Jillian R.
I've been walking our two dogs the past couple of weeks and I must say that it wasn't easy. Yes, we recently adopted our second shelter dog and her name is Ginger. Anyway, it wasn't that walking Jester and Ginger is hard, it's the dealing with the blue collar workers that is the difficult part.

The area in which we live is still under development. As it is, we are surrounded by apartments and office buildings, but more of these are still being built. Therefore, construction workers gather at almost every corner of the streets surrounding the apartment, and most of these workers are afraid of dogs.

So, being a person who is afraid of dogs; would you
a) make kissing sounds to attract the dog(s)
b) make clicking sounds and snap your fingers as you walk very closely behind the dog(s)
and/or
c) walk very close to the dog(s) then stop and make intense eye contest (like if you intend to win a staring contest)

If I was a person who is afraid of dogs I would choose none of the above.

Sadly, this is not the case. Everyday as I walk my two dogs, workers going home from work walk along side us like they're walking them (too) on an invisible leash. Some would stop walking and stare at the dog(s). However, in most cases, the worker would do actions (a) and (b) to try to attract the attention of animals they are afraid of. Not a very smart move and it's something I cannot begin to understand. When this happens, I stop and let them move along, if they don't, I ask if they want to pet the dog(s), usually the worker would take a few steps back, apparently mortified that I would ask such a horrifying thing!

(My "vicious" dogs)

What happened this evening however, was something only a comedian would write for a slapstick comedy; I was walking the two dogs along the side of the street, intending to throw a bag of recyclables into the recycling bin. TWO steps behind us was a group of maybe four or five workers. Literally TWO steps. I don't know what compelled the group to walk so close to two medium size dogs who could very well maul someone if they so choose to. Anyway, I ignore them and tightened my grip on their dual leash - in case they go nuts. Then, one of the workers started whistling and clicking his tongue. So, I stopped walking, turned around (and so did Jester and Ginger), faced the worker(s) and said "You want to pet my dogs? Who was calling them?" The worker standing in the front of the line got so shocked that he almost fell over on his colleagues. The rest of the workers started shaking their heads in unison. It was funny.

Let me assure you that I am not a mean person. I've just had enough of trying to keep my dogs from eating one of these workers. For some strange reason, the dogs go crazy every time they see these blue collar workers. They start barking their heads off. The last thing I want is for them to attract the dogs' attention and get bitten.

I choose to see it as educating them (the workers) on having some common sense when it comes to dogs, or any other animal for that matter; if you are afraid of it, very quietly walk away!
Jillian R.
It’s hard to imagine the ordeal we’ve been through just to get to Abu Dhabi – as I sit in my bubble bath, surrounded by lit scented candles, listening to piano solos on the computer not far from the bathroom and telling Jester “Don’t eat the bubbles, just smell them”. Life at this very moment couldn’t get any better. Really, what’s better than taking a very relaxing bubble bath with your dog sitting on the rug next to you trying to lick the bubbles off of you?

The “ordeal” we went through had everything to do with living in Muscat;

Moving Day was August 25th

Aug 15 (Monday)
In order to leave Oman, Eric had to get some sort of a “security clearance” letter from the Omani Police. Eric got to the police station THREE minutes late. The officer behind the counter said he had to come back the next day. THREE minutes – and the officer was STILL THERE!

Aug 16 (Tuesday)
As you may have remembered, I wrote about making arrangements with the Omani movers about driving our stuff from Muscat to Abu Dhabi. After much arguing about the price and if they would even do any work, everything seemed to be in order.

Aug 17 (Wednesday)
We had to get our marriage papers notarized by the US Embassy and the UAE Embassy. Because our papers originated from the US, the US Embassy didn’t have any problems processing them. THEN, it started. When we got to the UAE Embassy, we were told that we had to get a few stamps from the Omani Foreign Affairs office first before they could process our papers. So off we went. We eventually got our stamps after standing in line at a very dirty office that is the Foreign Affairs department. When we returned to the UAE Embassy, guess what? It was 12.30pm and they did not accept paperwork after 12pm! We had to wait until Saturday (the start of the work week) to come back. Great!

As if coping with the heat and bureaucracy in Oman wasn’t enough, our villa’s circuit breaker to the bedroom/living room A/C broke. As soon as the A/C started spewing hot air, I knew we were cursed. I started to suspect that the villa was haunted and the ghost/spirit was out to get us. Eric, Jester and I lugged our FOAM mattress (that came with the villa – VERY cheap landlord) to the dining room and slept there, hoping that the following day would be better.

Aug 18 (Thursday)
We called the landlord the night before, but because it was Wednesday (which is the Omani “Friday”), we had little faith in him sending someone over on today. Usually, businesses do not operate on Thursdays and Fridays (which is the Omani Saturday and Sunday, you get my drift). We bumped into our Egyptian neighbor from the floor above and he called some electricians he knew to come by the villa to fix the problem. The problem was fixed (or so it seemed). Hurray!

We lugged the foam mattress back into the bedroom. A few hours later, the circuit broke again! It was too late to call the electricians back so again, I lugged the foam mattress into the dining room and we camped there again, for the second night in a row. I told Jester “Hey look, it’s an adventure!

Aug 19 (Friday)
The electricians came back, replaced the fuse (which Eric told them was the problem in the first place, but they didn’t listen), got paid some more and left. A/C started working again, hurray!

We saw the first sign of things looking up. Maybe. The landlord dropped by and after being told how much the repairs cost, he reimbursed the amount! We almost expected an argument. I thanked God, maybe there’s hope yet!

Aug 20 (Saturday)
Another trip to the UAE Embassy. Paid a lot of money for one miserable stamp – then were told that we could pick up the papers the next day; OR pay extra and have it done in a few minutes. We chose to come back the next day.

Came home to another surprise! The A/C in the dining room stopped working. I started to really believe that the villa was haunted, or things wouldn’t take turns breaking like they did. I lit some Indian incense. After turning the circuit breaker off and on again, the problem was fixed.

Aug 21 (Sunday)
After an excruciating couple of weeks waiting for our plane tickets from Eric’s new employer, our plane tickets were finally emailed to us. Along with the email, they told us that our (current) apartment in Abu Dhabi was ready and it was in a brand new building. I remember clapping my hands with extreme joy!

Aug 22 (Monday)
Our suitcases were packed, toiletries went into boxes, the upcoming move felt final. I looked around the (maybe haunted) villa and said out loud “I would never miss you”. And I still don’t miss it one bit.

Aug 23 (Tuesday)
The movers came. It was an ABSOLUTE horror. Seeing them load our stuff into their little pickup truck was like watching a very, very scary horror movie gone wrong. The one Omani guy (The Boss, we assumed) brought two Pakistani guys that he may have plucked randomly off the streets, and they (the two workers) starting carrying our boxes downstairs. Before they left the villa, I pointed and acted out the “FRAGILE” and “DO NOT STACK” labels on the boxes. I also acted out plates breaking with my hands.

When I looked out the window, I saw most of the “Fragile” boxes being laid at the bottom of the truck and getting stacked on. I closed my eyes tightly and wished it all away. Unfortunately, when I opened my eyes, they kept on stacking boxes on top of the pile.

Then, came the BEST part! When they finally managed to cramp everything into the tiny pickup truck, The Boss took out ONE small roll of laundry line rope from his pocket. ONE. I was hyperventilating by then to say anything. When Eric asked if that’s all they were going to do to make sure our stuff didn’t fall off the truck, The Boss said “No, I have TWO ropes”, to which Eric opened his eyes widely and said “Oh, I see! You have TWO!”. After the second rope was used up, it still looked like our stuff wasn’t going to make it, so Eric ran upstairs, cut our own laundry line and gave them the rope.

Then off our stuff went, in a funny little pickup truck, leaving us wondering if they will ever be seen again.

Aug 24 (Wednesday)
The day of our departure. At midnight we leave Oman for good.  Laura (from the vet who arranged for Jester’s transfer from Oman to Abu Dhabi) came at 8am to take Jester. It was such a tearful morning. Jester; who was anxious and mopey for the past two weeks seeing all the boxes, jumped into his kennel in the car and started whining and crying. We waved them goodbye and as soon as they left I started sobbing; happy tears I suppose, knowing that anywhere would be better than Oman a.k.a hell on Earth.

And that’s my story; which ends the “Oman” chapter of my life and the starting of my “Life in Abu Dhabi”!
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