Two items to blog today, the first being that HM has indeed gone to Iran, as it's been splashed all over the papers today (the slightly better article in Oman Observer is here). Well I guess you read it here first, 4 days ago ;)
I wonder if they're going to talk about Gas?
Now to the main item for today: The Khasab Ferry - National Ferries Company.
Here's a picture of the ferry, looking like it's a millionaires toy with that helicopter... with the running costs of it, I'd suggest it was a billionaires toy!
Yesterday, I read with some amusement on the Khimji Ramdas blog that the Shina's ferry has completed it's first year of service. I wonder how much money the Government has had to pump into this business to keep it afloat? I also wonder if it'd be cheaper to paint the boats in military colours and mount some guns on them, and use them as fast Israeli-funded Somalian Pirate catchers? I guess in their current format, they can at least make some money and keep some people employed. The question one might ask is, could more people be employed serving in the Navy?
Looking at the NFC website, the fares have been published here. A return trip in cattle-class is RO 44 (or RO 22 if you're a resident of Khasab). Now that is not too bad, when you compare it to an Oman Air flight at RO 46. Ok so the flight takes an hour and ten minutes, whereas the ferry takes 6 hours. But with the ferry you get to see the coastline as you go up.
Interestingly there is still no mention on the Jetty, and whether you can take your car with you or not, on the NFC website. Rather alarming that 12 months on, still no jetty is in place - or is it? I have no idea, not having been on the ferry service. However, at that price, I think I might fly one way, and ferry back - and handily enough, the good people at Oman Air have smelt an opportunity and offer just that. For RO 99 per person, you can fly one way, stay two nights at the Golden Tulip in Khasab, and then take the ferry back the other way - I think you can choose to fly or ferry up, and fly or ferry back. I think I'd prefer to ferry up and fly back myself. The deal includes breakfast on both mornings, and it's actually a very good deal indeed when you factor in two nights at the Golden Tulip. Co-incidentally, the Golden Tulip franchise here in Oman is owned by the Ministry of Tourism. I wonder if all of this subsidizing is actually costing the Government even more money? There are no economies of scale with that ferry, are there?
That's all for today. I guess the big news is waiting on Thursday, when we will, hopefully, find out that bid for Blue City's bonds has been accepted by the bond holders.