“Oman…Beauty has an Address”

Part 1: Welcome to Oman 2006!

During my first year.

I remember the first time I flew into Oman, September 2006! As we were coming into land I looked out the window – sand and desert everywhere. My first thought was, OMG, what am I doing?” I had already signed a one-year teaching contract. Too late to turn back!

Men in dishdashas

I walked through the gates into the Arrival area. There in front of me crowded around the entrance was a sea of white dishdashas and an assortment of caps and turbans. Welcome to Oman! 

 I spotted a placard with my name on it. I walked out of the airport with the driver. The heat struck me at once. I asked the driver what the temperature was. Officially, 49° Celcius; unofficially, about 52°. Yikes!! I come from New Zealand where 26 is a hot summers day! You guessed it - now the words in my head were becoming louder and more urgent - WHAT ARE YOU DOING? 

Camel

That was 11 years ago and I’ve never looked back. The country, with it’s dramatic beauty, personal safety and the most generous welcoming people I have ever met, soon had me hooked. I’ve left and come back again and again. My first stint was 4 years working in Sohar, now respelled as Suhar (about half way between Muscat and Dubai) at a local Government College (University). At the end of 4 years I left and went to Australia for 4 months.

Goats are everywhere

My heart called me back and I returned to work for the same contractor at the same college but in a different city – Sur. This is a small city about 2 hours south of Muscat. I was here for 2 ½ years. Again, I left – but this time to take up a great job in Malaysia. The contract there finished after 2 years and I tripped around a bit in Australia and then went back to NZ to settle.

I wasn’t there very long when an offer came from a friend – we desperately need Native Speakers at our University. Yip, I was on the plane back to my beloved Oman and I’m still here. This contract will finish at the end of August and I will again say Goodbye! Will this be the final time?

Juice for Breakfast

For the last month now I’ve been having fresh vegetable juice as my breakfast. It’s made a huge difference to how I feel in the mornings - alert and light but satisfied. Mostly, it keeps me going until lunchtime. In the beginning I got hungry after a couple of hours, but maybe I’m getting used to it because now I don’t get hungry until lunchtime. And I think that I’m drinking more water as well so that probably keeps me feeling full.

My morning juice makes 2 glasses this size.

Typically, I’ve been using green leaves like spinach, bok choy, some fresh ginger, carrot, and cucumber in my juice. I also add apple cider vinegar. Many juice recipes suggest adding lemon or apple to sweeten it a bit, but I prefer apple cider vinegar and it does the same job. The veges I throw in make two of these glasses. 

You can use any leafy greens. When I lived in Malaysia I often used sweet potato leaves. There are many leaves that we throw away when they are full of goodness and we could be eating them. You might need to do a little research as some leaves need to be cooked while others, like sweet potato leaves, can be eaten raw or cooked – and they are really yummy.

Which juicing machine to use?  I use a Nutri Bullet machine to make my juice these days. For me, this has two advantages: (i) it keeps in all the fibre – although this fibre can be a bit annoying when drinking it. (ii) it’s easy to clean – I’m a bit lazy and like to clean up really quickly.

You can read up on the Internet about which is the best juicer to use. I think it’s a matter of personal choice, but I’ve used all three. Here are some arguments for and against:

Nutri /Magic Bullet: It uses heat so many argue that it destroy nutrients. Others say it doesn’t produce much heat in the 30 seconds that it takes to make juice. Note: you need to cut the carrots etc a bit smaller so they juice in 30 seconds. You need to add water to the veges in these machines so you use less veges but retain all the fibre. As it goes on the base upside down, you need to make the lid is on properly otherwise it spills onto the base - frustrating!!

Slow juicers: These are often said to be the best method of juicing. They leave in some fibre and work slowly so there’s a lot less heat, but they take more work to clean. I got a bit lazy about making juice because I couldn’t be bothered cleaning it. Of course, that might not bother you.

Other cheaper juicing machines: these tend to juice out all the fibre so not much fibre in the juice. Of course, you can always stir the left over fibre back into the juice. More work to clean, but they cost less to buy which might be a factor for you.