Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The End Of The Year

Grand few showers of rain coming in over the past few days.
Kind of a symbolic washing away of the old and leaving things all shiny and new for 2011.


I wonder what the new year will bring.
Plenty of stories from the Omani blogosphere as more and more people begin to get a voice and talk about all that is good, and bad in the country and beyond.


New blogger Misadventures in HR has well and truly made her mark as one of the finest and funniest blogs to come out of 2010, and I am seriously looking forward to her continued posting and comments from Sand Land.


Thank you also to everyone who sent their emails of well-wishing and support, and an even bigger thank you to the nitwits and numpties who emailed all the abuse and left all those fine comments on the last post that I made, some being stand-alone proof positive of most of the observations I make here.


For the Reuters wannabe who told the world that I got fired......well, I didn't. I left.
Someone called my bluff on a salary request, so (to borrow a word from a famous blogger), I went off and got more treasure elsewhere.


But I'm sure my dear petri-dish specimen of all that is wrong with Oman, OMR, will be highly shocked to hear that contrary to his opinion that the likes of myself and Undercover Dragon are not needed over here in Muscat, the phone actually did ring when I got back, and the pleading and the fawning began......and now that suitable amounts of treasure have been agreed....I'm back.


I'm so looking forward to sharing my continuing experiences with you all.


Mmmmmmmmmmwah!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You.

I've been reading with amusement the comments in The Week magazine that were made in response to a recent Letter to the Editor by an expat called "Sara" in relation to expat involvement in the development of Oman.

All the usual bullshit quotes in response, but my favorites include:

"Appreciate what we have given you." "Look at the lifestyle that we give to you." and "Don't bite the hand that feeds you!"

Now, it doesn't take a genius to work out that the higher level Omanis, ie the sharper ones in the pile already understand the sentiment behind the above woman's gripe.

But for the surplus, allow me to share some home truths with you in relation to the global picture and where Oman is in relation to it.

First of all - using "we" in your comments is just another chunk of evidence in the local delusion that you are actually paying us. 
You're a citizen of Oman, not its paymaster. And if the truth be known, you are more of a drain on the economy each month then we are.

Subsidized water and electricity, throwing your shit out the window of your car for the Indians to pick up, running up massive debt and defaulting the loans, constant hand-out seeking, begrudging those who actually put in a full day's work and doing so by sitting there doing fuck all, apart from running interference and trying to pin the delays on us. 
Childish, playground mentality in a feeble attempt to make yourself look important, when you're still incapable of telling me what your job description is or your responsibilities are.

Here's a reality check for "Look at the lifestyle that WE give to you."

Oman is a nice place. It's not great. It's just nice.
The weather for about eight months of the year is crap.
It takes forever to get things done. 
There's more than the average amount of ineptness and incompetence.
Corruption is on the rise and it hampers most day-to-day operations.

And, back to "Don't bite the hand that feeds you!" - it may surprise you to know that most of us did not ask to come here. 
You do not feed us through charity. You feed us through need.
You asked and in some cases begged us to come here to instigate, develop or fix situations that you either wanted to happen or found yourselves in.

Listen: behind most successful groups of dishdashas posing in the Oman Times for the job-well-done, there is a team of expats in the shadows, who do the actual work, who fight the fat, dumb and happy attitude of most local chair-warmers in management.

Go ahead and keep quoting the same old crap about how lucky we are, and how grateful we should be. It only serves to show the rest of us how naive and undereducated you are in relation to how your country actually runs.


There are far nicer places for expats to be. 
And as has been quoted before, the majority of expats who move on do so looking back with frustration and annoyance at how great things could be here if it wasn't for the corruption above, the penny-pinching and far from quality delivery in the middle to the rip-off merchant man in the street who thinks that HM owes him everything and all he has to do is put his hand out.


You are in for a rude awakening very soon, becuase you will have to start getting out of the trucks and cleaning up your own mess, sweep your own streets and clean your own toilets, as the infrastructure gets finished off, the Indians and Pakistanis move off to another "developing" nation, maids finally have enough and shift to the new countries where they are treated with respect and don't have to fear for their dignity or safety - places like the US, Canada and the UK - there are great opportunities for them over there and we pay good money - a fair wage for a job well done. 


And guess what? We are using the money that "you" paid us to do it.


The tribal disharmony will only start increasing when this happens, because like it or not, there has always been a pecking order.....I wonder how it will all pan out?
Al Balushi, Al Kiyumi, Al Hinai, Al Riyami, Al Zadjali, Al Kindi - who gets to do what job?


It will be interesting to watch from the other side of the world, where the sun shines tolerably, and there is no restriction on what I can do or say. 
Leaving was the best move I ever made.......and I even get paid more! 


"Bu..bu....bu.....but how? I thought WE paid the highest salaries in the world, and that you couldn't survive without us!"


Wake up!

Monday, 27 September 2010

I'm Back!......Or Am I?

Well look what we have here!

I turn my back for a few weeks of hard-earned treasure spending during Ramadan and Eid, and have now come back to see that my good friend Undercover Dragon has left for pastures new.

It is indeed sad to lose such a witty and thought-provoking accomplice of the blogosphere, however, as he put so well, the world is trying to rebuild itself after the financial fuck-ups of the past 18 months and the major movers and shakers are being very aggressively head-hunted for new positions within the global recovery.

Oman simply does not cut it anymore for most of us, from a financial perspective.
And while many of my local readers correctly remind me that we are only here to suck up the money available - we DO actually leave a lot behind in terms of experience and value to you as a nation.

Seriously....most of you don't know your arse from your elbow when it comes to business and general how-to-run-things.
From the muppet serving me in the Shell Select, to the one in the office who needs a perpetual training seminar on how to use the photocopier.....the reality is that YOU NEED US....and you will do for a long time.

The alternative is a nation full of head-scratchers and blamers who will eat themselves alive from within.
So to those who have been attacking expats in general - just shut up and let us get on with helping you to build a proper functional place to grow and provide for your children.

Maybe take stock and LISTEN to what we say. LEARN from us. That way.....we will eventually move on and you will have a place of continuing prosperity and functionality - instead of the cadge as cadge can, queue-jumping, false sense of entitlement, that you so sickeningly demonstrate now.

This is Jet Driver's last post on this blog, as like so many others who have gone before me, I have grown tired of making efforts for folks who just don't give a damn about themselves or their country.

The money is no longer enough. I have a better offer. I'm gone. See ya!

JD

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Once Again, Money Wins Out Over Privacy

It appears that due to the potential for a lucrative market, RIM have rolled over on the possible BlackBerry ban by allowing a server to be installed in Saudi where in the interests of 'national security' the authorities can snoop into your private life at their leisure.

You can read all about it here.....as I couldn't be arsed to write any more about it.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Saudi / UAE Blackberry update

Well, in the usual spirit of "thinking without thinking" Saudi has accelerated its plans and will be banning the Blackberry Messenger Service on Friday.

You can read about it here.

With the amount of Blackberry's in the Middle East being so small, I am hoping that RIM will just walk away from this - viewing the situation with such words as: "moronic", "backward" and "inept".

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The UAE Takes Another Evolutionary Leap Forward...

...by permanently blocking Blackberry services in the interests of "national security".
They really are the benchmark for the region.

As Muscat Confidential says: "Best Avoided."
You can read all about it here:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates says it plans to block some messaging and web services on BlackBerry smart phones beginning in October.
The country's telecommunications regulator said in a statement carried on state news agency WAM it is suspending services of messenger, e-mail and web browsing services.
The regulator says it made the decision after failing to bring the gadget's services in line with local laws.
UAE authorities said last week BlackBerry services could pose a threat to national security.
A spokeswoman for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion said the company had no immediate comment.

I have no words to describe stuff like this!
Paranoia doused with a heavy sprinkle of more paranoia.
Recently trying to place spyware on everyone's Blackberry, masked as an "update" from Etisalat.
Lies....pure and utter lies.

"The Business Centre of the Middle East" - don't make me laugh!
The sooner it all comes crashing down around them, the better.

They've Started Building...

I had to stop into Carrefour at City Centre yesterday while on my way to the airport.
The Indians are in full building mode, as the Middle East's commercial retail giant's version of Christmas kicks off.
Yes folks, Ramadan is almost upon us.

Walk into the French superstore and you will see that construction has begun on Vimto Towers and the equally high monolith that is made from Foster Clark's Powdered Orange Drink.

Looking like the entry to the monuments at Petra, there is a 20 foot high wall of cake mix on one side, and Mount Creme Caramel on the other.

The signs are also beginning to go up.
"Ramadan Kareem!"
"Carrefour is your best friend during Ramadan!"
"Look! Over here! Buy this!"
"Spend your money here!"

and my own special favourite:

"Now's your chance to be an even bigger prat.....by winning your own Lexus!"

So let's have a look at the average shopping list for the festive season:

80 bottles of Vimto
20 tins of Foster Clark's in Orange, Mango and Pineapple
140 Creme Caramels
200 litres of Strawberry and Chocolate Milk
100 kg of Halwa
1 ton of Rice
1 ton of frozen beef
1 ton of frozen chicken
30 bags of samosa spices
30 boxes of flour
2 tons of batter mix
1000 litres of cooking oil
1 mountain of pasta shells
Half a ton of couscous
Sweets and Chocolate - as much as will go into a trolley.
Cakes - to fill another trolley
A rainforest's worth of paper plates and cups.
3 miles of plastic floor sheeting.
and whatever else can be stuffed into the gaps in the Land Cruiser.

The plus side to all of this consumption and spending, is that through typical Omani hospitality, I will be spending some amazing nights with my local hosts for their truly incredible Iftar meals.

I ate so much food at the last one, that I had to lie on the floor for an hour before I could get up to drive home!
Cutlets, fish kibba and samosas with coconut sauce.......I could eat those forever!
Then of course there is chicken or goat mandhi.....delicious!
Um Ali .....you HAVE to try it!
Omani Halwa.....nyum nyums!

Have fun! And if you get invited to an Iftar meal.....accept! You will be very happy that you did!

Monday, 26 July 2010

See You After Eid!

It's time to kick off my shoes and enjoy the fruits of my labour.
See you when the dust settles in September!

JD

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Great Omani Wedding Vote

The hugely popular blogger Omani Princess has set up a reader's poll for your views on mixed marriages in Oman.

The great thing about the internet is that it has a wonderful way of exposing draconian rules and regulations - especially around things like this....

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Annual Slowdown Begins

Here comes the last week in June!

Time for everyone in Government Land to start getting ready for their summer vacations.
Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, London and Zanzibar are the hotspots for this year.

Nothing of any significance is getting done between now and January.
Vacations will blend seamlessly into Ramadan, then spill over into Eid Part 1, National Day, Eid Part 2 and New Years!

The 2010 productivity drive is now officially over - and we can all rest and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.

Anyone who has been in Oman for less than a year is now about to embark on the New Expat pilgrimage of: "Hammering on unanswered Ministry doors for hours in a futile attempt to get your paperwork sorted out."

Some of you will be blessed with being temporarily relieved of your stress, and having your hopes built up, by being told that the solution to your problem is just down the highway at the other Ministry, only to then to have those hopes dashed by being told that the only person on the planet who can sign and stamp your 'whatever' will be back in Oman "soon insha'allah".

Now..... where's my holiday brochures?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

New Weekly Section...

Hello my darlings!

What a busy few weeks it has been, between ensuring safety for the flying public and moving some very very important people from A to Cairo and back again ;)

I would like to introduce a new section of the blog which I hope to conduct on a weekly basis and will be doing so with the help of my loyal readers.

The section is called:

"It's all about ME!"

After pondering the fact that there is virtually no accountability for people seemingly being allowed to do whatever they want on the roads, or by the side of the road, or in City Centre....I have decided that "naming and shaming" is the order of the day.

So if you see a moron who has stopped in the middle of the street and gotten out his car to use the ATM.

Or a fat waste of space who beeps his horn outside the hardware store because he was too fucking lazy to get out and buy a bag of nails (same for the ones who do it outside the local convenience store.)

And you can also include the impatient, more important than you, queue jumpers and crowd shovers too.

Get your camera - shove it in their fat lazy uncaring gob - take a photo and say:

"Congratulations! You're about to become a worldwide star of the Internet"

Then send it off, with your story to muscat.jetdriver AT googlemail DOT com
and if it looks like a runner and brings a smile to my oh so cynical face - I'll blog it!

Have a nice weekend y'all!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Egypt Shows New Levels Of Lunacy

We all know in how much high esteem Egypt is held in the Arab world.
(All the coffee-shop jokes seem to involve Egyptians.)

I always thought this might have been slightly unfair....however....

The BBC News website has run a very amusing, but nonetheless jaw-dropping article about the courts in Cairo.
This will no doubt boost Egypt's standing amongst other the usual radical morons, but, for the rest of the world, it just makes them look as thick as the average GCC coffee drinker believes them to be.

It basically falls into the realms of:
If you are an Egyptian man and have married an Israeli woman.....well, you know the way that was ok last week?..... now you could be losing your citizenship.

All thanks to super-intelligent and cutting-edge modern lawyer Nabih Al Wahsh - who has taken up this quest in order to protect Egyptian youth and of course, Egyptian National Security.

The courts have upheld the request to have this made into law.

Inept, radical, over-compensating idiots!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Cyclone Phet Update

It's now starting to kick off, and I don't mean the weather.

There's cars going up the back of each other on the highway.

There's panic buying in Carrefour. The Sultan Centre is a free-for-all.

The roads along the back of MAM Camp as slowly disintegrating, and the conduits for the dams at the big wadi runs are jammed full of debris, thus paving the way for chunks of dam to start coming down the wadis soon, as saturation levels get critical.

Time to lock down with the portable gennies and the gas bottles.

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Inept



The Weather

There's a tropical storm building off the coast of Oman at the moment.
Predictive weather analysis says that it will increase in intensity to a cyclone within the next 24 hours.
I have been reading on the local forums that "there is nothing to worry about"...... this is not exactly true for now, as no-one really knows what this thing is going to do - but I would not advise people on going into panic-mode - maybe just prepare a little more.

It is behaving very similarly to the track of Gonu which is almost three years to the day.
Back then it was unclear as to which way the track was going to swing.

Some units are predicting a swing North East to Pakistan - but others, have predicted a run up along the coast as far as Muscat.


As I said - no-one really has a clue. Best guess is to prepare for rain and maybe have a few spare rolls of duct tape and some extra supplies in to be on the safe side.

One trusts the Omani Government to do a good job like last time should it all start to get messy - but I for one am hoping that we are not all inconvenienced and burdened like last time.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Fusion Logic Apple "Dealer" in Qurum

I had a rant about Matthew and Sreeni at Fusion Logic a couple of years ago and have decided to blog again about it after other individuals had contacted me in relation to how these cowboys are operating.

Over the past year, I have had numerous conversations with people who have bought Macbook, iMacs, and Mac Pro units from Fusion Logic - only to find them crashing after a few months.

There is no problem in getting those Macs repaired when you are based in Muscat and are bringing the product back to the Fusion Logic store.

However, the main issue is those people who have bought a Mac from Matthew, and have moved out of Muscat, only to find that when it breaks, they are not covered under the Apple warranty because some of the hardware in their freshly boxed Mac is not what was originally placed into it by Apple!

I would be interested in finding out if anyone else has had any issues with the authenticity of the parts within their Mac.
As I have stated in the past, I found Matthew to be extremely unscrupulous in the past - and even went into his store one day to ask about certain Mac products which I am very familiar with - but he just lied through his teeth about what the machine was and was not capable of, and tried to sell me a top end Mac Pro to do a job that a basic iMac was well capable of doing.

A few months later I went back to get a quote for a hard disk - which he quoted me 120 rials for because it was a genuine Apple replacement.
He then proceeded to phone "the stock department" (his mate in Ruwi) and get a quote for a bog standard Hitachi drive for 30 rats.
Unfortunately for him, I know my Hindi numbers - and there was no room for him to backtrack when I questioned him about it.

This is so far beyond the Apple Computer Company philosophy!

Without further ado, I shall be reporting Fusion Logic to Apple in California for possible breaches of customer confidence.

It may very well be that the company itself is above board, but with Matthew and Sreeni (the bootleg software pusher) at the helm - they are purely bullshitting customers and lining their own pockets - while at the same time, driving the company into the ground.

A Message For The "Mentally Challenged"

Since my show of support for the folks over at The Muscat Queer Theory there's been a couple of comments and a few emails from the following:

1. People Who Are Uneducated

2. People Who Are Bigoted

3. People Who Are Both

Since so many of you are itching to know my views on this, here they are.

We are all born gay and straight - all at once.

"What?", "No!", "How dare you!" "May God strike you down!" - well, guess what.....he hasn't!

The truth is that we are.
There's potential for people to walk down one path, or another - or even retrace their steps on a regular basis and try both.
That, my dear readers is the reality of this world.

Some of you may think that the above is sick.
Some of the zealots among you, think it is even worth oppressing, jailing and in some cases killing someone over.

I am heterosexual. I love girls (and have a particular penchant for Asians) - I always have and always will.
The thoughts of sleeping with a member of the same sex does not appeal to me.
It never has.
However, for some people, it does.
And for others who are bisexual, they feel that they get the best of both worlds - and in their model of the world, they do.

But I do not label them sick, or weird, or worthy of punishment - and those of you who either email or comment to me with your misguided drivel about what you would like to do to these "vermin" "Infidels" or "sinners" need to take a serious look at yourselves.

A good quote I have read about the issue is from a very unlikely source - Billy Joe Armstrong from the rock-group Green Day.

He says:

"I think I've always been bisexual. I mean, it's something that I've always been interested in. I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of 'Oh, I can't.' They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing."

I'll eagerly await the landslide of abuse from the morons - but would also appreciate comments from the smart people too!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Highly Recommended

This is powerful. Watch it!


I'm going to stick my neck out and say that the cast of this were all professional dancers, as to capture both movement and facial expressions take great skill.

This should be up for all sorts of awards and recognitions. It's a truly excellent piece of work.

(A similar one for here would really work, as I think the format is acceptable and would appeal to Omani family values)

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Ideas Above Your Station...

The scene unfolded like this:

I'm sitting in the lounge.
It's quiet - as an airline lounge should be….. if I wanted noise and raucousness, I would travel Economy.
The chap sitting across from me is on the phone - talking with his wife. His father had died the day before and he was on his way home to the UK for the funeral.

The woman beside me was inbound to Frankfurt and all was
not going smoothly for her due to delays.

It was getting late, and the majority of folks were resting: some dozing in their couches.

For me, it had been irksome getting through the bedlam that is rush-hour traffic in a major Asian metropolis - and so the calm air of the environment and a brandy was a welcome respite.

Until the door swung open….

He was a bald-headed, rotund individual - noisily out of breath and sweating like unfit, stagnating fat men do.
He paused - looked around, and at the top of his voice bellowed:

"Is this a Business Class Lounge or a Doctor's Surgery?"
"What's going on here?"
"You look like you're all waiting to die?"
"I say again….is this a Doctor's Surgery?"

I rolled my eyes and went back to my book.
He picked up on it.

"Oh, I'm sorry…….did I upset you? Wanker!"
"Nobody rolls their eyes at me, boy!"
"Wankerrrrrrrrrr!"

I stayed put, waiting to see what would happen.
Words are annoying at times, but one can only justify a punch in the face when one is actually touched…..sadly - this was not to be.

"Can I see your boarding card please, sir!" said the lounge attendant.
"Oh don't worry….I'm not staying….I wouldn't stay here! I don't know why I even pay for shit like this…..I'm going!"
….and off he wobbled.

I passed him in Business as I walked through the cabin, however, he was oblivious to me because he was abusing a member of cabin crew about the "state of this plane".
"Where's my water?" "For fucksake!"

I continued on up to First and settled in with a magazine and some champagne, waiting for takeoff.

He behaved that way throughout the whole flight.
Cursing.
Abusing.
Moaning - before eventually nodding off, much to the relief of both the cabin-crew and the poor soul who had the utter misfortune of sitting next to him.

It turns out that despite all the smart-arse, super-important man shit that he spewed out, this moron was an Economy Class flyer who had been given a complimentary upgrade to Business, allowed it to go to his head and thought, "Here is an opportunity to make people feel small because I have been temporarily relieved of my own inadequacies." - but had no clue of how to conduct himself like a gentleman deserving of the privilege.

Here's the lesson of the day:

Never piss-off cabin crew, and never piss-off a member of the pilot fraternity, because we're all very closely knit - and we can make your flying life a living hell next time you come within a donkey's roar of an airport.

So… Mr. Michael Beckwith…
Congratulations! - you're now an international superstar on the aircrew "shit-list".
Not a good place to be!

We all know who you are, where you go and what seat you're sitting in!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Gays In Oman

Hello darlings!

Jet Driver has been up to his eye-balls in work for the past few weeks.
I will be blogging again in a few days.

In the meantime, why not pop over to our friends at Community Queer.

They are doing a great job of opening up the gay and lesbian community in Oman and are looking for guest contributors.
The lid won't be kept on this for long, so why not be one of the first to say what's on your mind!

See you soon!

JD

Friday, 23 April 2010

Dumping Hazardous Waste


As some of you know, the Jet Driver likes to spend a lot of time outdoors.
Oman's beautiful mountains and unexplored trails are some of the main reasons why I have stayed in this country for so long.

The place is simply stunning and one has no problem understanding why more and more people want to come and see this great land and meet its amazing inhabitants.

I use Google Earth quite a lot to scope out new trekking and biking routes in the region, and a few days ago, I selected an area where I thought I could find a decent trail to explore.

I found a new track just beyond Al Jiffnain village, and was curious as to what the 30 metre-long dark area was on the trail, and hoping it was some kind of old building or maybe a ruin of some sort, I biked out onto the trail with a friend.

At first, we had to negotiate a fairly dusty trail with a rock crusher that was going at full pelt, grinding out whatever was being thrown into it.
Then the trail cleared up into nice rolling hills - perfect for a challenging but not overly emotional bike ride.

Then the smell arrived. And we wondered what on earth had died there.
We have experienced the smell in the past when a goat or a fox has met its demise in a wadi, but this smell was incredible.
Noxious, acrid and after about two minutes of inhaling it - eye-wateringly nauseating.

We came over the ridge and were utterly astonished to find…. this:

An area had been leveled to make it flat, like a giant truck park.
Then someone had bulldozed an absolutely huge trench and filled it full of waste oil, sewage, rubbish, animal remains, plastic and chemicals.

There is also piles of rotten industrial waste neatly stacked all along the clearing, which we could not photograph because we risked getting seriously ill being in proximity to them.

The smell was insane!
And we were quite honestly overwhelmed by the damage that this cesspit is doing to the area.

As you can see from the photos below, it has already begun to seep into the water table.

Photobucket

Photobucket

This was not an accidental depositing of hazardous industrial waste.

A group of individuals sat down in a board-room and had a meeting about this, and either through having no education, or more likely, a complete lack of care for the environment, regulations and the health of the local population, decided that it would be acceptable to just dump this stuff here and systematically destroy a beautiful area of land in Oman.

Now. I have questions.
I want to know:

Who is responsible for this?
Was it the owner of the rock crusher?
Was it one of the quarrying companies that are digging around there?
Who were the decision-makers on the ground at the time?
Who sponsors this company's activities?
Was there an Environmental Impact Assessment done?
What were the pre and post EIA reports?
If an EIA was not done, then why not?
Do the local people know that their land is being polluted by hazardous waste?
Are local people drinking water off the land here?
Are they giving this water to their children?

This area is accessible by 4x4 and even by normal vehicles.
I urge anyone with an element of clout to go up there and have a look at what it going on.

Which Ministry looks after stuff like this?
The pool of waste is so big that it even shows up on a satellite map.
For those who are interested, here is the grid reference.

23°29'27.89"N 58° 8'56.80"E

Bang it into Google Earth and have a look.

It is a total and utter criminal disgrace.

Pass this on to everyone you know.

Omanis……. your country is slowly but surely getting wrecked by a small group of wealth-hungry people who want nothing more than to make money off the back of you.
Destroying your beautiful land in order to get rich and they think that dumping hazardous industrial waste off the beaten track will not be found out.

Well, guess what?
There are more and more expats who love exploring deep inside the jebels where locals tend not to go.
I am one of those explorers….and now that I know what these things look like on Google Earth, I'm off to start looking for more.

The Jet Driver is on a mission!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Qatar....

Absolute fucking madness!

British and American citizens will be among the nationals of 33 countries that will have to apply for a visa prior to arrival in Qatar, according to new rules being enacted by the emirate from May 1.

The regulations also mean that all passengers wishing to travel to Qatar for business purposes will need to have their visas arranged by a local sponsor, via the Ministry of Interior.

British nationals wishing to apply for a Qatari visa will need to provide their last three months’ bank statements, which must show the name and address of the applicant, and prove that there is at least $1,300 in the applicant’s account.

I say again......madness!
Spiteful, arrogant, ignorant, ill-informed, uneducated, moronic madness!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

WH Smith is now in Oman

Was just reading Muscat Mutterings blog here about WH Smith's opening up where Turtle's Bookshop used to be in Shatti.

They have also converted all the Turtle's branches in the airport too.

However, a word of caution..... before you all start running to go and get all the latest books and magazines:
It says "WH Smith" over the door - and all over the shop. But it is still Turtle's at it's core!

Take this morning for example:

"Hello"

"Nyuhhhh"

"How are you?"

"Nyuhhhh?"

"Do you have Men's Fitness magazine?"

"No. (texting and also watching YouTube)"

"Are you sure?"

"Nyuhhhh?" (with the "leave me alone this is way outside my IQ level" look)

"You don't have it?"

"No. No have. Tuh!"

"Oh ok. I'll take this magazine instead then. It's called "Men's Fitness". It's the magazine that you don't have! There's five of them on the shelf over there. I'd also buy one of those copies of "The Economist" that are beside it, but you don't have that in stock either, do you?"

"Nyuhhhh!"

"Bye"

Muppets!

Where Is Muscato?

Seriously..... where is he?

JD

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Lexus Again...


While checking the financial pages on the BBC website, I happened to come across this article about that benchmark of middle-classism in Oman - The Lexus


So we now have Lexus suspending sales of the the G-series 4x4 in the US because of "safety issues". That's quite a nice way of saying "it turns over going around bends".

Now....I was wondering what Lexus Oman was going to do about this?
Or maybe the story hasn't reached these chores - up until now that is :)


Looks like quite a serious issue with the Traction Control System that is causing the vehicle to become highly unstable when cornering at high speed.
However, the reports say that this only happens when the driver approaches the corner too quickly and then lifts off the gas or brakes suddenly.

Correct me if I am wrong but....combining this problem with the almost endemic regional driving madness that we have throughout the GCC....would it be fair to say that it might be worth looking more closely at the 4x4 Lexus here in Oman in the interests of safety?
Or is what is sold here a completely different machine and not just a re-badge?

I mean, how many families with children buy similar machines here in Oman?
Couple that with the fact that most have no childseats or seatbelts and you are looking at a potential bloodbath should one of these crates fall over at speed.

After all, isn't there an ongoing Road Safety Campaign happening?
Maybe they could work together with the Lexus dealers in Muscat?
Has The Week or Muscat Daily looked into this issue yet?

Lexus have admitted to the problem and have said they will take steps to remedy it.
So, what do you think folks?
Good idea?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Omani Space Program Update

The already beleaguered Omani Space Program was dealt another blow yesterday afternoon when their primary team of six space-cadets were involved in a training accident at Space Camp Al Khoudh.

The incident was centered around the testing of spacesuits that the Omastronauts have to wear, in order to withstand the high temperatures that they will be subjected to on the surface of the Moon.

Reports state that some members of the team started to become dizzy and lose consciousness, with all Omastronauts eventually passing-out while gasping for air, in a desperate attempt to clamber back on-board Baisa Bus Three - which replaced the ill-fated Baisa Bus One which was tragically lost in an accident a few weeks ago.

(It also replaced Baisa Bus Two which, having been bought at the Toyota garage at Mawaleh last week, was accidently sold again to someone else by an over-zealous Keralan salesman.)

It was originally thought that problems with the suit's oxygen filtration systems were responsible, however, a subsequent investigation has discovered that criminal activity was to blame.

Detectives today arrested Saif Al-Lotakash, from Muscat-based "Ruwi Lunar Project Services LLC", for attempting to cut costs by using aluminium foil and duct tape instead of high-grade Kevlar composite weave on the spacesuits, causing severe broiling of four space-cadets in the afternoon sun.
Two more are still in intensive care at the Royal Hospital in Muscat, where their condition has been described by doctors as "medium rare".

Mr. Al-Lotakash denies any wrong-doing and states that the Omani Space Program's chief engineer, Mr. George Alexander Gupta told him that the foil was "Same, same sir! No problem!"

Nasser Bin Tumoon, Press Officer for the Omani Space Program, said in a meeting this morning that "everything is fine, mafi mushkala, all ok here my friends" and that he had every confidence that the team would recover, in due course.

FURTHER UPDATE re: Creatures Pet Shop

As a further addition to what I blogged about earlier this morning, I was delighted to receive a message from Dr. Elke Heitz MRCVS who's Al Qurum Veterinary Clinic have been advertised by word of mouth by a certain pet shop as their veterinary consultants:

Dr. Elke says:

With regards to the blog comment regarding the PetShop animals on this blog i would like to state that we as Al Qurum Veterinary Clinic in no way are contracted, contacted or involved with the treatments at either pet shops. We have no direct agreement with any of the pet shops to look after their pets or to do any treatments unless they are brought to us for individual treatments which we of course would do as necessary.
Unfortunately we have not seen pets taken to us by the Sabco Center Petshop for quite a long time (more than 2 years), and as far as I am informed is that they have Dr Svetlana as their veterinarian treating the animals there.

From the other petshops we occassionally have seen pets taken to us, but again this has been some time ago now. These pets are always treated as necessary but sadly often they come to us in very poor condition already.

I am aware of the problem of imported pets and the challenges this faces, but am not able to treat such pets unless the pet shops appoint us to do so.
Unfortunately I am neither in the position to comment on the treatments these pets receive as we are , as mentioned above , not involved in any way with their treatments.

The Ministry to contact for any concerns would be the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Wealth.

If any of the petshops would like to contact me to arrange additional veterinary support please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for bringing up this concern, with best regards, Dr Elke Heitz MRCVS

Thank you for responding Dr. Elke, I appreciate you taking the time to do so.

JD

Creatures Pet Shop In SABCO Centre

The ever informed Undercover Dragon is running a story about the above-named pet shop at his blog here.

A while ago, I explored the possibility of buying a beagle puppy from Creatures Pet Shop in SABCO and when I got there, I was fed what can only be described as total and utter bullshit from a guy called George who works there and also another local man who claimed that all his animals had verifiable histories that were in line with all the Omani laws.

Only now am I more fully informed of the reality of what is really going on down there and also, I suspect, in other pet shops in Muscat.

Having returned a week later to have another look, I was told that the beagle had died due to a "birth defect" and that they could get me another in a week or two. Meanwhile, I asked about the young puppy who was clearly in a state of distress in a plastic transporter cage which had a blanket thrown over it.

Closer inspection revealed that the pup was sitting in a pool of its own liquid feces and could hardly stand up.
I was told by George that the dog had suspected Parvovirus but they were going to give him a few more days to recover.
When I went back the next day he was gone.

Now....I have some questions.
The staff there told me that the person in charge of the veterinary upkeep of these animals is Elka from the clinic in Qurum Heights.
I have also heard her name mentioned at the other pet shop next to Markaz Al Bahja.

Over the past years, I have accompanied friends to this woman's vet clinic and have been very impressed by her attitude and skill - but if she gets to read this, can she tell us what steps she has taken to try and prevent the daily suffering of all of these animals?

Surely as a veterinary professional, she and other vets have a duty of care when animals like this show up REGULARLY in a clinic.

And what is the local municipality or whoever doing to prevent this?

The general public carry more whack than most people realize when it comes to getting stuff like this actioned.
Would the pet shop in question like to have a full page spread about them in one of the local rags? Or a general information release to advise people of the problem?

Knowledge is power. The more people who know about this issue, the more chance there is of seeing it being changed.

I am so far from being a tree-hugger, however the mindless and callous treatment of any living creature just to make money is unacceptable - and they have no voice of their own.

It is for that reason that I am asking you all to get on your blogging, Twitter and email bikes and spread the word.


UPDATE:
In response to some of your comments, I am in no way insinuating that Elke or her team are involved in any kind of under-handed dealings in relation to the above pet shop, I find her to be a vet of the utmost integrity and has only the welfare of her patients at heart.

George at Creatures and also the Filipino guy in Markaz told me that Elke provides all of the vaccinations and healthcare for these animals. I do not know if this is true or not - I am just relaying what I have been told.

What I am asking is, if the above is true, then what reports have been issued, or actions taken by vets when confronted with an animal from this pet shop?

Is it just ignored because "that's just the way it is around here"?
Is there any way that these animals can be impounded and cared for?
Does Oman have an anti-cruelty law for animals, and if not then why not?

I know the lady down in the marina is very active in animal sheltering but at the same time I am aware that space to shelter them is finite.

I think it is time for some ballsy investigative journalist to have a deeper look into the activities of Creatures Pet Shop - or maybe the owners would care to comment and show Muscat that they really are above board and this has all been a terrible misunderstanding.

JD