Dubai Consumer Mirror

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Kingdom in Abu Dhabi

Remember back in September when several Hollywood A-lists were spotted hanging around in Abu Dhabi? Dubai Sunshine bumped into one in Emirates Palace Hotel..

Check out what they have been up to..

Production looks really good... wonder if the movie will ever make it to UAE theaters..

Friday, December 29, 2006

Eid Mubarak - عيدكم مبارك

Image courtesy


I love this...

Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, often abbreviated as RvB, is a comic science fiction video series created by Rooster Teeth Productions and distributed primarily through the Internet and DVD. The series chronicles the story of two opposing teams of soldiers fighting a civil war in the middle of a desolate box canyon, in a parody of first person shooter (FPS) games, military life, and science fiction films. Initially intended to be a short series of six to eight episodes, the project quickly and unexpectedly achieved significant popularity following its April 1, 2003 Internet premiere.

Red vs. Blue emerged from Burnie Burns' voice-over-enhanced gameplay videos of Bungie Studios' FPS video game Halo: Combat Evolved. The series is primarily produced using machinima technique of synchronizing video footage from a game to pre-recorded dialogue and other audio. Footage is mostly from the multiplayer modes of Halo: Combat Evolved and its sequel, Halo 2, on the Microsoft Xbox video game console.

If you haven't seen it yet, here is a random episode: No 66 - its one of my favorites :)


Almost every other BMW enthusiast I know is talking about the highly anticipated BMW X6.

According to guys at Autoblog, the Bavarian car maker is replicating the 5 series/6 series relationship with X series. The 5 is for the subtle executive edition and 6 is for the more upscale, sporty high performance junkies. So basically, the X6 will be an X5 on steroids.

The way I see it, it looks more like BMW is following Land Rover’s trails in what the English lads did the Range Rover and its rebellious offsping, the Range Rover Sport - one of the most successful high-end SUVs on the market today.

BMW is keeping a tight lip on the X6, so no pics or anything. I did find a few "artist" impressions on what could X6 look like using Google image search.

I hope the real one looks better than those.

"Night at the Museum"

Watched the movie last night.

A light hearted comedy and a typical family flick. The way I see it, it’s one of those comedies that you enjoy a whole lot more if you are watching it in a theater or surrounded by a big bunch of people… a highly intoxicated big bunch of people.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Cairo Chronicles

One of the things I always regret not doing was keeping a journal during my 5 year stint in Cairo. I am not sure why, but i know i wasn't much into writing back then. So, I decided to sit and do a backlog documentation project of my wonder years in Cairo.

I am not talking about the college education I received in AUC only, I will also tell you about the other school I went to: the streets and alleys of Cairo.

From partying with the siblings of ministers and movie stars in Zamalek to having a “crew” that had my back whenever I hit King Faisal Road or Nezlet El Semman in Al Haram.

From hopping in fancy stretch limos to knowing by heart the sign language of Cairo’s crazy micro bus drivers.

From having a regular table in Cortigiano and Swiss Air restaurants to being on first name basis with the waiters of Zizo El Nittin (Or Natana) and Abu Rami the Kabab joint on the outskirts of Cairo.

Don’t worry if you can’t recognize any of these places. I will tell you all about them later.

I do admit that I’ve been through times and places which I don’t want to experience again. But that doesn’t mean I want to block them away in oblivion.

No. I want to keep remembering the bad times as well as the good times. I want to recall the good, the bad AND the muthafucken ugly.

I will note down, from time to time, the highlights of my random little adventures in Egypt; or at least what I still manage remember of them. All the great people I worked with, the wonderful places I visited and most importantly, the friendships that I will always cherish.

I believe the 5 years made me into what I am today. I still don’t know how, I hope noting them down will help me find out.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Back to the office, but not to work

Today was my first day at work after a 2 week long break. Although traffic this morning was bliss, I was cruising gracefully in my nice old dinged up beamer, listening to music and generally enjoying the ride; I did NOT feel like going back to work what so ever.

I didn't have that I-am-looking-forward-to-get-back-to-the-office feeling that one usually gets after a long break. I didn't miss anyone. Okaay, I missed a few - the nice ones at least, but i didn't feel like i was due to hit my that cubicle again.

I never felt like that before. And i don't usually do. I am the hard working kindda person. I stay late in the office. before getting married, pulling all-nighters was a normal thing to me. I don’t know why i am feeling like this now.

Was it because I spent the entire first week of my break receiving calls, emails and SMSs everyday and night? Or is it because I ruined a more than a few evenings by having to work out a number of mini disasters -which anyone in the office could’ve handled- or having to endure really lame phone calls from bosses that know jack about that they are doing?

I don't usually mind it working on my time off. As a matter of fact, its the perfect suckup excuse once can use with the big Kahunas.

But this time its different.

This time, I took this long break because my mom was in town, my wife had a knee surgery and couldn’t move around and my 10 months old daughter had a nasty flu that lasted for over a week. So, it wasn't like they were interrupting my sun bathing or my ski trip to Farayya.

It was only after I stopped responding to mails, phone calls and SMSs when my coworkers finally realized that I actually want to be left alone my personal time off and be left alone.

The calls stopped by the second week of my vacation.

With these emotions, I reached our office building to find the parking lot virtually deserted. It was like coming to work on a weekend. I was THIS close to turning the wheel around and heading back home.

But I didn’t, I walked up upstairs, said hi to the very few people who are not on leave, spent a few hours on email, updated my iTunes library, synced with my iPod and drove back home.

I don't think I will go to work tomorrow.

Merry Christmas everyone

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Nurturing Talent, Our Way

A random example of one of THEIR talent show graduates:

Ms. Carrie Underwood
- Billboard Music Awards Female Vocalist of the Year
- Vocalist of the year at the Country Music Association awards
- New breakthrough artist at the American Music Awards.
- Four Grammy’s Nominations
- Album of the Year award
- Her "Some Hearts" album is a Quadruple Platinum record

- People Choice Award
- And much more ..

Now, compare that to a random example from one of
OUR talent show graduates:

Mr. Moh'd Attia
- Ana El habib music video - A 100% rip off of Backstreet boys "The Call" (I urge you to watch both videos and see for yourself)
- Ba7ebbak ya 7mar (I love you, Jackass) - Guest appearance in a clip about someone's fascination with a donkey... Oh what the hell! Just watch it and see if you can tell which one is the real jackass.

Unexpected visitor in Mercato's food court

Babel, the movie we saw yesterday was playing in Mercato Mall in Jumeirah. We had about 30 minutes to waste before the movie started, so we decided to have a quick bite at the food court.

Guess who decided to drop by ...

Cute little feller .. dont u think? :)


Just came back from the movies. We watched Babel. I will not spoil it for any of you, but if you are in the mood for some deep and inherent thinking in the meaning of life, how you are connected, in one way or another, with everyone and the extent of the consequences of your actions -no matter how trivial they are- in this highly complex sociopolitical fabric you call your LIFE, then this movie is highly recommended.

Friday, December 22, 2006

US base in Qatar to be attacked this summer

The Decepticons are planning a surprise attack on a US military base in Qatar. Pentagon intel suspects possible Al Qaeda insurgency involvement. They hope that their "Preemptive" strategy and tactical response plans will be more than meets the eye.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Don't you just love it when a brand has so much self confidence, people behind it don't feel the need to visually showcase the product itself...

Click here for more..

Via [AdverBox]

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

YouTube is down? No problem

YouTube is down today.. but you know what? I don't care because I have Ikbis. Its the first Online Arab video/photo sharing community … and its growing really fast.

Check out the first clip I uploaded on

Afuro zamurai

I love Japanese Manga. One of my all-time favorites is the 2004 remake of AppleSeed.

In the past few years, Hollywood has been taking the Japanese animation industry more serious than before - remember Kill Bill Vol.1?

The US still has a lot to catch up with the Japs, but more familiar American stars are now getting invloved in this bloody, yet fantastic animated business.

Check out Samuel L Jackson upcoming
animated mini-series.

Rated R for extreme and excessive use of firearms, katana swinging head decapitating action, verbal abuse .... and joint smoking scenes as well

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sick People

We all have our experiences with bad customer service. Heck, I dedicated a permanent post for it for people to share their experiences here.

But sometimes, its not always the fault of the "establishment"... here is an example I came across on in 7days' infamous Letters to the Editor section this morning.

I am writing in order to call the attention of Ms Anna of McDonalds Citicentre and to let her know my dismay towards the behavior that she showed to us when my friends and I are ordering our food last night in CitiCenter Foodcourt.

I should have let this incident pass however this lady might be doing this over and over again. When my friend ordered our food and asked in a nice manner how many minutes should she wait for the burger since she will just wait near the counter she shouted at someone from the kitchen "Make that burgers fast because the girl here is hungry" which surprised my friend because she didn’t say anything like that. And worse when my friend asked "Did I say that to you?"

Ms Anna replied in cold manner "No" then my friend advised her not to say anything she never heard or else she will call the manager, which is more surprising because she replied "Check my name plate its Anna".

To you Ms. Anna, if you dont like your work go back to Philippines the attitude that you are showing is very shameful to all the Filipinos here in UAE especially that you are working in a service oriented company. I hope that the manager will call the attention of this lady and let her join some customer service seminars.
Disgusted Customer

Obviously it was THAT time of the month for that customer.

I mean, someone enlighten me please; what the hell did that McDonalds lady do or say to deserve this flaming drivel? All what she said was "Make that burgers fast because the girl here is hungry" . I don't believe thats an insult in any culture or language. As a matter of fact, she was actually serving you better you ungrateful moron.

And who the f*** are you to say to her "if you don’t like your work go back to Philippines" you racist pig...

I would like to see the person who wrote that letter standing behind the cashier counter and how it feels like to be treated the way you acted. I bet you can't last 10 minutes.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Most Watched TV Ad in 2006

According to Advertising Age website, the Dodge Caliber “Too Tough” ad is the most watched TVC in 2006.

I don't really digg the car that much ... but the commercial is worth watching :)

Via: AutoBlog

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Nawal Zoghbi is Ripping off Jennifer Lopez

Arabic music industry has a notorious reputation of hijacking ideas and concepts from western counterparts.

These days, however, Arabic music video directors are taking it up a notch. They are actualy ripping off concepts from western TVCs.

I watched Nawal's latest clip
Yama Aalo and couldn't help not noticing the striking resemblance of the Lebanese Pop star’s dance routine to Jennifer Lopez's LIVE perfume TV spot.

I took a few screenshots for you to see for yourself.

Fine. There is nothing wrong in getting "inspired”. But for heaven's sake… don't copycat the exact same thing! The long red scarf, the dance moves even the camera close-ups... give us the benefit of doubt at least!

5 Movies I really don't want to miss

The Pursuit Of Happiness (In Theaters)

APOCALYPTO (In Theaters)

300 (March 07)

Spiderman 3 (May 07)

Transformers (May 07)

What Type of Soldier Are You?

I ran into this post on Sandmonkey's blog.... He took a "What Type of Soldier Are You" test and discovered that he qualifies as an Officer. I took the same test and it seems like if I'd ever enrolled in the service, I would fit better doing covert ops, "neutralizing" subjects and …umm... blowing things up at night!

Thing is, I always thought I was a team playaah... guess i am not after all - he3 he3 he3

You scored as Special Ops. Special ops. You're sneaky, tactful, and a loner. You prefer to do your jobs alone, working where you don't come into contact with people. But everyonce in a while you hit it big and are noticed and given fame. Your given the more sensitive problems. You get things done, and do what has to be done.
"VULCAN NECK PINCH!!!""owww.......(slump)"



Special Ops


Support Gunner




Combat Infantry








Which soldier type are you?
created with

Kidding around

Dubai's event industry was hit hard over the Weekend by the childish organizers and organization of The Mother, Baby and Child Show.

Without sounding like a drama queen, the event was a disaster by all known standards. The experience was physically painful. And I mean it physically.

It all started when we heard a radio ad that Barney
is coming to town. Mrs. M said that we have to take Baby M to the show: "I am sure she will enjoy the characters and all the kids playing around," she said.

"Of course, we can do this coming Friday afternoon. Traffic and parking at the Convention Centre shouldn’t be a problem," I replied.

Of course, on Friday I found that that I was wrong

Just like any other day, getting to the paid parking lots at the Dubai Convention Centre was the usual pain.

With eight years of Gitex parking experience, I dropped the family off at the main gates and parked the car in the far away free parking lots and walked all the way to Zabeel Hall (end of Hall1).

That’s about a 10 minutes walk, if you walk fast that is.

So, I reached the place to find my wife standing on the side with a “its-gonna-be-tough” look on her face.

This is how it was like: Thousands of people crammed in the outside reception area in what seemed to be queues, but they were not, i assure you.

“They are all waiting for tickets,” my wife noted.

“I will try to get to the bottom of this,” I said as I started to gently elbow my way through the croweds to get to any of the events people or ushers.

I saw a bunch of people in pink t-shirts sitting behind 3 counters, backs to the wall as if they were in front a firing squad. I waved and yelled:

"What’s going on?"
"No tickets, you need to register"
"You need a form"
"Where do i get one?"
"I don't know- try the counter"
"Which one?"
"Don't know .."

So, my quest to find a form began. And after lots of excuse me's and pardon me's, I spotted a loose form stuck in a wedge on one of of the 3 counters. I snatched it and walked back to my wife. Luckily, she had a pen in her bag and we filled the friggen form.

I walked back to find the same usher who told me about the form but I couldn’t. I spotted another one and reached out my hand with money and the filled out form:

"3 adults please,"
"No tickets till 6:30"

It was still 5:30

Apparently, event organizers said they will not sell any tickets until they make sure the halls are empty enough to accommodate more visitors.

Fair enough.

"Can I buy the tickets now and I can come back later when you open the doors?"
"No tickets till 6:30"

With hundreds like myself, all waiting outside a small reception hall, children crying, women standing on their feet for hours, it was only getting worse by more and more people gathering up in front of the lonley 3 tickets stands that had no cordons or any kind of crowed/traffic control and manned by freaked out teenage temp staff.

Being in enough events myself, I kindda knew that once they start to sell tickets, getting into the halls will be a horrible and painful experience.

- "Instead of keeping everyone waiting like that...Why don't you sell us tickets now and we will go away, sit in a cafe or something and comeback later when the doors are open."
- "No tickets till 6:30"

- "you can make it easier for yourselves if you sell away those tickets now and reduce these huge lines at tickets counter. We have women and children for heavens sake!"
- "No tickets till 6:30"

I think several guys around me found that what I was saying did make some sense and and started yelling the same: "SELL US THE TICKETS, WE WILL TAKE THEM AND COME BACK TO YOU WHEN YOU OPEN THE DOORS INSTEAD OF STANDING UP LIKE THAT FOR HOURS!"

Organizer finely caved in and started giving away those damn tickets and said that we can go in.

I think I just ignited a revolution... hehehe

Of course they wanted to get rid of the active and provocative agents I.E. myself and the other wailing bastards, by taking our forms first.

Then came the following glitch.

Tickets pricing was DHS 15 (for 2 to 14 years), DHS 25 (adults) and below 1 is free (thank god for that). In my case, I needed 3 adult tickets. My wife, Nanny and I – and baby M goes for free.

Naturally and as expected, getting the right change back will not happen. So I walked out paying Dhs 95 for 3 adults tickets of Dhs 25 each.

I walked out with tickets in my hand and followed by evil and envious looks. I got to my wife, carried my daughter out of her stroller, folded the stroller and told everyone to brace themselves and follow me.

Believe it or not guys, for the entire exhibition hall, the entire show, they only allocated a SINGLE a passage that fits ONE SINGLE PERSON only.

This access point was maintained by one security guard who was like 20 years old or something, and he was taking his sweet time to check the tickets.

Didn't this organizer,
The Main Events company, ever organize any main events?

Didn't they have the foresight or even think that since its a going to be a Family show, most likely visitors will consist of …err .. families; parents, nannies and baby strollers? Didn't they think that they will carry baby shoulder bags and backpacks? And they expect all this to squeeze in through that tight spot?

They must be kidding us!

So, after being pushing, shoved, poked and stepped on we reached that single access point and this was the situation. I spotted the single guard checking the tickets and trying to make sure that families got the right combination of adult, children and infant tickets.

That’s fine except that there were four other security guards standing next to him doing nothing but blocking the way.

- "What the hell are you guys doing?"
- "Who?"

- "You, four guys standing like that doing nothing but watching - why don't you help him out" (pointing at the single guard at the narrow, single-person entrance)

The response I got was plain stupid smiles.

So after squeezing our way into the halls, we stood aside for a bit to catch our breath…

Booths stacked next to each other divided by very narrow, tight and over congested walkways. Again, no consideration that fact that unlike other events, visitors to this event will consist of a family of parents, children and their accessories - let alone the ones who got their friends ... etc

Anyhow, we spent 4 hours in driving, parking and fighting our way to get into this place and spend a single hour there. We didn't see Barney (Thank God for that!), but Baby M enjoyed everything else.

And i think that what made this whole thing worth while .. seeing your child happy.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Potential Killer - Live on tape

Can anyone list the traffic violations this gentleman committed in his 1 minute and 34 seconds drive?

I don’t want to even imagine how the rest of his trip was like..

UPDATE: Obviously, this is in Dubai. I am trying to figure out where exactly, but it seems like somewhere on Rashediyah street towards Al Aweer or Ras Al Khour - not sure though..

Dream Home

I hate being an ass to salespeople, especially when I know they are only doing their jobs. But sometimes, there are situations where you just can't help it.

Salesman: Are you a home owner sir?
Me: If you mean, do i own a house in Dubai, no I am afraid I don't.
Salesman: You should do it sir. Invest in a home here in Dubai. You are paying lost of money on rent. In buying a house, you can save a lot.
Me: yeah, i know what you man. I am waiting for this damn market to show some real signs of sanity.
Salesman: What if i have a great deal for you?
Me: Sure .. why not..
Salesman: The project is called Jumeira (insert favorite terrain here: lakes, ponds, rivers, trees, farms, swamps ..etc). Its a 4 bedroom villa that’s about 300 sqm. Its located behind Green Community, after Jabal Ali. The Project will be completed in 2009.
Me: That’s pretty far away my friend.. time and location.
Salesman: True, but the price is amazing. And we can finance up to 97%.
Me: How much?
Salesman: Dhs 4.2 million only! (with a silly grin on his face)

….I put on my Heratio (CSI Miami) act, leaned towards the guy's ear and whispered…

Me: Do I look like the Russian mob to you? Or do you think I have a big laundry bag I need to .. you know, take care of .. (wink, wink)

Salesman (in shock): No sir.. i am ..

Me: Lets get this cleared out here. YOU want ME to pay YOU at least Dhs 170k in cash as your 3% down payment...

Salesman: ....umm

Me: Then I have to end up paying Dhs 20,000 (about US5,800/-) in monthly installments for 25 years! And that’s not including your so called "Service Charge” or other living expense ..

Salesman: .... but you will only pay when you receive the villa…

Me: ….Which, most likely will be delayed, like your other Tree-shaped man made island projects (hint hint)…

Salesman: …but the quality of the finish is ..

Me: what Quality are you talking about buddy? Don't you read the papers?

Me: Do you really think I will be able to pay you Dhs 20,000 every month for 25 years? Lets assume i can... do you really think all those expats you are selling to are going to hang around for 25 years?

Salesman: ...

Me: Let me give you a counter offer..

… I wrapped my arm around his shoulder and spoke in a sincere voice ….

Me: How about I take you to any of the finished projects RIGHT NOW.
I can get a 4br villa…in a developed community with neighbors and all… I can see the actual property and it’s not on paper like the one you are trying to sell me…. its very good finish, more then 300sqm big, and its right around the corner…

Me: ...wait … not only that, its should go for about Dhs 2 million, and guess what, I get to save on all the rent I will have to pay while waiting for your project to be completed in 2009.

Salesman: What if i tell you that the entire phase 1 is sold out...

Me: (Thats the oldest trick in the book you lying bastard .. but i can't say that out loud).

Me: Because you are selling to sheep, its those people who are driving prices up, and end up whinning and whinging about it.

So guys .. who wants to buy a house here?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Grilled or Crispy?

If I do this in a McDonalds drive-thru here in Dubai... do you think they can catch my order?

My Heroes

I was chatting with my brother the other day and he told me about a new show that started airing this fall in the US and is becoming the talk of the TV industry in Hollywood.

The show is called
Heroes and its about a random bunch of average Joes who discover that they have more special skiiiillz than they thought they did.

I watched the pilot already and I fell in the love with it.

I think I know exactly what I will be watching until Lost is back on Air again on Feb 7th, 2007... ;)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Scam of Scan

Looks like UAE retailers are not enjoying the cold winter breeze because of the constant heat they are under...

"Some UAE retailers are manipulating prices of the essentials in the weekly price basket published by the Ministry of Economy (MoE), a senior government official said."

This is something MoE started earlier this year as a response to desperate cries of screwed masses whose budgets are
getting tighter by the day.

So, every week Min. of Economy compiles a list of comparable prices of basic food items Supermarkets. The list is submitted on Monday.

The list is sent to newspapers to be published on Wednesday mornings.

Gullble readers like myself take these prices and go shopping on the weekend and discover that the prices ARE actually too good to be true.

What an insult indeed. But wait, I am not the only one who got insulted.

"Mr. Johannes Holtzhausen, CEO of Spinneys (which is not included in the weekly list), said the idea of price manipulation to score points on the competition is "insulting" to professional retailers.
He argued that local stores manage tens of thousands of products and do not have the time or the manpower to manipulate the prices of a small fraction of their overall stock.

Errr.. did Mr. Holtzhausen ever hear of

Here is a something to think about.

The next time you head to your favorite hypermarket, pay attention to the price tags. They are on the shelves, not on each and every individual item. And if there is a label on the product, its usually a barcode only. No price.

Not because supermarkets are saving on sticky price labels or labor timing stamping them.

Nope, its because management want to have the ability to change prices of whatever item they want, any time they want and with a flick of a button.

They can change their prices every day. Heck, they can change it every hour if they want to.

It’s very simple.

According to global packaging standards, all product must have a unique barcode number that is clearly visible on the exterior packing of the product. Those barcodes, (most common ones are One-Dimensional), contain basic info about the product such as brand name, type and price…etc

When Supermarket warehousing receives product shipments, they also get a sheet of paper that has barcode-related details and info. Warehousing staff encode barcode scans and their corresponding information (quantity and price…etc) onto the Supermarket main server.

The central server is connected to all cash registers and price-check thingies you usually see mounted on the walls of supermarkets.

So, when you pick up your favorite box of cereal and head to the cash counter, Mr. Cashier scans the side of the box (where the barcode is).

The scan is sent to the server and the server replies back to the register -which is a computer- with the price of that scan (your Cereal).

Of course all this happens in less than a nano-second.

Now; It’s the first of the month, everyone got their paychecks and getting ready to stock-up on groceries.

On the night before shopping-weekend-rush-day, you will most likely find Mr. Warehousing Supermarket Management dude sitting on his computer with a long list, going thru specific basic commodities and items such as Milk, sugar, rice, tea …etc and adding Dhs 0.05 or Dhs 0.10 to their prices on the server.

All what it takes is a couple of hours on the computer and central server will be updated with new prices.

It’s the first of the month. You are in the supermarket. Your fridge is empty and your pockets are full.

Most likely, you won’t care -or even notice– that Dhs 0.05, Dhs 0.10 or Dhs 0.25 price variation of your favorite Cereal. Now, multiply that by tens of thousands of shoppers by thousands of products by the number of branches, answer: Windfall profits.

When it comes to consumer behavior and shopping patterns, we are so predictable

Is this a big secret? No…

What can people do to avoid this temporary hike?

For starters, don't shop for groceries on weekends. Shop in the middle of the month and when you see price discrepancies, report them.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sharjah Showers

A couple of pics i received on email of the rain last week. I so don't want to be the owner of that black E-class.. or the Silver Pathfinder, ... or the gold Passat... or the X-trail or the Yaris... or the Honda ...


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Inconsiderate Considerations

One of the things that really get on my nerves is the degree of inconsideration that some people might reach.

When it comes to leave days where I work, we have a 'USE IT or LOSE IT' policy. Meaning: if you don't use up your vacation days, they will expire by the end of the year. And you don't get to carry any of your leave days over to the following year. And we can't take our unclaimed leave days in cash, (that would've been sweet).

The only problem was that i got to know all these details when I got back to work after the National Day holiday (which we took Sunday and Monday off btw). I was told that i have till end of December to use up 17.5 leave days.

I was like "Great! I am taking 2 weeks off starting tomorrow." It was perfect timing for some time off.

My wife had a knee surgery. And on the same day the Mrs was going thru the procedure in Emirates Hospital in Jumeirah, Baby M was showing signs of a bad flu and I had to take her to her doctor, who is based in Sharjah. (That day deserves a post on its own)

So, I spent the rest of the day pulling together a quick handover document. Tightening up loose ends and wrapping up whatever I can wrap up before I hit home. I stayed till 12 midnight that evening.

That was about a week ago. And in this week when I was supposedly on my personal time off, I had people calling me at 8AM, people from work calling me on Thursday night and Friday morning. I had people SMSing me asking for meetings. All sorts of work related annoyance that you can imagine.

The aggravating part of all this was the fact that my wife was in real pain and could barely move from one place to another, my daughter was going thru a really really bad cold and her cough was so bad I was almost in tears at one point.

It was so bad, my mom flew in from Kuwait to give me a hand with. I also started to feel terrible/guilty for her not leaving the house for almost a week since she arrived from the Airport.

Here I am, going thru all off the above, and then having to have this conversation with someone from the office at 8pm on a Thursday night and who is supposed to be a "senior" manager

Senior manager: person X cancelled the meeting
Me: he postponed it
Senior manager: Why did he postpone the meeting?
Me: He mentioned in his email to you that he was traveling
Senior manager: But I am confused now, when am I supposed to meet him?
Me: Umm .. I don't know, when he comes back maybe?
Senior manager: When will he come back?
Me: He said in one week
Senior manager: But in one week, i will be traveling
Me: (silent)
Senior manager: (silent)
Me: (more silence)
Senior manager: What do you think?
Me: Baby is crying .. sorry, gotta go.


I see a full post dedicated to baby sitting managers… stay tuned.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Random Rain Rambling

One of the things i miss about rainy days, is enjoying them.

Back in my days in Kuwait, Cairo and other rainy cities, whenever it rained we would go outdoors; walk under the rain, cruise around in cars and have nice hot tea, lattes or even cocoa - and it wasn't just us being dreamy or romantic, its like that everywhere.

But not here. In the rare occasions when it rains in Dubai, do yourself a favor and stay home. Do whatever you can to avoid the mean wet streets of the northern emirates.

I don’t know if it is some alien chemical agent that is only active when it reacts with Dubai’s cement-dust filled air, but for some odd reason, everything here got wet and wild!

First, and against any universal human common sense, dubai drivers choose drive faster and more recklessly under the rain. They push their damn Nissan Sunnys, Corola’s and Lancers to the limit. Without any consideration to the fact that their bicycle-like tires are not THAT equipped to handle wet surfaces.

Oh and by the way, same applies to the 100% tinted glass Land Cruiser driver as well.

And don't let me even get started on the Hazard flashing morons who once they see a few rain drops, they slow down to 20km/h and turn their hazard blinkers on. Turn them off your friggen idiots!!

As for the traffic rush .. well lets say that a typical 15 minutes drive might and will cost you a good couple of hours of your time.

Last night and after staying all night on a non-stop-10-episode-nonrampage of season 2 of Lost, I woke up this morning around 11 am to witness a worst traffic gridlock opposite to my house for sometime. The main road opposite to my house was a virtual parking lot.

Not only that, several traffic signals on Dubai streets went blank, creating more confusion to Dubai’s flabbergasted drivers then already are. Dubai-Sharjah Highway is in total darkness and almost every street I can see from my house is totally flooded.

Internet access has been a problem all day long and at one point, we lost both Showtime and Orbit TV signals at home.

If you are a non-uae resident, here is a tiny FYI: It doesn't rain much in this place. Winter, in its normal definition, is like a 2 to 3 weeks weather anomaly that could take place anytime between December and January.

It usually rains sometimes in March/April. Heck I remember it raining once in May about 4 years ago when I was halfway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, on my way to a grand opening of the Abu Dhabi branch of a client's business.

Everyone was anticipating showers this weekend. And we were blessed with this glorious piece of news on the eve of one of the longest weekends this quarter.

Just great.

So, and in anticipation of the on going mini-monsoon, I was against the idea of leaving the house this weekend. I woke up a bit early yesterday and started watching episode 1 of season 2 of Lost.

Towards the end of episode 5, a friend SMSed and asked if I want share Ka3ket Knafe (typical Lebanese breakfast) that is, to be honest, ideal on a cold weekend morning.

It wasn’t raining yesterday morning, so i was like "why the hell not" On my way back, one could’ve easily spot the gloomy weather and that rain is just a matter of 'when'.

So, I called my wife and successfully convinced her to stay in for nice pasta lunch instead of our typical Friday-out lunch routine. (Yeah yeah .. I wanted to catch up on more episodes of Lost!).

Friday afternoon weather was still grey, but dry. And BabyM started to get a bit bored. So, I took the ladies out, had dinner and came back later in the evening. It drizzled a bit, but it wasn't a major disaster.

This morning, and except for the heavy showers outside, it wasn’t too different from the day before; caught up on a few more episodes of Lost, had a quick breakfast and by the time ladies got up, my head was overdosing with the never-ending twists of Lost.

Last night, I noticed that BabyM had a tiny cough during her sleep. Nothing serious, but should take something for it.

We have a couple of drug stores around the corner from where I live and I thought to myself, with all this traffic jams, it would be better idea to walk instead of drive. After all, i was missing the good old days of walking under the rain.

So, I put on the only pair of boots I bought 6 or 7 years ago and wore maybe once or twice, the only jacket and a cap.

I needed the walk... I miss real winter. I miss being cold and wearing heavy clothes. I miss watching people running around trying to find cover. I miss seeing cars splashing around the water puddles, moving slowly so that they don't splash the dreamy love couples talking a romantic walk in the rain, I miss ..


Like an Ice-cold bucket of water thrown at your face to wake you up, a crazy driver brings me back from fantasy land to the real world. To the place where people don't know or care about enjoying this dreamy rainy nirvana, to the place where people drive and walk as fast as they can to get home and get out of this rainy nightmare, disregarding the unpredictable conditions of Dubai’s wet roads, and with that, any pedestrian on sight.

And let me tell you, my dodging-rain-drops-and-walking-on-water-Ninja-like-skills weren’t on my side today. By the time i made it to the pharmacy and back, I was more soaked because of man than nature

Though the walk in the rain was great, staying home was much better.

Celebrating 35th National Day of the UAE

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