Hello from the after-life, 4.5 years on from "le fin"


Hello there, I'm not even sure if anyone will see this update, or even bother to read it. However, I started writing this blog for myself all those years ago, and recently I found myself wanting to write a few things down.

So, here I am, back in the Blogger system I left behind in the summer of 2018.

A lot has changed in these last 4.5 years.

Where should I begin? HM Qaboos? Covid? The ExPat-Exodus? Nope, I think I shall begin, and end, with me and my experiences of these last few years. OK, the passing of HM Qaboos was a sad moment for the Sultanate, its people and the many, many people around the world who respected the leader that he was. I had left the Sultanate before the new ruler took charge and do not feel qualified to state anything other than this about HM Haitham bi Tariq: he appears to be doing a good job from the perspective of an outsider looking in; I wish the Sultanate, its Sultan and its people nothing but the very best.

Ok, back to why I wanted to write something here. One of the more enjoyable series of articles that I used to write here on ze blog was my MM Guide to Oman irregular series of posts. One post that I never really recall thinking about writing was.... what to expect when you leave the Sultanate. As it happens, there's rather a lot that you can do to make your departure, and arrival somewhere else, a little easier on yourself.

Now, my departure from Oman was sudden, not expected and definitely not planned very well. Some of the reasons that I have heard over the years as to why I left were quite remarkable in their range from the reasonable to the absurd. My marriage ended, my children were no longer in Oman, and so I left so I could be near to my children. I remain extremely grateful for the understanding and support I received from my employers at the time, they really could have made my life a lot harder than it needed to be, and they absolutely did not, and were extremely helpful. No, I was not fired! No, I did not beat my (ex)wife! No, I did not have a secret relationship with a Filipino check-out staff from Lulu's (!) and No, I was not deported from the country for ungentlemanly conduct! And for my friends, they're some of the best friends anyone could ever ask for and they supported me through it all, and many are still in touch regularly today.

Alas, I digress. Back to the rambling article.

So, you're on your way out of the country and you are moving on to a new place - be it "home" or somewhere else. Here are some pointers that I can offer that I learned through my own experience.

Before you leave

Well, some things you should do before you leave Oman:

1. Be 100% sure you have closed and settled all accounts: Electricity, Water, Rent, Telephone, Internet, OSN, etc. If possible get documents confirming you have closed your accounts and confirming no balances owing.

2. If you drive, and have your car insurance with an "international" insurer (eg AXA) get a letter of driving history from them - this can help you when you go to your next place as you try to establish driving history for car insurance and associated premiums. Here in Southern Ontario, car insurance is ridiculously expensive, and documentation to prove years of no-claims will help you when you arrive.

3. Visit the Turkish House and indulge in a Mixed Appetizer with bread. Seriously. You. Will. Miss. That. Place. haha!

4. Go to the ROP in Qurum, specifically the Directorate General of Criminal Inquiries & Investigation and obtain a Certificate of No Criminal Record. It's a single page document with your picture in it and it basically says that you've been a good boy or girl for the duration of your time in the Sultanate. Its handy when you re-enter life in a different country. I have used it a number of times since leaving Oman, it's RO 20 and definitely worth doing.

5. Do not leave cars behind - if you are not able to sell them in time, then transfer the ownership to a trusted friend who will remain in Oman after you leave - trying to sell them remotely is just not worth it.

6. Obtain transcripts from your kids schools. It helps when you re-enter them at the other end.

7. If you have pets, you do not need to use a special pet exporting service, you can just get the export license (certificate) from the Oman Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries near the airport. I got help from the very helpful Dr Petar at Azaiba Veterinary Clinic, who also provided me with a full vaccination record for my 3 pets (2 cats, 1 dog) along with an official vet's statement of health. When booking flights, use an airline that takes pets (I used KLM) and tell them you will be sending live cargo when you fly and thats it. When you get to the airport you check the pets in at the over-sized baggage area (and obviously you have them in airline approved shipping crates - which you can buy from pretty much any vet in Oman). That's it. You don't need to spend hundreds (or more) of rials with a special pet export service that some vets offer.

8. To ship, or not to ship. Speaking from my personal experience, the service I received from Marcus and his team at Allied Logistics was, quite frankly, a life saver. My mind was a wreck back in August 2018, I needed to pack a house with 11 years of history, 2 kids, 3 pets and a soon to be ex-wife's stuff and either dispose of or ship it all. For a number of reasons, I chose to ship. Allied's team came in, packed literally everything, including the cups & plates out of cupboards, clothes in closets and drawers, electronics, EVERYTHING. They packed everything I asked them to up and placed it in a sea-can shipping container they rented for me and took care of all the paperwork and shipped the lot to me here in Canada. Is it expensive? Yes. Was it a major load off my mind at the time? Yes. Was it extremely awesome in Canada to have my furniture not only delivered to my new home, but stuff unpacked, furniture assembled and the rubbish taken away? ABSOLUTELY YES. If you choose to ship, from my personal experience of doing it just once, I can honestly, with two thumbs firmly up, recommend Marcus' team at Allied Logistics.

9. Close your checking account at your bank. I understand you can keep a savings account open after you leave Oman - which I did for a few years - which was handy for certain things. Just make sure your checking account, and associated credit cards, are closed before you go.

10. Do not have an open-house sale to get rid of stuff. I did this, mostly because I had very little time and needed to pair-down a lot of stuff before I shipped it. People treated my house, and possessions, how you'd imagine they would: poorly. Entire drawers were removed from cupboards, locked doors were forced open, storage boxes with kids clothes were unceremoniously dumped out so people could offer me 100bz for a RO 10 storage box. And so on. It was worth it in the sense I got rid of a lot of stuff. It was not worth the mess that I was left with afterwards.

11. Finally, do the things that you love. Whether that is an early-morning walk along the beach, a desert camp, wadi-bashing, bbq's with friends, boat trip to Bandar Khiran - whatever the things are that you love - do them, don't waste your final days sitting at home passing the time. If you live in Muscat, you live in a top-tier 5 star tourist location - get out and enjoy it before you can't anymore.

After you have left

This segment of this post is more about my experiences after I left Oman, and so everyone's experiences will be different and I merely write here some of the things that I experienced.

Reverse culture shock is a thing. Well, it was a thing for me. Nearly 5 years on and I still have moments where I am surprised by things here. Mostly customer service elements these days, man here in Canada the consumer protection laws are great!

Weather is a thing! Who knew that the weather would be different every day? Not me - I still find that I forget to look at weather forecasts. Mostly probably because I am dumb. I drove to work one day last week only to be absolutely shocked by the afternoon to discover that there was a large snow storm and a good 5cm of snow had fallen. Life in Oman was great - whats the weather today? It'll be blue skies, warm and sunny. If it was ever anything different, the WHOLE COUNTRY would be talking about it so you'd always know! It's been nearly 5 years since I've been back, and I still get teased by my friends here for being a wimp when it comes to the cold. I miss the heat of the Sultanate!

Shawarma is never as good as it is in Oman. This rule really just applies to me living here in Canada where restaurants will sell shawarma's for like $12 and they're huge (and far too big in my opinion). Man, I miss those 150bz treats from the Coke spot in Ghubra (named as such because it was the only restaurant near the Indian School Ghubra that had Coca-Cola branded signage - all the others were Pepsi). How much is a shawarma there now? 200bz? 300bz?

I had a lot more "fancy" sunglasses than I realised - but also no decent winter wear. These days, my designer sun-glasses are a closely-held memento from my former life in the sun. Rather than dropping $350 on sunglasses, I'll get excited when I drop a similar amount of money on winter boots instead!

Making new friends is not as easy as it was in Oman. Maybe it's because I'm older, maybe its because in Oman there was a sense of everyone being in it together. Whatever it is, its certainly been harder to make friends here in Canada - but just like anywhere I've lived in the world, I joined a rugby club and got plugged into that community, for which I am grateful. 

I think thats about it, if you have read this far, then I thank you. Randomly, it appears that this blog still gets a pretty good amount of traffic - mostly google searches from people about some aspect about Oman that I may have written about in the past. If you have suggestions, comments or observations, please do leave a comment so others can benefit in the future if they read this post too.

If you are reading this and you are still fortunate enough to live in Muscat - enjoy it! I miss the palm trees, the country and mostly I miss the people. Cliché isn't it? But its true. For those observing, may I be the first to wish you Ramadan Kareem!

I wonder if the Vimto pyramids are out yet?!

Oof I'd love a trip to the Turkish House right now!

So long everyone! 

le fin.

Hello from the after-life, 4.5 years on from "le fin" Hello from the after-life, 4.5 years on from "le fin" Reviewed by Sythe on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 Rating: 5


  1. Ohhhhhh man Oman, what I'd give for a Shawarma, chain Karak and especially Turkish House. Repatriation is an errrrrrrr interesting ball-game to say the least... Especially the sarcastic comments if how soft I am with the chilly weather 🤣

  2. I was just thinking about my blog the other day and wondering whether I should post something. So glad you wrote this. And yes the Vimto pyramids are up. Your blogging pal - Dhofari Gucci

  3. Hey Freddie, I have no doubt Muscat misses you & MM in particular, for the wealth of information it provided (myself included). Great article that I am certain will be very comforting to anyone that wants or has to leave Scat. Keep going mate & Scat is there waiting for you :-). O fim Sacha

  4. I miss having Muscat Mutterings around, still in Oman and relishing every Shawarma, Walk by the beach and a fortnightly visit to Turkish house.

  5. Nice to read you! Oman is even more beautiful perhaps now then when you left, you should come visit sometime!!

  6. Do you think you’d ever come back to Oman again? -exblogger, ‘L_Oman from Culture Shocked’ Hate to burst your bubble but long gone are the days of shawarmas for 150 baisas BUT holy hell do we have soooo many more options. And Talabat. oMg Talabat! We’ve also got snow, a zip line and so much more, MM.😂

  7. Ooof…I’m so with you on the reverse culture shock. England still doesn’t feel like home almost 2 years in and I can’t believe how awful and depressing the weather is. I miss Oman, the people and sunshine every single day and regret my rash decision to leave! Act in haste … repent at leisure! Please carry on blogging 🤗

  8. The country is opening up the young are taking over, much more is happening. New Galleries & hip art Spaces like the Walk In Art Space, the fishermen market at Muttrah 1st floor held a cool exhibit and entrance are all for free. The longest zipline in the world in Musandam crossing the sea. New Adventure center in Wadi Dyqah where you can row in a boat like the Canadian Rockies. And hiking, canoeing and abseiling is taking over the country. Popular chains like Ikea & Decathalon are available now too. and the list goes on

  9. For sometime I have been thinking of leaving the country beause it is so hard now for finding a decent job here for a foreigner. But staying here since 1 year old child, this land is home and I do not know if I can ever replace it with my real home country or any other land. I love this country so much and your blog just increased my love for it. But I guess sometimes you have to depart with things you love too.

  10. Blast from the past indeed.
    Time flies. Am glad to see you still upright and in one piece.
    All the best to you.
    Jet Driver.

  11. Some more voices from the past here. Would be great if you all gave us an update. I've left too but must admit I love having four seasons

  12. Currently living in Sohar. Thanks for writing this blog. I've saved its checklist for when we leave - hopefully not in a rush! I'm sure it will be helpful and save our brains a lot of stress. Blessings to you in Canada.

  13. MM was a favourite regular read, and has always been very helpful. Chin up! ... and an annual blog post will be better than nothing, for those of us 'left behind' here...!

  14. Another blast from the past. I was actually looking for Jan Schreur’s travel website (that no longer exists), found MuscatConfidential, then followed a link to your website. Great times in a great country!

  15. The author reflects on their return to blogging after a hiatus, sharing personal experiences and practical advice for individuals leaving Oman, while also discussing their post-departure experiences, including reverse culture shock and the challenges of settling into a new environment.


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