Sunday, 13 April 2014

Road trip: Dubai visa run

Until my spouse visa is sorted I will have to take monthly trips out of the country to renew my tourist visa. For the first trip, along with my brother-in-laws family, we decided to visit Dubai.

Having two young kids with us we decided that driving would be the easier than flying, plus I was glad to have the opportunity to see a bit more of Oman.

Depending on how fast you drive, and how long you it takes you to get through the border, the journey to Dubai can take anywhere between 4 and 6 hours.

The longest portion of the journey is between Muscat and the United Arab Emirates border. The border itself is very strange, you go through a process of exiting Oman and entering the UAE about four times, needing to get permission to leave, permission to enter, stamped out of Oman and then finally allowed in to the UAE. I don’t quite understand the reasoning but we were lucky that both there and back there was no queue.

It is immediately obvious when you have entered the UAE, the landscape is drastically different compared to Oman. The UAE has the landscape you would imagine a desert to have, and a bit more green than I expected, whereas Oman has mountains and is more rocky.
It probably goes without saying that the city of Muscat and of Dubai are not comparable either, the skyline of Dubai made up of highrise buildings and there are pockets of construction everywhere as they add to the city.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get much of a chance to soak up the atmosphere of the city during this trip, other than to renewing my visa, we needed to visit Ikea (there isn’t one in Oman) and add a bit more furniture to the flat.

I almost thought about blogging about that experience separately because shopping in Ikea is normally stressful enough without it also being the first newly-weds home shopping trip. Ultimately it was a success though and we managed to walk away with a lot of boxes of things for the flat, and we were still talking to each other.

I’m going to Dubai again in just over a week, but this time on a girly trip with my mum and sister, which should be a lot more fun. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Moving and settling

I’ve been in Oman for just over a month now and other than using the cliche term “rollercoaster” I don’t know how else to describe the process of moving and settling into a new way of life.

Looking back, I didn’t really prepare myself well for the move, that said I also don’t know what I would have done differently (other than pack a lot of rich tea biscuits).

My preparation consisted of booking my flights and packing, in a very haphazard way, what I thought was essentials. After two 23kg bags, my husbands remaining luggage allowance and that of family friends also travelling with us, I was surprised at just how little I actually had.
What I did regret not packing the most was more home comforts, things like my favourite movie or TV show to watch when I was feeling low. I also didn't pack any sort of decoration, something that would immediately give my new room and more cosy and familiar feel. My packing was very practical so I immediately felt a little lost without all my “stuff”.

I knew I was going to miss my family and friends but access to the internet immediately helped with that. What I didn’t expect was how insecure I would feel, I considered myself a confident and independent person living in London but suddenly something that should have been as simple as doing the weekly shop became an overwhelming task. Not recognising my standard brand of washing powder, olive oil and other standard household things meant I had to go through that experimental phase again of figuring out what I like and I couldn’t rely on the comfort of just knowing what was good. Writing it down now, it seems very silly but I know that it will probably take more time for me to feel truly settled and not feel so insecure.