Monday, June 21, 2010

Links and Weekly Highlights

Some Random Quickies:

There is an article in The National regarding calls for Omani youths to take up temporary summer jobs. I could write a book on my thoughts regarding Omanization struggles, but part time jobs for students, and a gradual switch to hourly pay instead of salary for lower level jobe would make a good start.

Organica, a popular American blogger of Egyptian extraction, posted a really thoughtful post on how women who chose not to cover their hair are victimized by the same people who get all uppity about places where women are not allowed to cover their hair or faces. It'a an eloquent piece, and I encourage you all to go have a read.

Here is a great way to kill some time, and polish your CPR skills. I want to kiss the genius who thought of this advertising campaign. It is totally NOT SAFE FOR WORK. It is also Not Safe for Super Fundo Nut-Jobs with no sense of Humour. Everybody else, go, and be fascinated by CPR. *tip of the hat to Stone and T3gib for the referral

More from here soon. Have a great Monday.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Boys

These are the guys who do all my body work.

You can right click and open in a new tab if you want to see the image full size. They do outstanding work, in insufferable heat, and are a lot of fun to hang out with. They always buy the kid a juice when we visit, and always let her "help" them make repairs. They are really nice guys.

I snapped this photo of them a few weeks ago but only got around to getting copies printed and delivered today. I ordered an 8X10 for each of them, plus one for the workshop wall. They seemed really pleased to receive them. I love Wadi Kabir.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Proposal

It is a beautiful thing to develop relationships with the people in your community. Even if you never become true friends with your local grocer, or the guy who pumps your gas, or the smurfs building the house next door, it's nice to know their names, and a little about them.

These casual relationships make the rather impersonal day-to day errands in my neighbourhood pleasant, and I love that it seems everyone within a mile's radius of my house knows my Daughter by name, and on site. It makes me feel safe.

I take our daughter to school almost every morning, and because of the size of my car, and my general apathy towards parking lots, I park across the street from her school, behind a row of apartments, and walk her over. I do this very day, twice a day. On the days when work or other commitments interfere, my Mom and Dad pick her up and Stone also does the occasional pick-up and drop off, but he parks inside the school parking lot.

One of the cleaners at the apartments across the street is a nice Omani man, who is about my age. I'll call him Juma. Juma is a respectable guy, working a rather thankless and low-paying job, but he always seems positive, and happy with what he's got in life. We see Juma every morning, and every afternoon, five days a week, and the kid is quite fond of him.

Juma knows my parents a little from when they do the school runs, and often sees me frazzled and prodding the kid along, on the phone, or in my Chef's outfit, or both. Juma, as would soon become apparent, has never seen Stone, and had drawn his own conclusions about my life from what little information he could gather in our brief interactions.

The other morning, after dropping the kid off to school, the following conversation took place:

Juma: Hi Suburban, You have time?
Me: It's kinda hot, but I've got a minute... How are you?
Juma: I'm fine. How is you car? Good?
Me: Thank god, Car is Good. No problems this week.
Juma: I have something for asking you, but I am, word is wary? You will be angry?
Me: Wow, that's good use of the word wary... Go ahead and ask, I won't be mad, but I do not know if I can help you.
Juma: Your daughter pebbles, she needs a father.
Me: O.O
Juma: You need a husband... to take care of you and your daughter. You are always working like this, too much busy.
Me: Uuuhhh... Um....
Juma: So I can speak to your father, maybe next week, I am knowing where you live! and maybe you will marry me? Because this is not good life for your daughter, I will take care of you.
Me: ......... O.O .......
Juma: Suburban?
Me: Oh... my... god... Juma, that is very sweet, but I am already married to Pebbles Father.
Juma: Really?
Me: Really. His name is Stone.
Juma: (astonished) And he lives here with you and your parents?
Me: Yes, he works for the same company as Dad. I'm so sorry Juma, your offer is very sweet, and you are a nice guy. I am sure you will make a wonderful father and husband some day.
Juma: Ok, so you are not angry?
Me: Not angry, I am flattered, thanks so much for asking.

It sort of broke my heart to tell him I was married already.

I spend a lot of my time on this blog writing about stuff that pisses me off, or stuff that I just don't understand, or cataloging the various unpleasant experiences I have around here. Maybe I should write more often about all the really good tings and people who are a part of my life here. Juma is one of them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Where Does Suburban Shop? Expensive Fashion Edition

When I am not attempting to import my housemaid into the US, plotting an international move, repairing one of the cars, or chasing my satanic toddler around the neighborhood, I sometimes go shopping, or get bespoke stuff made by one of the many skilled dudes we have around here.

You may remember when I posted a little something on the places I go for cheap thrills? This time there will not be maps, because I am not a guide book, and the list is by no means exhaustive. Cool?

Today I'm going to highlight some of the places I like to shop for clothes and accessories when I'm feeling flush, or really have my heart set on something unique. There are a lot of places in Muscat to waste wheelbarrows full of of your husband's money, but these are the best. **


First up is Eye Candy in Jawharat Al Shatti. You may die when you see the prices, but the selection of designer clothes, jewelery, and beauty accessories is fantastic. Local and international botique designers are featured on the racks, and you can expect excruciatingly honest feedback on how things fit you, or how to wear them better. Everything is handpicked by the lady who owns the place, and her taste is really, truly, unbelievably, impeccable. I get more complements on my necklace from there than on anything else I own. Save your pennies, mortgage your house, or sell your children into slavery, and then head on over. You won't regret it. (although your children may miss you)

Next up, believe it or not is MANGO located in Muscat City Center. It is, apparently, not just for teenagers. I shop there occasionally at the sales, and there are occasional gems. I especially like their limited, but always excellent shoe selection. I got these there:

Zuhair Murad for Mango. 25 RO. I love these shoes.

Another little known but truly excellent shop is Wardrobe, located in Al Asfoor plaza in Qurm. Alyona, the proprietor, sells genuine designer handbags and accessories, as well as a changing selection of lightly used designer clothes and accessories. Alyona has very good taste, and real knowledge of the stuff she is selling, plus a delightfully unpretentious attitude. You can look for wardrobe on Facebook, all the details of the shop are there.

Boutique Muscat, located in Madinat Qaboos, is the partnership of a couple of sisters with a penchant for design. They sell their own designs, as well as readymade labels, at surprisingly affordable prices. Much of the design is merging traditional omani patterns and fabrics with contemporary design. Despite some questionable items, most of the designs are really nice, and it's groovy to support local designers.

There is a Second Hand Watch Place in Sabco Center, upstairs to the right of the escalators. The consensus on Twitter is that it is called Future Jewelry, but none of us can remember the name for sure. You can find one of a kind and mass produced designer watches there at a fraction of the new cost, which sadly, is still astonishingly expensive.

There is another place that stocks second hand watches nearby: it's outside Sabco, on the way to wadi Center, and opposite the Panasonic showroom. It's called Diamond Watch, and they also do High-end second hand watches. *thanks to @BigManInOman for the tip!

There is an outstanding fabric ship in Al Ghubra, below and to the north west of the shell station exit. Skip the tacky polyester stuff at the front, and head to the back. Buy yourself some Luxe fabrics, and take them to your favorite tailor. I have had a YSL ball gown in a thousand layers of green silk and tuile copied by a local tailorl. I made a few changes that would make it fit my weird figure, and it looks outstanding. Don't be a dipshit and make it a last minute thing, plan ahead, and have at least 5 fittings if you want it to be perfect. My last dress took 10 fittings, and I paid through the nose for it, but it's perfect in every way. I wish I had somewhere to wear it!

If all else fails, seek out the internet. sells handmade clothes, ball gowns, and home decor items that you just can't find here in Oman as well as lots of recycled designer originals. You need to have a working paypal account, but you can get stuff that you will be guarenteed nobody else in town can dream of owning.

I got this dress from glamarita on etsy, and I couldn't be happier with the service and fitting.
Yes, it's made of neckties. Yes, it's awesome.

Later in the week, I have a post planned on household style solutions, because I know you are all sick to death of the same shit from Marina and Home Center. Stay tuned.

** those of you who actually know me in person may question my authority to write about anything style or fashion related since I am Ms.Tshirt and Jeans, and couldn't put together a coffee morning outfit to save my life. This is true. You've been warned.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Cup Hazards, part 1

Text From My Dad Last Night:

I have escaped from football to Trader Vic's along with half the girls in town, evidently.

Men, Beware.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Goodbyes Suck

More from here in the coming days, but for now:

We are Leaving Oman in Early August for what looks to be a 3-4 year stint in the US. I'm Sad and Happy at the same time, but I think anyone who reads this blog regularly will also point out that I am seriously burned out on Muscat, and it's time for a change. Really, I've had a total sense of humor failure.

On the subject of moving on, it would appear that my truck loves me almost as much as I love it. We listed my incredibly reliable and perfect truck for sale on Wednesday night. Thursday morning, his battery died, and could not be convinced to accept a jump. I think it was his way of telling me he does not want me to sell him? Three days and an ungodly amount of hassle and terror later I have a new battery, (which cost 49 freaking rials!!) and things seem OK. Fingers Crossed.

My best friends drove down from the UAE for our farewell party over the weekend. I've been working, partying, and having truly ridiculous adventures with these people for the last 8 years, and they are the only people I know who I can be myself around. When we get together, the conversation and the wine flow like water, the laughs are unending, and the adventures are so epic I am unable to describe them to normal people. I am more at home around them, than I am anywhere else.

I managed to hold back the tears when they left on the return trip yesterday afternoon, but I'm a total wreck now. Boogers, weeping, red eyes, etc.... you know the drill. I'm gutted. I had forgotten how hard it is to say goodbye to someone you really, truly, deeply and passionately love. What if there is nobody where we are going who I can talk to, or laugh with?

I took our wonderful housemaid, who has been caring for our daughter with compassion, love and discipline since the day she was born, to the US embassy yesterday morning. I was hoping to get a visa for her to come to the US with us for 2 years. We really thought she had a chance to be granted a visa, given her work history, age, attachment to the kid, that she is not a flight risk, and because the world is a fair and just place where good people eventually get the good things that are due to them. She could have done two years with us, and as she is 55 already, retired back to Sri Lanka in comfort.

Her visa was denied, in the kindest and most empathetic terms, by the really lovely woman who interviewed her. It's a computer issue, as far as I can tell, that the terms of our posting are too long to allow us to sponsor a nanny / housemaid. The Embassy people were genuinely wonderful, empathetic, and kind, but rules are rules, and it's not going to work out to bring her along with us. I feel sort of bad for the embassy staff having to deliver news like that on a daily basis.

Tita is gutted. This world, that has pretty much been shitting on her since the day she was born, continues to do so. I feel like a total Asshole foe even getting her hopes up. It just does not seem fair. Tita has been raising other people's children for the last 20 years. She cares for our daughter like her own, and does it with equal measures of love and discipline. We had sort of hoped that a nice reward for all her years here would be a 2 year trip to the states, where she would make lots of money (we have to pay her by the hour, provide health insurance, etc... ) see a little more of the world, and atttend school to learn how to use a computer so she can type all her journal entries down, instead of writing them.

I don't want to imply that this is a selfless move, I assure it it is totally selfish. If we really, truly cared, you could ask why we have not been paying her by the hour at US minimum wage here, or why we did not send her to computer school here, or why we have not brought her along on holiday with us in the past, if we want her to see the world so badly. Those are all fair questions.

We will leave her with a generous severance, arrange a shipment for some of the stuff she has amassed with us, and try to find her another good family to care for for the next couple of years before she returns home to Sri Lanka. We have met informally with a few potential families, however they seem to think they are hiring a slave, and not a Nanny/ Housemaid. Hopefully we will find someone good where there can be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Moving On, hugs and kisses to a few of my haters out there in the comments sections. Way to go Trolls, you guys make my day.

More later in the week:
  • How some of the stuff my kid says freaks me out.
  • Three weird small-world encounters we've had lately.
  • An update on where to shop, what to eat, and how NOT to murder your own child during the summer months.