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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Renaissance in Oman

Today, Oman celebrates 36 years of Renaissance. To give a little history of Oman, in 1970, Sultan Qaboos bin Said who was educated in Britain, took over the country in a bloodless coup from his father! His majesty saw that Oman was left behind in terms of human development and civilization. Oman back then was cut off from the world including its Arabic neighbours. Sultan Qaboos rectified this once he took over by allowing for drilling of its oil in which revenue poured in to build and maintain infrastructure, health care, education, law and order. His majesty also abolished "unnecessary restrictions" that were imposed upon his people.
Today when you arrive in Muscat Oman, you will not believe that this was a village just 30 or so years ago. Now it is like any city in the world with comfortable infrastructure, health clinics, post offices, shopping malls, their own airline, universities, banks, you name it you can find it here. Better yet, the people have been empowered through education and encouraged to work to keep their progress going! So this blogger would like to commend the Sultan and Oman for their struggle to get where they are today. Shukraan

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Reminiscing!

Someone sent me this website with live feed from the Samoan radio. Its one of the best things that's happened from home since being away. When I remember I log onto the site and listen. Aside from all the birthday wishes that I don't really care about that takes up the time, I enjoy the Samoan humour when the commentators get into it, its memories of home. My favourite part is when they play Samoan music and other old favourites, it takes me back to my childhood years of whatever I was doing when those songs were being played.

Just now I heard one of the Samoa Teachers Training College old songs and it took me right back to our fale talimalo (sitting room) where Mom would play her old LPs and teach us girls how to do the siva(Samoan dance)to the scratchy tunes. She would teach us how to move our fingers gracefully and to make sure our eyes followed our hand movements from one hand to the other. It was stressed we should feel the song and flow with it. Hence, my love for our Samoan siva.

My mother is one of the best dancers I know. When my mother gets up to dance, she is the essence of grace, she commands attention with her movements, strength, experience and with deep emotion. You are drawn to watch in awe and admiration. A good Samoan dancer must be graceful even when they perform the more abrupt actions faataupati. There are few Samoan women that have this gift as far as I'm concerned. And it is an honour to be related to one. The whole siva Samoa is a joy to watch especially when there is a great supporting act (aiuli) by the men.

As for me, whenever I hear a Samoan song that's of dancing material I can't stop myself but start dancing the hand movements. Its so ingrained in me that my fingers just start to move to the music. Sometimes at home, I turn on my fav Samoan music full blast and perform to myself to keep my rythm warm and very alive!
"Dance like no one is watching!" Sau ia, chooo hooo...
Yoga for Indians and siva for Samoans.

Travel Plans

Here we are, getting ready for another trip to Europe. This time we're keeping it short and will only be away for two weeks. FYI those with more recognised travel documents, travelling on a Samoan passport, is short of a nightmare to say the least! I have to get a visa for just about every country on the planet hic hic! well before my travel dates. But so far I've had a good record with the Schengen countries (ie. not overstaying anywhere) it only took 1 day to get my visa this time to our utmost pleasure. Normally I wait more than two weeks, though lately I'm sure they have to look up maps and goodness knows what else for the embassies to find Samoa first before they even look at the application! So cheers to the Austrian Embassy for calling us back the next day. With the schengen visa I can travel to most of the EU countries which is great, though I have to do all that within one month! Yeah right!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The joys of toy shopping!

Friends of ours were going back to NZ last week offered to take some things for us if we wanted. Of course no Samoan refuses such an offer, as it is my nephew Lio's birthday next month what better way to get his pressent there on time but with our dear friends. He likes toy cars, so off I went toy shopping at Lulu's hypermarket near us. Saw some really cool toys, funny I always walk right past those aisles but now here I was up and down inspecting the different cars and how they operate. I must admit I was loving it! heh heh! Brought out the child in me (or the child tomboy ha ha!) Finally I settled for the H2 model of the Hummer which is my favourite car at the moment. Oops the toy is for my nephew but no doubt he has the same taste as his favourite aunty(lol)! So I take the toy to the counter so they could check it out if its working! And yep that thing was working alright. Its those remote controlled ones. I was excited over the darn thing I grabbed the remote from the sales lady and played with the thing right there in the store. I'm sure they thought I was crazy. I got home plugged it in to feed the battery and before I wrapped it up, I had to try it again, just in case it broke (right, in the box:)! So there I was, zooming my nephew's toy car around the dining room! ha ha! My friend Ponita, thought it quite comical! Finally I sadly(for self) and happily(for nephew) wrapped the toy up knowing that he will fully enjoy it. Happy Birthday Lio.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Unexpected visitors!

Egyptian kitties that peeked at us over the wall while we were sitting at a cafe in downtown Cairo! Cats like other animals were worshipped in ancient Egypt.



Puss-in-Boots: who's lookin' at me!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Middle East in trouble?

Waking up to the news that Israel is bombing Beirut Airport is not very positive news at all. The Middle East is becoming a hot spot once again. Who knows who will support Lebanon in fighting against Israel, lets see Iran..arrgghh not with possible destructive weapons they have, Syria who are close by Lebanon... they are at least on that side of the continent but still..! Well I guess we'll just wait and see. Alex flies to Beirut but as of today they have now cancelled all their flights there so thank goodness for that. And then coming to the other side of us: India, there were 10 bombs that exploded in Bombay, another destination that hubby flies to. And those psycho people have just repeated 7/11 bombings like those of last year in London. There are some really disturbed people out there. Oman is quiet and a neutral country so hopefully they stay this way for a long time to come.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

And the winner is...

And the creative one does it again. My sis won best design at the Wintec Matariki Wearable Arts show in Hamilton, NZ. Jody has always been the more creative one in our family thanks to Mom who always made sure we had things to work with. However some people just have the gift of creating things out of nothing and this sista is one of those. Put her in a room with scraps and arm her with a glue gun and she'll emerge with two tuigas (Samoan dancing head dress) and a couple of outfits for the next pageant to compete in! So she entered the Matariki show two weeks ago and spent (knowing her) a few dollars and sista won the particular category! Surprise surprise! The other contestants probably spent hundreds on their designs oh and hiring the models but Jody spent less and modeled the outfit herself hahaha! Doing it Savaii style. Congrats girl. That's my sis.

Monday, July 10, 2006

~ Master Chef ~

Its official, my darling husband is an excellent cook. I kind of knew this for awhile now and I must say I'm pretty lucky that he can cook some great meals. He can whip up a meal out of (what I think) nothing. I would look in the fridge to make a meal and feel frustrated that I couldn't see much to make a decent meal out of. Then good ol' Master chef goes in there and emerges with a big grin and a superb meal. Ok aside from the fact that I really am not a good cook it is just great that hubby can kick butt in the kitchen. In my defense I make good breakfast is about my only strong cooking points while babe can entertain me with a three course meal: when he's up to it. So I leave him to watch all the BBC Food shows as much as he wants:)

Somewhere over the Rainbow...

This is my favourite song at the moment "Somewhere over the Rainbow" as sung by Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole which is featured and where I first heard it in the movie 50 First Dates. He's Hawaiian unfortunately he passed away a few years ago so I learned on his website.
You know how songs make you feel different feelings or brings back memories well this song makes me feel pure joy and happiness! lol Crazy huh! The way the ukulele is played and the rythm is just perfect and then the singer's voice blends in so well. So Martin (kind kind super mate) sent me the song two weeks ago and still when I play it I'm overcome with happy thoughts and a sense of euphoria. lol who needs drugs!!! Or maybe its to do with when it was played in the movie where the boy and girl were together and lived happily ever-after! I think darling husband is getting sick of the song now...

Football: World Cup Final

Finally, we noticed that the Football finals were on so we went to watch it at our friends' place. It was the semi-finals France vs Portugal. Arriving at their place they asked who I was going for I just said France... I really haven't followed the games so have no idea who's who, but that my brother in-law is French! I think it kind of messed up the way our friends watch their games as here we were the opposition right in their living room. Oops! Football fanatics, I guess I thought it balanced out our viewing. Anyhow, France won by a penalty goal which was fine by me though according to them was a poor way to win a game!!! But then hey with football the goal is so small with a guy there that can use his hands so they kick the ball back and forth for 80 minutes and if we're lucky at least 10 seconds of that is excitement from scoring a goal. Nevertheless I was fired up from that game so I really wanted to watch the finals.
I watched it at our other friends' where France scored a goal in the first 10 minutes (penalty). Italy scored one 10 minuted later by way of a corner kick which was a good goal. At half time, Alex called from the airport that he had landed so I drove to the office to pick him up and stopped at the Golden Tulip bar to see the second half. They were mostly Italian fans in there, and being local young guys (14 yrs equivalent mentally) they were swearing when the French came near a goal. Quite uncomfortable but we watched the whole game.
How ridiculous, Zidane the captain and star player for the French head butted an Italian in the chest in the extra 30 minutes and got a red card! And that was his farewell game in the world cup final and he went out with a red card... How stupid... that all his experience and expertise went out the window when he did that! So the French were left with 10 players but they played hard. The Football world cup final came down to a penalty shoot out!!! So in the end Italy pocketed 5 out of 5 and France missed 1 out of 5!!! And Italy won the Football world cup, winner of 19 million dollars. What a lousy way to end a world final...a penalty shoot-out? football...tsk tsk tsk!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

~ Life in Muscat ~

Two young Omanis in Muscat. Their attire is called a dish-dasha. This is their everyday wear to the mosque, work, home and even clubbing!



Our favourite schwarma place the Istanboly Restaurant in town. At this place you can just drive up and the guys in the green uniform run out to your car to take your order. Taking drive-through to another level!

Swim stop.

On our drive back to Muscat we stopped at what's called a sink hole in Bamah! It's this huge hole in the ground with beautiful clear water. Our guide said that part of the ground just fell in and this is what's left.



In the scorching heat it was a welcome stop. The water was warm but not too bad.