It has been almost four months since the last post. Again, I feel guilty and again, it’s been busy. Or perhaps as much as we’ve settled into our life in Oman (as much as one can settle into a life in Oman), I still long for Pakistan where I felt a lot more inspired… However, before I go on to talk about our holiday in Pakistan, I feel I need to fill in the three-month gap between the last post and our holiday.
The best time to be in Oman is between October and April when it feels like European spring/summer with temperatures in the early to mid-twenties, cold water in the taps and chilly (-ish) mornings and evenings. Omanis call this season winter (!!!). It really is a good chunk of the year to be there. Then there comes April and hot night winds begin. I love the wind; it makes me feel alive and it was quite a magical time, actually. We like having fairy lights at home, a mini-tradition of ours which started back in Pakistan so we had the lights on, ravings wind around us blowing (a line borrowed from Robert Burns) in an amazingly noiseless flat (hope you remember the story of the two flats from one of the Oman post before…) until the winds turned too hot and dusty to keep the windows open and so the summer began. Before we left Oman at the end of July (not for good, just the holiday), the temperature hadn’t gone below 40 degrees Celcius and was mostly 45+ for over three months. My life consisted of basically staying indoors, whether it be inside the car, a classroom, the office or home, all of the above with the AC on 24/7. You’d go out shopping after dark which, nevertheless, did not really offer considerable relief from the heat. The only time that I felt comfortable during that time was in Ramadan when we’d stay up until and towards the end of Ramadan also after the Fajr prayer (around 4am local time) and watch the starry sky. It was cooler then and pleasant until the sun went up and the hell began again. After the Ramadan our night sky-watching ended because B. spent a month in Muscat on a teaching course (well, he was there five days a week whilst I was back in Nizwa because I had work). I was home alone and scared to go outside the house at night (we’d left the university flat and temporarily moved to a friends’ house whilst looking for our own house). One of the perks of living in a house as opposed to a flat is, however, that you may come across all sorts of creatures such as geckos or scorpions of which I’m absolutely petrified and wouldn’t go outside at night on my own for the fear of coming face to face with them and not having anyone to rescue me.
Apparently until a few years back (according to some staff) and generally in the past (according to locals) it didn’t use to be so unbearably hot (global warming?) and it used to rain daily without a fail. This year it rained about 3-4 times in July and only for a few minutes, apart from one massive storm at the beginning of July which lasted for a couple of hours and caused mayhem but purified the air for one whole afternoon/evening. How do you keep sane locked in at home by the heat? You don’t. You feel like a caged animal. There’s no relief. There’s no cold water in the taps. There’s no green. There’s no fresh air. There’s nothing. What do you do? Keep calm and carry on… dreaming about going to the greenest of places – Pakistan.
P.S. I recorded these videos three weeks before leaving for Pakistan. The dates on the palms are pretty impressive.