Light at the end of the Oman Air generated tunnel…

I flew to Oman to try and confront Oman Air the day after they cancelled my sponsorship. I hoped to see the CEO, or even the manager concerned and try to reason with them, threaten them, or shame them into changing their mind. After all, being the cause for the retraction of a quarter of a million dollars in donations to charity is a lot of embarrassment for any company…

…when out of the blue, I got a phone call from Sohar Aluminium. Apparently someone had mentioned my expedition to them, and they wanted to know if they could sponsor me! I had no idea how much they had in mind but on Sunday, instead of following up Oman Air, I drove up to Sohar with my uncle.

It was a boring 2 hour drive, which was only enlivened by the police pulling us over. “Apparently” they had seen my uncle driving while talking on his mobile. Of course my uncle denied it, but they were adamant.

corrupt_traffic_cop_cartoon1They took away his license, and car registration and were preparing to fine him and impound the car, when they came across one slight flaw in their case…my uncle has lost his hearing in one ear, and is hard of hearing in the other…and cannot use a mobile phone, whether driving or not, unless he has a hands free ear piece. Realising no one would believe them, the police let us go with a warning not to do it again! Do what again? Get caught by corrupt police who fake seeing things? Oh OK, we’ll try…

At Sohar Aluminium, I was taken to the CEO, an Aussie, who within minutes of seeing my presentation, offered to pay for the whole expedition!!! And instead of utilising his option to name the expedition after his company (the Sohar Aluminium North Pole Expedition) he insisted that it be called the Oman North Pole Expedition, so that the whole country could benefit…

…trust an expat to be the one to have the strategic vision to ensure the whole country benefits…but don’t get me started on that!

And taking a leaf from the experiences of Sir Ernest Shackleton, probably the greatest explorer ever, I have decided not to pursue Oman Air or seek revenge…what’s the point? Though I wish them no ill will as things turned out OK, I cannot recommend them and will never have dealings with them.

Instead, let’s focus on the outcome of the wildest two weeks so far. I have secured all the costs for the trek. I have faxed back a signed contract to their lawyer today, and from now on all I have to focus on is my fitness, organising the admin, and raising money for charity…

…oh and the small matter of walking 650 km, dragging 50 kgs, in minus 40 Celsius, with a dodgy knee…

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