Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Ramadan, plus a plug for blogger The Linoleum Surfer

Yes, Ramadan, the holy month of feasting, over-eating, day time sleeping, night time partying, Egyptian TV soap operas, extra-crazy driving, and holidays is here!

Enjoy, those few of you who are choosing to stay in Oman. A tip to new arrivals who are staying in Oman while all the bars and bulk stores are closed - the 5 star hotels are often an effective Ramadan-free zone AND offer low special summer rates to residents. As a hotel guest the mini-bar is always open and you can still have wine with dinner. Tourism Enriches indeed.

Please drive with extra care in the hour or so before Iftar. In fact, best to avoid driving altogether at this time. And keep your fingers crossed as you take off from Muscat folks, as last month Oman's Air Traffic Control allowed yet another near miss between a recent PIA flight and a Kingfisher aircraft. Although the Omanis blame the pilots (naturally), my sources indicate it was clearly a fault of the Oman ATC system procedures.

Meanwhile, Big Brother here:
The Oman Telecoms Regulator, the TRA, is planning to increase controls on Expat mobile communications further by explicitly linking your SIM card to your residency permit.

Oman's Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) is considering plans to link mobile phone SIM cards of expatriates to their resident card, Muscat Daily has reported. The SIM card will automatically get cancelled along with their resident card upon their exiting the country at the end of their service contract.

Obviously, demanding a residency card to even get a SIM card, and then listening in on all your phone calls and text messages is not enough.

And, a plug:
A big plug to relatively new Oman-based blogger The Linoleum Surfer. Sarcastic & witty political & social commentary. Wonderful. Highly recommended.

Apologies it took me this long to add you to my blog list.


  1. Antipodean Guitar SlingerAugust 3, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    Dragonius, I do miss your incisive blog presence. I must disagree with your enthusiasm for old Linoleum, for he, like pretty much most of the Oman based bloggers, are indeed a waste of space. (naturally, the "mutterer" springs immediately to mind here)

    Keep your posts coming please! No one else has the intellect or the balls to tackle the stupidity of the Sultanate in quite the same way.

  2. AGS

    well, it's different strokes I guess.

    And in defense of most Omani bloggers (including the Muscat Mutterer), it's hard to be totally incisive and ballsy if you live in Oman and are not exceptionally careful about anonymity. You know how the system works there.

    A capricious and byzantine legal system subject to the whims of the powerful in the absence of a solid protection of offensive free speech (even for a citizen) is not conducive to hard hitting blogging.

    This is the life.

  3. AGS - As long as I'm only wasting virtual space ;)

    UD - Thanks for the plug and the kind words; I'll try to live up to them!


  4. I find that driving in the time between finishing work and the maghrib or Isha'a prayers is the best time to do it. The roads are empty and doing the shopping is a breeze. After Isha'a prayers, all hell breaks loose.

    In terms of socialising, forget the hotels - go to house parties!

  5. My friend, the near miss was partly ATC´s fault. If the PIA pilot had followed given instructions in due time nothing would have happened. Don´t just blame one side without knowing all facts.

  6. Anon,

    I think its the job of Muscat ATC to ensure planes don't crash into each other.

    Did Muscat ATC instruct the PIA plane to descend immediately? No.

    Did Muscat ATC publish a specified time frame for a cleared level change in its procedures for Pilots? No. (I was surprised too)

    Did the Muscat ATC person who had instructed the PIA pilot to descend inform the person they handed over control to about the level change instruction they'd issued (but that hadn't yet been executed by the PIA pilot)? No.

    Near miss was a Muscat ATC screw-up.

    Maybe take some accountability for the error instead of looking to pass the blame onto some poor pilot.

  7. Dragon, now that you are not here what happened to the continuing saga of Omran, Blue City, the fiasco of Duqm & the Egyptian Economist/master player advisor? soooo much going on and not a peep?


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