Muscat, Oman Report of what it's like to live there - 08/25/11
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?
No. Europe and East Asia.
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?
15hrs. From DC to Dubai with a short lay over. Depends on your airline. European routes can total up to 24 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?
Big houses; some with yards if you get lucky. Singles usually get apartments.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Expensive...COLA does not cover it. But the $1.13 a gallon for gas makes up for it.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
A freezer full of frozen pork!
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
You name it... KFC, McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, Hardees, TGIF, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks.....
5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?
6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Some flies, some ants, some scoprions in the desert and very few mosquitoes.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Good...plenty to choose from. Live-in for about $350 a month.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Yes. The U.S. Embassy has an OK gym, and there are smaller private gyms available.
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?
Plenty, and most stores and vendors have them.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
1 Catholic church
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
AFN and some Cable TV available at low cost. Need a PLA tv to get the channels though.
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
None, the locals prefer to use English...you will need surival skills in the smaller villages when traveling though.
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
No buses, no trains....local cabs are of plenty and safe.
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?
Foreign is better, but if it is a minor fix, then there are plenty of mechanics around.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes and costyl. Getting better and cheaper everyday. You have to ask for better plans though...they dont offer.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
You can get a variety here and the best on the market are avaiable and expensive. Sim cards are cheap and
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?
No, contact post prior to coming in order to get the proper permits.
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
2 decent ones.1 kennel, if you really require it. Most just use their help to watch while gone.
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?
NONE...except at TAISM.No other possibilities.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
You are in the Middle East, and this is a very secure country, but you have to keep an eye out all the time.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
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?
Ummm...hot April through October. There is Summer and Spring seasons.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
There is The International School at Muscat (TAISM), American British Academy (ABA), and British School.98% go to TAISM.All have different curriculums, but it is fround upon to take your kid somewhere where the US does NOT sponsor.
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?
Plenty around and pretty expensive.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
Plenty....if they like soccer, rugby, and swimming. ABA has a good programs, TAISM not so much.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Tons...if you count all the Europeans and Ausis.
2. Morale among expats:
High, except for the few that are too scared to leave the comfort of their own home.
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?
Lots to do. Movie theater, Opera house, paintball, nightlife, bars, concerts.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Families, couples, singles I have heard are 50/50.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Travel experiences, meeting other expats from other countries here.
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Camping, fishing, 4x4ing, sandbashing on the dunes, SCUBA diving. If you like the outdoors and can handle the heat or hot off during the really hot months, this place is great.
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Plenty of local furniture, crafts, and francinsence.
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Experienceing the Middle East the easiest way.
11. Can you save money?
If you don't leave your house.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your:
4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:
Sin Bad the sailor.