Once I lived in South Korea where I enjoyed high speed internet, a plethora of Korean food options, and copious amounts of alcohol available almost anywhere. Even the national alcoholic beverage, Soju, was advertised at the theater. This was surprising as this would not fly in the United States. I miss the soups that were served in Korea like 뒨장지께, 갈비탕, 육개장, and my favorite, 뼈다귀해장국! All of these soups could be consumed with Soju, by the way.
After Korea, I moved to Saudi Arabia where even the mention of alcohol would raise the suspicions of others and might land you in hot water. Alcohol was available in Saudi despite what one may think. A British Compound in Riyadh held parties for foreigners where alcohol was served. Then, there were all the wannabe home brewers who who attempted to make spirits in their down time. It beat not being able to get real alcohol, but drinking it was a pretty lackluster experience because you knew that somebody somewhere else was enjoying the real thing. I lived in the Eastern Province where I was near the border with Bahrain, the tiny island nation which is more closely described as the Middle East’s version of Las Vegas. There, alcohol consumption and purchase proliferated. And the interesting part about it is that like Saudi, Bahrain is also an Islamic country.
With regard to food in Saudi, I only had one experience with traditional Saudi food while the rest of my meals were of my own design. This was due in part to the difficulty with which I found it to find decent establishments. Most eateries catered to the migrant worker populace, which I am not apart of. So, I always felt as if I were an outsider and I felt as if I were cherrypicking tasty foods rather than patronizing an establishment for long periods whereby they can develop their customer base of other Americans like me. I rarely went into those establishments, but only when I needed something quick and simple. The rest of my diet consisted of burritos, Mexican rice bowls, and tacos of the Baja Fresh variety. This was a God send in Saudi. I ate at Fire Grill almost everyday in fact.
The internet in Saudi was just okay. At work, our employer subscribed to only a subpar service and it was annoying and aggravating to have to wait to carry out tasks die to downed internet. At my home in Saudi, I enjoyed Netflix, Youtube, and other internet services without issue. Mostly, the internet at home was high speed and allowed me to download information at a sufficient pace.
Now that I am in Oman, I have access to similar food options as I did in Saudi. I have yet to have a traditional Omani meal. My meals have consisted of mostly Indian meals, which are prepared by the mostly Indian workers who reside here and serve the Omani populace. In Oman, alcohol is available and the harsh restrictions and punishments that Saudis will impose on those who imbibe do not exist. I like that part of living in Oman.
The internet at my place of work is once again an issue here in Oman. It’s slow. The equipment is old, and the wifi signal is intermittent. It’s unlike South Korea in this one specific way. Korea and Japan boasts the highest speed internet in the world.
To give an example of how bad things are here, I cannot post photos in this blog about the internet because the signal is so weak. I can, however, post text, and watch Netflix. So, all is not lost. Oman is fine. It’s a beautiful and intriguing. My only wish is that I could live among more Spanish speakers so that I may practice El Español.