Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ding! Ding! All Change Please!

Well it has been a busy couple of weeks in the Smith household and we are making the most of the winter weather. Last weekend we were invited to join friends at Sifa beach for a BBQ.
It was our first trip down there in a very long time and our first time on the new Qantab to Yitti road. We packed light, piled into the car and drove down through Ruwi to the Oman Dive Centre roundabout to join the new road. As we passed through Ruwi, I had wistful memories of the steep climb out, but it was time to move on and the new road proved to be smooth, straight and fast. Yitti arrived in the blink of an eye, although a good sense of direction is useful as they haven’t got around to installing signposts yet, maybe next year, in sh’allah.
The road beyond to Sifa remains unchanged, with it’s mountainous curves and spectacular views and I will be interested to see what changes the Municipality will make when the Muriya development becomes a reality.
So we arrived a short while later, parked up on the beach and joined our friends for a swim in beautifully clear, if a little chilly, waters. Yes, that’s right, NO RED TIDE!!!!!

To begin with Sifa was very quiet, but as the day progressed the beach became more and more crowded, I guess as a result of the new road.
When I say crowded, it is all relative, I don’t mean that we were tripping over one another and, if I had whacked a tennis ball as hard as possible with a bat, I would have struggled to hit another group of people. All the same, it was crowded by Sifa standards.

The boys had a whale of a time, in the sea on boogie boards, playing in the sand and knocking a ball around. The only downer was when Jacob got stung by a jellyfish. Fortunately a quick bit of first aid and he was as right as rain. Bloody typical though, months of red tide and with the first sight of clear seas, along come the jelly fish!

On the way home we stopped the car to take a photo of a dhow I had spotted on the way in. Jacob went off to explore whilst I snapped away and came back after a short while with a rock for ‘show and tell’ at school the following day.
Now that we have a decent camera I am determined to rediscover my photography and I would like your opinion as to which version you prefer. Jacob took a copy of the first photo to school in order to expand on his show and tell repertoire.

The bad news for last week, was that I have received notice from my new employers. Typically, only six months after leaving a perfectly secure position with my last company, I find myself job hunting through no fault of my own. So after a week of major highs and lows, I have been buoyed by the prospective opportunities in the market, as they say, keep your fingers crossed and watch this space.

Thursday afternoon we had to get the boys out of the house and Jacob was desperate to ride his bike, so we took a trip down to Shatti and a promenade along the sea front.
Earlier in the day, Becky and I had been out for our regular Thursday morning ‘adults only’ time and experienced a large dust storm enveloping Muscat. Whilst not the experience of Hollywood movies, it was an unusual sight to have such bad visibility with the dust blocking out the normal mountainous sights around the city.

Whilst it was forecast to last for a couple of days, it had fortunately abated somewhat by the afternoon and people were out and about enjoying the cool winter weather. After our walk, we sat outside at Darcy’s Kitchen where Jacob and Oscar had their dinner, before heading home to bed for the boys and off to a friend’s birthday for us grown ups.

The following day, Becky went off in the morning with Oscar for a neighbours baby’s birthday party. I drew the short straw (erhem!!) and took Jacob back to Shatti for another Bike ride. We cycled all the way from Costa Coffee to the British embassy and back over a period of an hour and twenty minutes. That’s a total of eight kilometers which I think is pretty amazing for a six year old that has only just learnt to ride a bike!

If you are into your cycling in a big way, then there is a new shop in town. MIG in Al Khuwair has big names (with some big prices), but is an oasis in the cycling desert of Muscat. Whilst it is only a small shop tucked down the side of an office furniture shop, it stocks high quality equipment including decent cycle helmets. Just take a trip out from the Turkish Mosque near the Radisson, along Street 49 towards Bausher and look out for the Dawood office furniture shop on the right hand side.

So the weekend ended with a trip over to the rugby club to watch Muscat Magpies face off against Dubai in Australian Rules Football. We didn’t get to see the end of the match due to two tired boys but Muscat were receiving a pretty painful mauling at the hands of a considerably younger Dubai team. There is a rematch in Dubai next month for the final, lets hope Muscat fares better then.

As for us, early night all round I think.