Thursday, 22 December 2011

Thank You...

This blog and it's author have lost their way somewhat, over the past six months or so. 
When it gets to that point, we have to weigh up the pros and cons of continuing something like this, and having done so, I have decided that it is time to close this blog down. 

Thank you all for your readership, patience and input over the past three years. 

With best regards

Muscat Jet Driver

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Sweet Infestation

Amusing, or maybe sadly a classic example of the "I couldn't be arsed to do any quality control on this." attitude within the region.


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Epic Fail...

While I understand the goodness involved in getting out there and walking around in the name of beating a disease......I could not help but smile when I saw this, as part of a very large group of soldiers in the battle against diabetes, came with their spouses and kids for a burger, fries and ice-cream fuelled extravaganza! 

Time to put my helmet on, I suppose.


Friday, 4 November 2011

Happy Birthday! me.

The Jet Driver blog turned a whopping three years old last week. 

Thank you all so very much for your comments, your quotes and your feedback throughout this time.
Without you, this is not a blog - it's just a mad-man having a rant in the desert!


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Journalists in Muscat

My loyal and valued readers.

I have been perusing those bastions of the free-press "The Week" and "Y!" magazine over the past fortnight, and while the sensational scoops contained within are of incontrovertible benefit to this ginormous conurbation, I wanted to particularly laud the indubitably staggering thesaurus skills of our sub-continental newshounds. 

That is why, without further ado, I am naming Saturday, 29th of October "International Write Like An Indian Journalist Day".

So let's waylay our readers with a plethora of Webster-sourced vocabulary. Who knows, maybe we will uncover a glut of penmen to further add to the existing hoard of wordsmiths downtown.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Oman Space Program Part 3

Since its inception two years ago, the Omani Space Program has suffered numerous setbacks. The early demise of Baisa Bus One and a training accident in Al Khoudh which literally brought the program to its knees, has resulted in very damaging press for section head Nasser Bin Tumoon and chief engineer George Alexander Gupta ('from Kerala, sir') and ultimately for the Omani Space Program on the whole.

Numerous investment prospects from both the public and private sector have all but dried up in the wake of the incidents from last year, but a glimmer of funding hope has emerged, with a new joint venture.
The Oman Space Program has teamed up local businessman Ahmed Al Shady to give entrepreneurs a chance to hedge their investment bets: by furnishing them a chance to buy their very own planet.

Oman Solar Systems is now open for business, selling a whole range of intergalactic property investment opportunities including small asteroids, m-class planets, stars and, for the more affluent, entire galaxies. 
With the money gleaned from planetary sales, the company will then provide transport using exploration ships, piloted by space-cadets from the beleaguered Omani program. 

The main investments for sale, however, are plans for a new five-thousand apartment and villa complex with eight golf-courses, twenty-two hotels and ninety restaurants called Blue Planet.
They tell me that it is going to be like nothing the universe has ever seen, so you had  better get your checkbooks out now!

Monday, 17 October 2011

What The Cluck?

(Edited with thanks to a creative comment! - JD) 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Living On The Edge At Qurum City Centre

I stopped into the ever entertaining Qurum City Centre for a burger a while back, and while I was there, a few families were getting together in the food court for what appeared to be a children's party of some sort. 

When I took the following photo, I noticed that I held no surprise or dismay at all - just a resignation that stuff like this always seems to happen in Oman: and that, my friends, is nothing short of just sad. 

Someone in that building decided that it was ok to send two workers onto a glass roof to sweep it down. And while you may tell me that they were safe to walk on the concrete plinths, the second photo shows that they were not even attempting to do that. 

A slip or a fall could cause untold injuries to the workers and the patrons below, as even reinforced glass can fail. Doing this type of stuff during the day is simply inexcusable. The whole process could be done at night while cordoning off the zone below. 
I would expect this type of safety attitude from a construction company in Al Hail, but a centre charging thousands of rials a day in rent and inviting the general public to come inside? That's just inexcusable! Is there a safety manager in the building? If not, why not?

By the way....where are their safety harnesses and helmets? Are workers at City Centre supplied with them? As I said before, if the glass does happen to fail, the fall from there would be fatal.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

I Don't Know About This....

Undercover Dragon has recently blogged about the new transparent selection of students who will be able to go abroad for scholarships. 
It set me thinking about whether or not this is a good idea and what, if any, are the motivations of doing it. 

Is there a certain element of a pending 'I told you so' from the movers and shakers at Diwan level? There is no doubt that His Majesty is exceptionally wise in these affairs. 
Have a ponder on this...

If you take the general opinion of the quality of Omani middle and high-school students and you run it in tandem with Linoleum Surfer's article about Omani youth that he wrote a few weeks ago, there is a window into the potential downside to sending 'unconnected' kids overseas. 

My preference is to maintain the status quo and send the wastafarians to university and here is why. 
The privileged kids in Oman have always been that way, have always had the best of education and are used to being in an environment where you have to work. There is no way that an English, Australian or German college is going to accept low levels of work and by default these kids have grown up in an international culture where they learn about the financial merits of hard work.

On the other hand, Ahmed Al Mawalah has grown up in a school system that has shown him that it doesn't matter if he passes or fails, and average is fine anyway. 
It is too late for Ahmed, as he's already been hard-wired since the age of five to not give a toss about school.

The solution might be to send younger kids to top-end primary schools to first of all develop that "good teachers + hard work = success" equation, rather than trying to change the attitude of older kids that are already well established on the mediocrity curve.

The following passage by mountaineer Mark Twight is still sounding in my head four weeks after reading it:

The inverse of going to Chamonix – where powerful people pushed me to become more powerful myself – is staying in (insert hometown here) with those who don't do anything. I cannot progress and grow and become by starting from "below" – one does not rise much above the mean level around him. Worse, if I come back here and I arrive strong and proud and free after having been transformed in another place, I'll descend to the mean level around me sooner or later. Perhaps I’ll experience a short period of minor notoriety among people who don't matter because they aren't my peers but I’ll weaken just the same. A man becomes what is common around him.

One role-models what he sees daily and if it's shit he sees it is shit he becomes; unless he is really strong and I'm not. I would spend just enough energy to be a little bit better – but insufficient to open the gates to real power. This is why the elite strive to remain so, why they form clubs to exclude, and write stringent laws regarding the qualities of club members: they want those around them to be like them, not weaker. They want their efforts among the strong to breed more strength. Strength is contagious. Weakness too infects. Those who insist a zero counts for something give the zero value by doing so. The elite don't want their attitude and imperative polluted by zeroes. 

Of course, you can stagnate anywhere at any time.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A Hot & Cold Affair at Burger King

A few weeks ago, Andy Brown, an amateur restaurant critic and high-ranking member of the Oman God Squad, posted an article about Burger King advertising their new chocolate soufflé dessert

Up for debate were the reasons for why they chose to put the eyes of a girl with the phrase 'A Hot & Cold Affair'. A few days on and we are still none the wiser. 
However, what is undeniably definite, from personal experience, is the fact that this latest after-dinner offering from BK is.... shite!

Very difficult to describe what this thing actually is, or even what it tastes like. 
It is basically a lump of super-heated chocolate-flavored mattress foam, covered in what used to be ice-cream but is now just a puddle of gloop. 
(Hint: this is what happens when you put a small dollop of ice-cream onto a piping hot piece of bed stuffing.)

As you can see from the photo - it ain't nothing like what is on the poster. 
But then again, with fast-food chains over here, is it ever any different?
Do any of you remember this?

Monday, 3 October 2011

Another Hamster Wheel In The Making

Well, I said it before, and it would appear that my words are starting to hold true again.
A few years ago, I wrote a blog about what has now become affectionately known as the Shatti Hamster Wheel

A place where there are lots of westerners and not-so-westerners in clothes that do not consist of a black curtain ensemble, is always going to attract the usual sexually-oppressed teen boys, even though they have no financial means of affording the girl sitting there holding the Starbucks Frappolatté!

So the only release from the pressures of a swollen wang for these poor souls was to drive around in a circle passing Jawharat Al Shatti and Sarooj: with a group of six chipping in a rial each to buy petrol for the car. 
Multiply the above scenario by three hundred and you get a kilometre long 'Bombay carbonfibre' road-monster which moves at 20 kph.

Looking at the geography of Muscat, it is not difficult to find out where this monster was spawned: Mawaleh. 

And it does not take a rocket scientist to work out that if it was possible to move the whole Shatti Circus closer to home, then that would save a ton of fuel and wear and tear on the Mustangs, Corollas and Serions. 

They've fantasized about it for years. 
The hopes of a new hamster wheel to go round and round on. A place where girls in bikinis drink cappuchinos under parasols and the roads are wide enough for 'modified rims, nigga!"

And finally, their prayers have been answered.
Ladies and gentlemen.....welcome to The Wave!

You can rationalize or even argue to deny it's existence, but the eye does not lie. There is a hamster wheel in the making down at Costas on a Thursday night...and it is getting bigger....and they've even made the route circular for them!

"Ah but there's security booths at the front entrance of my 250,000 rial villa." 
Be that as it may, but tell me exactly what is a security guard going to do about stopping a car full of young men who are on their way down to Costas to buy a coffee? 
And what about the rumours for the shwarma and other fast-food outlets?

I can see the Indian sales guys at eMax rubbing their little paws together at the thoughts of all those JBL bass cannons that they are going to sell now that the Mawaleh possie don't have to spend so much on gas anymore!
"I love it when ya call me big Poppa".......

That area is PUBLIC ACCESS! They can go wherever they please, and mark my words, in six months time they will be coming in hordes. And they're going to, pardon the pun, drive you nuts...
...assuming you can hear them over the F-16s that are going to be ripping the roof off your villa when the new runway gets built!

"I feel the need! The need......for speed!"

Oh yeeeeeeah!


Monday, 26 September 2011

Reblog: You Ignorant Bastards!

From blogger extraordinaire, The Linoleum Surfer, comes one of the best blog-posts of 2011.

Click here, read and reflect.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Pay As You Go

As you know, Jet Driver has an affinity with all things Asian, and having recently been on a business trip to the Philippines, I had the good fortune of being taken for a trip out into the provinces to see some tourists sites. 

On one of these days out, I was feeling a little bit under the weather and therefore had the Immodium on standby. 
While sitting at a local picnic spot, I spied a big blue sign that said "Clean Comfort Room" (in the Philippines, the WC is known as the CR), and having spent the last few days dropping into holes in the ground, I decided to treat myself. 

The following conversation took place (pardon the pun), I shit you not!:

JD: Kumusta ka po? 
Madam: Hello sirrrrrrrr. What would you like to do sirrrrrr?

JD: I'm sorry, I don't understand. This is a toilet right? How much is it?
Madam: Pee? Or Poo sirrrrrr?

JD: What?
Madam: Will you pee or poo sirrrrrr? 5 pesos for pee. 12 pesos for poo.

JD: I need to do both, I think, so is that 17 pesos?
Madam: No sir, just 12. 

JD: Ahhhh so pee is free if you poo?
Madam: Sirrrrr?

JD: How much can I poo for 12 pesos? Is there a limit to the amount I can drop off?
Madam: Sir, no sirrrrrrr. Not like that sir. Same price sirrrr.

JD: I'm not feeling too well. What happens if I only thought that I wanted to poo and just pee'd instead? Can I get my 7 pesos back? 
Madam: Sirrrr?

JD: Can I get a refund if I don't poo?
.....and on it went.

Life is crazy in different ways, in different places.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Exclusive New Taxi Service For The Roman Empire

It was nice to see that some industrious Omani has begun to advertise his taxi service for the Roman Empire and anyone else associated with Nero or Caesar. 

The trouble is that he's about two thousand years behind the eight-ball. 
Prizes will be awarded to those of you who can work out this man's phone number. 
In all fairness he deserves recognition for the originality and I hope it only brings him good luck. 

Will be back soon with more of the usual attacks on the "simple life".
But right now, it's vacation time. 
Off to spend the hard earned money that, as my dear friend OMR recently put, I do not deserve!

Until then....... mmmmwah! 


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Goodbye Qantab Beach?

It would appear that there are chalk lines down and surveying pins laid at the popular - and very publically used - Qantab Beach.

I had originally thought that they were just going to be paving some road to get better access, however, further enquiries have uncovered plans for two new hotels and a "housing complex". 

Two new hotels? For what? To throw further money away into Oman's already extremely low hotel occupancy rate?
What is the occupancy rate at the three hotel mega-complex that is the Shangri-la, clearly seen from Qantab Beach?

What impact are these new hotels going to have on the local population? 
Another public beach commandeered by the Ministry of Whatever. 
What is this housing complex that has been tagged on? Is it another Barr Al Jissah, millionaire's row type of thing? 
Is it a back-hander? 
More of the corruption that the local population have been protesting against and have been given promises of it being curbed?

This is by far the best local beach in the Muscat area. Now being taken away from the general public. Not on!

Where are the residents of Qantab and the, literally, hundreds of visitors from Muscat going to go of an evening now? 

Shatti Al Qurum? - already full.
Yiti Beach? - nope......that's gone.
Al Sheikh? - we're building stuff there sorry.

Anyone fancy a 90 minute drive to Bimmah or Fins, because that seems to be the only option at this point!

Omanis - your beautiful local resources are being taken away from you to line the pockets of others. 
While I understand the need to develop tourism in the country, I get the feeling that blocking off Qantab and destroying its natural beauty is a step too far.

Any Facebook and Twitter whizzes out there who are ready to set up a web page about this? Would be interesting to see how the public reacts to this as it all seems to have been hushed up - or maybe I am just out of the loop! 

This should not be happening!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Rock Bottom Bouncers Assaulting Customers Again!

It has been brought to my attention that the Rock Bottom management have started racial profiling again on their entrance - something to do with skin color being associated with the amount of money that you have to pay to get in.

Those who object to being segregated and discriminated against because of their ethnic origin or, in some cases, excessive sun-tan, can expect to have their face smashed in by a somewhat disproportionate ratio of about 15 bouncers to 1 customer.

The above actions assume some form of legal immunity from arrest for the staff of Rock Bottom. 
One wonders what the deal is. Free entry and drinks for Muscat's finest maybe? Who knows?

You can read more about it here on Muscat Mutterings.

So maybe it is time to have a long hard look at whether or not you want to risk getting a beating during your night out around town.

The bottom line in this blogger's opinion is that there are far better establishments for folks to go and have a burger, a drink and a dance in than the paltry efforts for Ramee Guestline Hotel and the attached after-thought that is Rock Bottom. 

Where I come from, places that use excessive force on their patrons get boycotted for better venues.

Maybe the venerable Andy In Oman can get do a night-life review for us. 
His restaurant review blogs have changed my social life in Muscat, and I highly recommend you read his blog.


Monday, 28 March 2011

This Just About Sums It Up!


Gulf News latest report on students in Sohar.

In Sohar, colleges were shut with students calling for strike, demanding removal of some faculties as well as lowering of passing grades.
Is this future of Oman?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Now That It Has All Died Down...

So it has been a rather active few weeks in Oman, what with all the whining and the complaining about this, that and the other.

Someone earlier in the month asked me what my opinions on the protests were.
I replied with the following comment:

"No reason in the world to comment about a bunch of lazy, entitlement-deluded idiots who, while looking for the usual Omani 'easy way out' are doing nothing but adding further damage to an already grossly corrupt and flawed system.

It is endemic. The blame culture meets the handout brigade.

You are doomed."

The emailed responses to the above were the typical drivel that one has come to expect from the regulars. There was, however, the marked absence of my good friend OMR, who has probably run out of internet credit and will need to sell his Yaris to feed his surfing habit.

The damage that has been done to Oman over the past few weeks has been nothing sort of massive.
Of course, with the local mentality of looking no further than an extended hand, it has not fully dawned on them that they've gone and royally fucked things.

As Undercover Dragon very gently put it to you the other day, the numbers just don't add up - you are not living in an oil rich nation. 
Add to this a grossly undereducated band of 20 somethings (and don't DARE blame this on the government - you have been given EVERY chance of learning) and you have the shit-fest that is coming very soon.

Just read the placards on some of the protests:
"We want 500 rials a month - and two days off"
This was outside one of the hotels in Muscat.

Sorry. But if you want two days off, then go back to school and get a job that warrants that! You are a hotel worker - you would not be there had you kept your head down in school.....the entitlement mentality here is unreal, as is the naivety!

No real oil wealth: just enough to run the country and give you things like roads and hospitals and schools (hint: which you can use to invest your time in and get a good job).

Dependancy on foreign employment.
"EXPATS OUT!" was another sign, but they failed to write the specifics.
All expats? Or just the ones that have the jobs you want to do?
Getting rid of just the house-workers.....there's your 50,000 jobs right there!
But, ohhhhhhh, you don't want to be sweeping floors and working for another Omani.
Being told what to do? No way!

How many of the local kids would be happy to:
Clean houses
Wash clothes
Wash cars
Clean Toilets
Build villas
Sweep roads
Change tyres
Fill your petrol tank

And don't give me the bullshit "There ARE Omanis doing this!" ok?
There's a handful! And bless them for doing it!

You might notice that this blog post has no real structure to it and apart from the raw information, there is no substance to it either.

Take that as a metaphor!

As I said before.... "You are doomed".
Oil revenue almost gone.
Gas is negligible.
Tourism? Ha! You've wrecked it. The goodwill damage alone will take years to get back.
Back to making clay pots and selling incense. 
It is a crying shame what you are doing to this beautiful nation.

Laziness and greed abound!

Is it too late? Who knows!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

New ROP Road Safety Tactics

Nice to see that the ROP have begun plain-clothes operations on the roads here in Muscat.
I'd been wondering for years why there were no undercover road traffic officers driving "normal" really does make a difference.

Nothing more annoying than watching all the "goody-two-shoes" demonstrations from folks when a blue and white is driving along the motorway, only to watch the same cretins tailgating a few moments later when the "danger" has passed.

Driving on the new expressway has become particularly hazardous as there are still no permanent speed cameras in place, so folks are doing insane types of driving. 
One had an altercation with a local driver a while ago who cut across me and two others doing about 160kph and proceeded to slam on and flash the guy in front of me to get out of the way.

When I was lucky enough to come side by side with him at the traffic lights, his bravado outweighed his intelligence and he offered me a discussion at the side of the road which I was more than happy to partake in. 
Having already called the ROP before this, he was astonished to find them pull up alongside us as he got out of the car.
Suddenly it was all my fault...I was the bad-guy, doing the dangerous driving and flashing my lights at him.

Ahhhh, but hold on.....Mrs. Jet Driver had wanted to show her family the lovely new motorway with the mountain view - so had video'd the whole incident with her new camera. You've got to love technology.
There he was, in all his High Definition glory!
As you can imagine, he didn't have an answer for that......but the cops did!

Saddest part, and the thing that made me call the police in the first place?
He had his young wife and toddlers in the car with him.

Well done ROP on another leap up the policing progress ladder.
I think it's great!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

At The Car-Wash

After a while sitting parked while I'm away, my wheels can look a bit shabby around the edges, so this evening, after a long few days beating up the skies of Asia, I drove to one of those car-wash places where you can get the inside and outside done for a couple of rials.

Kindly bear that thought in mind for the next time you go there: "It only costs a couple of rials.".

I'm waiting in line for the pressure washer guy. There's a Range Rover Sport in front of me - pearl white with all the trimmings and a wasta registration plate. 
Unusually, the guy at the end of the hose was a local chap in what looked like his late teens, ordering around what is left of the post-Omanisation Indians.

The Range Rover goes up on the hydraulic jacks and the guy starts spraying chinks of mud, tar and other crap off of the bottom. 
It was hard to see in the dark, but he seemed to lack the gusto of his "sub-ordinates" who were busily cleaning the other vehicles in the line.

He turns off the washer, and awaits inspection from the driver.
Typical Range Rover type, with the pressed dishdasha, the big ring and the attitude to match.
Lots of finger-clicking and general nit-picking about little marks on the car, with this-and-that not being perfect enough.

"You clean engine." is what came next, so up came the hood and the kid starts washing and waving the hose around for a while, still with no real commitment - just going through the motions. (Work went on around him at the other cars.)

Second inspection.
More pointing at the engine and then his attention goes to beneath the car again.
Clearly not clean enough for this man.
We can't be seen parked on the pedestrian ramp outside Starbucks at Shatti with a dirty underside now can we?

A few rude upward waves of his hand and he walks away. "You clean again better."

Back to that thought again: "It only costs a few rials."
Seriously. This is just a quick wash station, operated by a guy who just couldn't give a toss about you. It's a local....being told what to do by a local....and that appears to not go down well for some.

If you want a full showroom valet you will need to take your precious compensation device to Ziebart.

So the guy with the hose then does something that all happened for me in slow motion.
He raises the Range Rover up on the hydraulic platform again….
….but the hood is still up!

And the hood is higher than the roof of the jeep, and starts to fold to accommodate the ceiling. 

Awesome sound, then the head turning left and right to see where the odd din is coming from, then the change in facial expression when it finally dawns on this guy that it might have been better to just leave this to the Indians!

Management dishdashas had arrived by the time I stopped crying with laughter. 
They had a copy of their Terms & Conditions with them! "You can't blame us!"
I guess it was going to be a long night.