Including Original "Paul H. Letters" Copyright © 1996-2018 Paul V. Heinrich - All rights reserved.

Thursday, 23 June 2005

Expeditions to Foreign Countries was "To all interested Parties"

Expeditions to Foreign Countries was "To all interested Parties"

Paul H bristolia at
Thu Jun 23 23:36:53 EDT 2005

Altmann at
Thu Jun 23 14:31:03 EDT 2005

John wrote as quoted:

>>As for Oman and Meteorites it's still not

>>exactly clear if the government wants to

>>control the export of meteorites!?

Martin Altmann wrote:

>That's almost the point!

>I think, it was clear, as also before John was

>leaving a license for hunting and an export

>permit was obligatory.

>Could he knew before? I think it was possible.

>At least I see now reason to condemn the whole

>Oman country like on the webpage to be

>dangerous or even terroristic, only because he

>was caught in violating some laws.

>I guess that John knew before, that meteorites

>are bjects of scientific and monetary value and

>come on how naive must one be not to suppose,

>that collecting such objects in another country

>and to take them home from there, might be

>not a delicate issue?

Having visited either professionally or as a tourist
various countries, collecting and export permits
are not the only matters people need to worry about.
In several countries, specifically ones with internal
security problems, it can also be illegal to possess /
use Global Positioning System units, specific types
of radios, topographic maps of specific types and
scales, and so forth. In planning any sort of
expedition, a person needs to make sure that the
equipment, which they plan to use is not in
violation of a country's law. Although it seems
unfair, it is the responsibility of the person going
to a foreign country to know what is and is not
illegal. Ignorance of the law, as in the United
States and as far as I have found, is universally
never considered an excuse.

On the other hand it can be at times very difficult,
if impossible, for an outsider to completely
ascertain what is and is not illegal in any foreign
country. Foreign countries operate by written and
unwritten rules, customs, and regulations, which
only a native will know. It is quite easy for a
person in planning from afar a visit to visit a
foreign country to overlook some of these laws,
customs, and regulations, which are common
knowledge to the local people. Also, it is difficult
to know from afar the tipping point, at which
authorities will go from ignoring infractions
of the law to enforcing them. It is, unfortunately
very easy for someone to not know what they
should have known when planning a trip from
afar. However, as in the United States, ignorance
is not typically going to be accepted as an excuse
despite such ignorance being unavoidable. This is
unfair, but life is not fair.

(In case of Islamic, Arabic-speaking countries,
geologist friend, who have worked in them, tell
me that the difference in culture and language
increase the potential for mis-communication,
misunderstandings, and very, very unpleasant
experiences by several order of magnitude outside
of the "Cocoon" of guided tours and resorts that
normally surround tourists visiting them.)

About the main solution to this very real problem
is to have someone, who lives in the country, to
which you are going, involved in planning your
trip. Only someone, who lives in the country and
knows the language and customs, will have a
knowledge of the laws governing what you are
doing; what laws are not enforced; what laws are
enforced; the tipping point at which specific laws
will be enforced; and how not to attract unwanted
attention. Finally, I can vouch, from personal
experience, having a citizen of the country, which
are visiting with you and following their advice,
can not only prevent an unpleasant situation, but
also mean the difference between an "adventure",
which you can joke with your friends about over
a beer, and a very, very unpleasant experience.

In [meteorite-list] Meteorite hunting in Oman,
Robert wrote:

>Or who knows? Maybe the Sultan had

>had enough of seeing westerners boasting

>of their martian and lunar meteorite finds

>from Oman in cyberspace and on his TV

>and declared, "I've had about enough of

>this! We're being robbed of our treasure

>and it's time to put a stop to it." We could

>hardly fault him if this is his view.

With 20-20 hindsight. I can see some hint of this
in "Oman Is A Bank Of Meteorites By Hasan
Kamoonpuri, Oman Observer 290801" at:

In this article, a person can sense the national
pride invested in the meteorites being found in
Oman by the Oman government.

Also, there are these notes:

"According to Dr Hofmann since the year 2000
several precious meteorites have been discovered
in Oman. But many of them are not available for
scientific study because they are in unknown
private hands.'"


"One of the biggest concerns bothering the
meteorite experts is that most of the meteorites
are being collected by private collectors for
sale in the open market.""

Unfortunately, likely the main way for anyone to
have known of the type of change in attitude in
a country, of which Robert speculated above about
and would have caused a change from non-
enforcement to enforcement of laws, would have
been by inquiring with someone living in the
country in question. Such changes are not reported
in international news and not considered significant
by the Department of State and, even, the embassy
to be worth reporting given more immediate and
pressing matters of peace, war, and commerce. Most
embassies have far bigger fish to fry and preoccupied
with dodging larger rocks than whether or not laws
about relatively "minor" matter, i.e. collecting
meteorites are being enforced.