I often get asked when I am going to stop all this "work" nonsense. I have a pretty standard response that goes along the lines of something to do with when my brain stops working (completely, before the smart comments start!), or when I no longer enjoy doing what I do. There is a further caveat to that because I always want to be conscious enough to know when I should bow out, before I get asked to leave. Fortunately the people who at present seem to be keener on me stopping are those around my own age or older. I guess they want someone else to play with - well I have time for that too.
I have just stepped down from one of my Middle East roles in Oman. It's a country with which I have been associated in one way or another since 1970 when I was fortunate enough to take part in an exercise to change the currency of that country. They were the last country to still be using the Gulf Rupee - a currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India. We had to collect in all the old notes and issue the "owners" with bright shiny new Rials Saidi - named after the then Ruler, Said bin Taimur. Now, of course they are called the Omani Rial. It was one of my best jobs in my banking career for being completely different from anything else I had done before - or since, come to that.
Since that time I have been in and out of Oman for various reasons, playing rugby, collecting baby clothes that a friendly cargo pilot based in UK and flying through Muscat brought out from Mothercare, oh, and work. But I have rarely had time to enjoy spending proper leisure time in the country, but everyone I know that has done so thoroughly recommends it. At the end of my last meeting in Oman I was able to stay on a while and you can see why people like it. The people of Oman are remarkably friendly and welcoming. The country has a vast range of sites and sights, from the tip of the Musandam Peninsula to the mountain retreats of Jebel Akhdar in the Al Hajar mountain range, to amazing hotels and beaches in and around Muscat itself. And if the suqs are not enough to entertain you, try a night at the magnificent Opera House. Oman has little if any of the glitz of its Emirati neighbours, but as a place to visit I think it is a great escape.
Because I had time before heading on to take up one of my new roles in place of Oman, in Cairo to be precise (and I will talk about Istanbul on another occasion), I had an opportunity to head to the Seychelles. I had been once before - 9 years ago - for a day! Yes I know, but last time I had just disembarked from a cruise ship and had to get back to work!!
This time I was determined, as was everyone else around me it seems, to ensure that my internet connections were few and far between. Actually most of the time we were there was over a weekend, so the lack of an internet connection was only really frustrating as far as being in touch with the children/grandchildren was concerned, but that's more our concern than theirs as they have plenty going on.
The Seychelles is clearly not a place for people of a morbid disposition. The people are just lovely, the weather when we were there was just sunshine. Our bit of the beach (and all beaches in the Seychelles are public) was sandy with blue water and because it was right in the south of the island was not that much used other than by local people and those from the resort in which we were staying. I do have to admit to being a bit of a lazybones. Of the places to visit, our beach sort of ranked as the number one attraction, so it was a case of "been there done that"! The main town of Victoria we had spent time in during the last visit, so didn't think a repeat was necessary but we did go to the Eden Island complex, relatively new and very nice.
The whole island seems to be geared to pleasure, I'm sure it's not the reality, unless the University only teaches such activities, and okay service might be considered leisurely if, for some inexplicable reason, you happened to be in a hurry. And the internet hardly worked. Hurray!! I will certainly be going back, and suggest that should you have one - put it in your bucket list. Mind you, the way I'm going I shall need two buckets very soon because there's almost too much for one!
Oh, when am I going to stop all this work nonsense? What sort of a question is that?