“I’m a blogger, get me here!”
I will be attending an international media press trip in the Sultanate of Oman from the 5th to 13th February. It involves teams of mixed media from countries within the European Union that Oman Air fly from; United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy.
It is being filmed and organised along the lines of a reality television programme, an interesting new take on press trips and promises to be an exciting time. I am looking forward to returning to a lovely country and you can follow the epic adventure on twitter along with the rest of the teams by using the #EpicOman hashtag. Drop in and wish Team GB good luck.
Below is an edited copy of the schedule and material we have been provided so far, superflous information has been removed. Hopefully it will pique your interest and get some good natured competitive banter going. Get behind your favourite team and give them your support.
Treasure Hunt Oman is a contest between national teams from five European countries for the Oman Air Treasure Hunt Oman Trophy.
Treasure Hunt Oman will be filmed for future broadcast as a series of TV programmes, and all competitors will receive a copy of the final piece. The individual Quests will be filmed, of course, but they will also be interviewing competitors throughout the week to get their impressions of Oman and comments on the progress of the Treasure Hunt.
The Treasure Hunt covers several locations in this interesting, beautiful and largely unspoiled country. At each location there will be ‘Quests’ for the teams. These take the form of puzzles to be solved, the answers to which will then direct the team to a specific place nearby where the Quest Trophy will be found.
Depending on content, a Quest will typically take between 90 minutes and three hours to complete.
The Quests are timed; the timer starts when the team opens the Quest envelope and stops when the Quest Trophy is found. The times are used to determine the start order and time handicaps for the next Quest. In some cases there will be a choice of Quests, and then the times will be used to determine the sequence in which teams select from the options.
The winning team will simply be the one that finds the final Quest Trophy first.
Most of the Quests will be completed on foot, but several will require the teams to drive to a particular point to start a Quest; the teams will drive themselves, so at least one member will need a current driving licence.
The schedule and the locations:
|Sun 05 Feb||Day 1||Teams arrive at Muscat International Airport and transfer to hotel|
|Mon 06 Feb||Day 2||Relax and acclimatise; optional dolphin-watching tour (11am ). At 4pm there will be a detailed briefing session for teams and for drivers, crew and ground crew. Prologue interviews will be filmed at the hotel during the day, mostly short one-to-one introductions.
A welcome dinner will be hosted at 7.30pm by the pool at your hotel and the dress code will be formal.
|Tue 07 Feb||Day 3||Teams check out of the hotel after breakfast and drive into central Muscat for the first challenge of the Treasure Hunt. Teams will then select their next Quest, with the leaders getting the first choice; the options will be the coast near Muscat or the traditional locations around Muttrah.
Recommended wear: casual clothes. There will be no trekking or undue physical activity; most of the challenge tasks will be indoors.
At the end of the day teams will transfer to their next hotel, south of Muscat in the mountains (any luggage will be transferred separately between hotels during the course of the Treasure Hunt week).
|Wed 08 Feb||Day 4||Teams check out of the hotel after breakfast and start the day’s Challenges, all centred on the dramatic mountain villages and rugged scenery of the area.Recommend wear: casual clothes, hiking shoes or tough trainers. This will be a day of more physical challenges, but none demands an extreme standard of fitness; there will be no scambling up mountains, for instance. (Refreshments will always be available in the team cars, along with a basic first aid kit.)At the end of the day the teams drive to their next hotel and check in|
|Thu 09 Feb||Day 5||Today’s challenges are desert-based, featuring both traditional and non-traditional activities – some quite physical, some light-hearted, some involving a degree of skill.Recommended wear: casual clothes, trainers|
|Fri 10 Feb||Day 6||Teams check after breakfast and receive their next challenges. Today will be an increasingly physical day, culminating in a trek to the head of wadi (broken terrain, some scrambling over boulders).At the end of the day teams drive to their next hotel and check in.Recommended wear: casual clothes, hiking shoes or tough trainers.|
|Sat 11 Feb||Day 7||Teams check out of the hotel after breakfast, transfer to Muscat International Airport and take a scheduled Oman Air flight to the Dhofar region in the south of the country. The challenges here historic sites and traditional treasures.The winners are confirmed and everyone goes to the hotel for a celebration dinner and a well-earned rest.Recommended wear: casual clothes, trainers|
|Sun 12 Feb||Day 8||Teams check out of the hotel after breakfast, transfer to Salalah Airport and return to Muscat. This is a relaxing day for debrief interviews and some pool time at a luxury hotel.Celebration dinner in the evening.Recommended wear: Formal/Lounge suit|
Food and drink:
Hotel accommodation throughout your stay includes breakfast and dinner. On location there will be unlimited water (and teams are advised to drink a lot, especially during the more physical challenges away from the cities) and catering for light lunches and snacks.
Be aware that a total of five film crews will be documenting Treasure Hunt Oman – one will travel with each team. The film crews comprise a cameraman (who will often be filming inside the team car) plus a sound recordist and a producer (who will be in a second vehicle).
There will also be regular interviews with team members individually and in groups, usually short pieces intended to give the viewer an idea of the team’s personality and a commentary on its progress. This filming will be done at hotels and perhaps during meals as well as on location; the film crews will respect privacy, of course, but this is a reality show and full cooperation would be appreciated.
Documentation and equipment:
At least one team member will also need a valid driving licence; experience in driving large 4x4s would be helpful too but is not essential.
All visas and insurances will have been arranged.
Laptops, tablets and smartphones are welcome for use in hotels before and after the challenges start, though these aids are prohibited during the challenges themselves.
GPS units will be provided, and some of the clues will require decoding co-ordinates. (The briefing session on 6 February will include an introduction to these devices.)
A local telephone SIM card will be provided to each contestant which can be used with personal phones, this will provide local numbers for ease of contact.
The currency is the Omani rial; currency can be exchanged at the airport or at most hotels, and ATMs usually work happily with European debit cards.
Outside the hotels, a degree of modesty in dress is recommended, for the ladies it makes sense to carry a lightweight scarf or wrap.
Average temperatures in the Sultanate of Oman during February range between 19oC at night (a degree or two cooler in the mountains) and a high of 25-26oC during the day. Expect 10 hours of sunshine, and rain is a rarity.
Iain Scott Mallory
Manuela Regina Burkhalter
Christian Markus Ignatzi
Yvonne Johanna Zagermann
Mr.Ugo De Berti
Tomasini Paolo Dino
I hope this has whetted your appetite, it has me really excited and think it is also a really exciting development for social media and bloggers that we have been invited to attend. It’ll be interesting to see how we appear on camera, it’s slightly ironic that I will be participating in a reality programme intended for television broadcast as my feelings towards these is fairly well publicised.
Don’t forget to follow our adventure and support your favourite team on #EpicOman.