Sunday, August 14, 2016

JOURNAL | Dancing the Holidays Away While Reuniting With Muscat Expat Community

02 to 09 July 2016. Saturday to Saturday

The following days have been spent mostly on reuniting with friends. Being gone for a year, my body needed to adjust to the high temperatures of Oman; that being said, I was sweating like a faucet, my clothes almost always drenched. The familiar vibes of Oman remains- rustic and laid back. I must say that I have missed this country. 

What really separates Oman apart from other GCC countries is the fact that expats are welcome in this side of the globe. There is a general air of safety and security, plus genuine hospitality from Omanis. That's what makes living in Oman really great. I'm not surprised that a lot of Europeans prefer to stay here for long periods of time.

The villa where I shall be staying for the next two years or more

My room needed some cleaning when I arrived, but due to fatigue I just left the cleaning for today, July 2nd. I simply love my room, it was spacious enough. There's a window that overlooks the highway. Everything is quiet so I can sleep well at night. The only thing missing was a study desk, but I guess I'll find something by the next few months. What I really needed to do was to clean the room and fix my bed so I can sleep properly.

At the office, I came a little early. It was my first day so I wanted to be there as early as I could. The drive to the office still felt odd (that feeling you have when you go back to your old hometown). Sure I had driven Muscat roads hundreds of times before, but it was something this time. Well, Ramadan is still ongoing so the roads are still quiet at 8am. But this drive without traffic hassle is a breath of fresh air from the delirious traffic problem we have in the Philippines.

My colleague was surprised when she saw came in, and it was just like when I left. The same old office I left in 2015. Was still assigned to the same desk, everything the same except the fact that I'll be doing something different this time (with a new job function). And I swear that this time, I'll do everything in my capacity to contribute to the company. So yeah, the challenge is on.

After office, I immediately called on friends to meet up, and have a quick dinner.  These are the same friends I go out with for dancing salsa and was extremely happy to see them again. Decided to have Starbucks afterwards. 

Funny though, you know how in Starbucks, the barista would call you by the name you give him. So I thought, why not be another name just for fun. So I thought about "Justin", maybe it was the lingering thought of Justine Bieber that made me decide to use that name (hence the name in the SB cup). On other occasions, I am Mrk, Walter, Alex and many others... and this I can only do when I order my large cup of Cappuccino with soya milk (because I am lactose intolerant). By the way, there's a Gloria Jean's Coffee Shop now in Al Khuwair, so better check them out.

In the next few days, me and my other Filipino friends started going out regularly for salsa dancing and boy, it was so fun. We went to different salsa joints like Route66, Trader Vics, On The Rocks and Rumba Latina. This went on for abut two weeks, and we seemed not to tire about the whole regular night outs. But it was OK as this is my first few days back in Muscat again.

Filipino community in Muscat, also dedicated to salsa dancing

Istanboly at around midnight (here's where you go after night outs to grab some quick shawarma)

Some of the expat salsa dancers at Trader Vics

If not shawarma, then have a plate of grilled chicken

Rumba Latina


Salsa Mondays at Route66

Salsa Fridays at On The Rocks

Saturdays be like, "Let's go salsa at Route66"

Leading the Rueda De Casino at Route66

Of course this isn't just about going out, partying and having fun... I see it as a way of reconnecting with people, and it is through dance that I am able to share special moment with special people who are really close to my heart. I'm lucky because Oman allows such forms of entertainment for expats, something that other GCC states like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait doesn't tolerate. (Maybe I should write a more in depth look at how dancing in Oman impacts the lives of many expats).

I think this lasted for a couple of weeks, and right after the Ramadan holidays and EId, I had to slow down and re-focus on my work. But I made sure that I still go dance once in a while.

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