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Muscat

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Figmo, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Hello everyone, is anyone in Muscat currently? Seeb, specifically. was wondering if anyone would be willing to provide info on how the COVID situation is being dealt with? I know there is home quarantine for the first 2 weeks.

    Also any info on what it is like there generally for an expat teacher also appreciated. Looks a beautiful place!

    Many thanks in advance
     
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I know people in Muscat and the situation is serious, but handled - so far. There is a concern that the number of cases are escalating but this could just be that the real extent is becoming apparent now.
     
  3. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Thank you Karvol. It's so hard to know what the right thing to do is at the mo. But I've already had one dream dashed I'm so desperate to get myself working abroad. I just don't want to end up locked down in a situation where I'm lonely and can't enjoy the experience at all!
     
  4. skvo

    skvo New commenter

    Seeb is a bit out of the way from main expat places like MQ or Al Khuwair, and has much more local/Arabic vibe to it. I loved it . You will need to run a car - not negotiable for Muscat. My friends who are still there had endured strict lock down with limitation of movement only within their community. It seem to be easing now and some are moving down to Salalah for a bit of fresh air. Muscat is unique and not a bad place to start teaching overseas - just check your school, as there are some very unpleasant establishments.
     
    desertestrella7 likes this.
  5. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Thank you for your response skvo. It's the 'global' school in Seeb. I hope that isn't one of the unpleasant ones!

    Erk I don't drive. What about a scooter?
     
  6. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Just been doing a bit of investigating and public transport looks OK. I've managed for the past 20 years in the UK and beyond doing that so I don't so why it would be any different in Muscat, am I wrong? I don't imagine it's as good as the UK but surely if it can get me into town and to work that will be ok surely? Many thanks for helping!
     
  7. skvo

    skvo New commenter

    Have not seen scooters in my 2 years there. It is hot from April to November, proper hot. Public transport does not exist, I am afraid - there might be some buses running along main road 4 times a day, but that's it. Pavements in Muscat are for parking 4x4, not for walking. Taxi is expensive and unreliable. I have tried in my second year to live without a car (for ecological and financial reasons) - and lasted 3 weeks. Then bit it and rented again. Very few people managed without being able to drive - citizens of some countries have to retake driving test - and they relied on friends for help. That can work - you can befriend somebody to drive you around and chip in for petrol and drinks. Doable. Wish you all the best!
     
  8. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Thanks for the response,skvo. How long ago was it you were living there? I get the impression efforts have been made over the last couple of years to improve the public transport situation.
    It's all currently moot - I will get the job first, then worry about what I will do haha!!

    Thanks for the heads up, appreciated!
     
    skvo likes this.
  9. skvo

    skvo New commenter

    Left last June. You will be fine - make friends with Omani people, they are generous and fun hosts. Enjoy the adventure
     
  10. gafleecey

    gafleecey New commenter

    I honestly can't imagine how you would be able to live in Muscat if you can't drive.
    No public transport.
    Not safe or possible to walk.
    Definitely not a place for scooters!
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Hi gafleecy,

    According to my research there is a public bus system? I'm sure I will be able to car share to get to and from work and I'm certain there are places I can walk or get a taxi! Driving isnt an option for me. I'm not letting this deter me, I've managed thus far to get by
     
  12. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    I wouldn't dismiss advice about public transport. You seem convinced it will just work out. It's bad enough in the rural areas of the UK. I've lived in a country with extremely limited public transport and your life will be heavily restricted. You could probably manage relying on colleagues but that could wear thin. When people say it's not safe to walk or use a scooter I would take that seriously too- driving standards can vary and I imagine the extreme climate could make walking a challenge.
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Hi Clovis, thanks for your message. Have you lived in Muscat?
    It surely cant be compared to rural UK- it's the capital city! I have looked online and it says there are buses that run throughout every 15 minutes. Along with car sharing and taxis I dont foresee a massive issue personally. Unless people actually think that I should abandon this wonderful opportunity for this reason? I certainly hope not. I've never driven. People who do drive dont understand but we are used to the upheaval!
     
  14. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    http://mwasalat.om/en-us

    From what I can gather, they have made huge improvements to the public transport system over the past couple of years. I'm sure it wont be UK standard but as long as I can get around the city I'm sure I will survive!
     
  15. beanyx

    beanyx New commenter

    Hi Figmo

    I work in muscat currently - as of today the temp is 42 in the shade - if I left my car out in the sun it will reach over 50 within minutes, the humidity is rising and it will start to get quite unpleasant unless you have been here years and acclimatised!

    Public transport - yes there is a bus service however it is not really running at the moment due to COVID when it is running it is fine as long as you don't mind the walk from the sultan Qaboos highway to where you work - the buses run only a very simple route along the main highway.

    We have had so many members of staff arrive who can not drive, most say they will get a car share or a taxi or the bus or ride their bike - I know of not one person in the last 10 years here who have not gone and got their licence before Xmas!

    Taxis are better now since the introduction of Otaxi app which has meant there is no more need to barter for every ride but still they can be expensive and going from any of the big hotels back to seeb will be massive.

    The school you are going to is not one of the top 3 and has a dubious reputation at the moment as there has been a massive number of layoffs - the main employer in the area has said there will be a 30% reduction of staff. There are more and more cars being parked up and left so the number of ex-pats out here will drop massively over the next year. This will have a knock-on effect as the ones who are left mostly live around mq and will not travel to Seeb - could take 2 hours at rush hour! or 15 mins at other times. I know of several parents that are taking their children out due to behaviour, however, I have heard good things about the new head. As it is a for-profit school that is quite new I would proceed with caution - most of the other schools that I know of have stopped all recruitment and put pay freezes in place.

    Oman is an amazing country and I can not see myself leaving for many years to come - it has its problems like any country but it is by far the best GCC place to live. The number of COVID cases is increasing quite fast at the moment which is a worry but they do seem to be handling the situation. My main concern would be getting a flight to here - the airport is closed except for nationals - there is talk that flights will resume in July however I understand that it will only be omanair and at the moment the price seems to be about 1000 GBP for a one-way ticket! it is usually about 400 GBP return to the UK. Is the school prepared to pay that? It is also difficult to get visas at the moment due to the closure of several government offices so that will take longer than normal - there are a lot of hurdles that will need to be overcome before you will be legal to work.

    If you need any more info just ask
     
    desertestrella7 and agathamorse like this.
  16. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Beanyx, that is so appreciated. Thank you! Need a bit of time to digest all that very useful info, and will probably pick your brain again at some point if you dont mind!!
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. beanyx

    beanyx New commenter

    Not a problem.

    I would seriously consider against a scooter - they are very rare as are motorbike and pushbikes so when driving people do not look out for them. Also, there is no NHS so if you get knocked down you could be waiting a long time to get help - we have been advised by many long term people who live here that the best thing to do if you need urgent medical care is to put you in someone's car and drive to the nearest hospital - most of the private ones don't have an A and E that can deal with major issues so will send you to one of the local ones - there are few that are really outstanding in their field so it is not a bad thing! I have an Omani friend who is a consultant and most are trained in the UK!
     
  18. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Please can I send you a private convo?
     
  19. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    No. Which is why I would listen to the advice of those that have.
     
  20. gafleecey

    gafleecey New commenter

    Sorry, but why are you sure you will get a car share? Also how will you shop or have any social life?
    I can categorically assure you that you cannot get around Muscat by public transport.
    You will not be safe walking in the blazing heat either.
    Trust me, you need to run a car to have any decent quality of life in Muscat.
     
    agathamorse likes this.

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