Cons of living in Oman

Monday, September 05, 2016

The other day I was thinking of all the cons that would come with living permanently in Oman (in case it wasn't obvious, living in Muscat after I finish my undergrad in Atlanta is the current goal.) I'm sure you gasped at the title. Like I, Melissa Ortega, would actually have any cons about living in Muscat.

Every now and then I would imagine what my first apartment would look like. I imagined it nestled under a canopy of dark, green trees, and experience the changing seasons. The scenery in Muscat will be quite the contrast. Not a negative, just a point.

My real point is, I imagined coming home to that imaginary apartment with a full bag with my latest collection of unnecessary purchases from Target. Maybe have a funky chair from TJ Maxx as the latest addition to my home. A few artisan throw pillows from World Market. And guess which of those stores Muscat has? None. (I don't mean they don't have stores that can provide the same (DEBATABLE), but I have attachment issues) But actually, I do worry on the availability and affordability of the kind of decor I'm interested in. But okay that's being way ahead of myself.

I will also mention that Starbucks rewards cards and points are useless and don't exist there, they also don't have any of the Teavana line or the carbonation option, so say goodbye to green and chai tea lattes. I just opened a Barnes and Nobles membership and it dawned on me that although they do have B&N there, it is about a quarter or a fifth of the size of the ones here and I'm sure the membership won't work.

The closest Ikea is a 4 hour drive to Dubai. Did I mention there's no Target? 😟 OH and no Old Navy.. . . Chick-Fil-A. . . .

Another thing is food. . . . . Although Muscat does have a lot of dining options, I think there is really something cool about Atlanta's diverse food scene that hasn't and probably won't culminate in Muscat for the next several years.
Maybe ever, and I am saying this because the country itself has a population of roughly 4 million, Metro Atlanta alone has around 4.5 million along with high movement from surrounding states.

I don't know if some of the population's dietary restrictions (no pork, alcohol, whatever else halal entails, or vegetarian) is worth a mention as one of the factors that affects the expansion of the food and beverage industry but I'll toss it out there.

I have already talked (*coughs* complained) about restaurant prices and although I acknowledge that you can also eat for ridiculously cheap, there is no in between (fast food only?). There is not a lot of variety to choose from if you decide to play with your budget and get good food in the process.

Oh, while on the topic. Limited access to alcohol as well as the prices. Although I'm sure you can find better prices, that's where key word *limited access* comes in. Especially if you're a first time expat with limited to no connections then it will probably take you a while to figure it all out.

Fun fact if you didn't know, they actually do have liquor stores but they're really obscure and you can only purchase from there after applying and receiving a liquor license from the government. You must be a working resident and provide them with the details of your yearly salary. You then request a monthly allowance for spending, I think it caps at 10% of your salary amount. You, as well as Muslims, can still buy alcohol at bars and all, this is specifically for liquor for your home. Sorry got on a tangent, I don't think this is a necessarily a bad thing just some knowledge for you.

Oh, and you don't have mailboxes from house to house. I still haven't figured out how it works like does everyone get one or you decide for yourself, but you can have a PO Box.
But then you miss out on things like Amazon and other American businesses that don't ship internationally and if they do it's almost the same price as whatever you're purchasing aka an arm and a leg (thumbs up for tilt shift photography).

 Luckily, these are all superficial worries and although I do have more serious concerns (the majority in the areas of logistics and efficiency. maybe healthcare), they pale in comparison to all the positives. Muscat is a place I would love to call home and actually already do. It's amazing to think that I spent the majority of last year in Muscat. I also have some ideas for plans for when I make the move, but that will have to wait.

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