Dubai Consumer Mirror

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Reflections on Accidents

I just heard 2 car breaking screeches, followed by a bang. “Oh boy, another accident” I was telling myself.

I live right on Al-ittihad road. For those who don't know the infamous 7 km stretch, it is the main artery that links Dubai with Sharjah. It is known as one of the busiest streets in the Gulf (if not the Middle East) with about 500,000 trips made on it everyday.

Anyhow, I jumped to the balcony to see how many cars is commissioned off the streets today. There is was, a red car rear-ended a white one at front.

But there was a man on the ground, and it wasn't one of the drivers.

The white car front had a huge dent with splashes of blood all over the front hood. It doesn’t look good at all.

The driver of the white car was still in his car - in a state of shock obviously. The driver of the red car and people in the streets were attending to the man on the floor. His ensemble was in that recognizable blue color. Yes, another construction worker crossing from another wrong place.

The injured man was in motion, which was a bit of a relief to be honest. The guy in the white car managed to get himself out of his vehicle but was on the phone all the time. I could swear I can see him trembling from my 7th floor (8 if you count 1 mezzanine floor).

Astonishingly, the paramedics were on the scene literally minutes after the accidents. They placed a couple of temporary casts on one arm and leg and loaded the victim into the van and zoomed off.

By then there were 4 police patrols one the scene, doing all the traffic CSI stuff.

2 question I would like to raise here:

(1) Why aren't there any pedestrian crossings in this part of town? This is 5 lane highway on each side that cuts thru a heavily residential area. There are residential buildings, 10s of restaurants, parks, supermarkets, mosques and about 4 or 5 shopping malls that are scattered all over both sides of this busy road. Why the hell aren't there any pedestrian crossing bridges of example?

(2) Can someone please please please educate the relatively new-to-the-country construction workers to do anything to avoid crossing roads that are over 2 lanes wide in this place?

Let them know that drivers here are not like ones from where they come from. Drivers who learned how to drive in Dubai have crap responses and reflexes to any sudden changes in road conditions.

Wanna see reflexes? try driving on the streets of Cairo, Egypt or India. There seems to be some hidden language or code of understanding between the people who cross heavy roads like Salah Salem, Al Haram or Gam3at El Dowal street and the ones behind the wheel. That code keeps both alive and well.

In India, expect anything on the road. Cars in opposite direction, people, cattle, carts, wild animals... you name it, it can be on the road. Pedestrians in India have more confidence in their drivers know that the drivers know what to do if they get caught with in sight.

But here in Dubai, Non of that my friend.

Proof? check out traffic news after 2 minute of rain. Everyone start bumping into each other like friggen morons on wheels.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I want this..

Problem is, I have about 13,500 reasons for not being able to have it ...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Big Boss no more

I should be back to my normal blogging behavior (frequency) very soon. The new dude whose role I was covering for the past 2 months, will be on board next Sunday. Man, if he only knew what he is in for :)

I met him and he seems like a nice guy. Quite senior though, senior enough to make a gap between him and the team he will look after.

I have to say it though, I enjoyed bossing 6 people around. In what i do, I don't have (or need) any subordinates to report to me. I have agencies that I deal with. So, for whatever work-related tasks I need, I get the agency to do it - which aint bad a deal at all y'all.

Now its time to check out all the cool bloggers I haven't seen in a long long time :)

Power Blogging - update

umm... i guess its needless to say that i am not cut-out for it ;)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Back from Bahrain

This wasn't my first trip to that tiny quiet island. I've been there about 3 or 4 times, not including the lay-overs on my way to and from Saudi, courtesy of Gulf Air's flight plans.

Never the less, I always enjoy my time whenever I'm down there. If you take away the infrequent socio-political unrest incidents, the seasonal lets-bash-Saudi-cars-during-new-years-eve-parties, Manama is a very nice cozy little town.

Skip the traffic rush hours, everything is about 10 to 15 minutes away from each other. Like every typical business traveler, I stayed in the Bahrain Sheraton. I have no idea why everyone goes to that hotel. Please let me know if you have any other recommendations.

Don't get me wrong, the hotel is nice and everything, but renovation works are taking way too long and I really think its kitchen staff need a new head chef.

I didn't have much personal-time, but I caught up with a couple of friends whom I haven't seen in a while, I actually managed to see one of them, watched one of the FIFA games and had dinner at a Chinese place which a friend recommended thats called "Hong Kong". Good food and quite inexpensive as well.

On my way to the airport back to the airport, I noticed 3 things: (1) cab driver tried to rip me off - what ever happened to "Bahraini people are the kindest in the GCC?" (2) Bahrain Financial Harbor is starting to take shape. Hopefully, it will redo the extremely flat/horizontal skyline of Manama, and (3) noticed something about traffic lights: ALL OF THEM are barricaded with a metal brace at the bottom. Not sure how this will protect that piece of public property, but just something I thought I'd share with you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

In Bahrain for a couple of days


Monday, June 12, 2006

Close Up and Personal

I just saw the ad for 'chocolate flavored Close Up toothpaste'. What a revolting experience! It must be like burshing your teeth with chocolate syrup. I also discovered that our friends at Etisalat must've also found the idea so revolting, to the point they blocked it's website :)


What worse than having to send your boss a work-related email at 1:23 AM?

Your boss emailing you back at 1:25AM!

Death of a Tele-Salesman

A few pointers to all cold-callers out there:

Try to find out a bit more about the company you are calling. Knowing the company's name helps as well.

Try to find out a bit more about who is it that you talking to, some chaps do get a bit sensitive when your fax to them starts with "Dear Ms...."

Don't worry about calling someone on his/her mobile. Most companies today pay for their employees mobile lines - just don't ring once or leave missed calls in odd hours.

Try to find out what are the working hours/days of the people you are calling. Its really annoying when you are trying to sell someone something with the sound of his crying baby in the background.

If the person you are calling doesn't return you 27th voice mail, them most likely, the person does not and will not buy what you trying to sell.

Good luck..

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fake Brands

This week's Campaign ME main story was about how "The illicit trade in counterfeit goods is helping fund organised crime such as prostitution and terrorism and costing Gulf governments and businesses tens of millions of dollars a year, according to the region's brand owners."

I couldn't help not giggling when I read the headline - "Brands to tackle counterfeiting" - with the first thing hitting my mind being 'Brands', the men's clothing shop in Diera.

Now, for those of you who don't know the place, this shop is known for its ultra low prices for alleged designer menswear and accessories (shoes, belts, ties ..etc). Its advertising, which his fcuking annoying by the way, claims that for as low as a couple of hundred dirahms, one can pimped up with a branded suit, shirt, tie and shoes.

Not only that, but they are made by critically acclaimed designers such as ... err... Alberto Cavali, Humo Boss and Christina Dior.

Snapping photos for the police

If you don't read Arabic, then here is the deal. According to this story, Dubai Police will start using mobile phones to issue traffic violation tickets.

I saw the report on Dubai TV news last night. A cop was snapping photos of violating vehicles (double parking, parking on pavement ..etc). Then the cop MMSed the image to a Dubai Police server where violations are issued, archived and shown to the violator as proof/evidence.

This is great on various levels. Dubai Police will be saving cost (and trees) on all those 4-copy ticket slips they fill up everyday by making the entire process digital. The process will literally take seconds from the moment of detection, give them room to hunt down more violators, and when violations make their way to the central system, Ticket removing wasta won't be of much use at that stage ;)

Now, having said that, I would like to propose to Dubai Police to open up this service to the public. I have MMS on my phone and I see a whole load of morons-on-wheels every day. If that happens, then everyone will be a police officer. Morons, will end up thinking 10 times before they park in a handicapped-allocated parking space or double parking :)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Campaign ME starts its own blog

Hey hey, its only a BETA version, so go easy on the guys. Glad they have done it though, and looks fine too.

Lets all give them a group welcoming hug ;)


I was told that power bloggers are ones who make a minimum of 5 posts/day. I am more of a quality instead of quantity kindda blogger.

But heck, why the hell not? For one week, I will experience this power blogging thang... :)

Show me the Xanax

I was watching Freddie on Orbit few days ago. One of the characters discovered that since his main hobbies were impulsive shopping, eating and drinking, hence he must be suffering from a severe case of depression.

After that moment of self-realization, he went like: "If I am depressed, then I have to start a blog!"

Damn! Does that mean we are depressed and have issues? :)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

So, what was the deal?

Loyal followers to this blog (4 or 5 of them) have been wondering lately where I have been hiding all this time. Lack of posts, barely visible on other blogs and if I ever blog, posts don't exceed 2 or 3 lines.

Let us just say that the past 2 to 3 months have not been very conventional. It all started after a couple of weeks of joining my new job, the company's president decided make a first-of-its-kind visit to the UAE. The preparations for that visit were a living nightmare. We literally stayed up about 4 days and night straight. The visit went very well and the big guy met Dubai's who's who starting with Sh. Mohammed and all the way down.

One week after that visit, the person I reported to "decided" to move on. The MD decided to appoint me to take over my old manager's job until they find a replacement. So, here I was working in a company for about 5 minutes and already with 2 roles to carry, leading a team of 6 people, covering about 9 regional markets with a multi million dirhams budget to worry about.

Oh, and who do i report to? the region's MD – a person which the term “ is living on a plane” is an understatement. Meaning that if I had any questions or wondering about anything? My answer is: "tough luck buddy, try the corporate Intranet".

On top of all that, most of you know that I have a 3 months old baby (who was about 1 month back then). And for those out there who have children, I am sure you know what I mean. Enough said.

On the other hand, My car's insurance and registration expired around the same time we had our baby. So, renewing the car paperwork was the last thing on my mind.

One day i decided that I am thru with taking side roads, dodging and evading police patrol cars, leaving home to work really REALLy early or really REALY late to avoid police stopping me and asking for my expired registration card. So, on a surprisingly slow day at work, I decided to head to Tasjeel (Car registration renewal and mechanical check facility). My car did not only fail the mechanical test, it broke down right then and there. Can this be any more embarrassing?

Anyhow, I took a cab, head home and towed the car next morning to the car mechanic. Got my car fixed and gave the body and nice scrub. Car passed the exam and looks new.

On that same weekend, I got a call from my brother who informed me that doctors discovered that my uncle (one of the few ones I like) was diagnosed with cancer at its very late stages. I couldn't travel because my visa/residence papers were not sorted out. Why? Because some lame-ass accountant in my old company was holding my end-of-service benefits cheque because of a business related email that he claimed I never sent.

Three tormenting weeks pass by and after mega-wasta muscles flexing, I got my VISA stamped on a Wednesday and got my passport Thursday afternoon. My uncle passed away on that Friday.

I spoke to him once on the phone, he knew I couldn't make it. So, I spent that entire night looking for an early flight to make sure I catch up the funeral and handing over urgent work related tasks.

I grabbed the 8 am flight and I arrived around the same time with my brother and a couple of cousins who flew from Kuwait. I spent 3 days in mourning, met relative I haven’t seen for over 15 years, managed to miss my flight back to Dubai and spent half of my money on the business calls.

The trip has been very emotional. I attended funerals, but never been thru the whole thing (washing, wrapping, carrying and laying into the grave..etc). That was when I shut this blog down for a few days. It was a very moving experience to say the least.

So, today at work, I am still looking after 2 jobs while am being paid for one only, I am more in control of things and the replacement person should be on board soon.

I hope that explains my lack of inactivity here. Back then, Blogging hasn't been one the top of my to-do list. Though I did go to bed every night with horrible sense of guilt towards this place, the wonderful people I know and what they do or say.

Its good to be back …

Friday, June 02, 2006

And we're back!



Thursday, June 01, 2006

Starting all over

I was adding a new link to my blogroll and something messed up my template. I have to redo everything: links to other blogs, counters, buttons, stats ..

Fukcing annoying

Dubai Drivers are full of it!

I borrowed a friend's car for a couple of days the other week. The car is a pimpin brand new 2006 BMW 645 CI in a sexy sliver gray color. Not only that, car has a wastafarian license plate number.

Since its not my ride, I went easy on the car. Driving on Sheikh Zayed Road at 100 to 120 KMPH max. Here is the thing; At any normal day, driving at that speed on that road in my old dinged up beemer, I would've been flashed, tailgated, spat on, fingered, cutoff-ed, yelled at, given "the look" or even driven/pushed out of the fast lane.

But not that never happened!

Driving the new pimpin beemer, I would see speeding Range Rovers, Land Cruisers, Mercs, Beemers..etc literally closing in at "warp speed". The second they come close to beemers rear end, they gracefully over-take it from the right hand side, and carry on with their drag races.

One day, I was dropping a friend to Sharjah. And before hitting SZR, and I had a bet with a him that I will not be tailgated or flashed once, he bet that I have to be flashed at least once. it was a long drive and the time was 9 pm (no traffic, everyone is speeding), so the odds were pretty much by his side.

My friend lost the bet :)