Thursday, 18 February 2010

Experiences You Must Have Before I Will Consider You An Oman Expat

Because of my job, I have to do a lot of meeting and greeting of new people coming into the system here in Oman.
Some jet-jockey types who high five a lot, some engineers and aircraft designers and the odd test pilot. All different types of industry folk - but the one thing that puts them all in the same bucket, is that over-confidence that every expat has on their first week here.

"No problems today. Went and got my resident's card. Very efficient."

"Driver's Licence? Yep! Got it! Had a laugh with the ROP guy. Nice chap!"

"I already found a villa! It was easy! The PRO had a mate who knew someone else who was renting!"

"Nah, thanks for the offer, but I'm on my way to Toyota now to pick up my Prado!"

"Barbecue at my place on Thursday? Brilliant! Don't bring anything! I'll get the beer myself! Going down to Ruwi to get my licence in a few minutes."

"I'm totally settled in here now and feel like a real expat!"

Yes folks. The all-too-common "everything is going along just fine" situation that all new expats find themselves in.

However....I have decided that I will not consider you to be a true "Expat in Muscat" until I hear you say the following:

"Jesus Christ! Who are those guys in the orange and white cars?"

"There has been no water in my villa since January."

"I saw people having a picnic on the roundabout at Seeb. Is that not dangerous?"

"My furniture hasn't arrived yet, but he said it would only take three days."

"The bank have cancelled my cards again."

"He has the deposit, but now he won't answer his phone."

"I hailed one of those red and white striped taxis but they never stop! Why?"

"What does he mean when he wobbles his head like that?"

"That Filipina took all my money and went home!"

"Who needs a trolley full of Vimto?"

"Why is the PRO ignoring me?"

I'm sure there's a few more quotes you'd like to add to this!


Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

I am one of those of a personal opinion that one cannot say they are an expat/traveller of a country until they've seen that country's hospitals and police stations. They serve the best qahwa in Omani police stations and have very comfy blue couches, LOL, and the bathrooms in the hospitals... and how they give you a SHOT for EVERYTHING.

LOL about picnic-ing on the Seeb roundabout.

I think you also have to experience driving in the rain and watching Omanis drive in the rain at least ONCE before calling yourself an expat. In accidents, I love how everyone just turns around and drives the WRONG WAY down the freeway.

Undercover Dragon said...

I've always liked that old joke:

Q: "What's the difference between an expat and a racist?"

A: "About 2 weeks"

fred_says said...

"yeah, well I ended up with Nawras for my internet because Omantel never turned up"

three weeks later.....

"yeah, well, 3G doesnt work where I live so I have to use the internet at work"

Muscato said...

"Mango Tang? That's f***ed up. Unless everybody's stoned. Which seems likelier every day."

Blewyn said...

"Closed for lunch ??? How the **** can Muscat's premier fish restaurant be closed for lunch ??"

Blewyn said...

"Three months notice ?? But I'll have to pay double rent !!"

"A year ?? Upfront ??"

"How much ?? You can get a flat in Knightsbridge for that !!"

"Ansab ?? I'm not living in ***** Al Ansab !!!"

Jet Driver said...


"Ansab ?? I'm not living in ***** Al Ansab !!!"

Ha! You sound like a poor BAE Systems victim!


Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Ahh, the old Al Ansab villa ploy....

Blewyn said...

No...just sufficiently economically challenged to have looked at Al Ansab a couple of years ago...:-)

What's the "Al Ansab villa ploy" ?

Clare said...

not an expat here until you realize that
1. actually you do need a flat with 3 bathrooms...because only one of them will work after a week.
2. no matter how much you think the poor indian men should get paid more, you actually really like the cheap labor.
3. you're always sort of alone, no matter how many friends you have.
4. that your electricity goes out every time you turn on the hot water heater.

.....there are more, surely.

Nadia said...

Why is everyone staring at me? These Omanis are so rude!! (kindly note Madam that you're wearing a pink tank top and a short white summer skirt)

Sythe said...

"wtf do people keep saying in-sha-allah?"

"They got Branston pickle in again, I bought 2 jars"

"HSBC is run by monkeys"

"How much for a case of beer? I remember when it was RO ..."

"Have you been to Seifa yet?"

"Those bloody car-park car-washers scratched my paintwork"

Just a few ;)

Great post, nice to see you back.

blm said...

I should start a blog about all the wonderful aspects of life in Oman.
"How much for a case of beer?" I mean really!!! And how much for petrol to fill up your tank in Europe?
No Branston pickle! Should an Omani want to live in wherever you come from, should they curse and whinge about no cardamon coffee in the local local Tesco?

Anonymous said...

At Costa last year "free Wifi 1RO per hour"

Jet Driver said...

At Costa last year "free Wifi 1RO per hour"


blm said...

what they meant to say was that you get an hour of free WiFi for every rial spent. you don't expect it to just walk into Costa and order nothing and just use free internet. what's so hillarious about an unfortunately coined phrase?

Anonymous said...

Surely a seasoned expat would know not to ask all the questions you have pointed out.

Seems like you're fast running out of anything interesting to discuss.

Jet Driver said...

"Surely a seasoned expat would know not to ask all the questions you have pointed out."

That is the whole bloody point of the post and how it is written!

Go and book yourself on a course in "How to understand dry humor without having to be spoon-fed or led along by the hand to comprehension."

Most 15 year-olds will be able to tutor you.


Anonymous said...

I am fifteen, dick head, but nice work with trying to get your point across; you sure proved your point.

It's worth noting that your futile attempt to come across as a witty kind of guy merely serve to highlight the fact that you're a bit of a prick, and your posts are mediocre at best. It's a shame, not least because you started with so much promise. Check out a decent blog (Muscat Confidential) for some tips on how to remain interesting.

Apologies if I've hit a raw nerve.

Sythe said...

ooooh handbags!

Exciting stuff.

I'd say this blog is excellent, just because of the interesting comments :)

Anon, yes ok you made a possibly valid point (certainly valid for me anyway), but you have to remember that blogging is something that doesnt pay us, and we do at our whim.

I cant speak for the jet driver, but for me, I blog and then I dont... I blog when I have time, or something I think is worth blogging... but I dont treat it like a job that I have to blog every day.... and I found this particular story quite amusing.

I cant even count the number of times I've had that same conversation here:

Whats your name, what do you do, how long have you been here?

I found the jet drivers blog on expat comments quite amusing myself, sorry you didnt.

Jet Driver said...


Thanks for your post.

As Voltaire said:

"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."

Now.....go and fuck off...please! ;)


Non-Crowned Princess said...

Off-topic, sorry.

Just curious, can you speak Japanese? You said you lived in Japan for many years.

Jet Driver said...


I used to speak Japanese but now speak it very badly.
Was looking at your blog the other day and it brought back a lot of Japanese memories for me.

Everything from okonomyaki to J-Pop :)


Andrew Brown said...

Some laughs here!
Thanks for posting!

Non-Crowned Princess said...

Off-topic again, sorry. How was your kanji? I'm excited to know more about your experience in Japan. You must be lucky... have you written anything about it here?

scarlet pimpernel said...

Ha Ha Ha

Undercover Dragon said...

How come I just get vicious haters and you get hilarious numptees like blm and Anon 15 yr old? This is seriously not fair JD.

Guys, blm, teen-idiot, your fiends: come make comments at Muscat Confidential! The grown-ups really need your special viewpoint.


The Restless Quill said...

Before I say anything else, this was fun :)

But I've lived here on and off for 22 years (most of it as a child and these days as a pretend adult) but i've never faced problems like no water, no electricity, etc. And no one's run away with our money.

But picnics on roundabouts :D
You'd know this one if you were a woman: omani boys dancing (with their dishdashas lifted and tucked in,) in their cars for a pretty woman's benefit and then asking her if she wants to ride with them.