Wednesday, December 29, 2010

National Day

This ordinary looking building, possibly a Royal Oman Police block of flats, has a secret. By day it is an austere, sombre block with a rather foreboding crest on the roof.

By night it dons a coat of many colours and is the blingy-est bulding on the block.

It was difficult to get a good picture  as our drivers did not understand the concept of "slow down,  I want to take a picture". No matter how many times we passed this place at night, it was always at high speed - anyone would think they just wanted to get back to the hotel and go to sleep.

Many building are bedecked in the national colours, from a modest display of national pride ...
to the full blown rope light dreadlocks seen above. There are also more portraits of Sultan Qaboos bin Said than you could shake a stick at. They are on cars…

…on the walls of shops…

(Seen here above a pencil sketch of the shopkeeper) 

Shopkeeper, you decide.

….and 100 feet high on office blocks.

The hotelhad joined in but had taken down their lights by the time I arrived. But the evidence was in a photo on the official World Fireworks Championships web site:

On the roof was evidence of further displays of loyalty, but incandescent bulds are just so passé.

This book, extolling the virtues and delights of Oman, has 51 pictures of the Sultan. (And, yes, I am afraid I did count them.)

The cult of the leader is strong in Oman in normal times, on this 40th National Day, celebrating four decades since he came to power, it is ubiquitous.

I could get all high-minded about the relative merits of democracy and autocracy, but I do not really know enough about it to give a qualified opinion, so, suffice to say I just wish I was the lucky sod with the rope light and large-scale ink jet printing franchise.

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