Happy new year, everyone.
Today was the first working day of 2009. All the talk in the office this morning was about what a bad year this might turn out to be. People were joking about ordering 200 baisa sandwiches from the cafeteria instead of the 2 rial sandwiches from Costa Coffee two buildings down. It was all light hearted, but there's no doubt that there's a lot of fear in people. 2009 is definitely not looking to be an easy year. Oman's budget has a 2 billion dollar deficit, and that's an optimistic estimate based on oil priced at $45 a barrel.
Around 9am, ColOman called me to ask if I'd go along with him to an 3aza in Muttrah for the death of his friend's sister who died of cancer a the very young age of 27. I don't personally know the family but the news of her death yesterday had really gotten to me when I heard the news, so I went with him. We gave our condolences and sat in the 3aza for about fifteen minutes before we got up to leave. When we reached the door I couldn't find my na3al (sandals). I suppose someone might have mistakenly worn them and left because there was another pair close by of the same brand, almost the same design, but a smaller size. Then again, I wear size 45 and very few Omanis wear my size. It's not likely for someone to wear them and not notice the size difference. I ended up walking out barefoot. Good thing, I had my car keys with me or else I'd have had to go back to my office barefoot as well to get them. I had ColOman drop me by my car at work and I drove barefoot home to get another pair to wear. What was supposed to be a quick half an hour outside the office ended up being about two hours.