Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Other Oman Alternative Restaurant Awards

Ladies and gentlemen, The Other Oman Alternative Restaurant Awards! Suck this Apex!

Most Authentic Cuisine in an Astonishingly Unlikely Location
Tokyo Taro Japanese Restaurant, Al Falaj Hotel, Ruwi

Best Shwarma
Death Valley Shwarma, next to the Al Maha Station / southern expressway

Best (and so addictive it will change your life) Korean Kimchi
Narjeel Thai restaurant, inside ASAS hotel, Qurm

restaurant where you are most likely to die of old age before being served
Japengo, Love Road, Al Qurm

Best Dumpster Cats under the tables
Pizza Express patio, Shatti Al Qurm

Best Waitress
Rumhi, at the secret upstairs bar above O Sole'Mio, Jawharat al Shatti

Bossiest Waitress
Rumhi, at the secret upstairs bar above O Sole'Mio, Jawharat al Shatti
"no, you don't want that. you want this. it's much better. Trust me"
She's never been wrong

Best Waiter
VJ, Trader Vic's Intercontinental Hotel, Al Qurm

Best Spicy Potato Ball Breakfast Thingies
Zanzibar Island Restaurant, North AL Ghubra, below the Shell station

Most Improved Restaurant
The Restaurant, Chedi Hotel, Al Ghubra

Best Fish and Chips
Left Bank, Al Qurm

Snootiest crowd of not very attractive people who think they are beautiful and important
Left Bank, Al Qurm

Best Place to have a Fist Fight and a not very good steak
Rock Bottom Bar and Restaurant, Ramee guestline Hotel, Qurm

Out of a box franchise most like to fail, and deservingly so
5th avenue "deli" Madinat Sultan Qaboos

Best Indian
Passage to India, Bait Hattat, Wadi adai R/A

Best Caesar Salad
Trader Vic's Intercontinental Hotel, Al Qurm

Best Dive Bar to take your wife to
Sun-Set bar, Bausher hotel, Al Ghubra R/A

Best Dive bar not to take your wife to
The bar in the holiday inn, Ghala, labor camp district

Best Restaurant for Kids
The blue marlin, Marina Bandar Al Rawdah, Sidab

Best imported Franchise from Dubai
Noodle House, Muscat City Center

Best Chinese
The Chinese restaurant in the hotel next to the Ramee Guestline, Al Qurm

Best Fish Soup
Fisherman's Lodge, Al Qurm, near Al Qurm Private school

Best Mixed Mezze and Fresh Bread
Turkish house, Al Khuwair

Best Matre'd / Assistant Manager
Maqbool, Musandaam cafe, Intercontinental hotel.

Best Meshaltat
Al Omdah Pastry, Al Ghubra

Worst Italian food with the best staff
La Bella, MCC and QCC

Restaurant most likely not to be able to cook or understand a request for poached eggs despite their explicit presence on the menu. TIE!
Flavours, Airport road, Azaiba
and PDO coffee shop, Ras Al Hamra, Qurm

Most inexplicable lack of brewed coffee in an international coffee shop chain
Costa coffee, various locations

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stolen Xterra Recovered!

It was recovered in less than 12 hours, using, of all things, Blogs and Twitter.

Special thanks to @yasserameer for finding the stolen car, and @Shweman retweeting my initial request. I can't tell you how grateful the people who own the car are to both of you. Great Job Guys!

Now please go out there and Find my missing 50" Panasonic flat screen TV!!!!!

Stolen Nissan Exterra

Update: The car has been recovered thanks to an alert Twitterer and Blogger! Great Job!

The Crime here is getting ridiculous.

We have had at least seven break-ins in our neighborhood alone, in the last three weeks. In the Last two months, 2 families with whom we are personally acquainted have had their cars stolen.

See Below for the forwarded email from some friends who have just had their new Exterra Nicked. Please keep your eyes peeled?

last night our house was broken into and the thief found a set of keys, and stole our 2009 Xterra Off Road. The truck has been modified by Tadmur Auto in Sharjah, with a custom skid plate, bigger tires, a lift and new suspension, so it is easy to spot.

Thank God the ROP are doing everything they can to reduce crime by hassling my housemaids and threatening arrest if they don't produce labor cards, and accusing any random Indian who has ever been in our house of robbery, simply on the Basis that they are Indian. The words that come to mind are unpublishable, even here.

Lock your doors guys, and keep your car keys somewhere safe.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More stuff to do with your Toddler in Muscat

Toddlers are cute, but they are also a huge pain in the ass to keep entertained, while not clawing your own eyes out from boredom. Weekends can be especially bad, particularly if one's spouse is both hungry and hungover from the previous nights adventures. What's a parent to do?

Fear not, Stone and I have discovered the best thing in the world to do on a weekend with toddlers and Small Children in Muscat. It's called Marina Bander Rowdah and it's located on the road between Muttrah and the Al Bustan. There is no membership fee, and you can use the pool and facilities for the price of a meal. It's a friendly place, and really family oriented. The waiters are great with the kid, and we have spent hours watching boats coming and going, or looking at the fish that flit around in the waters of the marina.

On an average weekend we can show up at around Noon, sit in the restaurant area around the pool, slap some water wings on the kid and watch her play happily for hours in the pool and with other kids. The menu offers something for everyone, and the waiters bring it to you poolside. It would appear that the English Breakfast is really popular, I believe it's the only place in muscat that serves Black pudding on the menu. The Marina also has a full liquor license, so you can enjoy a cold beer or a gin and tonic as you while away the afternoon.

The whole vibe is relaxed and family friendly, it's a great place to meet people if you are new to town. The clientèle is predominantly Western Expat, with roughly 25-35 % being Omani families and the occasional group of young adults or weekend fishermen sipping a beer in the corner.

On a weekday, it's worth grabbing a few friends who have kids the same age, and taking the kids for a visit to the lovely Aquariums (with real turtles!) at the ministry next door, and then moseying over to the Marina for lunch and playtime.

See you there.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Impressing Your Boss, Suburban Style

My New Boss (who I will call Hussein from here on out) and I had a big meeting this morning. Hussein and I decided to ride together so we could discuss just what the hell I had created in the last 24 hours, and weather he was going to be hideously embarrassed by my crazy-ass ideas. I wanted to dress to impress so I wore a black sweater dress and my favorite Steve Madden heels. I thought I really looked the part of a creative professional.

Hussein stops for gas on the way, and I jump out to run into the shell station for cigarettes. As I begin to sprint across the forecourt, I remember that I am wearing stiletto heels. Because I am a prideful ass, instead of reducing my speed and walking, I keep trying to run. Predictably after a few increasingly unsteady steps, my ankle goes out completely and I fall over, landing my knees before dropping onto my face and skidding to a stop.

The entire forecourt goes silent, and then breaks out in hysterical laughter. Head down, I stand up, ignore the screaming pain from my ankle and knees, purchase my cigarettes, and carefully walk back to Hussein, who is still sitting behind the wheel laughing.

Hussein: Are you (laughter, gasping for air) Are You (Wiping tears away) all right?
Me: I'm fine but I feel like a total knob.
Hussein: Yeah, you are not very good at being a girl. Like not good at all. (peals of laughter)

On the bright side, the presentation went ok.

Friday, January 15, 2010

General News update

The months of December, January and February are gorgeous in Oman. It makes the summer heat, incompetent government entities and the insane driving seem like a distant bad dream. These are the days when living here seems like paradise on earth with each salty, sandy, sun kissed day melting into the next. Even the traffic has been better lately, excepting on the days when it rains.

Things have been busy over the last couple of months. Something about the weather getting cooler, Second Eid, and the Christmas school breaks makes everyone want to go out more, and socialize more. So, what have we been up to lately? A Lot.

Most interestingly; We were burglarized two weeks ago. The robbers popped a lock on the back door, and took my laptop, the DVD player, and Stone's 50" flat screen television. We were in the house, asleep at the time. According to the ROP, robberies have been going on like Wildfire all over Muscat. There were six in our neighborhood alone last week.

If you happen to see a used 50" Panasonic Plasma for sale in Muscat. do let me or the ROP know, as it's probably mine.

Yes, we have gone through all the formalities, and had the house dusted for prints. The ROP kept asking us stuff like "do you know any indians?" "Is your gardener Indian?" "have you had any indians inside the house lately?" "Indians definately did this"... How fucking racist is that? Seriously?

Stone is gutted about the loss of his pride and joy. Condolences can be addressed to and I'll pass them along to him.

My Friend Moadth called up as soon as he heard and when I answered he said "So let me get this straight, you buy a house in Detroit, and you get robbed in Oman? That is Hilarious!!!" I told him he'd better be careful or I'd see to it that his mom marries him off to his ugliest cousin. Touche'

Moving on... From the Suburban is totally incapable of interacting with other adults like a normal person file:
  • I went to a big Tweet-Up on national day. During the planning stage there was a lot of discussion regarding wearing Omani national dress to the tweet up. I agonized about which region and which era to style my costume around. At the end I chose to go as a modern young Omani Woman, complete with my favorite shirt dress, killer heels, antique Bedouin jewelry, makeup, ridiculous camel-hump hair and multiple layers of Stylee Shayla. I was, of course, the only person who dressed up in costume. I looked like an absolute tool. However I must point out that everyone was super nice to me anyway, despite thinking inside their heads that I was, without a doubt, TOTALLY BATSHIT CRAZY.
  • At my new Job last week, my boss leaned over to me and said "so, is Stone taking care of Business..??" And I was all, "Hell yeah! Stone takes care of business every morning. Why do you think I was late today?" and my new boss was like "Um...That is good to know, but what I meant was, is Stone in the office today. Like is he still on vacation?" ...TOTALLY AWKWARD.
In general news:

Just like every year, we hosted a big Christmas day lunch for friends, family and neighbors. This year's event was smaller than year's past when we have has 25-35 people over. Smaller was better, and a lot less work for me. Christmas isn't a religious holiday for us, but we do love playing Santa and spending time with the people we care the most about. Santa brought stockings and presents for everybody, and we had a great mix of nationalities, ages, and backgrounds. It was really cool.

Does anybody want a really cute pet kitten? We have three that need good homes. They are litter box trained and really great with small children. Also, they are extraordinarily cute. We will pay to have them spayed and vaccinated.

Muscat has been attacked by a Plague of Flies. They are everywhere. They are disgusting.

And that's all the news that's fit to print. More from here soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Most Ironic title for a letter to the Times of Oman ever

A Letter to the Editor found in today's Times of Oman. A Newspaper where Mediocrity isn't just a word, it's a corporate philosophy.

Where Mediocrity Thrives
This has reference to your editorial, Aussie stand exposed, (January 11). The editorial is timely. There is no doubt that the standard of higher education in Australia is in no way even at par with that in England or America. I wonder what really attracts Indian students to Australia. As a nation, Australia has traditionally thrived on mediocrity. The Aussies are indeed feeling threatened by the superior intellects of the Indians and Chinese. The attacks on Indians are definitely results of a threatened society who fear being overshadowed by these superior intellects if not intimidated and shooed out now.
-Prasad K. Babu, Wadi Kabir

Nice. Let's swap some of the words around now.

Where Mediocrity Thrives
This has reference to your editorial, Omani stand exposed, (January 11). The editorial is timely. There is no doubt that the standard of work and business in Oman is in no way even at par with that in England or India. I wonder what really attracts outside workers to Oman. As a nation, Oman has traditionally thrived on mediocrity. The Omani's are indeed feeling threatened by the superior intellects of the British and Indians and Chinese. The harassment and governmental bias against foreigners are definitely results of a threatened society who fear being overshadowed by these superior intellects if not intimidated and shooed out now.
-James Waddle- Al Qurm

Or, How about this?

Where Mediocrity Thrives
This has reference to your editorial, Muslim stand exposed, (January 11). The editorial is timely. There is no doubt that the standard of higher education in the Muslim World is in no way even at par with that in the west. I wonder what really attracts Muslim students to outside universities. As a nation of people, Muslims have traditionally thrived on mediocrity. The Muslims are indeed feeling threatened by the superior intellects of the Christians and Jews. The attacks on westerners are definitely results of a threatened society who fear being overshadowed by these superior intellects if not intimidated and shooed out now.
-Susie Soakes - Via Email

I do have to say that the letter provided a nice change from the usual Cricket and Indian politics discussions, as well as a welcome break from the usual Zionist conspiracy bullshit.

More from here later.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sheikh Issa

Sheik Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been acquitted of Torture, rape, and many other unpleasant things by a court in Abu Dhabi. How disappointing, and acutely embarrassing for the UAE, and Arabs everywhere.

I'm speechless.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Stone, professional airline pilot extroidinare

I adore my husband Stone. He is talented, witty, sexy, brilliant, an excellent father and an indulgent, considerate husband. It's not just hollow words when I say that he's my whole world, and the perfect partner in every way. We should all be so lucky as to find someone like Stone to spend forever with.

Stone is an indulgent father, and the kids want for nothing. Our littlest asked last month for an airplane, and Stone got straight onto Amazon and ordered her Himself an insanely expensive model airplane with a 5 channel radio controller and a wingspan larger than she is. Because what 3 year old father of a 3 year old doesn't need a giant R/C model airplane?

The airplane arrived last week, and Stone slaved away every evening to assemble the thing. Clever guy that he is, he was not deterred in the slightest by the weirdly translated directions, which when read all together sound like strange coffee-house open mike poetry sessions.
  • The Paster follow the complete picture, it has some technical requirement.... Lerner must flight with the experiential man. Commingle the control switch, It can realise the mode transform of "V" model triangle wing...... Telluric flying off, let the plane in the ground with windward. Increase gun to the most, push pole gently. Fly in spacious ground without obstacle and boscage...
Assembly complete, plans were made for the maiden flight. Stone reluctantly enlisted the help of my father, a long ago type-rated pilot himself and an experienced model airplane builder. Much advice was proffered regarding practice on the ground, restraint in using the elevators, flight theory in general, and the importance of steering with the rudder in the beginning. All of which was, in hindsight, ignored. It is at this stage worth noting that in his various performance reviews Stone is always labeled Confident, cocky, arrogant, and a risk taker. All of which are frighteningly accurate descriptions of my husband.

After scouting possible locations, a local Cricket field was selected. Dad and Stone headed out towards the pitch, and I heard the engine whine as they did some practice taxiing. I think that inside Stone's head, he visualised himself standing tall at the controls, directing the plane in a series of loops and high speed bombing runs over the heads of his rapt audience. Indeed, he would slowly be encircled by an adoring public, awed by his skill and prowess, and seeking out his expertise in all matters model plane related.

A moment later, we heard the engine whine again, and Mom, the kid and I looked over to see the thing take flight! The kid, is who is smarter than you might imagine, immediately placed one hand over her mouth, and one hand over her eyes. My Mom Said, "my god, Stone's Flying it!"! The plane arced upward for about three seconds, and then Stone turned it hard left. As it tilted left, what had been his headwind became a crosswind, grabbing the plane flipping it to vertical, nose down, engine screaming. We all watched in silence as it plummeted to the ground, nose first, with an unsettling crunch.

There was much amusement. We intend to remind him of his excellent flying demonstration on a regular basis for some time to come.