I have loved my little car … a Nissan Tiida hatchback (that’s a Versa in North America) .. here in Muscat. We were a bit uncertain about getting one so small – in Kuwait you wanted as much metal (do they make them with metal anymore, or is it just plastic?)) as possible around you, but here, the driving is much more relaxed. It was perfect – easy to park, held 4 people comfortably, lots of room for cargo – especially with the back seats down….. and I have had my freedom to go where I wanted when I wanted, and take friends with me.
David was worried that it would take a long time to sell my car so last week he put an ad in the PDO newsletter. PDO is the national petroleum company here in Oman, and they have a lot of employees – and lots of expats. We put his phone number on the ad, as he’s the one that knows the technical details and was going to negotiate the final selling price. My job – to be ready to show the car, and also to place posters on the bulletin boards of the local grocery stores.
Tuesday the newsletter came out – and he must have taken 50 calls before he turned off his mobile! I was out shopping when he called to say Khalid would be by at 2:15 to see the car. then he called again to say I needed to meet Dave at the Shell by the McDonalds at 4. Then I needed to meet Mohammed at the Sultan Centre at 5 …….. So much for doing any quilting that afternoon!
Khalid came – liked the car but said the price was way too high and the tires needed to be replaced. Dave brought his 4-yr-old daughter Julia, who doesn’t speak much English yet (from the Netherlands) but she and I had a great game with her stuffed spotted dog while Dad was looking under the hood. Tires need to be replaced.
Then Mohammed begged me to just take a deposit and sell him the car so he could go back to Sur to a happy wife. …but the price was higher than he wanted to pay, and, you guessed it – the tires were ready to be replaced.
That evening, Achmed and Nassert both arrived at the same time to see the Tiida. Fortunately, this time, David could do the showing and talk price in person. I took the dog for a walk and stayed out of it.
Bottom line – Achmed bought the car for his younger brother, asking price minus the cost of new tires. One day on the market – and sold.
So, here I sit, with a sold vehicle, and things to do! and you know as well as I do that NOW is when I’d be in an accident. So I made one very quick, very careful trip to the travel agent for our Kenya tour information.
Wednesday, Achmed went to transfer the insurance, and then David was to meet Mahmood at the Vehicle Registration Office in the afternoon to transfer the plates. He arrived just after 3 – they weren’t handing out numbers yet. When they did, a very nice Omani gentleman gave him his number, as he saw that David had been standing around longer than he had.
Then I get a phone call – David has just realized that he had forgotten the car registration card – he was still waiting for Mahmood to arrive. so I hopped into my “sold almost” car and gingerly drove out to the registry and back – safely.
David and Mahmood got a chance to sit and visit while waiting their turn at the counter. Mahmood is a younger brother (14 kids in the family) from out past Nizwa, is 21, and attending university here in Muscat. He is one of the growing number of young people here who understand the importance of getting an education. they are the ones that will make this country continue to grow and to prosper.
David is very good at talking to people – or more to the point – at listening to people. He can ask a few questions and get almost anyone’s life story. So Mahmood got a really good chance to use his English and get to know a Westerner.
Thursday morning, this friendly young man arrived to take ownership of his new wheels. David wanted a photo of him with the Tiida, and he insisted that I take one of him and David as well. “You are my friend”, he said.
He had really appreciated the time he and David had spent together. I think that hour at the Registry will make a difference in that young man’s ideas and view of the world. I think that it was equally as important for David, who has opportunities through work, but not with a random Omani. What an amazing opportunity when he least expected it!
And, here I sit without a car. But we’ll rent one as soon as we return from Kenya.
Oh yes – and David continued to receive calls and emails about the car for three days. and he thought it would be hard to sell. Guess the price really wasn’t too high.