Sunday, 28 December 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Wave Project

Once again, the common regional neglect for the laws of fair play and good practice appear to be at normal levels - this time at Muscat's premier freehold extravaganza, The Wave.

Today, I was speaking to a very nice couple who have recently sold their previous home having been told that their new villa would be ready by December, but have now had their moving in time deferred yet again until sometime in February. 
A pain in the ass for sure, but the delay pales in comparison to what they discovered earlier this week.

The garage on the villa that they bought has shrank - and so has every other garage on their road. 
They now cannot fit their cars inside.

The excuse from the agent, acting on behalf of The Wave, was that when you buy a property off-plan, all of the measurements on the plan are outside measurements and not inside measurements - and that it was the fault of the buyer in this case.
The agent could not, however, explain why there is now an extra villa being constructed at the end of their street!
(Shave a bit off each one, space for a whole new villa left over, multiply that by ten streets and that's a tidy bit of extra revenue methinks.)

How many more buyers could be getting a raw deal out of this? 
Better go and have a look at those plans again, folks.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas To All

One of the major advantages of living here, is the total lack of stress around the Yuletide celebrations. 
I am sitting here with fresh juice and a laptop, with none of the historical jumping out of bed to brave the Christmas Eve rush for food and present shopping, content in the fact that I could even go to Carrefour at 8am on Christmas morning if I forgot anyone. 

The Alternative Christmas: a trip into the mountains or a trip to the beach with a picnic lunch, or the traditional turkey and ham with friends and family. The totally unpressured choice is up to you.

Merry Christmas to one and all from Mr & Mrs Jet Driver!
You have our best wishes for a wonderful, stress-free day. 

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Back Online

Wow! That was scary. 
Not inconvenient, not annoying - scary!

Has anyone else copped on over the past few days how utterly dependent we are on the internet for day to day information and the overall running of our lives?

Finances, communication, shopping, data gathering - all taken away at a moment's notice. 
Can you imagine the chaos that a well planned attack on these cables would cause?
A complete global shutdown! 

The powers that be need to seriously begin to address the consequences of a potential attack of that nature. 

We would be seriously fucked.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

GCC Conference Postponed Again

Can anyone shed any light on the above?
I have received a text message stating that it has been postponed with a possible rescheduled date around the very end of December or maybe even January. 

Who couldn't make it this time then?

Friday, 19 December 2008

Oil Prices Still Dropping

Helter Skelter! 
Anyone else watching today's downward spiral.
Buy it while you can. I get the feeling this is only going to go up over the next year. 
It can't get much lower, so if you have a few g's to invest - do it now!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

McDonald's Around The World

It's great how the comments of others can inspire one to write an unexpected blog.

Amjad posted in his blog the following:

"I don't like McDonald's in the US. It tastes completely different than the Middle East." 

He is correct! I have travelled the world over and can agree that no two countries can produce the same Big Mac.

But hey ho - it doesn't stop there. There are ups and downs in relation to the above. A sort of ying-yang trade off. 

New York: 
"Hello sir. Welcome to McDonald's. Can I take your order?" - Mediocre food. Presentation just average.

Muscat: 
"Yes. What do you want?" - Pretty good burgers but presentation is crap.

Extremes of service and food quality, spiraling around the world, the zen and tao of fast food! 
All clambering for supremacy and then finally the silence......perfection, calm and harmonious balance - but where?

Tokyo: 
"Hello and welcome and thank you so much for coming to visit us here at McDonald's, please have a look at this menu card in front of you, where you will find a full selection of items for your choosing!" - Burgers and fries taste fantastic! Layout on tray must have been measured with a calipers. "Is that Big Mac real?" - and then they BOW TO ME! I love it!

Get on a plane, go to Japan and see how it should be done!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Situations Vacant



Having read Undercover Dragon's latest on the pink pound. Why has someone not developed a portal for the local community here? Because there is one - deny it or not - it is there and it is LOCAL, not just expat.
Surely only by gradual exposure will one have the arrival of "mainstream"?
An IT-savvy editor with a VPN, some moderators and a handful of the city's social networking gurus. 

It could have advice columns, classified ads and that all important social calendar.

Would probably get blocked by the powers that be. But, where there's a will....

Any takers?

Friday, 12 December 2008

The New Al Bustan Palace Hotel

I was treated to a very relaxed evening at the Al Bustan last night and I have to say that the renovation work that they have done is absolutely wonderful. Pure opulence and style. 

We had dinner in China Mood, which was fantastic and the pre-dinner tipples were had at the very tastefully designed Al Maha Piano Lounge - for me, the nicest chill-out bar design I have seen for a while and by far, the best in Muscat.

Having mulled it over for most of this morning, I have decided not to post any photos that I took of the inside as it would only spoil the treat for visitors as between the new decor and the immaculately turned-out staff, the pictures would just not do the place any justice at all. 

Congratulations to everyone involved in the project. Excellent work. 

Go and have a look for yourselves, although the guards on the gate are still being very selective about who they are letting in - and rightly so. 
Reservations have to be made for bar and restaurant, and we were only allowed access after a very lengthy series of radio communications to confirm that our host was in fact a guest there. 

Monday, 8 December 2008

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

We have a situation that is beginning to escalate and I would like your views and suggestions on it. 

There is a very large retail group operating here in Oman with stores based all around the country. It advertises itself worldwide as an employer with a particular focus on the Philippines recruitment market. 

Young Filipinos with very little world experience and a desperate need for better wages and a better life, are shipped over here en masse to work for this company. They are given mediocre accommodation and the overtime payments that were promised are sporadically paid, although not without a fight for some people. 

The hours are ridiculously long and some of the kids I have met, have over 25 "pending days off" that they know they will neither see nor get paid for. 
But they soldier on silently, as to grumble would mean dismissal and a return to the hell of life in Manila on 6,000 pesos a month. They are over a barrel as such. 
They also can't leave because their passports are confiscated when they arrive to stop them from leaving, and even if they had one, they have to have a letter from their employer to get permission to leave the country. (Surely this is illegal! Human Rights anyone? The right to free passage and travel?)

But the thing that bothers me most, is when an individual decides to further exploit these people for his own benefits. In this case, naive and terrified young Filipina girls.

This Indian man is what is known in his organisation as a Concept Manager - and I am hoping that someone reading this will be able to put two and two together and work out who he is. 
He is in charge of multiple stores, and here is how he operates. 

(BTW, this man is married and his wife and child live in Muscat with him and visit the stores regularly, however, the girls are too terrified to bring this up.)

First, he locates a new Filipina staff member. He has a preference for the younger ones, and introduces himself as the Concept Manager, usually elevating his status to a higher level than it actually is. 
He then starts to talk about how he can get them promoted very quickly to managers and is generally nice and pleasant about it. 

The thoughts of an increase of 30 rials a month in salary is very attractive to these girls, so they listen and then when he asks for their mobile number so that he can get back to them about it, they give it to him. 

Then the text messages begin: "You looked cute today in your uniform." "You have a nice smile.", "I like you a lot and can help you. Let's be friends.", "Hey! Can we go out sometime?" 

He also calls them at all hours of the night requesting dates and meetings, and when refused, the veiled threats begin. 
He has the power to send people far away from their friends - to Sohar or Salalah. All of a sudden the girls sales performance is an issue, or their attitude. And they live in fear of a transfer. One girl arrived at our door in floods of tears two nights ago and I am now at the point where I want to act on this.

He tried it on with mine a few months back and was told in no uncertain terms what would happen to him should he ever come within a donkey's roar of her again. 
We still have the text messages and have instructed the other girls to keep theirs as well. 
The only trouble is that complaining to his superiors will fall on deaf ears as the Indian mafia once again do an arse-covering operation. 

Any suggestions on what other options I can take here? I have my thoughts on a few!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Recommended

It's not often that Jet Driver's Seal of Approval comes out, however, I went to see Frank Caliendo the last time I was in the US, and in my opinion, he ranks as possibly the best comic impersonator in the world today. 
His George Bush and Robin Williams impressions are simply perfect.

Check him out!




Thursday, 4 December 2008

For Your Information

In the interests of people who seem to have had a fit of apoplexy over some of my previous posts, allow me to reiterate the purpose of this blog.

It is designed primarily as a vessel for me to vent my spleen about what I observe on a daily basis here and further afield. 

It is for those who are mature enough to know that what I say is with "tongue-in-cheek" and requires a reader who is intelligent enough to work that out. 
They may also have to be able to laugh at themselves should they be related to the subject under debate. 

If you are easily irked by my personal observations or what I have to say, then you have options. There is always the "Back" button on your browser. 

As Undercover Dragon states:
"It is the absolute intent and undeflectable aim of this blog to at all times be in total compliance with the laws of the Sultanate of Oman. Any perception that this is not the case is due to an incorrect and inaccurate interpretation of the contents of this blog. It is intended for Adults with a sense of humour and intelligence - if you do not meet this criteria, go and read something else."

That just about sums things up around here as well. 

JD

Babies, Cars & Kinetic Physics

I have been thinking of writing this for a while, and the fact that it has been raining made me decide to expedite the process. 

I know that all of my expat readers have seen one of these before, but I wanted to draw them to the attention of local drivers. 

This is a child's car seat. It is not a toy. It is a safety device, that is designed to prevent your kid from becoming a flying death machine when you or someone else, does one of your usual and utterly astonishing road maneuvers. 

Now, I know that cultural awareness and tolerance is spoken about widely in the papers and on a lot of the blogs here - and while I fully respect the religious beliefs of my hosts, there has to come a time when you need to be practical. 

Picture the scene. This morning - coming out of Seeb and onto the highway, I am driving behind a late model Mercedes, and in the back, I see the beautiful smiling faces of three local children. Two girls and one boy - all between three and five years old. 

Dad hits the brakes as another muppet slices across two lanes of traffic, and the kids disappear, only to resurface again albeit in a different order - grinning and waving.
I just don't know how parents can allow this situation to occur. 

Time for a crash course in Physics:

The force of gravity upon you means that right now, you are experiencing what we call 1G - or one times the force of gravity. 
When you accelerate or decelerate, you experience different levels of G. 
For example, when I make a tight turn at work at high speed, I can experience about 6G sometimes more. 

As well as being uncomfortable, it also has an effect on my body's perceived mass. 
If my head weighs 10kg - this means that in a 6G turn, it now feels like it weighs 60kg. 
During a rapid deceleration, I can experience "negative G' which will try to pull me out of the seat. 
If I wasn't very securely strapped in, I would quite literally be minced after I disappeared through the instrument panel.

The same thing goes for your children. 
In a 120 kph crash, the deceleration factor can make the average child without proper restraints, pass through the car interior with the force of an elephant.
And if it happens, there is no prayer in the world that will save them.

A flying child with that much kinetic energy, has several options: 
They can, if you are lucky, go through the windscreen, killing only themselves.
Or, if your vehicle gets hit at an angle, the child can bounce around the inside of the cab, killing everyone. 

Put three kids in the car - and you triple your chances of instant death for all. 
Think that it can't happen to you? Think again.
I get the feeling that it happens here a lot. 

What stuns me is that, as far as I know, there is only one retailer that sells these seats in this country - Baby Shop in the Centrepoint chain.
This is absolutely outrageous!

THE USE OF CHILD CAR SEATS SHOULD BE LAW IN OMAN - Take that to the Ministries. 
Get it sorted. Now!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Bring Your Pet Day

Sorry about the bad quality - but I was trying to both dodge the vehicle, and take a photo at the same time. 

Is it a donkey? Or a horse?


This is one of things I love about Oman - so random!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Food For Thought

A recent post by Muscato, brought back the following memory for me:

"Hi, sir"

"Hello, young man. How are you?"

"Fine, sir. Very fine." 

"Great! Urrmmmm....Can I have the fried chicken strips with some baked beans and "chunky" fries?"

"And for drink?"

"A Diet Coke please." 

"Ok, so chicken strips with beans and chunky fries....and a Diet Coke?"

"Yep. That's it. And can you put the beans onto the same plate and not on a saucer like you did the last time?"

"Of course, sir. No problem."

"Thanks"

....................................

"Errrr, no. A DIET Coke, mate."

"Sorry - Diet Coke, yes?"

"Yes. Thank you."

....................................

"What's this?"

"Mashed potato, sir." 

"Well what's it doing there? I ordered Chunky Fries."

"Ahhh, yes. French Fries. Ok. Sorry."

"No. Stop. Wait and listen. Chunky Fries - not French Fries. Ok?"

"Yes. Ok. Sorry, sir."

.........................

"Your Chicken Strips with French Fries, sir."

"Jesus! I ord......oh, fine. Great. Thanks. Beans?"

"Coming, sir." 

"Didn't I ask you to put.....oh, nevermind! Is there any chance you could bring me the Diet Coke before one of us gets hurt?"

"Yes, sir. Diet Coke, yes?"

................................

Nowadays, I have to be absolutely desperate for food - and I am talking on the verge of delirium - before I will step foot in that place anymore. 

I'm sure you can work out where it is. 

Monday, 1 December 2008

Winter Is Upon Us

Yesterday evening. 
A long, slow walk along the sea-front. A cool breeze. The boats passing by as their owners head for home. 
A takeaway lattĂ© and a quiet seat on the beach to watch the sun go down. 


Oman between now and April is truly wonderful. I love this time of year!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

The Price Of Apples In Muscat

Outrageous! - that is all I can really say about this. 

As some of you may already know, I am a Mac geek. 
I love my MacBook, I love my iMac and I absolutely worship my iPhone. 

Apple have dropped points off of my blood pressure, with a machine that has not crashed even once in the 18 months I have had it. 
It is an awesome piece of quality engineering. It rocks!

If you are one of the great unwashed, who is still chained to a PC running Windows, then I beseech you to go out and by a MacBook - preferably the new MacBook Pro. 
A truly positive life-changing experience!

Except......under no circumstances buy one in Muscat!

There is an Apple dealer based in Qurum, and in my opinion, the team there are some of the biggest shysters in the business. I can name names but I'll leave my mouth shut for now. 

All I needed was a cable to connect to an external monitor. Apple manufacture a nifty little connector which costs US$17.99 on the Net.

The thieves in Qurum are charging 25 Rials - that's....wait for it......US$65.00

"It's the customs duty on it sir, very expensive you see. You are living here or on holiday?" 

I needed it quickly, but the last straw was when they said that the card machine was down and that it was "cash only, sir, sorry sorry" - suspecting unscrupulous activity, I left.

Funny how when I bought it online and brought it in to show the barstewards that NO CUSTOMS DUTY WAS REQUIRED FOR IT, that they didn't know which way to look. 

Ah, screw it! I've had enough - the place is called "Fusion Logic" - stay away! 
I have reported them to Apple, so it will be interesting to see the response.

Buy your new Mac in Europe or even Dubai.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Post Test for RSS Alligators

Is this working now?

Comments to confirm appreciated! 

JD

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Tables, Chairs and Foodcourts

Hello darlings! 

JetDriver has returned from the "dark place" - where computers and mobile phones are not allowed - nor are microwave ovens! :)

Nice to come back to the eclectic spread of blogs and rants - gives me an hour's entertainment on an otherwise mundane Thursday. 

National holidays eh? According to colleagues, our Omani staff got struck down with illness on Saturday and Sunday, and then a funeral in Salalah on Monday - terribly unfortunate for them. 

Anyway......

What the fuck is wrong with people who walk into Costas, Starbucks or wherever, sit down, take out the phone and open the paper and sit there......WITHOUT ORDERING SOMETHING?! 
And then look at you like you're mental when you ask if they are going to move, because you have actually paid to use the table.

Does this place want me to write "A Guidebook To Civilised Consumerism" ?

If you want to have the shopping malls and the bookstores and the boutiques; and you want the visitors and the tourist-money and the positive international press - you have to start learning how to behave properly. 

Here's the basics:

It's a queue - a line. Wait your fucking turn!

Folks. Pay attention. It's a 4x4, it's real and if you walk out in front of it, pretending not to see me in the car-park, it's going to hurt - really hurt! 

Gentlemen. You are going to get punched and it is going to happen sooner than you think. 
Tourism is on the up. 
More couples are visiting, ergo, you have a higher, almost imminent chance of having your teeth smashed in for leering. 
Also, most tourists are in better shape than you (even the girls), so that punch is going to have a lasting memory for you! Stop gawking!

(And just to add to this, boys: If you touch, you're in serious trouble. I mean it! 
To the guy who rubbed himself against my girlfriend in MCC last month......someday mate, she will see you again, and she will point, and I will put you in traction. You have my word.)

As for the person who stopped his Yukon at the entrance to Carrefour and waited for his wife and housemaid to come out with two trolleys and then proceed to load it all up, while the line of drivers behind you were going apoplectic - not cricket, old chap.

Hacking up your lungs at the table next to mine in the Foodcourt ..... just don't, ok? Don't.

Get your laptop, go to Google and look up "Common Courtesy" and "Manners" - and while you're at it....."Sexual Harrassment" and "Having your jaw wired".

End of rant. It's great to be back!

Monday, 24 November 2008

JetDriver is away....

Am out of the loop at the moment peeps!
However, blogging will resume in a few days, once I am "safe" again.

Mwah!

JD

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Coffee Shops and Social Etiquette

We all love coffee. Well, most of us do. The ones who don't are just genetically challenged. 
Go to Starbucks, Costas, Coffee Republic, Art Café, order a cappuchino, get your book out of your bag, turn around to find a seat and.....there's none!


Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Dangers Of A Dirty Car

Walking out of City Centre car-park last night and saw three locals (about sixteen years old) running away, with dishdashas hitched-up round their knees, giggling like school-girls....


Puberty.......had to laugh.
For those of you who have bad eyesight - it says "Blow Me! I love men!"

This is not my car, by the way.
One would not be seen dead in a Hyundai.


Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Omantel Blocking Google Images

Omantel at it again.

I need some kind of software thingy to get around this blatant breach of civil rights.

Oman is a modern, developing country........sometimes. 

If you want the tourists to come - you have to FUCKING COP ON!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Fireworks Tomorrow Night

The fireworks are coming tomorrow. 
Beautiful things they are too! Reds, greens, purples.....all the colours of the rainbow. 
An awe-inspiring sight in the sky - the flashes and bangs, the ooohs and ahhhs of the crowd and the joy on the faces of all and sundry as the night is transformed into a hypnotic kaleidoscope of colour and light, complimented by an orchestral score of truly epic proportion.

But even in its almost divine luminescence, it couldn't hold a candle to the bright LED brake-lights of the twenty thousand cars that are going to just stop dead along the hard shoulders of every major artery or piece of high ground in and out of Muscat - with orange hazard lights blinking as they go.

Add to that, the countless whirling dervishes of bright blue from police cars and ambulance lights splitting the sky as the local sport of rubber-necking goes interstellar overdrive, and 
it will all pale in comparison... accompanied by the sounds of Armadas and Yukons crushing Echos and Serions into a melange of scrap metal, grey plastic and middle-management Indian family remains. 

I'll bring the popcorn!

Incident at PDO Beach

Rumours are circulating about the alleged gang-rape of a young Filipina girl at one of the beaches in PDO on Guy Fawke's Night - November 5th.

I don't have a lot of contacts in the ROP, but according to folks I have spoken to, the incident is being covered-up, albeit not very well if it has now hit the streets, especially amongst the Filipino community. 

Saturday, 15 November 2008

The Whitehouse

One sunny day in 2009 an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he'd been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush".

 

The Marine looked at the man and said, "Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here."

The old man said, "Okay" and walked away.

 

The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine again told the man, "Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here."

 

The man thanked him and, again, just walked away. The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U. S. Marine, saying "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

 

The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, "Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I've told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here. Don't you understand?"

 

The old man looked at the Marine and said, "Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it." The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, "See you tomorrow."

Sorry Darrrrlings!

I have been away for a few days "sans mon ordinateur". 
Sometimes they don't allow us to have one! But they haven't copped on to iPhone yet!

Nothing new on the closure of the airport. 
Perhaps Amjad was correct - and I was over-reacting!
However, one was very impressed to see Rapier Missile Systems posted at strategic points around the airfield this week. 

According to my sources, the main fear is that an attack will come from the high ground to the south of the airfield. 
I always laugh at how they block the roads when dignitaries arrive and yet their aircraft could be taken out by an eight year-old with a handful of rocks from the roof of City Centre or the public park next to it.

The STF guys were putting on a show a few days ago on the pedestrian overpass - very menacing while brandishing their latest Nokias. 
Furiously texting habibis and looking utterly bored with the whole dismal affair. 
I still can't work out why they dress them like Barney. 

(Purple is a colour of bravery - if memory serves me correctly)

Rumour has it that I shall have to leave this dustbowl in a few weeks to go to another one a little further west. 
Who knows.....I might even tell you all who I am before then. 
Some of you, like the ISS (how's it going chaps!) already do - but like aliens, they only ever materialise when you are alone and then nobody believes you when you recount your abduction three weeks afterwards.

Sigh!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Car Problems

My thanks goes out to the Omani family who picked me up by the side of the road this morning and drove 200 kilometres out of their way to assist me when the electrics failed on my vehicle. 

You have my heartfelt gratitude for your kindness and attention. 

I would like to think that the same would have been done for me in Europe, but I doubt it very much - I'd probably still be sitting on the kerb with the bonnet up!

Swings and roundabouts, folks!

Sultan's Shooting Team Holds Up Flight To Doha

As pilots, we have limits and so do our airlines, both through Standard Operating Procedures and also International ICAO Regulations - rules which cannot be broken. 

So, when HM's Shooting Team rocked up to a recent Muscat to Doha flight with a small arsenal of weapons and several crates of ammunition - eyebrows were raised as a lot of shifty maneuvering was performed down at the cargo doors. 

Rifles, pistols and guns in general are relatively harmless when unloaded and only really serve as a replacement for a big stick or a hammer in the league table of weaponry. 
However, there are limits to the amount of ammunition that can be carried - in this case - 5kg per container. 
A quick lift of one crate in particular was enough to determine that this limit had been grossly exceeded. 

Therefore, the pilots stated that they could not be carried under any circumstances, as it was a breach of important procedures. 
And here is where the trouble started. 

People in Oman, who are in positions of authority be it in the police, customs or anywhere else - need to be very careful when using HM as leverage to get something done. 

Telling a fully-trained and competent member of flight crew to bend the rules because "HM has ordered you to" reflects a very false impression of a leader who, in my opinion, would never endanger the safety of a passenger flight. 
So, that tactic is going to get you nowhere with us.

Then of course, Royal orders or not, nobody wanted to be the one to sign a manifest for the pilots to state that the crates were within limits, instead insisting that they be merely trusted. 
The then demonstrated lack of trust by the crew resulted in each crate being weighed and (surprise, surprise) found to be well overweight.

All it would have taken was for the ammo to be repacked in 5kg crates and all would have been well but, no.

Instead, we now have an incident that is beginning to spread through the international aviation grapevine, recounting how the flight had to be held back and members of the team called off the aircraft to supervise the weighing and re-weighing of the projectiles, while names were taken and visiting pilots accused of being "unhelpful" and waiting passengers being told about "problems with guns on the plane".

Local officials - you need to wise up! 

Rules can be bent sometimes, but not in professional aviation and especially not where guns, bullets and the paying public are involved, or you are too busy texting your habibi to do a proper job of enforcing regulations and respecting the limits proposed on aircraft...
FOR THE SAFETY OF PASSENGERS AND CREW!

It's easy for even a village idiot to work out that HM does not like bad press - especially for incidences that he has had no part in. 
I think that in this day and age, where technology means that word travels faster than it ever has, using his name in vain may come at a high price!

On a more positive note, reports abound that all members of HM's Shooting Team were highly courteous and did everything they could to remedy the situation. 
A great reflection of how professional they are and a shining example of the way things should be. 

I wish them the best of luck in Qatar.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Pizza Hut Airport Branch

Short rant.

Went out for lunch to Pizza Hut beside the airport and ordered a Chicken Caesar Salad.

This is what they promised:

Salad

And this is what they brought to the table:

Salad

Neither waiter nor manager could appreciate the difference!
"Same, same, sir. Fresh this morning!"

Doomed!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Now I've Seen It All

Had the evening off, so went to Muscat City Centre to have a look around but I hadn't even got to the main doors when this happened. 


While crossing the gap between my car and the other side of the walkway, I heard the sound of a vehicle increasing its acceleration as I traversed, and turned to see two youths in a Honda plastic enhanced something-or-other barreling towards me - grinning like idiots. 


Now, I am not the world's most aggressive individual and can usually defuse an argument with a stare or a few "gentle" words, however this time, rather than just keep walking, I stopped dead in the middle of the road, watching with half anticipation and half amusement as the muppets in front of me realised that the distance was closing, they were still accelerating and I was not moving. 


The awesome thing about being just post-pubescent is that you either have balls or your don't - and as most expats who have been in this situation before know, the majority of pre, post and well-past-the-post locals.......don't. 


Wide-eyed realisation, the screech of brakes, heads banging off the ceiling and then the face saving - mouthy nineteen year old screams "Fuck you!" out the window of the car and in a maneuver half fueled by sex starved rage and half by being frightened out of his wits, proceeds to open the door to get out. 

He stands, faltering for a second - knowing that he has possibly overstepped the mark. 

Dressed in fake "Georgio Omani" t-shirt and glitter-belt, with the baseball cap on sideways and arms covered with tribal tattoos, he starts mouthing off. 


Mr. Tough Guy - "You need to watch it maaaaaan, You know what I'm sayin' huh?"

And then I saw it - a part of me couldn't let it sink in at first and then the reality of what I was seeing took over and an uncontrollable snort came out. 


This "Yo-yo: Boys from the Wadi, comin' atcha!" wannabe was 

WEARING TIGHTS ON HIS ARMS!!


These ones to be precise:


http://tkey.net/blog/images/sleeve2.jpg


The wind was well out of his sails at this stage, and off he scampered while his mate sneered and "turned up DA BASS!".


So.......Omani Rap Wannabes With Fake Body Art.....

Here is my proposal, dawgs. 

I am willing to sponsor ten of you 'niggas", dressed in yo best nylon tattoos and yo finest Ruwi R&B threads, and put y'all on a bizzness class flight to Los Angeles! 


You will be picked up by chauffeur-driven stretched limos, and dropped off in the middle of Compton, where you can meet YO HOMIES! 


Dey gonna love you dudes!


Word!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Attempted Child Abduction At Muscat Airport

kidnapThe UK Foreign Office has issued a new advisory on its site in relation to the attempted abduction of a child at the airport.


I have heard of a few incidents over the time that I have been here, about children getting a bit too much attention from males - especially around the beach at Shatti for some reason. 

Because this is such a great place as a rule, with not very high levels of crime, we all have a tendency to take our eye off the ball sometimes. 

It's funny how the world is different over here. Last week, while on a trip up into the Jebels, we were astonished to see a family from a village, pass us by in their jeep and then screech to a halt, while the back doors were opened and two young children were summarily ordered out to go and sell keyrings to us. 

A girl of around ten and what appeared to be her brother with her, who was a few years younger. 
Off sped the jeep and kids were left to fend for themselves. 

One wonders how many children get abducted here and who are never found? 

Contemplating it, and knowing how other things are covered up here, is scary.