Dubai Consumer Mirror

Monday, February 19, 2007

Living in the village

This is our 3rd week since we moved back to Dubai to a brand new overpriced apartment in what is supposed to be a "decent" residential area.

Let me just say that since the last time I used to lived in Dubai (that's about 5 years ago), things have changed here a bit, A LOT actually.

Everything is far more expensive and everyone is far less effective.

For starters, I've always seen myself as an accommodating person. I am not into micro picking on things; but dig this:

We still do not have any AC, the entire building is living on generators, we don't have any kind of cable TV service, Etisalat is taking its sweet time to hock up the building with any kind of connectivity options. Thank god for GPRS, oh but wait, Etisalat's coverage is only possible in some parts of the living room.. no where else. 60 fully occupied apartments are running on one elevator, garbage chute is not working yet and of course all the "facilities" that we were promised with are still 'work-in-progress'.

I will keep the gory details of the finishing (tiles, walls, plumbing) to myself.

Everyday, the landlord -and anyone associated to him for that matter- receives a barrage of angry phone calls from tenants asking why the hell is the delay and why does it feel like living in a village and paying over $3700 a month for it.. I can't blame them.

I, on the other hand, am still trying to find a way to get on the landlords good side to see if we can get an extra parking space.. The thing is, I counted the parking spaces below in the B level, and they less than the total number of housing units. Some residents will end up park their cars outside.

Oh well.. maybe above can give you an explanation to the 'activity downtime' on this blog. My only option is to blog from work, which I rather not to.

Miss you all


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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy St Valentine

Sometimes I really feel bad for my wife for marrying a tech-geek like myself.

On Valentine's, "normal" husbands would get their wives chocolates, roses and maybe a teddy bear. Yours Truly -on the other hand- got chocolates and a Zune!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Oh god I am in heaven..

I woke up at 7:00 this morning, took a really nice long shower, worked around the new house a bit, unloaded stuff from the car, played with my daughter, spoke to a couple of neighbours, tried to bribe the new watchman to get our cars washed for less AND had a bite to eat..

I left my house at 8:30, I cruised to work and made it to the office by 8:40 - before everyone else..

I am loving it.. :)

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New home update

Sorry for being MIA for a while, but I've been extremely busy moving homes bouncing around between Dubai and Sharjah. I am officially out of Sharjah and back to Dubai again...... At last!

So, whats been going on in the past few days...

The movers i commissioned were average, but not that great i am afraid - (NZM: your guy never called again). The reason they were average is that didn't do much unpacking. I found out that they left behind a couple of kitchen cupboards back in Sharjah that they didn't even pack.

Our master bed room suffered a series of multiple and quite visible scratches and dings. A number of other items were dragged and scratched as well

But, the workers were on time, quick and very polite. They worked hard. There work did cause damage, but i think it could've been a lot worse. So, I bought them dinner and tipped them about Dhs 50 each.. they were like 6 or 7.

Oh well..

New House
After 5 agonizing years of living under a basketball-loving-stomp-dancing-wall-drilling-door-slamming mutha, we decided to take the largest apartment on the top floor (6th. floor) where I knew, for a fact, that there won't be anyone above me causing any noises or something.

Well, I was wrong. I found out a couple of days back that the landlord thought that the party halls on the rooftops are better off (more profitable) turned into flat studios. So, they last minute civil works are still on and the banging starts at 7 am everyday.. Hopefully that should stop toward the end of the month.

Thanks to DEWA (Dubai Electricity & Water Authority), we still have no AC. It seems that there is enormous demand for DEWA's services because of all the buildings that are popping up everywhere in this area.

So, the landlord supplied power generators that are powering up the entire building. But can't do the ACs. Thankfully, that should be over in a couple of days AND the weather is actually OK. So, we are good.

Again, due to the DEWA thing, one of the two elevators is operational. But we do have an elevator boy (who is paid by the contractor). Its nice to have someone to hold the elevator for you when you are loading/unloading stuff on your own.

There are still a few snag items here and there that need to be sorted out in the new house. I am working on them..

I am not sure about car park availability for of our cars, thought we took the largest flat in the building, we may end up with a single car park. I am actually trying to find a "persuasive incentive" for someone in the landlord office to give us a couple of spaces in the basement - wish me luck :)

I still have A LOT of unpacking, trashing-of-unwanted-things, mounting, racking, shelving, boxing, drilling, cutting, storing, dumping and so forth. Bottom line is, I NEVER realised how much junk I have..

I am so glad I am out of Sharjah ... Its about time.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


Remember this about a year ago? Today marks Baby M's first year, her first birthday..

Happy Birthday baby, I love you so much..

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Question - Landlord

I found out today that the landlord of our new apartment in Dubai gets to keep a spare key of our front door. I know its morally wrong .. but is it legal, anyone?

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Super Bowl Ads

No wonder some of the best ads in the world are aired during the Super Bowl. This year, a 30 second spot costs a whopping $2.6 million!

Check out this year's collection here.

[Via TVSquad]

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Palestinian Jaaha

I just flew back from Kuwait a few hours ago.

I was supposed to catch the late flight on Thursday. My brother's best friend asked me if i can make it to his engagement ceremony that took place this weekend.

As mentioned in the previous post below, I was on a quick 48hrs customer mission to Kuwait. I didn't pack much cloths, let alone something formal to wear for an engagement party.

It turned out that my dad, brother and I were actually asked to be part of this friend's Jaaha.

For those of you who don't know, being invited to be part of a Jaaha is a real honor. I couldn't say No. I changed my booking reservation, bought a suit, tie, shirt, belt and new pair of shoes.. thats of course after getting my wife's permission whom I left in Dubai for the weekend. :)

Jaaha, Arabic for entourage, is when the male senior members of the groom's family pay the bride-to-be family A VISIT at their house and propose to the bride's father.

On the the brides side of the family, an equally large male welcoming party is usually on the other side of the hall.

It is mainly a Palestinian/Jordanian tradition. Some Syrian/Lebanese families still follow this tradition, but you'd only see it in rural areas or in families that are still holding on to this tradition.

This is how it all goes down.

The two main heads of the families do all the talking. The groom-to-be keeps his mouth shut and lets the big boys do all the talking.

In traditional, and i mean really really traditional families, negotiations on the arrangements and worthiness of the groom to ask for the girls hand in marriage can get really intense.

You see, the intensity of the negotiations reflects how dear and precious the bride is to her family. Its like saying, "we ain't letting our girl go that easy, you have prove that you deserve her."

That's why its imperative for the groom's family Jaaha to gather as much men as possible in terms of numbers, and as presentable and reputable, in terms of rank and social status. They will back the groom's father and demonstrate to the bride's family that they are worthy of their daughter.

Now back to last night's Jaaha.

My dad, brother and I were part of about a 40 man-Jaaha. So I wasn't worried about the number aspect. And as for the 'quality and rank bit', I think my dad, brother and I were the only ones that weren't doctors.

It happened to be that my brother's best friend is a doctor, his elder brother is a doctor, his sister is a doctor, his mom is a doctor and I think every uncle, cousin and niece is 'or planning to be' a doctor.

Bottom line, the guy was all pimped out and his posse was ready to roll.

I've never attended a REAL Palestinian Jaaha before and I was really looking forward for this one. And from the looks of it, its clearly seemed that I was with the stronger team.. go figure

So, we walked in on the hall. It took about 15to 20 minutes for about a 100 people to shake hands with everybody else, find places to sit and make sure that everyone is sitting in the right place.

My hopes for intense heated negotiations, people boasting their wealth, knowledge and social status died away quickly when the father of the bride said following the groom's dad 2 minute speech, "I accept, lets read Al Fatehaa"

"That's it?" I whispered to my brother who leaned back and said: "they agreed on everything last week. This is just for the relatives"

I guess that's how Jaaha's go down these days.

Oh well, at least I got to eat Knafeh Nabulsieh.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tuesday night

Tuesday morning I was asked to head to Kuwait for a quick customer-related mission.

I love going to Kuwait, especially when someone else pays for it. Now, the only problem is, it will srota delay my move to the new crib in Dubai. You can not imagine how much I can't wait to leave!

Anyhow, I packed up and picked up my ticked around lunch time. At 6:30, I grabbed a cab to Dubai Airport for the 9pm EK to Kuwait.

The minute I walked into the airport, I felt something different than usual. Everyone was happy!

“No, they can’t be THAT happy to leave this place,” I thought to myself.

The airport security staff, who are actually Dubai Police in suits, were the most pleasant; and they are not going anywhere.

Then it hit me! UAE won the Gulf Cup.

Just to set the record straight, I am not a football fanatic. I am not even a fan. The only football match I watch is once every 4 years. The Fifa final.

But when I heard about the UAE team victory, I was happy. It was a great moment. Though, I am not a UAE national and it should not mean a lot to me, but it did. It was great. UAE team kicked ass and I love them for it.

So, here I was, walking through the various security checkpoint in Dubai Airport with literally EVERYONE working there saying mabrouk, congratulations and well done to each other.

Immigration staff where cheering each other across counters and halls, having football small talk to everyone while stamping out travelers passports.

At the metal detector section, security guys were pleasantly welcoming everyone to walk through the radio-active rectangle and believe me when I say this; I HAVE NEVER seen people that happy to take off their shoes, belts and any other metal items they have on, like I saw it on Tuesday night.

In the Duty Free, all wall mounted screens were tuned to Dubai Sports Channel with runs and reruns of Sh. Mohammed excitement moment when UAE team scored their winning goal.

My wife called and told me all about how the streets were a big celebration scene with UAE flags everywhere, people dancing in the streets and cheering each other.

It was a nice feeling to have and I havn't felt it for a long time: Belonging