Saturday, October 25, 2008

Drains, Bicycles and Balls

So what have Sino Hydro got against the residents of Muscat? Or am I being too personal and yes they are totally incompetent…. The later is what I believe to be true.
For those of you not residing here, I will provide you with a little background information.
Sino Hydro are a Chinese civil engineering contractor employed on the Muscat waste water project (Mains sewers for all of us, good idea yeah?). This has been going on for some time now, and has been a roller coaster of a contract (read between the lines, a complete and unmitigated balls up) why no one questioned how a contractor could do the job for $78,000,000 less (yes that is seventy eight million!!!!) than the nearest competition is beyond me. And lo and behold ….they can’t.
So the residents of Muscat are being subjected to the roads being dug up, back filled, dug up, backfilled, dug up and forgotten about.

Whilst our road is relatively unscathed, with trenches at the beginning, end and just outside our house, the rest of the area resembles a war zone, I KID YOU NOT!!!
I am at least thankful that we have 4wd cars, because the lack of proper road surface will wreak havoc on the average saloon and demolish the sports cars out there. Just returning to the trench outside our house, this would make a very effective speed hump, if only people could see it. Suffice to say, if you speed past our house you run the very real risk of separating your wheels and axels (or what remains of them) from the rest of your car. On the other hand when a truck passes over it the whole house vibrates.

So, if you’ve been reading the blog of late you would have seen that the temperature is beginning to drop, true to form I removed the sides and back of the jeep’s soft top and the very next day the temperature went up…. Darn it!!
Fortunately, I had left the top up because someone said it was going to rain at the weekend (Thur/Fri). Unfortunately no such luck on the rain front, but at least the temperature rise seems to be short lived. You know, I’m we haven’t had a decent downfall since Gonu.
Still, now that it is getting cooler we are getting out more and, this weekend we had decided to get Jacob riding his bike without stabilizers. Given that he had the screaming ad dabs after I raised them a couple of centimeters last April, we were under no illusions as to how difficult a task this would be. So Friday morning we set of with picnic and bicycle (sans stabilizers/training wheels) in hand to Qurum park, only to be chased out by the park warden as no bikes or ball games are allowed in the park. This is somewhat reminiscent of the UK, as the local councils there couldn’t understand why children would want to play in a park, with all that grass…let alone have fun and exercise.
Fortunately, I had a back up plan and a short while later we had located a quiet flat grassy area where Oscar could run around safely with a ball and Jacob could learn to ride his bike. After a little cajoling, plenty of reassurance and some failed renegotiation of terms on Jacob’s part, we set off on two wheels

There is a lot to be said for instilling confidence before attempting the task at hand and, I had made sure that Jacob felt safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t let him fall. But it was still with great surprise that after an hour of running, bent double, with one hand gripping the bike seat, I let go…. just for short periods. At first Jacob couldn’t believe he was riding by himself, but each time we tried the louder his laughing got.

Hopefully, after a few more excursion he’ll be able to ride without me and then he’ll reap his reward, a new bike, there’s nothing like a good incentive is there?

To finish off a good weekend, the family trotted off to the rugby club to watch a game of Australian Rules Football. Whilst I will readily agree that my knowledge of the game is not the best (In fact I know nothing about it) we still had a lovely time and I got to experiment with the new camera.Oscar got down and dirty, maybe a star in the making?

The club has had numerous trials and tribulations over the last eighteen months, of which I won’t go in to. However, when a game is on, no matter what sport, there is a real community feel to it and it is a pleasure to see people enjoying themselves. Some of the ladies had organized refreshments and sausage sandwiches and the temptation was just too much, both Jacob and I succumbed but Becky was steadfast (Well done!).

At the end of the match, Muscat v Abu Dhabi, the local boys reigned supreme, at least I think they did, but I could be wrong, haven’t got a clue to be honest but it did look fun, but hard work, I should really stop now shouldn’t I? We done all of you!

On the downside to Oman, we are all subject to the whims and directives of the Government, tourists included.
I am sorry for all those people planning on holidaying here over Christmas, as the hotels will be given over to the conference. And for those expats living here, well if you were planning on taking a boat trip down the coast, good luck. I don’t think the ROP will take too kindly to any water traffic trying to get past the Al Bustan Palace Hotel,
and since the Marina and Yacht Club are right next door you might find it difficult to drive down there!

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