A Lot On Your (License) Plate

I’ve never been that into cars but in Oman I’ve found an interest in tracking license plate numbers. It’s interesting here because each type of license plate has a different meaning – red and white plates signify police, and black and white means diplomatic. Within diplomatic you can even identify what embassy they are from by what the last number. My host dad told this fact to me and apparently the Americans are bitter because the British get to be number one while they’re relegated to I think number four or five.

The general idea is that the lower the number the higher up or more powerful the person is however like in the US you can also pay to get a specific plate. Some people pay almost ridiculous amounts for choice numbers. For example one of my program coordinators’ husbands had the number 12345 and then later sold it for over 1,000 rial (~3,000 dollars)!

Its always exciting to see especially good plates, especially since they’re usually attached to guys in nice cars, another fun thing to track in Muscat. Seeing as we spend so much time in the bus going to and from school we’ve become experts in license plates and I have even recognized the same car on a few occasions because of its plates – and the fact that it was a really nice yellow sports car.

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of license plates because it just feels too creepy and also it is likely that who ever has a number good enough to warrant a photo has a lot more influence than I do and I wouldn’t want to get on their bad side by taking pictures of their car.

Nevertheless here are a few of my license plates highlights:

–       7777 D

o   This was the fancy yellow sports car, and I always seem to see it on the same road near the beach. Also this is a fantastic number because it is also good to have letters near the beginning of the alphabet and repeat numbers are always a good idea.

–       12 F

o   This is extremely impressive since you can’t get all that much lower than 12!

–       68 with red emblem of the official seal of of Oman

o   I’m not sure what this plate means because it was the first time I had ever seen it but I assume it is either a member of the royal family or a royal ministry – perhaps the royal courts.


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