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.

Build Your Own Local Newspaper

Lots of talk on all the blogs about the requests from on high for proper training of journalists and award schemes for the best of the best in Oman. 

Are you an aspiring Top Gun of print media? Why not give it a go? 

Having given this a lot of thought, I have decided to put together a "Beginner's Template" for setting up a local newspaper. 
This is in order to give those of you who have not been in the business too long, a chance to get stuck in right away with your new publication. 

Here goes:

Page 1: 
This page should have the name of your newspaper. Try to make this as large as possible so that you can fill up as much of the front third of the page as you can. 
Underneath the logo, put in the prayer times for the day and also the weather forecast. (The weather forecast is especially important in the summer months).

Then, write a synopsis of all the lovely telegrams that have been sent that day to leaders around the world - make sure that they are long enough in description to warrant a "continued on page 2" at the end of each paragraph. 
Fill the bottom half of this page with an advertisement for a car or a bank. 

Page 2:
Continue the telegram stories and also put in some reports about building roads, as well as being sure to cover another of the dozens of committees that have been set up to monitor the other committees that were set up before, to oversee the plans that are in place for something or other. 

A nice picture of an international company signing some sort of "Agreement" would also look good on this page.

Place a large half page advertisement for a car or bank here too. 

Page 3:
A full page ad here for "The Wave" or similar "Expats buy your holiday home here...please!" property development, with pictures of harmonious living coupled with images of pastey-white nuclear families with their kids on their shoulders, swanning along on the beach in winter. 
(They haven't been able to find family models who can stand outside for photo sessions in July without a visit to the burns unit at Muscat Private.)

Page 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8:
Photos.....hundreds of photos of people at various parties and functions at the major hotels. 

Page 9: 
Classified ads for cars, air-conditioners and areas of land suitable for Labour Camps. 
Also, photos of Indians who have absconded from work here. 
(Can't think of any reason why they would want to do that!)
And, of course, an ad for a car, bank, or property development.

Page 10: 
As highly patronising an article as possible on "Healthy Living". 
Something painfully obvious like - "Cyanide Kills - Don't Eat It".
And a half page ad for a car, bank, property development - or maybe stun your readers with one for a restauarant. Nothing like cutting-edge "shock" marketing to keep them happy.

Page 11:
A separate news section for India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, telling horror stories of the atrocities and hard-living there, in the hopes that the ones living here don't ever entertain the thoughts of going back and leaving the locals to take care of things for themselves. 
A half page ad for a car, bank or property development.

Back page:
Photos of students from various schools who have received medals, citations, certificates or gold stars for their work. 
A half page ad for a car, bank or property development. 

There you have it. It's complicated, but if you stick with it, you could go far!

Muscat Airport Closure?

Having just received my roster for the month of December, I see that the dates of the GCC conference have been flagged by a tiny asterisk. 
Now, this can normally mean a heads-up for things like flight delays and possible holding before arrivals or departures. 

However, rumours have been (pardon the pun) flying around the ops room that the Government has ordered the closure of Muscat Airport to all commercial flights during the 4 days of the GCC conference. 

I stress that at this time, THIS IS RUMOUR ONLY, however, I am hoping that Underground Dragon might be able to hear what the jungle drums are saying round at his place. 

If this is the case, and they are closing the airport - I get the feeling that it would be the death knell for Oman's tourism campaign. 

Over to UD for now...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Disneyland for Expats

I've just been reading Angry In Oman's blog about employers and was interested to see her mention a "head bobble". 
This of course, leads me to believe that the offender in question, might be one of our friends from the Sub-Continent. 

Now, I know Indians, I see them everyday, I work with them, I deal with them and I shout at them. Some days I am amazed by them. Astounded by them. Awed by them. Irritated by them. Brought to the point of committing murder - by them. 

Don't think for a second that this rant is going to be about just the Indians....it's not! 
You could probably replace the word "Indian" above with any other nationality who lives here. 

There is a disease that is rampant across the GCC, but mostly here in Oman. 
It is a horrible affliction that seems to effect only those people of a certain lifestyle in their home country - basically those who are "have-nots" where they were born, who get put in high-ranking positions in other lands far, far away.

The sickness is called: "Delusional Status Syndrome" and the symptoms include an upsurge in arrogance, disrespect and a holier-than-thou way of behaving at work and in public. 
It also couples itself, for some, with a feeling of being above the law - making the afflicted act in ways that they would neither dream of, nor get away with at home.

Let me give you a couple of examples from across the board:

Saikat:
He's in his thirties and a middle manager for a top retail company here in Oman. 
At home in India, he probably worked in a small store, on minimum wage but has somehow managed to slither his way up the chain of command in Oman and is now in a position of power - that is, if you think that a position of power involves supervising Filipino and Indian floor staff. 

He works his troops to the bone. Comes in each day, threatening to fire the Indians for not stocking the shelves properly. He accosts female members of Filipino staff, hanging the anvil of "a transfer to Salalah" over them for non-compliance. 
His wife lives here and visits the store regularly - but the young girls are afraid to report his actions to management above because it will fall on deaf Indian ears as the Jingley Mafia cover their arses again. 

Those girls who have expat "watchdogs" get left alone, but are punished in other ways by cancelled days off and no overtime. 

He is king of his castle and is wrapped in the false security that he is infallible, and can do whatever he wants - but boy oh boy, is he in for a series of shocks very soon! 

Stella: 
She's 45, from the UK and smokes far too much. 
Let me paint the picture for you: 
Chiffon tank-top from Marks and Spencer, tight jeans that do nothing to restrict the overflow of flab around her waist. 
A tattoo on her lower back that, ten years ago was a butterfly - but now looks like an albatross that has flown into the side of Jebel Shams. 
The vodka and orange juice is on the table in Feeney's, along with the 20 Dunhill from the Duty Free. 
Her laugh is so loud, it is painful. People are eyeing her with contempt across the room. Who is she? A tourist? An executive? 
Why is she being so rude to the girl at the bar and calling her stupid? 

I'll tell you who she is. 
She's an expat wife. Here because her husband is working for PDO. 
"We've just bought the new Land Cruiser yeah?" she says as she wolfs down another handful of peanuts that the "sad bitch at the bar" brought to her. 

She's been here a few months. 
This is Darren's first trip out here. He used to be an engineer in England. 
What she doesn't know, is that the company titles on the 4x4 mean that it is company owned. Again, delusion has struck. 
It lives right there with the "We have a house in MQ." and "We're sending the kids to Muscat International.".

The sad part is the inevitable story that hubby will come along with in the next few months when he suddenly realises the dilemma he is in - but the simple choice he has to make! 

"Sorry Stella. The company is not providing for spouses and kids anymore." 

So off she goes, with the kids and the albatross in tow. Back to the 47 bus and the queues at ASDA, carrying her own bags and washing her own clothes again. 

Meanwhile, hubby rolls over and curls up against the barmaid from the pub - with promises of divorce and a new life in Europe. 

Round and round we go.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Qurum City Centre

Last night, I was coming back in from the yet-to-be-messed-up Salalah (trust me folks, that is in the pipeline!), and as we turned at about 3,000 feet over Muttrah, I saw a funny line of red lights that I had not seen before, worming it's way down from the back of MQ and along the ROP Hospital - a queue of about two miles long. 

"What could it be?" I thought to myself. "That area is always so peaceful and undisturbed. What could be happening that would break the tranquility of the regular night-time strolls of the diplomats and CEOs that picked that area to live in?"

And then, with the satisfaction of seeing one's enemy slipping and careening over a cliff-edge, I worked out what was going on.

Another monumental symbol of Muscat's well thought out and planned developments has opened the doors to its haven of all that both the locals and the expats love to do: shop and eat - all under one roof!

Shouts of "It's Aliiiiive!" rang around as thousands, THOUSANDS of people descended on the place for a look-see at what wonders were in store for all. 
Well, actually....they descended on the motorway at Qurum and on the backroad at MQ and then sat there gridlocked. 

It's the roads you see. A quick drag and drop resize on the architect's computer does not a reduced car-park make. 
One thousand cars all funneled into a one lane car-park entry. The other lane will be opened soon - reducing waiting time by a few seconds as the locals drive down the centreline. 

The access lanes inside are tiny - you cannot fit an Armada down there, or a Denali, or a Yukon, Range Rover Sport or a Land Cruiser without alloy-shredding difficulty! 
It will take about a year for people to cop onto this, and then it will become like "Little India" with Corollas, Echos, Serions and a host of other "mid-management delusional" cars all parked in a row, with people going in and trying on shoes and what-not and then after an hour of discussion will walk off with "I'll come back" disappearing off into the furore.....

The radio crackled to life and the controller gave us permission to land, we packed up, and as I drove back home in the opposite direction, there was an eerie lack of traffic on the motorway. 

I quietly wondered where they had all got to?

Power Out

So, the power went out at 4am and everything is still off. Sigh.
Called up the power company - they have a phone that rings but is never answered. 
Apparently, if you translate "24 hour hotline" into local-speak it becomes "Blood-pressure building to the point of self-harm hotline."

But it always happens at the wrong time, doesn't it?
The night before would have been fine.
We were as poor as church mice. 
Sitting at home, watching the internet banking service ticking through the seconds to midnight and then bouncing up and down on the bed with glee as my salary popped in. (We all behave like that don't we?) 
So we celebrated with wild abandon, while the lights beamed away happily, as we lay there thinking of the magic of City Centre Day tomorrow. 

But now, I sit here in the glumness of the bedroom that the rep told us had "sunlight in the morning". It does. It's just that morning is gone by 7am as the only place that gets light here between then and 4pm is the roof. 

The AC is not working, nor are the fans or the water cooler or most importantly.....the fridge.
Yesterday's celebrations and trolley racing around Carrefour with the carelessness that all young lovers have, now seems like the torturous memories of a drunken night during the hangover of the next day. 
The cries of "Oh what did we DO?" 

Well, here's what we did...

There is an entire cow's worth of tenderloin and rib-eye now rotting away in the top of what used to be the freezer. 
Keeping it company is a month's supply of Chicken Nuggets, Hot Dogs, Beef Burgers, Mixed Veg, and of course, 8 litres of ice-cream which is now running down the outside of the fridge door in a gloppy lattice of pink, white, yellow and brown which Dali himself would have admired. 

The battery is running out on my laptop, so I will have to tear myself away from here, have a cold shower and, assuming that they have some, go and steal electricity from Starbucks, comforting myself with a fresh Cappuchino and a stodgy, soft and spongey Double Chocolate Muffin.

However, this being Oman and that being Starbucks, one can imagine the countless sighs of disappointment that I will have to make on my way there, when I get there, and all through the eating process of what will probably turn out to be bitter, overheated Arabica and a rock solid specimen of what might of been on the muffin front. 

Later my friends, for I must go and face my demons.