Sunday, 22 February 2009

Missing moments

It's been a strange year so far, and I've realised I posted about the flat without mentioning the month preceding it... Of course I've also got to add the last couple of weeks too.

To start at the end, I went to UK for a couple of days stopover with my parents. Arriving late it was not until the next morning that I found out that my dad had suffered not one but two mini-strokes in the last few weeks. That signalled the start of the longest week I have had in a long time. The following evening he had another mini-stroke and so Saturday saw dad and I at the walkin clinic, then it was upto Colchester General for the afternoon. There was talk of him being admitted, which he didn't want, but after a long day I took him home. big mistake. Just 10mins into the footie the next day I had to call 999 I followed the ambulance in the car and it was only after I couldn't get parked and then locate dad that I got scared and the emotions escaped. Naturally dad was admitted and later that eve I left, reluctantly, to go and try and calm mum. He seemed ok when mum & I went to visit him the next day, complaining of missing his tea as he was taken for a scan, but then the following day... Had to keep optimistic for mum, but was very worried as dad had seemed confused, ill, & so old. However that was the low point and by Thurs we were waiting for the ok for him to be released. I flew back to Oman, with doubts & guilt, on Saturday and a few days later he returned home. Still feel I should have stayed longer: what a horrible feeling guilt is!

Anyway onto happier things! December started with mum's visit here in Oman. She arrived on Thursday morning off a night flight and by the eve was at the St Andrew's Ball, hosted by the Caledonian Society Oman. She had a few turns on the dance floor, as did J & I. my dress was a casualty of a fast dance as the shoestring strap snapped oops. As it was Eid, I didn't work most of her visit and got to do several day trips out, although not to the beach due to the nasty red tide, which was lingering on Muscat's shoreline. One day was spent up near Sohar at an Omani colleague's house participating in traditional Eid feast. I hadn't realised just how important our host was until he took us to his village and the whole village turned out to shake his hand and greet him. From this very Omani traditional festival later in the week we celebrated Christmas by going to a Christmas Carol concert by the Muscat Singers. It was lovely to have mum out here.

Just 5 days later I was on a plane myself heading to Durban with J, picking his daughters up on route in Abu Dhabi, for 3 1/2 weeks. It was a different holiday as I very much felt an outsider at this family gathering, not because they were not welcoming, far from it, but because many of them hadn't seen each other for such a long time. J made an effort for us to have sometime alone especially on my birthday when we went out looking at art galleries, craft shops etc & then out for a nice dinner in the evening. The holiday highlight for me was the Hluhluwi-imfolozi game park where we spent 2 nights and got to see elephants just 20 metres away. AWESOME! This is what I wrote at the time:
5 Jan. Arrived game reserve & saw giraffe, zebra, and warthog next to road & buffalo & various antelope further away on the way to our lodge! The eve game drive added white rhino to the list. The 5am game drive next day resulted in baby white rhino pics & a rhino in mud SO close you couldn't use a zoom lens. As eating breakie, J spotted elephant across the valley and we jumped in the car, abandoning breakie, in search of them. There were 2 in a bush giving tantalising glimpses of ears, tails, and lots of dust as they bathed. Finally, after what seemed like forever, they moved & we got great views of these magnificient creatures.
The rhinos were also amazing, but slightly worrying when we were on a bush walk and ended up down-wind of a white rhino & her young, especially when our guide, Samora, headed us into the bush to circle around and get away from her.

Other great African moments: seeing hippos in St Lucia, a helicopter 'flip' along the coast, seeing Zulu dancers & drummers, and hiking in the Drakensberg mountains. Only traveled in Kwazulu-Natal region so got a great excuse to return to South Africa one day. Cape Town high on to-go-list.

I'm now back in Oman, start a new job Saturday & also on Saturday have to move out of J's when my flat is vacated by my lodger. Going to be a tough week ahead.