Sunday, November 9, 2008

The motorway disruption season begins

Ah yes, the quaint Omani tradition of closing down the motorways for visiting dignitaries has started again, with the arrival of the Indian prime minister.

Fucking great. No warning. Just shut down the only main road so some convoy can.... what? Feel special? Please.

I wish they would stop this. In the old days when the only traffic was a few goats, fine. But now its so disruptive. I have myself been treated to this in a different country once. And I'm able to confirm it makes you feel super-special, speeding along while the great unwashed sit and wait. Very special. I'm able to share that the fleeting guilt of making everyone else wait is transitory.

Is this the driver? To simply impress some visiting diplomat?

Shit, they even closed the motorway for the visit from the President of Belarus...
What the hell is it going to be like during the GCC conference? There are already - still unconfirmed from my side - mega rumors that the airport will be closed from 24-29 December. Hard to believe, yet who would possibly make that up? (note: anyone with any real info could please email me with details?)

People. Start making your emergency comms and transport plans now for that intra Xmas-New year zone. No decent bars or restaurants as they are all being closed, except Chedi [note Boxster - another reason to go with that PDO membership, you lucky bastard], roads clogged, airport closed (??), town full of Saudi civil servants on the piss... Lucky it doesn't happen every year I guess....



  1. The picture in this post is not in Oman, is it ?

  2. UD

    Jury still out on the airport decision, partly because the muppets didn't realise how quickly word can spread on the net.


  3. And ohh.. regarding the airport closure thing,

    PLEASE guys .. For God's sake .. STOP spreading rumors. The airport CANNOT be closed for four days!

  4. amjad, I think the picture is from the UAE.


    Airport closed?? While we all appreciate your posts, sometimes it would be nice if you could exercise a little bit more scepticism towards rumours...

    -Omani in US

  5. Omani in US: Actually Kuwait, since they are Kuwaiti license numbers and there is the Kuwaiti flag. Before seeing the Kuwaiti flag I was like where all the Kuwaiti cars suddenly transferred to Oman?!

  6. admjad, oops, yes you are correct, I got the flags confused.

    -Omani in US

  7. The way the GCC heads of state like to travel is they bring their whole diwan with them, together with all their under-secretaries, their servants, their maids, their Moroccan lovers...

    While the big shots might get to use the military/royal airport section, all the others will probably fly on civilian aircraft.

    With the amount of people coming in and out in the short span of time, the airport might as well be closed :)

    I think Jet Driver is in the best position to confirm or deny the rumor of the closure. Do the muppets really care about the rumblings on the interwebs? Are we also on the verge of a grassroots-driven change we can believe in :) ?

  8. I really believe that the powers that be just dont give a rats ass if we are stuck in traffic for hours and hours and our daily affairs are put on hold, or if you are sick and need to go to the emergency room or any other reason. We should sue for this inconvenience. Just like they cut off our water for days.

  9. Wont the extra entourage be flying commercial or private gov planes? IF they are flying commercial then they would be using Muscat Airport and they wont be closing it, If they are flying private gov planes then they'll be using the VIP airport next door. I see no reason to why'd they close down the airport.

    A bit out of topic, but I believe the airport should be moved out of the city, to somewhere like after Maibela or Musanahah. That way the current airport area and landing/take off strip can be used and surrounding projects arent confined to the building height rules and regulations.

  10. Amjad

    No, obviously not. But the picture fits.

    I don't think they care about that either! But you are the best source fr confirmation.

    'Stop spreading rumours'? It's all we've got! Oman is the land of rumours! Didn't you live here?

    OK, fair enough. But sometimes I'm just telling you the rumours, because they are pervasive and I don't have any more info. I'd be sceptical about almost everything.

    And the fact the photo is a web steal isn't moot - it was just to add some visual flavour! Next time, I'll add the link and disclaimer...

    You cynic

    The emergency thing is a real issue. Because its not like there is a real network of roads. The motorway - so far - is about the only way to get anywhere.

    And too late on a new location - they're building a new terminal. Much easier to knock down the illegal buildings that are too high... ;-)

  11. UD, there is a difference between spreading reasonable rumors and spreading unreasonable rumors. Having the airport closed for four full days is one of those unreasonable rumors, rather STUPID, that should not even be thought about. You are an intelligent man and I don't know how could you mention such a thing in a post of yours...

  12. Amjad,

    But that's exactly the point - its soooo stupid, who would make it up?

    I've experienced that with several Omani rumours - you don't countenance them until you find out they're true!!

  13. Even if it it is an "unreasonable stupid" rumor. Its a rumor and if thats what the word on the street is I really dont see why UD shouldnt be posting about it. Its a blog not the Washington Post.

  14. Kay:

    Spreading a stupid rumor like this is not consistent with the intelligence of Under Dragon, that's what I meant. Actually in his post he was not even spreading the rumor since he mentioned that this is hard to believe and unconfirmed from his side. But I seriously find it stupid that there are actually some people whom are circulate such a rumor and making a big fuss of it. It doesn't need brain cells to think that this CANNOT be possible, let alone thinking that it could be true and also spreading it around. It seriously doesn't need brain cells...

  15. Amjad...

    "Spreading a stupid rumour like this is not consistent with the intelligence of Under Dragon"

    But it is consistant with the intelligence of me? Hmm?

    It's not a stupid rumour.
    It is being talked about at length in ops rooms and caf├ęs all over the airport and in the briefing rooms and the management offices.

    There is a very high chance that the airport will be closed to all commercial traffic for the four day period of the GCC conference.

    That is what we are being told by those above us.

    Whether it will happen or not...who knows?
    It will happen in the same fashion as they announce a moon sighting - at the last possible minute.

    And as UD suggests - it is being done purely to make people feel special.
    There will be hundreds of flights coming in anyway - some VIP aircraft and some chartered local carriers.

    If I said to you a few weeks ago that the Government were going to order tourists to leave the top six hotels over the Christmas period, you would have said I was barking mad!

    We watch and we wait, for that is all we can do for now.


  16. I think Amjad is on to something...

    This blog has been hi-jacked by no other than... Sarah Palin! She's got nothing else to do now anyway. It makes complete sense :)

    But really, did you see Monday's Times of Oman? Front-page op-ed saying "Obama saved the US and the world!"

    It is obvious that the local media outlets are retarded sycophants, to put it gently.

    This and a select few other local blogs are some of the only reliable sources of authentic undercover journalism in the land of Sinbad the sailor. Plus, who doesn't like some juicy gossip!

    I'd rather seriously consider partying it up in NYC or DXB than go off-roading on the way to the PDO club due to the blocked highways during the summit :-D

  17. i meant sunday's toa

  18. Jet Driver:

    I didn't mean that of course. My point is that UD lived in Oman longer and knows better how things work in the country. As far as I know, you've only been in Oman for 2 years so I wouldn't blame you if you believe that the airport can entirely be closed for four full days just for the GCC summit.

    And yeah, true, if six weeks ago I heard that the Omani government was going to cancel all the reservations of the biggest 6 hotels in town, I would have found it hard to believe. But actually I find their action reasonable, as lots of rooms are needed to host the entourages of the GCC heads. Though, closing the airport for four full days while the GCC heads are inside Oman is absolutely unreasonable and impossible. Closing the airport for a couple of hours for four continues days might be possible, but closing the whole airport for four full days? Absolutely impossible.

    I'm sorry if you missed my point about the intelligence thing. I had no intention in questioning your intelligence. =)

  19. Amjad,

    "Absolutely impossible" ? Well, lets see...

    And I'll repeat, I'm telling you what the rumour is that's circulating. You know, FYI.

    Sometimes I'll then go on to look into it, get more solid information, etc. Sometimes not. Sometimes other people who know more clarify, like Muscati.

    But if there are big rumours around, I don't see why I shouldn't state that as an observation. My blog's circulation is not, I suspect, affecting in any way the critical mass of the country's rumour capability.

  20. Does anyone else find the fact that we (well, me) are chastising a casual blog for not verifying rumours to be an amusing indictment of the media in Oman?

    Here's hoping that this rumour does not turn out to be true - I'm flying in on the night of the 23rd for my holidays. I'll be buggered if I'm going to let anything stand in the way of that.

    -Omani in US

  21. Anonymous nails it - here we are, chasing our tails, metaphorically, only because we know we'll never find out anything useful except through the grapevine (unless it turns up in Gulf News or otherwise overseas).

  22. Heads up: tomorrow HM is giving a speech in majlis aldawla so expect some road closure tomorrow during the day (working hours), he is probably going to be coming in from Bait Al baraka I dont know what time though.


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