Thursday, 24 December 2009

Seasons Greetings

I'm just dropping in to wish you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

My bags are packed, presents have been bought and now my plane is waiting to take me to a place that is far more conducive to the season at hand.

A single ticket has been purchased for this flight.
Jet Driver has some serious thinking to do over the next few weeks.
At this point in time, he has big reservations about returning to this place.
Not a happy bunny....not a happy bunny at all!

Until next year, my regards

Jet Driver

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Airport Security

After a rather "emotional" flight in which the aircraft became schizophrenic, and then succeeded in accomplishing the near impossible task of scaring the living shit out of Jet Driver not once but five times, we elected to divert to the wonderful city of culture and high social evolution that is Manchester in the United Kingdom.

Ever feel completely out of place in your Lacoste shirt and Dockers trousers? Surrounded by Burberry-clad wankers in puffa jackets adorned with faux fur and cubic zirconium, side-kicked by greasy ringlet-haired life drop-outs wheeling two-year olds in a buggy that looks like something from space, while screaming obscenities into a mobile phone with more luminous strobes on it than an eighties disco.

It got better at the airport on the return journey. Go to security. "Make way ladies and gentlemen" said the guard, "aircrew coming through."
The usual Red Sea parting but I give a courtesy yield to the Airport Police Officer who is coming through to begin his shift.

He was sporting the following:
A pair of black police overalls.
A black baseball cap with "Police" written on it.
A bullet-proof vest and both shoulder and knee protectors.
An automatic weapon.
A pistol.
A telescopic baton.
A tin of pepper spray.
A couple of MagLites.
Various webbing pouches containing a first aid kit and a Leatherman tool.
And he's carrying a small plastic "Marks & Spencers" bag.

He walks around the security cordon, as he is wont to do.
"Uhmmmmm excuse me, sir." says the pre-pubescent, acne-covered "security agent" at the counter "You can't take that with you."

"I'm sorry. What?" says the copper.

"The banana and the bottle of water sir....leave it here please. Now. Quickly. I have passengers to deal with."

Cop replies with: "Have you got a supervisor mate? You know...someone who looks after you and makes sure you can find the bus home? Or better still....where are your parents? Does your Dad know you're here?", and plonked both banana and water into said moron's hands, while at the same time towering menacingly over him in a way that only heavily-armed police officers can.

Whoops and cheers from crew and passengers alike.
What the fuck is happening at your airports UK?
What indeed is happening to your entire country?
People.....stand up and stop this crap from happening.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Door to Door Begging Scam

In relation to the thread posted a while ago about the man who knocks on the door and says that his father is sick and a doctor for His Majesty.....
Well, he has just knocked on Jet Driver's door.

I gave him no money and then attempted to follow him but he drove so wrecklessly that I had to stop my pursuit.

He is driving a rented car and the registration plate is 6386T - a small white car.

Can anyone tell me now who would be the best person to contact about this scam?


According to the ROP, if he did not take any money then there is no point in me pursuing him. However, they did say that if any of you out there have lost money to him that they can pick him up using the data from the registration of the vehicle and then he can be charged if you recognise him.


Monday, 30 November 2009

Switzerland Bans Minarets!

The population of Switzerland has voted to ban the building of minarets in its country.
The proposal to ban minarets, apart from the four existing ones, was put forward by the Swiss People's Party which said that minarets are a sign of "Islamisation" and that banning the tower-like structures, would assist in the elimination of extremist tendencies.

The government is now preparing itself for a potential backlash from Muslim groups both inside and outside of Switzerland.

Justice Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said that a ban on the construction of new minarets was "not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture."

So, essentially, what she is saying is that rejecting an important piece of Islamic traditional architecture is not actually "rejecting" it, it is just well......rejecting it!

Why not tear down the church towers as well? Or is that different?

Let me tell you something folks....and listen up good....this world is on its way into a state of turmoil and civil unrest like nothing we have ever seen before, and the sad part is that as a common people outside of religion, we are all being played as pawns in some sick game designed to bring us all together under one giant law - "for the good of us all".

It makes me lose sleep, my friends. It really does.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Oman Air PR Nightmare?

So we're all recovered from the big exercise that (pardon the pun) went down over the weekend.
A great job done by all parties concerned however having just had a look at Muscat Mutterings from the ever-entertaining Sythe, I was stunned to see the web-page that the powers that be have decided to put up on the Oman Air website.
This is, in my humble opinion, taking the exercise a step too far. W
ay too far in fact.

You can see the page (if they still have it up) by clicking here.

There's even a rather mawkish statement from the CEO - what on earth were they thinking?

Yes, airlines do post stuff like this on their websites after accidents but seldom to this level of detail. A simple phone number is usually enough. I've never seen anything about body counts and identifying the dead coming up on airline sites before.

Go to any photos of airline crashes from the past and the first thing you will see is the titles and name of the aircraft being covered-up by the airline as no airline wants its name associated with an accident - even if the plane in question is theirs! Accidents and airlines should not be put in the same sentence from a marketing and PR point of view!

Too many presuppositions in this idea. Putting a tiny "exercise" in brackets at the top of the page and repeating it in the text is not enough. People scan webpages - and just seeing the words Salalah and Muscat would be enough to send some folks with families in the region scrambling for mobile phones.
Is there a version in Arabic? What if the reader only has a vague command of the English language. Unnecessary scaring of relatives, friends.......potential future customers! THINK!

And I suppose it would be useless of me to mention how this can further damage the already unstable sales prospects for The Wave.
People will always be people and therefore, as sure as you like, the comment "They must have had a good reason for choosing The Wave." will be echoing around the world at this point.

"Come and buy in The Wave - top quality construction, golf course, sea views and the odd emergency drill in case a 50 ton airliner ends up in your back garden! - not that that will ever happen!"

These things are done worldwide on a monthly basis. But they are done with discretion and certainly not blasted all over the airline's website.

And now that I type this, I've just been informed that Gulf News has picked it up here.

"He said a real aircraft without passengers was placed inside the Wave property behind the Muscat International Airport."........... WTF?!


Thursday, 12 November 2009

Simply Fantastic!....

If you're a whining, self-obessed religious freakshow nutjob, it might be better to not click the link below as you may not be able to deal with how the normal world sees you.

For the rest of you - click here.


Monday, 9 November 2009

Notice To You All

After last week's debacle, I have decided that I can no longer handle doing my weekly and monthly shopping at Carrefour.
It's now just out of hand - nuts!
No trolleys left when I got there in the mid-afternoon. Waited for the yellow-overalled trolley squad to arrive.
I think that anyone in a yellow zoom-bag is of the "special needs" category so I will not make fun of them - although I do believe that allowing them to roam around the carpark with a giant metal train of trolleys is taking things a stretch too far.

And on the subject of special needs - City Centre security staff riding around on the golf-cart at 30kph while families are trying to get to the shops - not funny, not clever, not safe.
You are supposed to be there for safety. I almost killed you with my car the other day. It almost came down to you or the mother and two kids if I had to swerve......and guess who I would have chosen?

Inside Carrefour is now a joke.
You have been here eight years.......time to get it sorted out folks!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Fun With The Indians

A great few days were had by all. Quite seriously, the best fun you can have with your clothes on!
More fun and games next year!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Pizza Hut - Salalah

I have to say....Salalah is lovely. Really lovely.
Nice people, nice town and a great coffee shop called Brownies with awesome, switched on staff.

And it is based on the subject of "switched on" that I would like to suggest that some of the Brownies staff be moved to Pizza Hut (it's only a few doors down the road) where I went the other night around 9pm.
(I am assuming the original Pizza Hut Training Team are the same ones who did the job at Darcy's Kitchen.)

Consider it a consultancy move where the staff can be trained to recognize simple little customer service requirements like:

Registering the arrival of a customer.
Coming to get the customer's order within the first half an hour.
Listening to what the customer has asked for and bringing it to them instead of bringing whatever you had in the fridge.
Washing knives and forks, glasses and the table that your guest is at.
Knowing the difference between Pepsi and Orange soda (there is a brilliant visual cue that can be used to help with this)
and finally:

When my order eventually came, I ate my pizza while listening to the following:

"Do The Hokey Cokey" - sung by the children from The Barney Show. Loudly. On repeat.

Suspiciously similar to the CD that they use in the toy shop at City Centre which acts like a forcefield, stopping customers from staying for longer than it takes to walk up and down the first aisle.

Did I ask for it to be changed after the third round? Of course I did.
Did they solve the problem? No.

Instead, they just released the repeat button so that I got happy, clappy, $10,000 dollar child dental-work versions of:

"Happy Birthday To You"
"If You're Happy, And You Know It, Clap Your Hands"

"Ten Green Bottles Hanging On The Wall" faded into the background as I left both the pizza and the incompetency behind.

Altogether now: "Ohhhhhhhhhh Hokey Cokey Cokey! Ohhhhhhhhhh......"

Simply useless!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The End of Muscat Confidential

Candlelight vigils next to computer screens worldwide are in effect due to reports coming in about the the disappearance of the work-shy and gender-challenged blogger known by the pen-name Undercover Dragon.

The Dragon, owner of the Muscat Confidential blog, vanished last week in a seemingly permanent move, following various "practice" vanishings over the past eight weeks.

It is thought that a possible scam draw for rave party tickets, may have been a contributory factor in these recent events.

Anyone catching sight of the Undercover Dragon, should not approach it, as to do so may result in any number of ailments - particularly an extreme feeling of having no motivation and "nothing to blog for".

A helpline has been set up for hard-core bloggers suffering shock or withdrawal symptoms from the Muscat Confidential blog.

Trained counsellors can be contacted on 900-729373.
All calls are anonymous and confidential.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Begging Scam

Imagine my surprise when I read a comment on Suburban's blog recently. I am not the best at putting links into my blogs so you'll have to make do with me copying and pasting Boxster's comments:

"a well dressed man (clean and ironed dishdasha, designer shades) with great english skills stopped by today, apologized profusely, tried to explain that he was a neighbor, locked himself out, his brother is driving from the interior with the spare keys, his father had a stroke a few hours ago, his father's normal doctor of 25 years is traveling with the royal family, and the interim doctor needs payment; all in all asking me for 27 rials.

i said that i didn't know him well enough to lend him money.

one of those days i'll drop by his house (the one supposedly behind the farthest visible from our gates) to check up on his dad.

this is the number to report begging:

What made me reel from reading this is that this is the exact story and individual who ripped off a very kindly Oman Air captain a few weeks ago.
This guy may be targeting ex-pats only as I think that he wouldn't get away with doing this to a local.

Maybe Boxster can shed some more light on where it took place etc, either by commenting here or by email.

Be careful!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

My First Hate Mail!

This came to my inbox last night.
I can only say that I was so scared that I stayed up all night in the wardrobe, living in fear that they would act on their words. I quote:

"You stink wite ass peece of shet!
We no weer you leeve now and tonight we is killin you.
You die muderfacker! Yes we com for you and what can you do ha.
We cat you trot and eyes out. Then you see what happins!
Tonight you dieing!"


Saturday, 17 October 2009

Sometimes Just A Photo Says So Much...

I caught these two over the weekend and felt... compelled to share it with you!
Quite simply....fantastic!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Getting Hooked Up In Muscat...

Having had no fewer than four separate experiences of this type of tactic over the past few days, I was beginning to wonder the following:

1. Do I look like I'm gay? .... and

2. Is the basement of Markaz Al Bahja a regular hunting ground for gay males looking for some action?

Lately, the Jet Driver has been doing some work on his house because (and here is further evidence that I may be gay and not know it!), I was getting irked by the kitchen cupboards being the wrong shade of grey to sit between the chinese slate tiles and the brushed steel kitchenware that I have installed.

Anyway, on the past few occasions of standing in the Markaz basement, usually waiting for the 5pm opening of the kitchen shop, I have been eyed up and approached by individuals who had only moments earlier been sitting on the seats with a definite air of "lurking".

"Hi. How are you? You are from where? I see. Ok. Very nice guy. My name is Nasser. And you?"

Now, I know that people here are friendly and I get hellos from all sorts during the day, however, my suspicions of the "pick-up zone" are being added to by further behavioral traits from these men like "over-preening" in front of me, "dreamy" eye-contact and some very dodgy colours of dishdashas - pinks, lavenders, yellows.

So what's the deal folks? What's going on down there?

Saturday, 10 October 2009

There Will Be No More Posts On This Blog.....

....until lazy-arse Muscat Confidential posts something new.

Once again, I am holding up the blogosphere of dry wit and "inappropriate" humour.

Each of us must do their share! UD????? Where the f*ck are you?

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The E-Gate: A Time Saving Device

Once again, a classic example of "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

Touted as another time-saving device and bastion of efficiency, the new E-Gate system for resident card holders is now out of its experimental phase and has been brought fully online for mainstream use at Muscat International Airport.

How to use it? Simple!

Insert your resident's card into the machine - just like the picture that is taped to it.
Walk through the glass barrier when it opens.
Stop in the middle and turn to your right to face the "interrogation" screen. It's quite friendly and it even has a picture of a hand, telling you which finger to put onto the sensor to be scanned.

Then, when the machine has decided that you are who your resident's card claims you to be, it opens the second set of glass doors and you are free to go, with a cheery "Thank you" from the machine.

However, just like the parking ticket dispensers with, oh my God, no buttons!....a certain requirement has been overlooked: an IQ above 100.

I recently came in off a flight and having landed, I got chatting with a guy from Europe who was visiting for a few days business in Muscat. We got on the business class bus and disembarked at the terminal, whereupon we saw the Mumbai flight had arrived and he groaned at the visa queue.
"We're in for a long wait!" he said.

With a smug smile on my face, I displayed my resident's card and said "Not me, buddy! I'm off to the E-Gate! Where I just swipe....and go! See ya!"

I arrived at the gate. About twenty people in front of me.
The following occurred for about eighteen of them:

Push card into machine, except put in it upside down, completely ignoring the photo-guide.
Watch in horror as the machine goes beep.
Push it in again. This time a bit harder because that always works, doesn't it?
Have a stunted conversation with the Immigration guy about the machine not working and then finally either through blind luck or someone else's charity, put card in the right way.

Walk through the glass doors, fuming, and then walk straight into the opposite glass barrier with enough force to actually lift the machine off the ground.
Take a half step back and try to push your way through again, ignoring the voice from the machine that is trying to get your attention.
Look in utter incomprehension at the Immigration guy again as he points, for the thousandth time that day to the fingerprint scanner.

Look at the screen.
Bend at the waist and squint at the information on it, again ignoring the aural instructions.
Fumble around in your bag for your glasses, then drop them, and bash your head on the side of the display panel as you retrieve them.

For at least ten seconds, so it really sinks in, stare at the picture of the thumb being shown on the screen and then place your index finger on the scanner, because on your planet, that is where your thumb is.

Ogle quizzically at the screen again as it beeps and tells you that you have made an error.
Ignore the picture of the thumb again and turn to the crowd with a spastic look on your face that says "I should not be allowed to travel anywhere without proper supervision."

Wait for someone with a vastly higher IQ than you, to step forward and, with a tone of voice normally used on high-risk inmates at an insane asylum, show you which digit to place on the scanner.

Only another nineteen folks to go - by which stage, my friend from the bus is already in his suite at the InterCon.

Time taken per person: about 2 minutes for most - apart from the "special" ones who try and smash their way through the barrier and then require knee physio.

OAMC and the rest of need to sit down and actually think these things through!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Eid Mubarak

I wish you all a pleasant few days for Eid.
HM has been very generous in giving Jet Driver and his colleagues the entire week off!

Therefore, I am now about to board a First Class flight to an exotic location in South East Asia where I will be met by an even more exotic young lady who is rather keen to see me!

If any of you are reading this at the airport......I am in the lounge, so come up and say hello!

The only thing is that there are quite a few folks in here with a laptop.....which one of them is me? And if you asked me, would I tell you anyway?!

Eid Mubarak my darlings!

Mwah! JD

Sunday, 13 September 2009

A Simple Lesson

A, B, C, D, E, F, Geeeeeeeeeee......

Why can't they stick to this tried and trusted format for putting things on the shelves in my favourite place in City Centre?
Yes, indeed! A multicultural mish-mash of employees from Oman, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and The Philippines and they still can't keep the place ship-shape.

One can imagine the Life Of Brian style scene when one of them takes a massive evolutionary leap and says:

"I've just had an amaaaaaaaazing moment of clarity! Those black and white signs above the shelves, yeah? Yeah? You know the ones? They're there to help us!"

Lots of quizical looks and yawning from the staff of the "Information" section and then a sudden pause in the texting and nail-picking....

"We have to put each book in it's proper place! And, and, and.......then use something I read about called the "alphabet" to further categorize each author!"


"BET! Alphabet! It's like a list of the order in which the letters of the English language come in!"

It is driving me mad, and it is getting worse!
Last week, I found a book about hedge funds in.....yep, you've guessed it.....the Gardening section.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Ze Plane! Ze Plane!

Lots of screaming and shouting going on around Azaiba and Mawaleh now that the "transport solution" for the RAF is in full swing.
The requirement was for an aircraft with a very large cargo space inside, that could operate on a host of runway surfaces from asphalt to gravel to compressed sand - AND had great short field performance.
There were no new Globemasters available - so you get the next best thing - the Ilyushin 76.

To a pilot, or an anorak plane-spotter, this machine is about as good as it gets. I can remember for years during the Cold War, all we had were grainy black and white photos of it, gleaned from US spyplanes and secret agents with bow-tie cameras.

Now we get to see them every day and they are awesome!
Yes, they keep some of you awake at night - but that's a small price to pay to have them here.
Personally, I love watching a fully loaded one of these, trying to launch itself into the sky and struggling with the relative humidity so just keeping it low level until the speed goes up.

If you want to see an Ilyushin 76 getting it all out of shape - one only has to look at this video. A real eye-opener for our Azaiba and Mawaleh chums!

I'm having my fun.....and that is all that matters! Mwah!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

I've Been A Naughty Boy....Ooooh!

Jet Driver went for a run the other day.
It was 38 degrees outside and naturally I wore shorts.
I also wore some other hi-tech, figure hugging Nike attire and in the midst of a rather "emotional" descent along one of the wadi treks, I came face to face with a brand new member of the ROP.

He was spotlessly turned out, shirt pressed and boots polished - a fine example of a young law-enforcement officer.

The conversation went a little bit like this:

"Hello mate! What's shakin'?"

"Why you errr...why you run?"
"To aid in cardio-vascular health and keep me looking fit and handsome amongst other things."

"I can see your knees and the backs of your legs!"
"Steady on sunshine. The Jet Driver only likes girls - young oriental ones to be precise!"

"What's this?" (Pointing at my chest)
"What's what?"
"This tube from your back."
"Ohhhh. That's water. It stops me from going into coronary arrest."

"You know Ramadan? You have shorts. This is not allowed."
"Oh.....ok.....sorry...and so.....what shall I do now? I'm 10 kilometres from my vehicle. You will take me to there?"
(A quick pow-wow with the notably senior officer in the jeep who had already seen the funny side to this and I suspect sent this poor newbie on a futile battle of wits.)

"You people! Crazy! (points at the sun) GO HOME! Relax! It's Ramadan!"

I love this place!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

How To Run A Furniture Shop In Oman

Ok, I'm tired of flogging the dead horse that is Ramadan so, as an extension of Jamilla Camel's debacle with her new bed, let me give her and other newbies in Oman the rundown on the phenomenon that is "Deliveries" in this town.

The situation is a result of a few traits that can all be combined and summed up in one word....greed:

Source the cheapest Chinese shit-excuse for furniture that you can find and sell it on for ten times the price. 
Never mind if parts are missing...that's not your problem. You will never be facing the customer....ever.

Get the cheapest Indian, Pakistani or whatever to do the job - no qualifications needed.
When he gets here, reduce his salary even further with "deductions" for air ticket etc.
(This will do wonders for his morale.)
Take his passport away and inform him that he has no rights here in Oman.
(More morale building.)

Make sure that you choose floor-staff who have only basic English - they are cheaper to employ and when you drop their salaries and cheat them out of bonuses and days-off etc you can just claim that they did not understand you during the original negotiations and after all, they did sign a contract.

Put the fear of God, Shiva, Allah or whoever into your employees and further compound that cultural flexibility with the truth, so that no matter what the customer wants, they will tell you it is possible, because if it's not possible and the customer walks out the door, you will personally have them transferred to Salalah or some other far-off land as punishment, take a month's salary as compensation and refuse to pay their return flights home.

Your delivery team has to be made up of at least one Omani - this is the law. 
The work ethic is low to non-existent here (don't protest - you know it's true for the menial jobs and I have been here too long to take the wishy-washy crap that is the usual argument for not doing anything.).
Qualifying criteria for a local or "token" Omanisation statistic in a low-level services position appears to be the ability to fog a mirror.
Can't blame him on anything though because he was sitting in the truck all the time.

Work your Indian and Sri Lankan "carpenters" for at least twelve hours a day and then leave them in the squalid conditions that you call "accommodation" - four walls and a roof is NOT a job well done on your part. 
People need proper care and support (especially those who are away from family and friends through no fault of their own and no reason other than a messed up and corrupt economy back home - poverty like you have never seen, folks), proper furniture and facilities, air conditioning that works and when it doesn't you fix it THERE AND THEN and not when you can tear yourself away from your phone, the bar or the massage parlour. 
It doesn't matter that what you have provided is "better than he has at home" - you should be making a conscious human effort to far exceed what his standard of living is....he is making you a bloody fortune!

Gouges get taken out of headboards and scratches get ripped into chairs and tables because most of the time these guys are so tired, pissed-off and disheartened that they have simply lost the will to live and with the loss of primordial instinct that goes with that, you can expect a severe reduction in general competency, motivation and eye-hand co-ordination.

Dissent is bubbling under the surface. An employee rebellion could happen overnight and then what's going to happen? What would a "tools down" protest for a week achieve on the "copping on that you are at the mercy of the minority workforce - they just haven't realised it yet" front?

Have a look across the road in Qatar.
Outnumbered five to one.....can you imagine the carnage if it all kicked off over there?

This is Oman - things are not changing. This is how it is. You just have to roll with it.
I buy furniture, I collect it myself even if I have to rent a van to do it, and finally, I build it myself.
It keeps things under my control - and leaves my blood-pressure within limits.
I recommend you do the same.

However, that said, I still love this place to bits.

This Ramadan: Be Careful What You Put In Your Mouth!

Bit of a stretch eh fellas?

Clicky here!

The problem is that outside of the Middle East, the price of dates skyrockets.
Israeli dates are as cheap as chips so naturally, buyers like Carrefour and Asda will take the lowest priced products.

One could assume that many of the Iftar buffets and bistros at the InterContinentals and Hyatts around the world are supplied by the same dealers.
And not just dates! Apples, oranges, bananas, bed-sheets, truck tyres - maybe even vital medicines and bandages used to patch you up in an accident.

God protect us! We're all war-mongering arms dealers!

No doubt we'll have comments.
Where is Essa when you need him?!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Simply Dangerous and Disrespectful

As much as I understand the importance of Ramadan...getting into a car and driving when you are dog-tired is simply unacceptable.

There is no excuse for it.
This is not five hundred years ago. You are not on horseback, or donkeyback or whatever.
You are in a two to four ton lump of metal, driving erratically down the highway.
Drifting in and out of lucidity while drifting in and out of your appropriate lane. Madness!

Sorry, but if you are getting into a car and driving when you are tired from fasting, or your blood-sugar is all over the place, then you are just as guilty as the one who drives off under the influence of alcohol.

Islam is a wonderful religion. I see its logic everyday when I talk with colleagues about it, but some of that logic needs to shift into the modern world and what the religion requires, needs to be reflected into the tasks and deeds of the way we live and work today.
Companies should be laying on buses for staff during Ramadan - driven by people who are not fasting or are taking their Quranic "allowances" and giving back a day later on.

It is no longer safe.
If you are tired, please don't get into a car. Don't kill me. Don't hurt my family or my friends. Don't hurt yours!

Behaving like this just shows senseless selfishness, ignorance and as I said earlier - downright stupidity and disrespect for life.

You have to choose between right and wrong. Driving in a state where you are not fit to drive is wrong and it is foolish. Your life is not yours to take. Yes, you go when it is written that you go, however, there are times when you will be held accountable.....I know this!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Ramadan: Sponsored By Carrefour

I've just come back from Carrefour. Bedlam.
People are acting like the place is going to close down tonight and disappear. Panic buying of the highest order - I even managed to receive an elbow in the face from one individual who is lucky that he is not celebrating his first Iftar through a tube in the Royal Hospital - a high price to pay for a box of strawberry jelly. Yes - he wanted the entire box!

It was quite amusing to have a look at how similar the trolley-loads are.
I have worked out that there are some vital things that need to be purchased:

Vimto - about 50 bottles should do the trick. (They actually have built a 20 foot high Vimto pyramid.)
Foster Clark's Powdered Orange Drink - and you all wonder why your kids are on the ceiling!
Jelly - by the palette. Enough for at least 300 people.
Creme Caramel Desserts
Strawberry Milk
Eggs - thousands of them
Yoghurt - again, enough to fill a small ship should do the trick.

Before leaving for Carrefour, I think the locals either take some form of stimulant or maybe just a five litre drum of coffee.
Whatever it is, it has to have the effect of making one edgy, nervous and then pushy.

One month of chaos. I think, just like Christmas around the world, that the spirit of Ramadan is gone.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Airport Car-Park Hell

Aren't the new machines in the airport car-park just dandy?
No more waiting for fifteen minutes for the man, who should have been sitting in the booth instead of shooting the shit in Costa Coffee with his mates, to come and bash the old barriers to make it open.

Instead we have ACS Parking Systems in place!
A company who are dab hands at making trouble-free parking zones. They even have a registration plate detection system at some airports around the world so that staff and aircrew can enter and exit without a ticket. Wonderful!

They claim that the use of their systems will help to reduce the long queues that we have been seeing at Muscat International Airport for the past few years, due to the high-level reliability of their systems.

But there was one thing that they did not factor in to their queue reduction plan.....the high number of twats in Oman.
Now before the regular window-lickers start thinking that this is a witch hunt for Omanis and Indians - it is not. I have seen an eclectic mix of idiots doing this over the past two weeks.

The initial problem is this: There are no buttons on the new machines. None. It's all pressure sensors on the front panel which is smooth like glass.
Jet Driver likes to stand beside the unit in the evenings when he is in need of amusement.

Typical scenario follows:
Drive up to the unit and stare at it.
Screen says: "Press to receive ticket".
The area to press is marked in a circle and is flashing like a Christmas tree!

Driver (while trying to push the screen): "Where's the button?" Two cars now behind.
Driver: "Huh? Press where?" Three.
Passenger: "It says the button" Five.
Driver: "There's none. It's not....." Beeep beeeeeeeeeep! Seven apoplectic drivers now.
Driver: It must be broken. I'll press the Help b......where's the Help button?!" Ten. Beeeep!
Driver: "I know! Why didn't I think of this stroke of genius before? I'll reverse out! There must be another way to get into......" BEEEEEP!

And a whole new level of chaos is born!

Well thought out guys!
Must be the Lulu Car Park Consultancy Service again!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Where Am I?

Jet Driver has escaped for a few days....

Where am I?

I'll give you a clue!

Don't fret, I'll be back for Rammers!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Thanks A Lot Bank Muscat

Dear Bank Muscat

Thanks a million for the eye-catching advertisements that I have seen in all the newspapers. And also for your 6 metre high multi-cultural billboards with expats and Omanis all bandied together, smiling in the knowledge that their money is safe in your hands.

So fucking safe in fact, that it was impossible to book a hotel in a certain South East Asian country last week when the Jet Driver decided to take a well-earned few days in a fabulous place with an equally fabulous young lady. 

It is a very simple procedure. I nominate how much I want in my account. You agree to put this amount onto my credit card every month. And then we all go home smiling.....just like on the billboards.

But no....I get:
Hotel: "Sorry sir. Your card has been declined." 
Me: "What?.....errrrrr NO! I have a Bank Muscat Super Prestige Platinum Wasta Card!"
Hotel: "Sorry sir....."

To the group of friends who told me to wait and get a backup were right, and I was wrong. Read this, print it and frame it.

Jet Driver does not make the same mistakes twice.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

It's That Time Of The Year Again...

The Boss is going for a cruise.....and therefore so must I.
See you good people in a few weeks!
Now.....where's my bag?

Friday, 17 July 2009

Nawras Numpty Coach Driver

Jet Driver decided to go swimming last night down at Qantab beach, and as I was heading back towards my car, I saw a big blue tour-bus coming down the road. 

The driver, a young chap about 20 was tooting the horn and weaving the coach from side to side in an effort to look cool, and then proceeded to swing hard into the left parking area.

The laws of physics took over and a rapid but rather pricey lesson in kinetic physics ensued as he hit the brakes. 

Sand and gravel are not the most adherence-friendly of surfaces, and as the bus slid across the car park, and struck a ridge between two ruins, it is nothing short of a miracle that the bus stayed upright and the group of people, mostly teenagers from Nawras at the beach for a party, were not killed.

Jet Driver would normally go straight to the authorities for numpty behavior like this, but this being where it is....nothing would get done anyway.

One hour later, they were still trying to start the engine. 

Jet Driver and others explained that because the electrics were now ripped asunder and strewn all over the path, due to the bus falling off a three foot ledge, attempting to start this bus was both futile, and more importantly, dangerous!

This however, fell on deaf ears - as both driver and "assistant" kept turning the key and pumping the gas.

Utterly useless........but left in charge of a bus full of kids! 

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

It's Tough Being Cool

Stopped for petrol and water the other day at the Shell Select next to City Centre and parked right in front of the main doors.
Was reaching down to get my wallet from between the seats when a white Toyota Echo pulled up next to me.

This was a typical Omani teen-machine.
Lots of chrome and the usual mis-spelled "Feul Injection" stickers.
Pitch black tinted windows and the stereo up to the maximum level.
The song however, although muffled by my car door was still instantly recognisable......

"Muh muh muh.....Mirrie Jean is nah mah ruvver....She jussa gair who....."

Then as the passenger door was flung open, what can only be described as "Eighties Retro Cool Gone Horribly Wrong" appeared.

He was about sixteen, sunglasses on, silver baseball cap and florescent pink t-shirt but also wearing a loosely knotted tie, with a cigarette dangling precariously from his lips.

He was out to make a solid impression from his fake Ruwi Converse All-Stars, all the way up to his cherry-flavoured lip gloss and glitter-star cheek transfer.

His 22 inch waist was what let him down abysmally though, as while he swung his legs out of the car door and stood up, it became clear to all and sundry that he was still secured into the vehicle by his seat-belt.

The rather sudden automatic 'retrieval' of his 40kg frame by the straps, and his subsequent flailing and lolling, was by far the funniest moment of July for me so far.

Omani teens: if you want to be cool - get lessons.
It's a lot harder than it looks!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Rock Bottom Muscat

The recent incident covered by Muscat Confidential about the US Embassy banning official US personnel from the aptly named "Rock Bottom" has been causing quite a stir on the local forums.

Those poor bouncers!
Why are they being treated so harshly?
CCTV clearly shows that the "fully trained Marine" engaged in an unlawful assault on them.

Let me make this abundantly clear.
Rock Bottom bouncers are thugs: scum-of-the-earth, wastes of oxygen who have nothing better to do, then aspire to be "Bad Ass Niggas, y'all".

I have on occasion, happily dispatched members of said "crew" when they have decided to become a bit too overzealous when being in my general space.
But as I mentioned earlier, my fondest memory is seeing a US Navy SEAL defuse one of RB's meat-heads one night.


The problem with Rock Bottom is that there has always been a history of tension within its walls. The reason for the "racist" cover charge was because of the high number of sexual harassment incidents from certain ethnic groups.

Unfortunately, and maybe it is a cultural thing, a lot of Arab and Indian men seem to think that it is ok to make lewd comments at females or in many cases, to touch or make inappropriate advances on them - and while US and Europeans do cross that line also, it is clear from the experiences of females out on the town, that Arabs and Indians are the main offenders.
Young Omanis are particularly problematic, with the main reason being that they are so sexually frustrated and oppressed.

If you are on 120 rials a month, then spending 20% of your wages on a handjob from any one of the dozens of "Health Centres" in Muscat is a high price to pay for relief - much better to hit Rock Bottom and accost the Filipinas who go there - or even sadder still: park your car outside and wait for closing time so that you can shout "Hey Bitch! Five Rials, huh?" while you jerk your hand up and down out the window, hooting with your sad group of mates who are all in the same boat, only to then go off and amuse yourself at home with the Internet and a jar of Nivea.

Those who have enough luck or connections to get into Rock Bottom end up causing havoc with the girls who will usually run to, or get protected by the nearest Westerner within earshot who thinks that asking a girl to "fuck me in the bathroom" is not really gentlemanly conduct. (Trust me, I have heard this on many occasions.)

This then results in the usual exchange of words and as no self-respecting local bouncer is going to risk a wasta showdown with a distant relative or the nephew eight times removed of his father's keeper, said "guardian of the peace" has a go at the foreigner.

Please remember that the majority of pumped-up bovine impersonators "on the door" at Rock Bottom have come from the same sex-starved stock as the perpetrators on the dance floor - and in a mixture of ego and lack of direction have decided the best way to gain respect from the bruthas is to hit the gym and sadly for most, to insert additional testosterone into their veins.

Now, it doesn't take a genius to work out that if you can't handle your natural testosterone levels, throwing in a few units more is going to turn you into an anger and libido-driven fruitcake.
An irrational ego-maniac who gets their kicks out of trying to be "Da Man".
Couple that with no conflict resolution training and no desire to resolve conflict anyway - and you have the typical Rock Bottom mallet-head.

Invariably, someone comes along from time to time who really, and I mean REALLY knows how to handle themselves.......and well, we all know what happens next.

Rock Bottom: not worth the visit, but definitely worth the negative PR that it is getting.