Dubai Consumer Mirror

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yes... I love Dubai, sue me

Lately, I received almost half a dozen emails accusing me of being too "pro-Dubai," "a brown-nose for the government", "too blind to see what is really happening here" and -my personal favorite- "I get paid by Dubai's gov to promote positive news about it.

I won't post any of those emails because they don't deserve that credit.. but allow me to clear it out for those nice chaps..

If because I admire HH Sh Mo, you're gonna call me a brownnose, then knock yourself out.

I am one of the biggest fans of HH Sheikh Mohammed and my only wish before I leave this earth is to have the opportunity to shake his hand. This man is doing so much for his people and country, few leaders have come close to his accomplishments.

No, I am not too blind to see what is happening in Dubai. As a matter of fact, I see more clearly than many of you because I refuse to be herded like cattle to blindly follow the drivel published about Dubai in some of the world mainstream media.

And yes, Dubai government is paying me…… and you and you and everyone. Not in cash, but in something much more valuable: An experience.

Living and working in Dubai gave me the chance to be. To do things and go to places I wouldn't even dream of. Dubai is one of the safest places I have ever been to. (And believe me, I’ve been around). I am usually happy to see Dubai police officers, in many other places I've lived in before Dubai, I was beaten, insulted and humiliated by police officers for literally doing nothing. I've left my car, house, office unlocked, many many times and nothing happened to them. If I have a claimed right, there is a law mechanism that I can count on. It may take time, but I know I will get my right.

I am not saying there is nothing wrong with this place. There is plenty of room for improvements. Everywhere needs improvements. Even the most advanced “1st world cities”. 'Improvement' is a journey, not a destination. No body or place will reach a point, stop and say: "that is it. we are fully improved". You just keep that engine running. And this is what Dubai is doing.

So, bottom line to all ye Dubai-haters out there: Yes, I am pro-Dubai. A 1000 times more than you think. Now go @#$! yourselves.

Wishing HH Sh Mohammed a very happy birthday

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sour Reactions

Today, I read in the papers that a Chef in Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace hotel has been fined AED 92,000 ($27,000) for storing a bucket of yoghurt 1 day too long.

First, the Abu Dhabi guys need to loosen up a bit and maybe learn a bit more about the meaning of "Expiry Dates". Maybe this video can help.

Oh, one more thing... i just had yogurt that is about 1 week past the printed date of expiry.. and I enjoyed every spoon full of it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Economist gets on the 'Dubai bashing' bandwagon

Throughout this blog, you can find loads of Dubai criticism posts. I try to highlight things I believe should be corrected, and I do it because I live here and don’t want to deal with such crap. Whether anyone sees or reacts to my critiques, that’s a different story. At the end of the day, I am just another “blogger” that no one cares about what I do or say.

But when The Economist says something, everyone shuts up, holds breaths and for what could be ground breaking news or dark hidden secrets its investigative reporters will unearth.

I received via Twitter today a story The Economist did on Dubai. I stopped everything I was doing and immediately sank in the gradually flaming words as they built up to what I was hopping to be, the greatest plot unveiling since the Season 4 Finale of Lost.

One paragraph after another, everything so far was an amalgamation of old news that is already public knowledge. I gasped a when the name “Nasser al-Shaikh” popped and I thought.. finally!!, maybe the Economist was tipped to the controversial departure of this gentleman...

....Some think he was blocked from looking too closely into the accounts at Nakheel, among other firms....

"Some think"? What is this? Perez Hilton's blog? .. Oh well, moving on.

Again, another old story after another and a desperate attempt to put the article in a perspective, the editor is trying shape and shove down readers’ throats. I couldn’t find anything that could be officially defined as News.

The way I see it, The Economist failed to do nothing but fish for a piece of the action in the 'lets bash Dubai' game.

Two thumbs down.

2010 BMW 5 Series

Spy shots of the disguised, but all new 2010 BMW 5 Series. If you can look beyond all that hypnosis-inducing stickers with a bit of squinting, you may see how the car will actually look like.

Brought to you via Autoblog.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dubai and UAE bloggers, then and now

Okay, so I got to do the honorable thing. Mr. McNabb and @Catboy@Breakfast of Dubai 92 FM were gracious enough to include this joint to Dubai's most wanted. Thank you for that.

I'd like to include a few as well. Based on page ranking, popularity and sheer awesomeness... <- 100% Fun guaranteed. <- One of the most eloquent Emaratis I know. <- Insights into the UAE like no one else. <- A Young jet-setting experienced blogger and an old friend. <- I recently discovered Naseem's blog. Worth the follow for sure.

There used to be some REALY great blogs and bloggers, but that was before Mr. McNabb discovered the world of blogging (in random order) :

CG - doesn't blog as much, but its great whenever she does
Inmotion: She left Dubai for good. Pours her heart out on her blog every while - doesn’t' blog much
Kaya - Hilarious AUH mom of 2, running a private blog now
Secret Dubai Diary: The MOAB (The Mother of All Bloggers), one of the first in the UAE - Blocked by TRA
Bin Krishan: The FOAB. Outspoken Emarati blogger runs the controversial Land of Sand blog - Blocked by TRA
Sex-and-Dubai: Delicious half Arab half Brit blogging flat mates - Blocked by TRA
Secret Arabian Adventures: Three local guys, very funny but they retired as well – inactive
Buj – Emarati engineer – inactive, wish he'd go back miss his mini Piano sessions – inactive
Marwan: Discovered his true calling and is working in media - inactive
The Dasmals: Of the most heart moving blog about a husband's love to his wife struggle with Cancer - inactive
UPDATED - And how could I forget one of the UAE's best travel/photo blogs: M&J Adventures - Moved out of UAE spending time between Germany and the land down under :)
So, there you have it .. our own Dubai's and UAE's most wanted..

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dubai's most hated brands

Yougov Siraj is the Indian UAE version of Yougov, a global polling company that pays people $1 for every poll they participate in. These fine chaps decided found out that people here digg Nokia the most, as a brand that is.

And the top 3 are: 1. Nokia, 2. Google and 3. Sony. Riiiiight. Why can't anyone say what is Dubai's worst? I mean, if Yougov's really got it, it should have the balls to reveals Dubai's 3 worst and most hated brands. Right, we didn't think so either.

Lets agree on one thing. A hated brand is one that's whenever causally mentioned, you are hit with queasy gagging feeling and an urge to regurgitate your last meal. Its also one that you simply rather caught getting intimate with a goat than telling people that you work for that brand/company.

So, since no one has the kojones to say it outloud, here it is: Dubai's most hated 3 brands:

No. 3: Etisalat.
For helping the UAE achieve global accolades such as (1) offering one of the worlds most expensive iPhone plans, and
falsely blaming the regulator for it (2) making the UAE one of the most highly Internet-sensored countries (3) Keepign the UAE telecom sector as one of the world's least competitive by deliberately delaying systems that allows competition in the UAE.

I've contemplated including du for its nightmarish coverage and the never-ending dropped calls, but lets face it; du’s competition with Etisalat is like locking up a confused Chiwawa with a constipated Pitbull: Pointless that ends with shit splattered all over the place.

No.2: RERA
I am sure the guys at The Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA) are genuinely nice people. Unfortunately, they haven’t succeeded in doing anything to ease one of the most painful things about living in Dubai: Cost of accomodation.

When rents were uncontrollably going thru roofs and landlords were butt-raping every tenant they see, RERA decided to launch a
Rent Index that, more or less, gave landlords more thrust for their tenant deviant conquests (just read the comments there!)

Not only that, but RERA has drastically
failed to keep up with this index, which till today, no one seems to find it a true indicator of how rents should be.

....And Number 1 goes to….

Think of everything you loathed about living here:
congested traffic, endless road works, random fines, parking lot suffering, renegade bus drivers, unreliable taxi service and … wait a minute… SALIK; and now, give it all to one organization to handle: That’s Road and Transport Authority for you.

I have mixed feelings toward the RTA. For fairness, they’ve been trying, not too hard though, to perhaps get on Dubai’s better side by saying stuff that sound like ‘Calm down people! A Dubai Metro ride
will cost less than we actually wanted to’. Still the negative sentiment (abdominal restlessness, blurry vision ... etc) that comes along the 3 letter logo; it has rightfully earned that organization the rank of Dubai’s most hated brand.

Who else do you think should be there?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

2010 Toyota Prado Makes its way to the Middle East

Toyota Prado lovers can rejoice as the new, 2010 cut of the ever popular Japanese SUV is, according to Autoblog, has made its way to Middle East markets.

Enjoy the Spyshots here.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Confessions of a Dubai Shopaholic

Guess what, this is not about a hot chic trotting around in her Jimmy Choo’s trying to shake off a nasty spending spree habbit she started since becoming legally liable... Its about surviving what is officially now the world's 20th most expensive city.

Cost of rent, utilities and healthcare can be so expensive to the point, in some countries; you’d have the legal right to sue companies charging such extortionist prices. But lets not get into that (not for now at least) and tackle things are that more close to home. Things like buying groceries.

We’ll reveal to you a few tips that can help you cut down the cost of your shopping list without having to feel like you are stuck on an island and have to hide your Dharma Initiative stash from that fat dude on LOST.

So, the first tip for saving when shopping in Dubai is:

Do not shop in Dubai
If you have the stamina of a Roman bull and feel that you can withstand the torturous traffic ride from and to Dubai, do your shopping anywhere but in Dubai. Do it in Sharjah or even (gaasp) Ajman. I’ve been to places in Sharjah like Ansar mall or Fan Fair (next to the Fruits and Vegetable Market) in Sharjah and walked out with killer bargains.

Hit the fridge before you hit the supermarket
If you ever wondered why the heck did a box of Duck liver paste balls in licorice and anchovies sauce .... on a stick, found its way into your shopping bag, its most likely because it looked so yummy when you were shopping while starving. Or simply because you have disgusting taste, but that’s a nother story...

Bottom line, hungry is the last thing you wannna be while shopping for groceries. Grab a bite to eat before you indulge on your sinful grocery needs.

Make a god-damn list
Though there is a significant risk of ending up looking like the hairy version of Brie Van de Kamp from Desperate Housewives, but it sure beats your look when you reach home and discover that you already HAVE half of the things you bought - and the other half is basically shit you don’t need.

Shop alone
Shrinks and other renowned consumer behavior-know-it-all's think that you tend to grab more stuff off the shelf when both hands are free. So basically, shopping alone and pushing a shopping trolley or carrying a basket, you’ll have one less hand to grope that luscious, plump, round sweet melon at the fruit stand ....

Carry a basket, don't push a trolley
While on the topic of baskets, don’t you really really really hate it when you walk into the store for a carton of milk and some toilet paper, and you end up walking out with a shopping cart full of groceries? Well guess what: if you ate your broccoli instead of playing with it when you were 5, and went to the gym to actually workout instead of starring at the hot blonds’ ass at the treadmill…. then you would have carried a basket to work out those biceps. Not only that; a basket will be filled after a cart of milk and 2 rolls of toilet paper. Then the basket will scream and yell at you to head to the counter.

Trolleys, on the other hands are possessed with evil deominc spirits that keep asking you for more and more. Avoid them like the plague

Bigger is not always better
There is certain foodstuff that you are better off when buying in larger quantities. Sugar, flour, Oil – granted, you will save more for sure if you buy in large sums; AND, best thing is that you will always end up consuming them over a prolonged perioud of time - since God created them so durable, they can withstand a nuclear holocaust. But items like veggies, cold cuts, fresh cheese are always better bought them in quantities designated for humen, not for a clan of Jabba the hutt.

Special offers are specially made to screw you
Questions: Vendors bundle a special promo because:
a. Product will expire soon and they want to replenish shelves with the new batch soon
b. Product quality sucks and no one seems to buy, so they target douche bags who are only after the deal
c. Product is too expensive, so they create the illusion of “a value deal” by slapping a ‘special price’ sticker, and target the same douche bags as above
d. All the above

Guess what is the answer...

So hold on to your wallets and brace yourselves. Economies are still tanking, companies are laying off more people and more exciting times to come...