Earlier we posted about Rubʿ al-Khali, aka the Empty Quarter; a desert in the southern Arabian Peninsula: Rubʿ al-Khali covers about 650,000 square km (250,000 square miles) and lies mainly in southeastern Saudi Arabia, with some portions in Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. The desert was largely unexplored until recently; the first documented journeys made by Westerners were those of Bertram Thomas in 1931 and St. John Philby in 1932.

This image, captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) aboard NASA’s Terra Earth-orbiting satellite, shows the sea of sand and sand dunes that makes up the Rubʿ al-Khali, from above. The image was acquired on December 2, 2005.

Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team


Michael Jackson in Oman - Part 1

“Michael came to Oman with plans for only three days, but he went on to stay with us for 45 days. He loved Oman and its people. People treated him with love, just like a close friend. 

Michael was very impressed by the love and hospitality he got here which was sadly missing from his life. Michael was highly impressed by Omani’s rich culture and many a times visited the Muttrah Souq. He bought several souvenirs from the souq and got quite friendly with the people, he visited the homes of many Omani families and spent a lot of time with them, he learned a lot about Omani lifestyle. Michael spent a lot of time with us in our house. 

We often got together for lunch and he soon became a part of our family. He felt very comfortable here and shared a lot about his life and how people had treated him. During one of those days, Michael told us about his children and said he wanted them to get the same affection that he received here. He asked them to come to Oman. When they finally arrived, he hugged them and told them in the car, “Welcome home, kids”. 

I told him: “Michael, be careful, I’ll quote this in the media.” He said, “I don’t care, I love being here.” We didn’t ask him to say this. People in other places offered him so many things, but still he felt being at home in Oman.”


Michael Jackson in Oman - (Part 3/3)

“Michael was humble, generous and a true humanitarian. You would never believe what you hear or read about him if you had met him in person. Sadly, people around him took advantage of him. Michael left Oman to go to the US when James Brown died. He was very sad, but he promised to come back. He was planning to come to Oman in December this year to work with us. He wanted to work especially with Dr Riyadh Hamzah, to compose music and write poems together. I have a recording that says how much he wanted to live in Oman. We will miss him a lot but he will always be in our hearts. I don’t think the world will ever have another Michael Jackson. He was one of a kind.”