Muscat, Oman Report of what it's like to live there - 02/20/11
Personal Experiences from Muscat, Oman
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
We lived in Pretoria, Sicily and Puerto Rico
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Washington DC about 18 hrs
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is good. Some are old but have yards.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
You can get just about anything you want for a price.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
KfC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut. Expensive!
5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?
there are some organic products available but not a huge selection.
6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
we have DPO
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Domestic help is available and is expensive. Full-time help is about 400 a month.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
I have had no problem using my debit card at the local ATM's or stores.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
Yes. but you may have to drive a bit.
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
We only have AFN. There are many English newspapers.
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Out of respect you should learn the greetings at the very least
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
This is not a place for someone with mobility issues.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
We have used many taxis here and have not had a problem.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
A 4 x 4 is recommended. Gas is cheap, and the if you want to go beach camping or dune bashing, that is the only way to go. THere are restrictions on imported vehicles with tinted windows. No carjackings to my knowledge.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
It's more like slow speed internet. About 60 a month.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
There are two vets in Muscat. Both are expensive. One kennel for dogs only. If you plan on traveling and putting your dog up, you will need to call months in advance for space.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
At work it is smart casual. You can wear shorts and tank tops in public but you will get looks. We are in a Muslim country, so you should dress accordingly. If you can't do that, then you should not come here. When going to the clubs, though, anything goes.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
During Ramadon people tend to get more aggressive. Women need to be dressed appropiately.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
We came here after being told that the Medical care was good. I have not found that to be true.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
During the months of Dec, Jan and Feb the weather is pleasant. After that it is hot and humid. Jun, Jul and Aug are very hot
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
TAISM and ABA are both wonderful schools. ABA has more of a sport feel, and Taism is more into the arts.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
Yes, but pricey
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
Depending on who you ask and what month it is. Right now we seem to be in a slump.
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
You do you own entertaining. There are a few clubs you can go to, but be prepared to spend a lot if you drink. For a bottle of beer it is around $7-9.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
for the youing family this is a great post. for a family with older children it might be more of a struggle. It is harder for single women here then it is for single men.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
this is a Muslim country, however there is a pretty big gay population here.
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
there are some undercurrents amoung some of the local Omanies regarding non Oman Muslims
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
The Grand mosque, some of the beaches, the scenery, meeting the local people, camping, water sports
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Going to the beaches for water sports, driving to the interior, forts, shopping for local crafts.
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
many local items in the souq, pottery, carpets, jewelery
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
The beaches are beautiful, the people are wonderful. This is not a money saving post
11. Can you save money?
if you eat rice and pasta everynight and only drink water. Then you can save money
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
yes and yes
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your: