Monday, November 8, 2010
It's the little things ... mumtaz petrol prices
I've had it for a week and driven 350 kilometres already, which I think is primarily down to the fact that I am still getting the hang of the roads here and quite often get lost and have to retrace my metaphorical steps. I spend a lot of time driving around and around, looking for a turnoff.
So it's time to fill up. I've no idea how big my tank is, because this is the first time I've needed to refuel. I pull into the local petrol station, where they have driveway service (remember driveway service all those years ago? I still remember being in the car with my mother as she got her tank filled up and oil and water checked. I think that's part of the reason I still have no idea how to check my oil or water, lucky I'm living in the Gulf now huh, where someone else can do it for me.....).
The attendant asks me how much I want. I um and er, and in the end I tell him to fill it up - why not, I might as well, and it'll save me coming back here again too soon. The fuel is called Mumtaz (pronounced Moohm-taz), which is an Arabic word that basically translates into Excellent! or Terrific! or Fabbo!. I like Mumtaz fuel, just for the fun of saying it. Mumtaz. Mumtaz. Mumtaz ......
I watch the gauge as the numbers tick over. 30 litres, 40 litres, 50 litres and I'm done. Aghast, I look at the price indicater and it say 2700, which I think means 27 Bahraini dinars - about $70 Australian. I'm not sure I have that much on me, I thought it might be more like 15 or 20 BD.
Cheerfully, the attendant leans in and says "Thank you madam, 2 dinars 700 please."
I have to ask him to say it again, because I think I've heard it wrong.
"Two dinars seven hundred fils please madam" he confirms with a smile.
I'm astonished! 50 litres of petrol for the equivalent of around eight bucks. And I remember that I'm in an oil country, and that it was incredibly cheap in Dubai all those years ago too, and that's what petrol costs here. No wonder people drive everywhere, it's more economical to do that than it is to take the bus - if you can find the bus, that is, with its incredibly secretive and infrequent timetable. It's like a secret service bus, for secret squirrel agents. There must be some kind of secret club you have to join in order to ride it.
I hand over 3 BD and tell him to keep the change. Mumtaz indeed.