my daring friends have suggested that a group of us girls walk up to a Shisha cafe on the Haffa Corniche and just pull up chairs and see what happens. Will the world fall apart? Will someone call my father immediately? Will the police come? What WOULD happen? Oh the unwritten rules in this town... I'm sure any Dhofari male reading this now is cringing and probably drafting an email to me advising me to take care of my reputation.
(2) I'm pleased to announce that Khareef (monsoon season) OFFICIALLY started on June 21st. Yes, it was announced in the local newspapers as usual. However, it did start raining before the official start-date. I don't know whether those clouds were related to a possible storm or just the khareef. Anyway, it rained for a couple of hours this morning and I SWEAR everyone's in a good mood. I don't know what it is, but this season makes everyone happy. Us Dhofaris associate khareef with holidays, weddings, celebration, festival, rain, cool weather, picnics, tourists, etc.
(3) Has anyone noticed the post-midnight military trucks (guarded by army & ROP vehicles) heading to the (US/British/Omani) army bases in Thumrait? Hmmmm....
(4) If you remember my trip to Dubai a few weeks ago, my relative's wedding is in a couple of weeks, and everyone in my immediate family and extended tribe is in panic mode. Weddings are such a hassle in Dhofar.
(5) On a lighter note, I drove to the grounds of the Dhofar Khareef/Tourist festival this week or work-purposes (don't try guessing). What I witnessed was beyond amusing. Omani officials from every possible government agency screaming and ready to kill one another. Why is it that Omanis leave everything to the last minute? The festival starts in two weeks and NOTHING is ready (I'm exaggerating). They're STILL building an entire theatre and setting up basic electricity, phone lines, etc. WHY?
(6) In the meantime, Salalah World (Dhofar's first EVERY shopping mall) seems to get bigger everyday. Those poor laborers must be working all night as well. It's just HUGE. And it's two storeys high? Or getting higher? We're finally going to have Costa and Starbucks in Salalah. OH YES. Rumor has it that our very own mall will host designer brands not available in Muscat. I find that hard to believe, but you never know. It's owned by a Kuwaiti firm, so all is possible.
(7) Beware! According to ROP chief Malik Suleiman Al Mamari (our friendly face on Oman TV during all national crises), the ROP will now launch the secret police campaign (not really secret, is it?), where plain-clothes policemen in regular cars will be wandering the streets of Oman looking for offenders. So, make sure to wear your seatbelt, keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, AND don't answer calls while driving! Oh, and renew your insurance. Evidently according to the Cheif Malik, there are over 175,000 cars in Oman with expired insurance/ownership cards. Not good.
(8) Finally, to keep you all entertained my fellow blogger Sleepless in Salalah and another couple of people I know have noticed a new trend at Dhofari weddings. Evidently the men's huge outdoor tents now sport laser light and a disco ball in the tent. Yes, you heard me, a DISCO BALL. What has the world come to?
Cheers...... Nadia

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Waka Waka

BUSY WITH THE WORLD CUP. More coming. Be patient. Watch the world cup songs here and here. Shakira's is awful.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oman Hereditary Blood Disorder Association

Dear Readers,
Many of you are aware that a LARGE number of Omanis suffer from hereditary blood disorders; namely G6PD (25% of males - 10% of females) , خلايا الدم المنجلية Sickle Cell Disease (6% of Omanis - mostly in Al Sharqiya region), and Thalasimia (2% of Omanis - mostly in Al Batinah and Muscat).
Sadly, awareness levels are low and the Omani health system (and society) does not encourage pre-marital testing. Given that these diseases are so widely spread in Oman, IT IS OF EXTREME importance that couples have blood tests done before they even consider getting married. It is also important to learn more about these diseases and how to deal with them.
Recently, the Omani Hereditary Blood Disorder Association was launched with the aim of spreading awareness on how to deal with these disorders and how to avoid spreading these hereditary diseases. The association also hopes to provide counselling for families with infants who were screened positive by the state labratory.
To association will be observing the world's first Annual Sickle Cell Day on June 19 and 20 at Muscat City Centre. If you check our their website, you can find their bank account if you'd like to donate. Otherwise, if you live in the Muscat area and if you want to help or know someone with a blood disorder, GO AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Every small step counts. They need your support.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Blogger Enters the Scene

Hey everyone! Another expat married to an Omani on the block! I'd like to welcome new blogger, Sultanate Social, to the Omani blogging scene! I should have welcomed her earlier when I first read her blog, but with the storm chaos and all ........ :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tropical Storm Update (7) - The Aftermath

More poorly constructed Omani roads ...

And of course, McDonalds as usual :-)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tropical Storm Update (6)

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the 16 victims of Cyclone Phet. The newspaper reports this morning are sad. Evidently the ROP (see above image if you can read Arabic - was published in today's newspapers) will be questioning people who put themselves and others in danger by going into wadis or even going to 'stare' (the ultimate Omani hobby). According to my fellow blogger Reality, an ROP officer drowned trying to save a kid who was 'swimming' in a wadi. I SALUTE THE ROP FOR DOING THIS.
And finally a kind reminder to the childish readers who go out of their way to type up long sarcastic responses to my posts .... I apply comment moderation and will not publish them. So, don't bother yourselves.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tropical Storm Update (5)

The storm has passed. Half of Oman is under water, but all is well in our world. Salalah also witnessed some rain this morning, so it's safe to say that Cyclone Phet affected the whole of Oman. The television footage of all the running wadis is horrifying. I've been tuned in to Oman TV all day. What a mess. The hard part is trying to get things back to normal. What are we going to do with all this water?!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tropical Storm Update (4)

Storm is still passing through Oman. Heavy rains in Sharqia region and light-ish rains in Muscat. Expect heavy wind and rain in Muscat this evening as the eye of the storm passes through. The wadi-scenes from Mahoot and Sharqia are horrifying. So much water.
Two dead so far. Allah Yer7amhuh. STAY AWAY FROM WADIS!
Exams for schools and many colleges are being postponed until June 12. Yay for grade 12 students.
Stay tuned to Oman TV to get your dose of live footage from all the affected areas. The Phet studio went on air at 11 p.m last night and will be the only program on air until the storm passes.
The danger has NOT passed yet. DO NOT go out exploring. The wadis are extremely dangerous and some of the dams are overflowing, including Sur Dam which was full by 11 p.m last night even before the storm hit!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tropical Storm Update (3) - Public Holiday

Raining in Masira. Heavy wind. Saturday has been declared a public holiday by His Majesty.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tropical Storm Update (2)

Oh dear ... the storm has completely changed course and is heading towards Oman. It will hit Masira tomorrow evening and then move up through Oman and will affect Muscat. Stormy weather expected until Sunday. People, this is MUCH stronger than Gonu. It's going up to grade 5 - super cyclonic storm tomorrow (purple! - the worst) when it hits land. Gonu was only barely orange when it hit Oman. This one has moved from yellow to orange to red, and tomorrow at purple (windspeed of 250 km/hr).Masira and Ras Al Hadd are being evacuated at this very moment and people are going crazy buying supplies in Musat and Sur. WHY AREN'T THERE SERIOUS WARNINGS ON TV?

Tropical Storm Update

Wednesday at 6:25 p.m - predictions are worsening. It's getting stronger and not expecting to turn as quickly. Masirah Island is being evacuated now. Thanks Muscat Confidential!
The cyclone, name Phet, has its own Facebook page believe it or not. Stay tuned and keep Oman in your thoughts and prayers!

Tropical Storm Risk

Not the kind of news you want to hear on a weekend; especially since next week will mark three years since Gonu hit Oman. It looks like we're barely out of the danger zone. The storm is moving from Category 3 to Category 4 (intense hurricane) within the next 24 hours with windspeed of 250 km/hr. Let's pray it changes direction today.

Extra Note on Slavery

Back to everyone's comments on slavery, I'm no expert but as far as I know, the Zanzibari population in Oman at the moment is in no way related to the slaves we had in Dhofar pre-1970. I think the slaves were brought from poorer countries in Africa. Zanzibaris are another story. They helped build this country in the early days! Yes, they're African but they were not brought here as slaves and they have different features; paler skin, different bones. So, do keep in mind that we have two sets of Africans in Oman; the Zanzibaris (in the North) and the former African slaves (mostly in Sur and Salalah). Our African-Omanis are as black as the night and very African looking. Zanzibaris are more Arab-looking.