Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Unicef & a new botanical garden

Last Wednesday a colleague & I conducted a team building day for UNICEF out at the Al Nadha Resort & Spa, Barka. Please check out unicef's website: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/oman.html

During the day, UNICEF staff participated in many different activities. The final event of the day achieved a great sense of achievement and the most laughs as the participants tried to build the tallest tower from newspaper. (see pic above) Afterwards, several of the UNICEF staff expressed the wish that the event had been over 2 days, showing that the day was a huge success.

Al Nahda is a “5* hotel” although the stars have been given by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, which means it's not quite at the standard you would expect. Overall a very nice resort, but the maintenance leaves a bit to be desired e.g. the pool has a waterfall into it and the rocks/pool edge below are slimy with algae that hasn’t been cleaned. However the lunch they laid on was spectacular. That evening I was treated to a night there (the rooms are lovely) and a massage in the morning. Very nice! Afterwards there was time for a few hours by the pool, before sadly it was time to head back to Muscat. I would have loved another night, but it is quite expensive.

Last night (9th), it was another talk organised by the hao, although this time it had nothing to do with history, but was a talk on the upcoming Oman Botanical Gardens due for opening around 2011. I hope by then I will have visited the Eden project in Cornwall, as it’s ironic I haven’t even been there yet. The Omani gardens are being planned with a surprisingly high level of environmental awareness, even down to construction of the various buildings. (Using the LEED system) Hopefully this new method of construction awareness to produce green buildings in a environmental manner, recycling of materials etc will impact on the many other construction projects here. The gardens will be for native Omani plants and a tremendous job has been started to collect seeds & cuttings across the country and in cultivating them in nurseries. They have even discovered new species that were previously uncatalogued. The talk was very interesting and left many of us impatient to see the results of the project.

Tomorrow, Wednesday it’s the final Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra concert for the summer, and I have a complimentary ticket, thanks to Richard, who’s a music teacher for the orchestra. I'm really looking forward to it.