Challenges

There are a small number of challenges to living in this town.

Here are some…

  • The quality of driving here means that you’ll will quite likely be involved in a crash during your first year (see separate article for details!) – so you may decide to invest in a 4×4 for added safety.
  • Rare electricity spikes which can destroy a laptop charger.
  • English speakers aren’t always easy to find.
  • The internet is more expensive than back home, and can be slow in the evening.
  • You may need a residence visa (which can take 4-6 weeks) before you can get an internet connection installed.
  • You will need a residence visa to buy a car.
  • You will need a residence visa if, say, you’ve bought an iPhone 4 and you want a monthly mobile phone account so you can use the phone and surf while out and about
  • You will need to renew your visa on a ‘visa run’ into Oman every month until your residence visa arrives – and this can take 2 hours in total, from leaving your home to getting back again.
  • Some sites like Skype.com, and maybe a few other sites you’d like to access, are inaccessible.
  • The heat in the middle of summer can be intense.
  • Your car may get a little dent while parked. You can only get this fixed if you have a police report.
  • If you want another front door key cut, you’ll need a letter from the building’s owner.
  • Your home can get visited by little cockroaches.
  • When it rains heavily (1-2 days a year?), water can pour into your home as the buildings here aren’t sealed as well as in the West – so keep papers/books off window ledges and the floor near windows. (Luckily only one new book of mine was ruined in November 2009!) Plus the underpass next to the Etisalat building can get very flooded, and various side roads too. And some shops get flooded too. Quite a sight!
  • Occasionally some imported food items are out of stock at supermarkets: Heinz Baked Beans for example, and some cereals. Brown rice is not easy to find either.
  • You cannot be seen eating and drinking outside before dusk during the month of Ramadan.
  • You cannot have any alcohol with your restaurant meal during Ramadan if you’re on a trip to Oman: it will only be served in your hotel room.
  • Mail from home can only be delivered to a post office box, not your home. And it sometimes never arrives.
  • Getting a speeding fine in Dubai seems inevitable (as I got one on my second trip there, and I was very careful to stick to the speed limit – and other friends have been caught out too). You will have to drive back to Dubai to pay the fine, and you may never know on which road you got photographed!
  • Water from the cold tap can, at times, be very warm: a bit of a problem if you’ve put too much hot water in a bath for your children: it’s not as easy cooling the bathwater as it would be in the West!

I’ve elaborated on some of these points in my blog posts. Click on ‘challenges’ in the Tag Cloud to see all the entries there.

We had a new electrical socket fitted for our washing machine in our new villa. After 2 months we got this…

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IMG 2003

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I was looking to leave our walled-in villa the other day, only to find that some workers had dug away the sand in front of the gate…

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A neighbour and I complained as we needed to leave, to which the worker said “I bang on gate. No-one come.” Anyway, the guys got an enormous digger which scooped up some sand, and they created a ramp so we could drive out!…

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My wife told me of a woman she knew who drove up to her gate to get out, pressed her remote control and drove out. However, as above, the ramp had been removed so the car bottom banged against the edge of the concrete and so the car got stuck! :)

If you can think of any challenges, let me know either in a comment below, or by contacting me directly via the About page.

And if you’re struggling with any challenges here, this page is a bit of self promotion!