Sunday, June 24

Cost of living in Oman

Some people interested in a possible expatriation in Oman asked me what is the cost of living here in Oman. So it gives something like this, based on a month of living for a couple :

  • Food shopping : between 100 and 250 Ryals per month (for my wife and me it is 200 Ryals).
  • Petrol : around 20 Ryals if you use your car about 45min each day. you can see how petrol is cheap here
  • Phone : 5 Ryals for a prepaid card (but I don't phone a lot).
  • Car renting : 150 Ryals per month for a basic car, like a Mitsubishi lancer.
  • Renting of accommodation : variable depending on the location, but expect at least 350 Ryals per month for a apartment.
So basic cost of living for a couple is between 525 and 775 Ryals per month. Of course you could buy your own car and it will be a lot cheaper. But you can't live in Oman without a car, or you'll have to take a lot of taxi and it could be even more expensive. You can also rent a room instead of renting a complete apartment.

And optionally you could add :
  • Alcohol : 20 Ryals, for a pack 22 beers (~11Ryals) and 2 bottles of wines (~9Ryals).
  • Cinema : 10 Ryals if you're going 2 times to the cinema during the month.
  • Intercontinental club : 66 Ryals per month (6 months membership for a couple is 400 Ryals)
  • Arab lesson : 30 Ryals, you can learn Arabic at the CFO (45 Ryals per person for a 3 months session)
  • Restaurants & Pubs : 100 Ryals
  • various shopping : 60 Ryals
  • 4x4 renting : let's say you will rent a 4x4 at least once a month to make some tourism : 40 Ryals
Now the "advanced" cost of living for a couple is between 850 and 1100 Ryals per month.

Tuesday, June 19

Summer activities in Oman

From May to September, temperature and humidity become very high in the Sultanate. Outdoor activities , such as tourism or trekking, are not possible anymore. You have to make do with indoor activities, such as :

  1. Intercontinental club, where you can use the swimming pool, squash courts and gym room.
  2. cinema, one of my favourite activities for the moment during the summer
  3. shoppings in highly air-conditionned malls
  4. Going to Dubaï, which I've planned to do this month
  5. tv, of course...
  6. restaurant and pubs with your friends
  7. ice rink, but the one in Muscat is a bit dilapidated and expensive
  8. and I guess a lot of expats just go back to their country for the summer when it is possible.

Any suggestion I could add to this list ?

Thursday, June 14

Tv in Oman

I've just got back TV signal, since the parabolic antenna has been damaged 2 weeks ago by the cyclone. I've thought it could be interesting for the futur expats to describe what is TV like here in Oman.

So basically you have access to 999 channels, coming from different satellites : hotbird, nilesat, arabsat. Half of these channels are free, but the major ones are not (MTV, CNN, HBO, ESPN, TF1, M6).
available channels are american, english, french, italian, chinese...

But for a french expat like me, here is the list of the channels I watch:

  • Dubai one : The latest movies and series (firends, scrubs...) in english (arabic subtitles).
  • MBC 2 : Same than Dubai one
  • MBC 4 : Same than Dubai one
  • Euronews : News in europe
  • Arte : Cultural french channel.
  • BFM TV : News in France. I stick to it
  • TV5 Europe : Programmes from french, belgium and canadian TV
  • TV5 France : Programmes from french TV
  • NRJ12 : French music channel with famous series like "baywatch" :)
  • NT1 : Basically K2000 in french all day long
  • Fashion TV arabia : Fashion TV, but without lingerie.
Apart from these channels, there is nothing very interesting. Maybe you could find one or two other interesting channels depending on your parabolic antenna configuration, but not so much I think.

Saturday, June 9

Cars damaged by floodings

Here are some pictures of cars damaged by floodings :

People running for water

In my building (Al Khuwayr), the water has come back yesterday. I can now take showers again, flush my toilets and wash my dishes... This is great !

But in other areas (here in Ghubra) of Muscat, water is still missing. Some trucks distribute water, and people are generally rushing for this kind of distribution :

Flooded area

Here is some pictures of flooded areas after the cyclone.
This is between Al-khuwayr and Shati Qurm :

This is in Al Ghubra :

Qurm Beach devastated

Here is some pictures from friends of the Qurm beach after the cyclone. As you can see, we will need some time before beeing able to access this beach again.

Cyclone flooding & Cars

Here is a little video taken from the terrasse of a friend living in Ghubra during the rains :

Three of my friends living in this area have lost there cars.

Friday, June 8

Cyclone is gone

The Cyclone which has reached Muscat yesterday is gone now. The winds have not been so strong but the rains have been heavy ! Severe floodings made a lot of damages :

  • numerous cars have been crashed by the waters
  • some roads have been destroyed
  • there is no more running water
  • in some area there is no more electricity
Considering these damages, and the army helicopters flying over muscat, it gives a bit the feeling to be in a state of war. Hopefully the situation should get better this week.

(just before the cyclone)

Here is some picture I took. There are no so impresive because my area has not been hit too badly. I will publish later on pictures from friends who have been less lucky.

(after the cyclone)

(the beach doesn't exist anymore)

Tuesday, June 5

Cyclone is coming

I've just come back from my holidays and I hear that a cyclone is coming ! His little name is "Gonu", and he should arrive tonight on Muscat...
I think if you stay at home there will be no risk, but the rain will make a lot of damages like the last time a flooding occured.