I am so very excited to get this section of the blog off the ground. I hope it will be useful to anyone relocating to a foreign country, and just plain interesting to everyone else. I have entitled these mini crash courses on expat life "The Salient 7." Salient is defined as most noticeable or important so...7 salient notes on life in a given location.
My first interview is Kathryn, a diplo-spouse, who lives in Muscat, Oman, with her husband and diplo-baby. Kathryn's photos of Oman are beautiful and otherworldly. In addition, Kathryn's advice might save you from a night in jail. Please read more about her adventures at post on her blog https://accordingtoathena.wordpress.com.
Snorkeling at the Daymaniyat Islands: This is the best snorkeling in Oman. You’ll find turtles, crystal blue water, sharks, tropical fish, lovely coral, and sandy beaches!
Wadi hike: The easiest and most accessible option is Wadi Shab, but my favorite is Wadi Al Arbaeen.
Trip to the mountains: Jebel Shams and Jebel Al Akhdar both have good hiking options and stunning views.
Salalah during the khareef: During the khareef, or monsoon season, from July to August each year, Salalah transforms into a lush green paradise. The best time to beat the crowds is the beginning of September.
Dhow trip through the fjords of Musandam: Go snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins where the mountains crash into the sea, a singularly unique experience to Oman.
Desert visit: Stay at a desert camp, ride a camel, climb up the dunes to watch the sunset, and enjoy dinner under the stars!
I’m going to preface this section with this: Oman is not known for its culinary traditions. You’ll find a lot of good Indian, Lebanese and Turkish food here, but Omani food generally is not very exciting or flavorful.
Dates: Oman is known for its dates, and I never knew there were so many different and delicious kinds.
Halwa and Khawa: Halwa is Oman’s national dessert and it’s best served with khawa, the flavorful Omani coffee.
The Zed sandwich at Hawas: The best breakfast sandwich you’ll find in Oman is a croissant full of scrambled egg cooked with diced hotdog, creamy cheese and crushed spicy Oman chips.
Shuwa: Shuwa is slow-roasted goat or mutton that has been (if cooked in the traditional way) wrapped in banana leaves, placed on hot coals, buried underground, and cooked for nearly a day. These days it’s usually just roasted in the oven. It’s delicious.
Grilled shrimp at the Turkish House: The enormous grilled shrimp here are some of the best I’ve ever had anywhere.
Our own mattress: Furniture is usually provided in embassy housing, but our queen mattress always goes in our sea freight shipment.
Couch covers: As much as I love free couches and chairs, they can be pretty ugly sometimes. We have had couch and chair covers made and we’ve also purchased some on Amazon.
Refrigerator magnets: A quick and light way to immediately make the kitchen feel more homey!
VPN: We have a VPN that we hook up to our AppleTV for Hulu, HBO, etc. Without the VPN in Oman we would not be able to use Facetime or place calls back home through WhatsApp.
Watch out for traffic cameras: Speed cameras are everywhere and if you run a red light, you have to go to jail for the night!
Buy pork and alcohol in the duty free by baggage collection in the Muscat airport: There's going to be a 100% "sin" tax on pork and alcohol products starting in June, so this will be, by far, the cheapest place to buy pork and alcohol.
Buy the book: Oman Off-Road
Speed bumps: There are speed bumps everywhere. I am so tired of speed bumps.
Heat: It gets very hot and humid here during the summer, and it stays hot 24 hours a day. It’s miserable.
It’s too many to name, so I’ll just lump everything together and say “Outdoor activities!” We’ve loved scuba diving, beach camping, hiking through wadis and along mountain trails, snorkeling, exploring forts and ruins, climbing desert dunes, discovering ancient tombs, and countless other adventures. If you love being outside and exploring, Oman is the place the for you!
Thank you so much for your insights Kathryn!
In Love & Travel
Guest Posts From Diplo-families Worldwide
What is life like all over the globe? This area is a window into the lives of diplomats and their families. These interviews serve as mini crash courses in expat living worldwide. 7 salient notes about expat life in a given location. Enjoy!