I bought a Ferrari Enzo!

2 05 2009

‘Twas my birthday recently.

Was pretty fun after inital melancholy-ness. Since I had already announced all around that clothes n stuff were a no-no, I ended up with a stubborn family giving me clothes anyway; and lots of cash. So I planned to indulge in some impulse buying (but now I’m not clear whether it has remained impulse or has become planned buying).

So it was going to be some gizmo or something entertaining. Gizmos I have more than I use and more than I have space on my desk for. And nothing pains me more to see something I liked once sitting in a drawer under coils and coils of cables and stuff. Entertaining things point to toys. So I looked around for R/C toys. It pretty much ended up between a car or a boat.

I pretty much wanted (preferred):

  • – A land-based vehicle
  • – All terrain (or atleast carpet, tile, road, track and sand)
  • – Sufficiently large
  • – Not too kiddish, no frills, no nonsense (spinners and a built in Mp3 player? on a an r/c car! Get a life!)
  • – and the most damning of them all – Digital proportional controls!

The rest I could find but the last…! I couldn’t believe how crappy the serious toy market is in Muscat. All the major retailers; Carrefour (both), Toysomething in Seeb CityCenter, Toys R Us Bahja, Wadi Center, Safeer, AlKhuwair, Sarooj – zilch! Sure they have r/c cars, they have helicopters more than they have cars, but 99% of them don’t have proportional controls. Press ahead on the controller – zip – full speed ahead. Lay off a bit – stop! No half-fast, no semi-full, no just-about-crawling, nothing. Same for the turning. It’s either full left/right, or straight ahead. To make a wide turn you have to do left-straight-left-straight-left-straight-left. 2 cm increments; and that too at full speed.

Crappy!

Found one rack in Fuzone-something in Bahja opposite ToysRUs that had some engine-powered R/Cs. But those need maintenance and tunings and spare parts and mechanics and bletch!

Blessed be the Italian Carmakers. ToysRUs had some officially licensed Ferraris. Whilst not to my size & terrain liking, they did have proportional controls & who can resist an Enzo! :p So I got one.

enzo1

That is a ‘pitch perfect’ 1:16 scale model

It has digital proportional controls for speed and turning. Working brake lights that work when you brake (a flick of the controller in the opposite direction of travel), working turn indicators (that work on turns, automatically. If the turn if smaller than a certain threshold, they turn on). Working headlights with properly aligned beams and a proper light ‘throw’ (Yep! It really lights up the way ahead as it is supposed to. The headlights have internal reflectors and all!). The things I don’t like are the size (too small for my liking); ground clearance (even normal road/track pebbles are to be taken care of) and lack of a high-power battery pack, which might mean lesser running time than what could have been. Although I now have 2 sets of rechargables that I use.

The 2nd purchase was always going to be something water-related. I initially had my sights on a couple of hovercrafts I’d seen at Sultan Center and Toys R Us, but they were flawed for my usage as they require mirror-like surfaces to float properly. So, then it was a boat. But majority of them warn ‘for freshwater use only’. Then we searched and searched and found one in Sultan Center, liked it, bought it.

boat

This is a 1:8 size.

Things I like: Size (really large, like 1m lengthwise), Speed/Power (2 really large motors with fine propellers. Motors are watercooled), controls (has that steering-like controller), sea-water-ability (all sealed, minimum metal exposed. I shall cover that too with silicon).

Bad things: No digital proportional controls. Its either full speed or no speed. No rudder. Steering is achieved by one of the propellers turning off.

And that’s a wrap!

-FK





‘Nabil Nabs Pole Position’

2 05 2009

I like that post title! 🙂

Nabil ‘Nabs’ al-Busaidi has become the first Omani/Arab/GCC-ian to reach the North Pole. He was with the Oman North Pole Expidition Team and they managed to beat 4 other teams to reach the North first amongst themselves. Nabs, JP & Claire sacrificed sleep, food and rest to do so. This did result in the them hallucinating and falling asleep while walking. Sounds like something I do everyday. Also, on the last-leg Nabs ‘man-hauled’ (is that a word) 50kg of equipment and walked 650 kms!

Nabs

Nabs

My special interest in Nabs’ case comes from a seemingly random event in April last year. Sitting with a business associate (boss, more likely) in Qurum in a semi-business meeting, my associate recieved a phone call (after rejecting/silencing 20 of them). After talking for about 7-10 minutes, he ended the call & in way of apology explained that the call was from the Minister of Sport (my associate is a ‘heavily’ networked person). One of the chit-chats was about a young Omani who had been training in Bahrain & now was in final stages of his project and he wanted to reach the North & was enquiring as to how to get any media coverage and sponsorships. He was given due advice and an enquiry into a possible sponsorship by the Sports Ministry and so forth. At that time I was more awed by my BA’s seemingly-casual relationship with a Minister and forgoed the content.

Then this story started appearing in the news. I’d followed it from the start & now we see Nabil reaching his destination successfully. Kudos to him.

Edit: Nabs’ blog detailing account of the journey.

mountain_climbing1

BUT, We have a problem.

Seems there have been other Arabs & GCC-ian there already. Is there some difference (type of approach/ascent etc) or has the Ministry/reporter managed a faulty press release? (Thanks to Rich for fixing me, wherein I linked to this)

Help!

-FK