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:
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!