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  • Writer's pictureEllie Hamilton

Doris, Elsa, Nanny and Chi Chi.....

Since my last post, I think we have crammed more into 4 weeks than I have in my whole time I’ve been here, but this may have something to do with the fact that my mum and sister have been over (along with my brother in law, niece and nephews).

As I write this new post my eyes are blotchy and red having just dropped my mum off at the airport. It was quite possibly one of the hardest goodbyes we have ever had, mainly for the fact that I won’t see her (in the flesh) for seven months now, but if the last two weeks are anything to go by, it will pass in a flash.

So picking up where I left you a month ago…

We finally have purchased a second car, a Renault Duster, which I have quite aptly named Doris. By chance I found a row of used car dealerships (which I didn’t think existed over here), and there she was, all shiny and white. So we negotiated a deal and the following day I drove my car home, but on route I realised the car desperately needed fuel…

it's at this point that I did one of the most stupid things that I have ever done (even as I type this I can't believe I was so utterly stupid).

So, with the fuel gauge nearing on empty I pulled into the nearest petrol station and without even thinking I asked the chap at the fuel pump to fill her up with petrol. As he was doing this it dawned on me that I wasn’t sure if Doris was petrol or diesel, cue hand on head and a call to Danny at which he highlighted that I should hope and pray that it’s petrol otherwise I have made one of the most costly (and idiotic) mistakes I have ever made….luckily for me it was petrol, but I am very sure that it will be one of the first things I check on future car purchases. A week after I drove Doris home it started raining and I discovered both my windscreen wiper blades were worn down completely, it was also around this time that we noticed the front left tyre was getting flat and it turned out the tyre pressure valve was faulty, obviously a service over here doesn’t appear to be as thorough as it would be in the UK, also the car salesmen admitted he knew the valve was faulty….

so clearly he was incredibly safety conscious and not thinking about his commission in the slightest!!!

On the 18 November, Oman had their 49th national day, which is the birthday of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. It is a huge celebration in Oman, as the Sultan is very much loved by the Omani people. The streets are lined with the Oman flag and lit in the flag colours which are green, red and white, many of the buildings are also bathed in green, red and white uplighters, and there are also fireworks in several locations, so it looks incredibly impressive and almost feels quite festive for the time of year.

Over the past month we have had a handful of days where it has rained, “boo hoo, you poor thing” I can hear you saying in your best sarcastic tone however,

Muscat isn’t geared up for it like they are in the UK. When I say it rains, it literally pours down and due to there being no drainage system on the roads, huge water puddles will appear very quickly, some of the older buildings flood and there was one particular day last month where all the schools closed, so in essence it’s similar to having a snow day in the UK. I also try and avoid driving when it’s raining as the driving in Muscat is questionable when its dry, when it’s raining the driving antics are very dangerous and I have seen a few nasty accidents.

The date nights seem to be coming thick and fast now that we have found a reliable babysitter. We went to see the Bootleg Beatles who were playing at the Dolphin. If you haven’t heard of them, they are one of the best tribute bands to The Beatles in the world and they put on a brilliant set. I did think it was a little bit random that they were playing at The Dolphin, but they had played at the Opera house in Dubai the night before, so I guess they were just fitting an extra gig in.

Last month we thought Emma was heading into a terrible twos’ tantrum phase, but thankfully, it turns out she was going through another bout of teething (last lot….fingers crossed).

What has developed though is a sheer love for all things Frozen (as in the Disney kind and not the frozen food variety, although she is partial to a fish finger).

I can safely say I have watched it close to 50 times now and Elsa feels like part of the family, so I decided to brave the waters and take Emma to the cinema for the first time to see Frozen 2. A new cinema has just opened in one of the malls and has a junior cinema which is specifically designed for younger kids. You can choose from normal seats, bean bag seats and sofa bean bags. There is a soft play section with a ball pit at the front which kids have 20 minutes to play in before the film starts, there is also a slide which starts at the top of the cinema and slides down into the ball pit at the bottom, so suffice to say it’s all very impressive and it costs 3 rial each, so roughly £6 which I think is extremely reasonable and I only wish they had these kind of cinemas around when I was a kid.

I was super proud of Emma, she watched the film in awe with the occasional ‘wow’ thrown in

and it was only until the final 10 minutes she started to get a little bit wriggly, but for a nearly two year old I thought she was brilliant (but I am her biggest cheerleader, so I will be ever so slightly biased)!

At the end of November, the family arrived. My mum (aka Nanny) was staying with us and my sister (aka Charley/ Chi Chi) and her brood were staying at the Dolphin. To give you a brief overview of what we covered…

  • Multiple pool days at the dolphin

  • Dinner at The Grill at the Hyatt Hotel in celebration of my sisters 40th birthday (the food was fabulous and I cannot recommend the Wagyu steak enough)

Beach days – it’s so nice now the weather is a slightly cooler. I’ve never been a beach person, but I’ve realised that you have to just embrace the sand getting everywhere!
  • Cinema date with my mum – we went to see Frozen 2 in the 4D cinema which was fantastic (I know I’ve seen it before with Emma, but the soundtrack is just soooooo good). Each chair is equipped with motion simulators and programmed to the film. There are also environmental effects such as lights, wind, water, air shots and scents which work in perfect synchronicity with the action on screen. It’s not for everyone, but we loved it and couldn’t stop laughing!

  • Shopping…and lots of it!

  • Date day at the W with Danny – we haven’t had a pool day on our own since Emma was born so it was lovely to bathe in the sun, have a few drinks and enjoy each other’s company.

  • Muttrah Souk – If you come to Oman, it’s essential that you visit the souk in Muttrah as you can pick up some interesting finds and if you like to barter, this is a great place to do it!

  • Brunch at the Grand Hyatt – second visit to the brunch and it was even better than the first time.

  • Pool day at the Crowne Plaza (Qurum) – I wanted to take my mum and sister here as it has the best sunset views in Muscat, but low and behold it was very overcast and rained for a good 90 minutes of the day, however the skies did clear in time to get a partial sunset view for their last evening.

Two weeks with my mum didn’t feel long enough, anyone that knows me well will know that I am incredibly close to my mum and sister and not seeing them for 7 months breaks my heart a little bit, but thank god for video calling, otherwise I’m not sure I could do it.

Next week we are heading back to the UK to spend Christmas with Danny’s parents and we are so excited. I can’t wait to get in the Christmas spirit as no matter how many Christmas songs you listen to, it doesn’t feel like Christmas when it’s 25 degrees outside, not that I’m complaining in any way about this. We’re booked into see the lanterns at Chester Zoo and I can’t wait to see Emma’s face when she sees all the Christmas decorations. I am also very excited about seeing family, catching up with our friends, drinking mulled wine and eating some proper bacon!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas and New Year!

My next blog will be out in w/c 13 Jan.

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