Wednesday, September 22, 2010

green among the grey

So this a fairly standard night for me here in Birkat Al-Mouz: home, splat for a bit, back to the kitchen to rock out to Taio Cruz while I clean up the malakhiyya---pick pick pick, a jillion little leaves on stems I plan to do something constructive and crafty with---soak, massage, rinse and plop in the pan.

Nights are already getting less hot here. This bodes well in most ways, except that with the coming of the less oven-like days returns the massive horde of mosquitoes outside, lurking to pester.

Oh well.

Malakhiyya: thin green leaves set all on stems, looks like any of my favorite kind of weeds, and deliciously goopy. Like it hung out with okra for a while and learned a lesson or two.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the same old topic

I'd just like to point out that in this land of lotsa space, where the housing tossed at even mere teachers like myself is vaster than vast, my cat has his own bathroom.

And his own private playroom, come to think of it. Full of rocks, of course.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

fun with the modern world

So today little Mainer me had a conversation in Finnish with a Sudanese guy who's in my department. This is what I like about the 21st century.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

recent sogginess

So yes, time elapses.

Since my return to this land of dusty stones and friendly people, time has zoomed on by. Nothing like the beginning of a semester to make that happen. And now it's mid-March. I believe that this is also symptomatic of life after thirty.

So home and here. The most fun bit is that I discovered (in the Columbus-y sense of the term) that after basically all of the fall assuming that there was nothing up across the highway except the evident cold store or two, a chunk o' housing, and some big old mountains, that there is in fact the whole old town of Birkat Al Mouz. Goes to show how harried a fall I had.

But anyhow, this place is great! Finally, a real town center! Already met a bunch of nice folks there, and found a greengrocer's that's introduced me to the real price of vegetables in Oman. Which is a very nice thing.

And I am just plain happy about radish greens. And the fact that I know how to say 'radish' in Arabic now. Come to think of it, I think I only know how to say 'radish' in three languages, including English. Grim.

Mabruuk is adventuring well: he plays outside a fair bit now, and I even have a harness-and-leash setup so that he can come wandering about outside the courtyard more safely. He still bites me regularly, and I emphasize that he did this even before I devised a harness-and-leash setup. He's a playful cat, and unfortunately, all of us are other kittens for him to wrestle with an bite.

I see his sister and mother from time to time on campus: they're clearly related, since his sister is (and has been) the same age as him, which you can see since they're both not yet fully-grown, and they are the spitting (yowling, and hissing) images of each other. Same voice, too. I wish I could take them home, too, but three cats would be a bit much for me, and they're even wilder than he is right now.

Oh, and the usual update of Things That Mabruuk Will Eat:

pomegranate seeds
Omani halwa
radish greens (yup, just plain-boiled, not even any oil; snarfed 'em down and asked for more)
spider webs (no bugs or anything in them, just cobwebs: he REALLY likes his protein)

So. Today was rain and wet, with the attendant minor flooding that always goes along with this. Amazing how the hard dry ground just makes the water slosh along the surface like we are all in giant tiled room. Which is what most of the buildings here actually are on the inside, come to think of it.

It's so fun to see the kids out in it though: rain here seems to be like snow back home. Seasonally rare enough to be exciting and fun, even if it does cause traffic problems. The neighborhood kids here were making mud castles that had exactly the same design as the old adobe watchtowers that sit atop many a hill here, including right over old Birkat Al Mouz. I visited it the other day, and found not only a neat wild beehive---open to the air, in a niche in a nearby stone enclosure---but also a giant date palm oasis that I'd somehow failed to notice because it was tucked into a valley right between the town and the mountains. Even has a cool aqueduct running through it atop a twelve-foot (or more) wall.

Ah, there's plenty more to tell, but sleep beckons!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

rainmonster dustbasher

Thonka! An immense amount of rain is slamming down outside. This'd be a heavy storm at most at home, but compared to the anemic weenie-rain we've gotten up till now, well, it deserves mention. I'm pretty sure the last five minutes have already delivered more than ten times the total precipitation we've had since I got here in August. Now I see how they recharge their groundwater here---with Meteorological Smackdown Night.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

still no water, but maybe that's a good thing

Found out that my upcoming trip to London has me leaving just a few short hours before the premiere broadcast of The Waters of Mars. Bummer: it'd be fun to finally watch Doctor Who in Britain. At its harvest-freshest....

Monday, November 2, 2009

flicker-tastic wonder-day!

So today, convergences and accomplishments. I arrived on campus, and heard another round of Very Small mews, and sure enough, what looks to be Mabruuk's neice or nephew was there, lost and lonely in the decidedly not-kitten-friendly parking lot. I really can't swing taking care of another cat I did the next best thing I could think of, which was to go on a merry chase after said furball, underneath umpteen parked cars and into at least one wheel well, to finally get the claw-y spitster into my arms, and then we walked over to Cat Central.

Namely, where the men's and women's cafeterias converge around their kitchens...a place where there are always bunch of not-very-hungry-looking cats hanging out. Still felt weird, dropping a little kitten off on their own right there, but then the strangest thing happened. Said kitten meowed and meowed (as you might expect)...but then a mama cat showed up, with two or three kittens in tow, meowed back, and went over to him, and did NOT get all hissy and weird (as you might not expect). She turned and ran from there, but only because some people walked by---and she hung out, clearly concerned and interested. So I brought the kitten over to their safe corner, and the mama cat seemed to take h/her in right with the others: when last I looked, Parking Lot Kitten had already disappeared into the doorway (towards something kitchen-y and food-scrap[p]-y, I think) ahead of h/her apparent new crew. Hopefully that works out for all of them.

And then me, I got another chunk of bein' a foreigner formalities done today---yay!---and even confirmed that I now have, at long last, a functioning bank account. Woo hoo! Plus I got to gab for like an hour in Indonesian today.