Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Oman: he's no Jacques Cousteau

With blood boiling in our veins, we returned the hire car to the airport. Fortunately, Mr. Syrup was behind the desk and without really apologising for the inconvenience caused by Hertz's dreadful cars, he agreed to reduce the charge by one day’s rental and would speak to his manager (who was out of town....fancy that) about the excess mileage charge which Neil, with masterful diplomacy, refused to pay. Mr. Syrup (also appropriate for his obsequiousness) promised that ‘everything would be alright’.

I've said it before, if Oman wants (needs) to promote tourism, it has to get the basics right first. This service was nothing short of abysmal. Following on from the Cars & Trucks series, I feel the need for a ‘How to Spot an Omani Hire Car’ special.

Crammed into one car, we departed for a day at the Oman Dive Centre. After a few minutes in the pool, it was clear why Neil had not chosen a career as a diver. Nonetheless, after Andy rejected three camel burgers during lunch, the team went for a long snork at Mermaid Cove near Bander Khiran while CP sat in the boat being chatted up by the ODC staff.

Somehow the day had passed and the sun was already setting as we drove back to Muscat in heavy traffic.

Sadly it was time for Andy to depart. We drove him to the airport and waved goodbye to our old chum. The emotional moment passed as our thoughts turned once again to our stomachs which were filled in the pleasantly cool surroundings of the Shafaq pool.

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