Monthly Archives: January 2014

Videos of Laser, Fountain & Fireworks Show from Muscat Festival 2014 (Amerat)

Muscat Festival 2014 Stage Performances – Amerat Park


2 Omanis Shoot 19 People in Muscat in One Month Shooting Spree: Will Justice Prevail?

ImageJust a few of the poor victims who were injured (some more serious than others) by a senseless shooting spree by 2 Omanis. (Photo from Times of Oman from story back in November, 2013)

Sunday, the 2 accused Omanis who were caught red-handed (and confessed) stood trial. Read the full article here from today’s Times of Oman.

The “men”, when asked by the judge why they shot 19 people (mostly migrant workers…) said their motive was “for the sake of adventure“. ?!?!?  I hope they discover the “adventure” of what life is like behind bars for many years. They were asked why they “opened fire” but that is not giving the truth sense of their crimes.  This was not a one time event (which would be a proper use of “opening fire”) but was rather a month-long joy ride for these two as they sought to seek physical pain on other human beings. Not once, not twice…but at least 19 times (that we know about and were reported) over a one month period!!! These were not young kids but adults of 21 and 22 years of age who should know better.

Reading that article seemed to me more like a defense rather than an objective piece.

  • “a weapon normally used for shooting birds” (Really?!)
  • explaining that thousands of rials had been paid to the victims (So what?!  They still need to pay the consequences for their crimes!)
  • Pleas from the parents not to penalise their sons (AT ALL?!?!?!?! Are you kidding me?!)
  • Because they are both government workers, they should be punished even more harshly!  One of the “men” was recently married?!?  Therefore, mercy should be shown to him?! And what about THE VICTIMS?!  Sounds like the makings of a “wonderful father” there. Scary stuff!

It’s not surprising that the writer of this article, has written other less than stellar articles.  The Oman Forum had a comment thread on one of his appalling articles on how the “rise in population of expat labour class worries citizens“. An article that doesn’t seem to be present any longer on the Times of Oman website. I wouldn’t be surprised if the xenophobic article suddenly went missing from the Oman Forum as well.  Hmm, so let me see…this reporter writes about the dangers of expat labour class workers which could be labelled as fear mongering and then 2 Omanis shoot predominantly migrant workers around the capital.  The same writer then writes (what seems to me) a mostly one sided article which mostly contains pleas from the shooters parents. Interesting.

Where are the quotes and stories of lost income and pain suffered by the victims and their families?  Why did the court reserve its judgment and why are they waiting till next month?  Are these 2 men in custody or free to walk around?  It will be interesting to see what (if any) punishment is dished out to these 2 individuals.  Or will the public be informed at all?  I wonder how the story would go if 2 migrant workers were found to be targeting Omanis…would the decision be postponed one month or would there be swifter justice?  There still has been nothing in any of the papers about the punishment (if any) of the 5 boys from Sohar who assaulted, kidnapped and raped an Asian lady back in March of last year!  Don’t we have a right to know the outcome and court decisions of such heinous crimes which have already been made aware to the public?!

Muscat Festival 2014 – Amerat Park

ImageBetter get down to Muscat Festival 2014 before it’s over!  My family and I headed down to Amerat Park on Sunday evening for our first taste of festival fun and we were not disappointed.  As we guessed, not that many people were there when we arrived a little after 5pm.  Doors open at 4pm.  If you really want to avoid crowds, I recommend going on a weekday. The festival is open until 11pm daily.ImageI love the fact that Muscat Festival is in more than one location.  We hope to visit Naseem Park (the other main location) sometime in the near future.  This year a number of festival events are taking place at  Seeb Beach in Al Hail as well.  Amerat is a nice, spacious area with enough parking for 5,200 cars.  As you can see here, some people like to just sit down on the grass and enjoy the cool temperature while many enjoy walking around sampling the food available at the numerous stalls.ImageThis interesting looking “tent” is located right in the center of the pavilions at the International Festival of Crafts (only in Amerat) which involves 29 nations and nearly 300 craftsmen from Latin America,  Europe, central Asia, the Far East and Africa.  The tent is from the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.  Feel free to step inside if you make it to Amerat.  In case you’re wondering, this is what it looks like inside:ImageImageI believe there are 12 of these pavilions with around 14 stalls in each, selling all kinds of handicrafts, clothing, souvenirs and trinkets.  The best part is watching them at work.  It’s amazing to see them so focused on the task at hand while steady streams of tourists walk by, take photos and ask the occasional questions about prices and such.ImageImageImageImageThese cultural pics around the International Festival of Crafts look much better this year.  I think it’s the simple new touch of having these frames which make the pictures really stand out more this year.  Seems like several people were getting their photos taken by them like this gorgeous lady and adorable little girl…ImageThat’s the famous Treasury in Petra, Jordan of course, made famous by the Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The Jordanian masterpieces at the festival always strike me as one of the most beautiful examples of art but I am totally biased as I think Jordanians are some of the kindest people on the planet!  The next 6 photos are from the Jordanian stall alone.ImageThe Jordanian artist, Salman, selling all kinds of artwork at his stall.  Just look at some of his work:ImageIf you’re interested in his artwork, he can be reached in Oman at 92303917 and when he’s back in Jerash, Jordan he can be reached at 00962775781171.ImageI always love seeing this souvenirs of colorful sand in bottles.  I bought several of these when I visited Jordan years ago.  I believe I bought one with my grandmother’s name written inside.  You can get your name (or the name of a loved one) etched inside one of these bottles and it only takes the gentleman about 2 minutes to do so.  This is what he is trying to explain in this message here:ImageNot only can he write your name in colorful sand, he can also write your name on a necklace (nikles) or on a bracelet (priselet). 🙂ImageThis brings back memories of being covered in the rich black mud of the dead sea!  This Mud Mask which contains dead sea mud is a great gift for the ladies (5 OR).  They also have these dead sea soap bars for 2 rials a pack.  I ended up getting both the the mud mask and bar of soap for 5 rials together.dead sea soapImageImageImageThe Children’s Creative Workshop is a nice place for kids to hang out and do some fingerpainting and such while mom and dad do a bit of shopping.ImageImageImageLots of interesting items from Burkino Faso.  My wife really loved the little girl dresses you can see there on the wall. They sell for 10 OR (about $25 US) and this guy wasn’t budging on the prices.  I thought you could haggle prices for anything at this exhibition but I have a feeling that my wife might have shown far too much interest in the dress and so he knew he could get that price from us. So a word to the wise – If you really like something you see, just try to act like you could care less whether you walk away with it or not! 😉ImageInoussa Daouda is a a master wood craftsman from Cameron who has settled in France (since 1995).  He devotes himself to the creation of African Art. Check out his website at It’s in French but you can translate it into English if viewing in Google Chrome.IMG_0126amerat park groundsmuscat festival lightsGood luck getting a picture with almost no one in it at the festival if you go on the weekend!  There were very few people at Amerat Park from 5:30pm till about 8pm.  It seemed like everyone started arriving at 8pm for the laser show and short fireworks display.  I know a number of expat families avoid Muscat Festival like the plague due to enochlophobia (the very real fear of large crowds), but I highly recommend going out to Amerat on a weeknight if you have time as crowds were not an issue in the slightest.  The park has an area of 130 thousand square metres and enough space for 5200 vehicles.sunset at amerat parkSo have any of you been to Muscat Festival during its first 5 days?  If so, which location did you go to and what did you think of the whole experience?  If not, what are you waiting for?  Don’t let the sun go down on Muscat Festival 2014 without checking it out for yourself.  It runs until February 22nd.

Dedication of The House of Light (“Bait an-Noor”) – Jan 25, 2014

dedication of new ruwi church

new church plaque

main sanctuary(Photo courtesy of Esther Sagar)

program cover

new church outside

the beautiful old rugged cross

church program page 1

awaiting dedication

dedication service from back

program page 2

corner of church

stained glass cross(photo courtesy of Iain Hutton)

program page 3

ceiling and balcony

service from back(Photo courtesy of Iain Hutton)balcony and ceiling

program page 4

another look at front of building

from balcony(Photo courtesy of Iain Hutton)

program page 5

mosaic banner

worship leader for dedication

program page 6

How great is our God banner

Albert and Janete

program page 7

service from my seat

Bridget Ganguly speaks

program page 8 final

at the foot of the cross

food tent

2 of many volunteers


one body in Christ



final look at house of light