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vendredi 6 décembre 2013


Things happen for a reason.
Who would have thought that a smile that was returned on a cold morning in March 2012 at Omaha Airport would have led to so much contentment and help to others in various parts of the world?
From that day onwards Hendra (Joe)  P and I have become very good friends and being travellers, we were able to meet each other at interesting spots, for leisure and pleasure as well as for exercise and discussions about health in Indonesia.

Our last meeting was in Singapore where he was participating in the Duothlon and we were to meet each other at the end of January 2014 in Bogor.

As you could see in some of my previous posts, I had always been in interested in Oman and its people. A couple of weeks ago I was in Oman, having manipulated my ticket from USA to Europe and routed it through Muscat. On my return journey I had a long lay over at Muscat Airport and was able to spend the time at the Premier Lounge. I was at their computer and doing some work and correspondence and I forgot my little book in which I make observations and make notes. I was already on the plane when I realized that I had lost it, but never lost hope that I would be reunited with my little notebook which I had bought in Miami for about 4 dollars but had jotted down my feelings about Oman and my stay there.
 (New friends at Hilton Salalah, Oman)
 (Hilton Salalah Lobby, Salalah, Oman)
(wide sandy beaches for long walks, Salalah, Oman)
(midnight snack at Plaza Premium Lounge)
I tried to email the Plaza Premium Lounge but my emails were returned undeliverable. When I travel I use VOIP communication systems such as Skype, all of which are not available for voice calls in Oman! So I decided I will wait until my return to the USA tomorrow to call Premium Lounge at Muscat Airport and ask them where they had found a notebook (not to be confused with a  small computer) with my name and address written on the inside page.
A couple of days ago, I had received a call from Hendra P who was in, of all the places, Oman! He had met an Omani businessman on a flight from Bangkok to Jakarta few months ago and that meeting culminated in his wanting to visit this country. I was able to give a background.
He was effusive about the welcome he received from the Omanis as well as the workers from Asia at the hotels and other places. He was happy to have made the decision to visit Oman. We also talked about the Overweight and Obesity problem in Oman and he was going to discuss it with his Omani friends.

He continued: the commercial companies like VLCC in the middle east want people to pay lots of money to come and exercise and get their services but they are not interested in talking to the clients about changing their minds. If the mind-set persists the weight loss will be only temporary. Hendra P encourages his staff to participate in regular physical activity and then follows up with camaraderie and good emotional support and once I counted seven of his workers who had together lost 90 kg!

No gymnasium, no payments up front, no memberships. Especially in a country like Indonesia blessed with such natural scenery and plentiful sunshine!
I was thrilled at the possibility of us visiting Oman in the future together; we are both fans of Qatar Airways and also the possibility of visiting Zanzibar once again for me!  And there is a slight chance that we might be able to do something for the delightful, pleasant and friendly Omanis, the best of the region!

As I was packing for my morning departure for Chicago and beyond (where I am told the temperature would be plunging and snow expected!), I received a call from Hendra P while he was waiting at the Lounge at Muscat airport, waiting for the flight to go back to Jakarta. We had a long conversation, his absolute amazement at Oman as a liberal and tolerant country and the availability of everything including pork and alcohol forbidden in many other places where Islam is fanatically observed. Mostly the friendliness of the Omanis, as reflected on their kindness to the thousands of workers who are there temporarily while the full Omanization programme is going on.
Where do you speaking from, I asked my friend, know that there is no Wi-Fi freely available at Muscat airport unless you have a subscription to Omantel telephone system.
I am at the Lounge at MCT
Are you at Premium Lounge, I asked him?
Yes, he sounded surprised. Then I explained to him about my recent stay there and the fact that I may have left my little notebook there.
Wait a minute, doc, I will walk towards the reception and let you speak to the receptionist.
A sweet voice came over
How are you, sir?
I am fine, I replied, I may have left my notebook at the computer room when I was waiting for my Turkish flight
Do you remember the date so that I can check? Normally we keep them here for a few days and then turn them over to the Police.
Are you Dr S, she asked me, surprising me?
Yes I am.
It is written inside this notebook that I have at the reception!
Dear friends, what is the chance of this happening!
Especially in an airport not quite in the international circuit of travellers.
Please, give the notebook to my friend, thank you.
I will be happy to.
I asked Hendra P to get the name of the receptionist
Suzie, she is from Taiwan.
Please tell Hendra P, that we would stop by on our next trip together to say Hello to Suzie!
As we close our conversation, Hendra P said, at last you got your book back and now what all you have to do, is to come and get it at Bogor!

Which I plan to do in January/February 2014

I know what awaits me at Bogor, in Indonesia!