A curious caravanserai of notoriety and nonsense, poetry and prophecy.

What I do on an (above) average day

Don’t Criticize What You Can’t Understand; or Just Try It With Cinnamon Sugar On Top

Today (Nov 17, 2013) I am feeling really terrific. I can think of no latent badthings I have done that will incur imminent wrath and/or punishment (and I do seem to have a troublesome penchant for badthings, so the lightness I’m feeling is pretty unusual). And today was simultaneously relaxed, productive, and fun!

1) Had a delicious Nescafé double mocha packet and cereal with whole milk, which I now concede must be the Revelation they need to include in the next edition of “The Secret.” Breakfast haters, cereal disdainers, dairy skepticallers: you clearly aren’t eating Cornflakes with whole milk. A combination blissfully simple. Easily overlooked. Sublime.

2) Found the daughter of the Omani host family I am hoping to move in with in December on Facebook. This was exceedingly challenging (and rewarding, when I succeeded), because a) there are at least ten people with her first and last name who live in Muscat b) Omani (and I would guess this applies to other GCC countries) women typically do not have pictures of themselves as their Facebook profile picture, so I could not actually find Nada by face, because all the pictures were of henna’d hands, cats, fields, flowers, inspirational quotes etc. c) it was all in Arabic. But I found her, enfin!

3) Spoke on the phone with a new client I’d visited two weeks back, from a Petrol/Engineering professional training center, who confirmed that we’ll start providing all their food and catering for trainings as of today! Wahooo!

4) Bought 5 rials of credit at a petrol pump and sent it to Saumen, who was at home not feeling well but obviously needed to have use of his phone.

5) Typed up a bunch of new Arabic vocab from my last lesson with my tutor, to review in anticipation of today’s afternoon class because I’ve been in Dubai for the last week so my Arabic will probably be rusty.

6) While doing #5 in a coffee shop awkwardly eavesdropped on the PTA heads of the British School of Oman planning a HUGE Christmas party, and finally got the courage to go over to their table, introduce myself, and tell them about how I’m a student from the US studying Omani women entrepreneurs and also working part-time as a Marketing Consultant for an Omani woman’s company, and that that very company happens to own restaurants and coffee shops and would be delighted to do some of the catering for the Christmas event you’re planning and sorry I just eavesdropped and intruded on your conversation so impolitely, I’m American after all so I guess I have just fulfilled your New World stereotypes. But the Scottish ladies all took my WhatsApp and email and GSM number and said, “Not uh tall, not uh tall, pleasure to meet you and look forward to speakin’ with yah soon!”

7) Went to R1 (Jimmy’s Kitchen) and picked up two hot lunch meals – one vegetarian one non vegetarian – and dropped by the office of Barbara, a lovely Indian Christian women who works at the National Water and Mineral Corporation and with whom a had a wonderful chat last month. We talked about our lives, God, families, dreams, and she gave me near confirmation of a 70-person three-meal/day contract that will be starting January 1! Business and friendship wahoo!

8) I had a great Arabic lesson – learned the Arabic word for backstage, which is just the [very poetic] French word coulisse (translated as backstage, but literally referring to the wings of the theater) spelled with Arabic letters! I sounded it out and was like kahw-lees this sounds familiar…

Me and Fernando dazzled at the Royal Opera House!

Me and Fernando dazzled at the Royal Opera House!

9) On the way to my Arabic lesson I got a phone call from Fernando inviting me to go see a Flamenco performance at the Royal Opera House with him at 7pm (he got free tickets from our Irish friend Elaine who couldn’t use hers last minute)! We went together and it was absolutely incredible! A huge orchestra and an extraordinary dancer! And the architecture of the Opera House is breathtaking, all elegantly carved marble and wood. Some were critical of building a $2 billion edifice during the financial crisis while people were suffering, but it is truly beautiful!


10) After the opera it was about 10pm, but I called Maliha and she said it was ok for me to come home late, so I went out to a really fancy, DELICIOUS Iranian restaurant called Persepolis with my friend Arta, and ate delicious Chelo Joojeh kebab, which is chicken baked with onions and saffron and served with saffron-stained rice. We also had fresh yogurt with mint and cucumber in it called mast-o-khiar, and salads with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and pomegranate seeds. It was sumptuous and decadent and SO delicious. Will effort making the saffron chicken/chelo kebab at home over Thanksgiving, I think. It was also really cool because Arta has a big tattoo of the symbol of Cyrus the Great on his back, and the same symbol was engraved in the back of the wooden chairs in the restaurant!

Cyrus the Great symbol, more or less

Cyrus the Great symbol, more or less

Other amazing things about November 17: It was a full moon, I got paid (finally) for a modeling gig I did a few weeks ago so for once I had cashmonies, and I wore neon earrings so obviously that rocked. It was just an unusually good day. Oh and I had a 100 baiza (25 cent) ice cream cone while I was writing this blog post. $0.25!!! for a big soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone! Mash’allah!

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