Tuesday, May 16, 2017

So I found my dream home. It doesn't exactly have a roof...or floors, but

The conversation went like this:

OPNO: "So you've seen the pictures of my house. What do you think of it?"
KPS: "I think it looks exactly like what I always envisioned your house would look like."
OPNO; "And will you buy a place here {in the land far-and-away}?"
KPS: {Laughs}. "One day. When I'm a millionaire."
OPNO: "That will happen. Everything else we always said would happen happened, just in a way we never expected it would.And when it does, what will you buy?" 
KPS: "A penthouse somewhere. Or an old Victorian just to be difficult. Or something ultra modern over the beach."
OPNO: "Remember when I said I would one day buy the old Oriental hotel and fix it up into a townhouse?"
KPS: "We thought you were crazy but you'd be a millionaire now if you had."
OPNO: "I would have done it better. The developers made it too small. I'll have to buy at least two to live to the size I want to live."
KPS: "So now that all of your dreams have happened in Agra-bah {Oman, inside joke}, what do you want now?"
OPNO: "I don't know. To keep my promises. Get my driver's license. Travel. Finish that bloody novel. Buy a broke-down-castle and run around all day playing with swords. You?"
KPS: "See the world, at last."
Well, while my friends are off seeing the world, and I am back to life-as-usual as a house-wife/writer/currently unemployed researcher in Muscat, I finally found my castle.

While scuttling around in ruins (which is how I like to spend my child-free weekends) trying to photograph a door lintel, I happened to spy a staircase. I made for it, because let's face is, abandoned Arabia, and staircases make awesome photos...when there are no rooftops or ceilings, and the stairs lead to the sky.

My husband is like "Remember when you fell through the roof!" (which every one likes to remind me of----and it was only one time!). Usually he stops me from exploring by insisting the structural integrity is crap, but I weigh less than most people so I can usually go up on something ready to come down without issue. Still, there have been some instances with bats. I don't like guano, and I don't care how many times it has happened to me, but I never get used to being overcome by a cloud of frightened bats at noon. People should warn me instead: "Remember that time you tripped when you were running away from the bats in Rustaq!"...That would work better than reminding me of the house in Qantab whose roof I fell through, but whatev.
There were no bats...but the staircase was crumbling nigh away, so I did not go up.

Going in to reach the staircase, however, I found another door and it lead to the most beautiful room I have ever seen in any house or fort in Oman as of yet. And yes, it was open to the sky. Yes there were no ceilings or floors where there should have been the like, and yes, the floor was covered with stinking garbage, but I blinked twice, and saw my castle in the remains of the architecture.

It was just a late 16th-17th century kitchen yes, but such a kitchen! It had two fireplaces, and big open area, and it led to other rooms, and I could see it converted into a seating area, with furnishings and materials from the time period. Looking up, I saw the bedrooms exposed to the sky, and I told my husband I would sell my house in Muscat if someone will sell us this ruin, provided they have the ownership papers. If an engineer says I can fix it, I will try to buy it.
I loved it that much. 

My husband squinted at it, and said from the height of the ceilings it once had a rich owner, and said if it belonged to a Sheikh they will never sell it to me or him, but I tell you, if I can one day I will live there. Like, I'll put a bright big brass plaque on the outer wall of the house saying who owned it and their entire history, and even leave a public open room near the front for free to tell the story of the original family if they are so proud to have it like that, but I don't want it to fall down, and I want to live in it. I'd even have a deal that the cost of the land+whatever repair I put into it (and I'll keep all receipts), and the original family can buy it back for that before ever any one else is allowed to buy it if I ever had to sell it once they sold it to me. I care about history like that. Some nice man in France once made my family a deal like that. 
So yes, now I found my castle. I don't know who owns it but my husband is asking. Of course, gotta live in Muscat until next year at least... but maybe...who knows. My husband thinks it is crazy of course, but he likes crazy. I know he didn't want to do stone and mud brick because that's what he grew up with, but this one was more European than Arabian in scale and lay-out if that makes sense? Like the rooms were divided with more central flow, and old Omani is usually different inward tracks, and a bit more maze-like, excepting the main sabla/majlis and entry stairs, so far as I have seen in two-three-story old Omani houses. And it wouldn't take much to make it lovely. A front door would be nice, Just some walls here and there, a little ceiling, a roof, and some floors;). Electricity. Running water. You know.
But I can't get it out of my head, like the old Oriental Hotel in the land far-and-away that someone else bought and restored like I had always planned to do...

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