I’ve been taking a morning constitutional most days and exploring a bit. The first day or two I went out because I thought I should try acclimating to the heat, and I guess I’m more or less acclimated because now I go just because I like it. By 7:30am, the temperature is already in the high 30s (90s F) and the sun is already beating down (it rises before 5:30), so the conditions are not quite dangerous but still super crazy hot. I won’t lie: The first day was brutal. My heart was racing and sweat was running into my eyes, but I used to jog in Houston summers and I’ve gone through phases of doing Bikram regularly, so I had that frame of reference telling me I was probably not going to pass out. Anyway, I didn’t get very far that first day. I went to the public beach up the road and took some pictures, which isn’t easy when it’s too bright to see anything in the digital display. (That’s my disclaimer for any and all of my washed-out desert photos.) I’m curious what this rock is. It’s black under that moss. Oman is one of the few places in the world where the ocean plate is visible on land, and I thought maybe this was it, but apparently the ocean plate is not that subtle. (“The rugged ophiolite hills around Muscat and those stretching hundreds of kilometres inland is the largest and best exposed fragment of oceanic lithosphere found on land in the world.” – Oman Tourism) Anyway, in this next shot it looks like the strip of black is parallel to the shore and doesn’t go very far out. I’m sure K will be able to tell me what it is soon enough, and maybe he can explain whatever I garbled in that last paragraph, too. Isn’t the sea lovely?
It was a couple of morning walks later that I discovered a set of stairs in the hill opposite the beach. This is the view from the steps. Climbing up this hill is pretty hard in the heat. But on the other side is the company’s residential area. Perhaps this is a good time to mention that the housing in this area is referred to as “on camp,” and it does sort of remind me of summer camp. I swore we would never live in a compound, and this isn’t at all a compound—more like a neighborhood that the company happens to own—but it’s close enough that I find myself getting defensive (it’s totally not gated! totally not guarded! well, not obviously guarded anyway…) when I try to write about it. The issue of where to live is legitimately complicated, so I’ll save that for another day. I’m putting off writing about “the club” for similar reasons.
Anyway, we have no idea what will be available when our number on the housing list comes up, but I think I could overlook the suburbia elements for proximity to the sea and a shady tree-lined street like this. (We should be so lucky…) I have a feeling this blog is going to be a record of the contortionist-level compromising of all my convictions. This morning I explored some of these other paths… They don’t seem to go anywhere, and I’m afraid of whatever exotic critters might be lurking behind these rocks and under these scrubby plants, though I’m sure the view from the top of that hill is really awesome. It occurs to me that if I hadn’t spent time hiking in the desert in the Southwest earlier this year, I would be a lot more squeamish about walking these dusty trails in the full sun. I sincerely meant to blog about that trip because it was epic in the classical sense of the word, but I’m resigning myself to uploading pictures to Flickr, even though no one uses that anymore. Anyway, here’s Joshua Tree.
In other news, our air freight came yesterday. Apparently I didn’t organize things correctly because it’s mostly winter clothes, which I promptly packed away again, obviously. At least my sandals made it.
We were anxiously awaiting our coffee machine, and though it does turn on (half the battle, I thought, because of the voltage differences), for some reason it won’t brew. Maybe something went wonky in transit, or maybe it’s a voltage problem. K was pretty devastated. I guess we’ll continue drinking instant for now.