Friday, 30 January 2009

Update From Afar

Oh, what a glorious few weeks it has been! 

Some sunshine, some snow and most of all - lots of well-earned rest and recuperation! 

It's nice to be able to go out in the car again, and not have to safety brief everyone for possible high-speed impacts from the side or even from above. 
The man in the electrical store said that my new washing machine would arrive on Friday at 4pm arrived on Friday at 4pm!

There were really strange lines of people at the tills in Starbucks. I had almost forgotten what those things were. Quiet rows of people waiting for coffees, with the only shouting coming from the baristas. 

What's this? Twenty seconds to make a withdrawal from an ATM? Is that really possible? Where am I? Beep beep, passcode. Beep beep, enter amount. Beep beep, walk away from the machine! No phone calls, no head-cocking, no stopping to send a text or answer the bliss! 

Car seats! Everybody has one! And no-one has a nylon tattoo! Lots of real ones though! 

But wait.....what's this?

Petrol is HOW MUCH? But ........seventy? SEVENTY? What?

I feel a real level of danger emanating from the six teenagers walking down the street towards me. Could they be looking for trouble? The one on the far right definitely looks like he is. 

I have to lock the car every time I get out of it now. And I have to make sure that I park it in an area where I will find it with all windows intact when I get back. 

No-one is saying hello to each other in the street. Where have all the smiles gone?

I hear a police siren at least once an hour. What could possibly be making the cops more busy?

Swings and roundabouts. Where shall I go next?

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

So Long My Friends

Well folks, it was a day that I always knew would have to come, and with a mix of emotions, the "keys" to RAFO's first new baby - the Airbus A320, were handed over this week.

It has been a long road of instructing and testing new pilots. 
Some of the aircrew here have become like family to me, albeit me having to wave a very big stick at some of them on occasion. 

They have worked very hard, moving from a classic aircraft (the BAE 1-11) to a high-tech glass-cockpit machine. 
It is not an easy task to get to grips with the "Bus" and one has to say that not one of them terrified me to any great extent in the simulator or in the air. 

I would love to hang around and work with you all some more, but there are other countries with the requirements you had two years ago so, it is time to put on a new pair of brown trouser protectors, and I must go and play in another garden and go through the whole show again.

To the rest of my loyal readers, I hope to come back again in a new form, somewhere else in the world and hack away at the good, the bad and the ugly of where you are and where I am. 
I already know where my next port of call is going to be, but for now, I'll keep a lid on that and let you know in due course. 

Thank you for all of your time and comments. 
Keep your chins up and I wish you all the best for 2009. 

Yours, Very Sincerely - Jet Driver

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Wannabe Gangstas!

What in the name of all that is normal, is going on with Omani kids?

Went to City Centre last night for a coffee, as I thought that because of the football (yawwwwwwwwwwwwn), that the place would be empty - and it was! 

It was, that is, except for a more than average turn out of the posses from Mawalah, Ghubra and North & South Al-Hail y'all! Big shout out to all ma homies there!

Now, I know that I have blogged on this before, with the tattoo tights and the "Boyz From Da Wadi" stuff, but trust me.....I know about wannabe gangstas - and this is not it. 

This is just like some kind of weirdo circus! 
"Mall gangs" are going around City Centre all wearing the same outfits. 
That's not Gangsta! That's just retarded.
Trilby Hats and plastic gem-encrusted hairbands are not Gangsta either. 
And neither are shiny-spangle belts or mirror-tiled baseball caps. Retarded!

And the muppets who are driving around with the top down, blasting 50-Cent, Coolio and Snoop Dog, need to realise that those "artists" are talking about killing you! 
"Wannabe Gangstahhh, put yo head in fronah ma windah, I'll pop a nine-mill in yo eyebahhhl!"

Guys, you are not black. You are not gangsta. You are not hip, trendy or fly homies. You are not "all that". And you have no bitches, dawgs! 

Undercover Dragon has a terrific idea for a reality TV show: 

Take a group of hard-ass, Mac 11-toting niggas from Compton or West Side. 
Put them on a Lear Jet and fly them all around the world, stopping in places like Oman and the UAE, and let them observe the wannabes in action. 

They then get to choose one group and bring them back to "da hood" for a month to meet the home-boys. 
Some of whom, remember, have served in the Marines or lost those close to them in IEDs and attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan and are not educated enough to filter past the religion and what they have seen and heard in the media - no holds barred. 
Once they get there - they is on their own! 
And because "dey is cool A-rab niggas, yeah?" they'll be as safe as houses and welcomed like bruthas........right? Won't they?

Mom? MOM!!!!!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Rescue On Oman's High Seas

Congratulations to Oman's Coastguard on a job well done, having saved the lives of around 16 people on a dive trip, when their boat sank off the Daymaniyat Islands. 

Apparently, the dive group, including the Russian Ambassador's wife and son, were in a fishing/diving boat with ten other divers, boat crew and diving cylinders, when it sank and 
it was only after people started to be reported missing, that the situation was discovered due to the vessel not having any means of calling for assistance - no radios or distress beacons etc.

Details are still a bit sketchy, however, it would appear that the dive trip, run by a local company called "Ocean Divers", used a vessel that was overloaded, not suitable for the trip, lacked proper licences or permits and, as previously mentioned, had no means of summoning for help, leaving the group stranded in the sea for more than 24 hours, with some members in the water for 36 hours before the coastguard was able to retrieve them, due to bad visibility and drifting.

According to sources, the owner of "Ocean Divers" who was in charge of the boat, was met on the shoreline by an imaginably concerned Russian Ambassador, accompanied by the Head of the Royal Oman Police. 

I am assuming the proverbial is going to hit the fan for this, and rightly so. Rumours are circulating that the owner is in custody, although he may have been released at this stage.

Standards for some dive centres and adventure tour providers in Oman need to be seriously addressed, as it is nothing short of a miracle that this event resulted in no loss of life. 

Once again, well done to the Oman Coastguard on a very successful outcome to what could have been a disastrous event. 
You did a brilliant job under very difficult conditions and you should be very proud of yourselves.