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An Expat Talks about Moving to Muscat, Oman

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Muscat

What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Take a good look around first; there are so many options. Think about the location of your chosen school, nearest shops and place of work. The biggest and newest (and often, surprisingly, the cheapest) houses are quite far out of town, and traffic jams and accidents can be a real problem as there is only one arterial road. As in most cities, the houses nearer the centre (though Muscat doesn't really have a centre, as it is spread out along the 40km main highway) are older, but usually have more character. A very important consideration is to find a good landlord, whom you get on with, and who will undertake to sort out any problems quickly. Remember that you have to sign a lease for a year so you can't get out of it once you've decided. Many people move house when their leases are up simply because they can't get basic problems sorted like AC breakdowns and water leaks.

Carpe Diem; live life to the full and enjoy all the fantastic opportunities of living in another city and culture. Keep things in perspective and try not to let your pleasure be affected by the inevitable irritations of living in an unfamiliar world and the bureaucracy of another country. Of course they do things differently.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

Detached villa - this is typical. We have lots of space, marble floors. We like our landlord. But, we have an old-fashioned kitchen. The landlord won't refurbish it because he doesn't understand the British tradition for using the kitchen as the hub of family life. In Omani culture, the kitchen is for servants and the family would never set foot in it. So it's dark, with a small window, 70's tiling, grimy grout and an old wallbanger AC.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Lower - Cost of housing in our home city, Edinburgh, is incredibly high. We would never be able to afford to live in a house this size at home.

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