Dubai Consumer Mirror

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Places that I will definitely resume visiting, thanks to Dubai Metro

Deira City Centre
Its been almost 4 years since I last stepped into that mall. Heavy downtown traffic and drivers racing thru its parking lots, was always a turn off for me to spend anytime there. But with that out of the way, I'll be interested to go see all what used to be the No1 most visited mall in Dubai (and UAE, i think), went through over those long years.

With the introduction of its sort-of-prohibitive parking fee (Dhs 20/hr), plus unpredictable Bur Dubai traffic, the last time I was at this once favorite chill-out mall of choice was about 3 years ago. I will definitly start to revisit that place. Besides the memories we have there of the good 'ol days, its a change of scenery away from MoE, Festival City and Dubai Mall.

Naif Street and Al Musallah Road
I used to avoid this place like anything. Everytime i dirve there, I would never came out without a door ding or two, and of course, the psudo-nervous break down cause by Deira traffic.

What is so special about that area? Well, for a telco geek, that place is a shoppers heaven. For example, a phone cover in any 'known mall' goes for Dhs 75 or 100. Over there, you can easily get it for 50 to 75% less that price, if you where a good haggler of course.

Recently, I was looking for a 16 GB iPhone 3Gs, original factory unlocked. I got various quotes but nothing less than Dhs 4200/-. I got it from Naif for Dhs 3400/-

Plus, the best car accessories shops can be found there. Women will have a blast with the traditional garments shops and the famous gold souk near by.

Biggest problem for me there was the parking. All of Karama is a paid parking zone and because the place is a mix of commercial/residential, it gets really difficult to find a decent spot. Nonetheless, EVERYTHING you need can and will be found in Karama; branded (and fake) merchandise, clothes, household items, furniture, home maintenance gear ... and even Dubai memorabilia that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg to buy. I also remember a fresh veg and fish market.

Also, Karama is packed with authentic straight-up-and-no-frills restaurants from all over the world. Chinese, Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian (Veg, Non veg,) Arab, Iraqi, Iranian ..etc. Great food, generous portions, low prices.

Any other places you can think of?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When will this stop?

Oh, and he was a perfectly healthy individual....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Who hijacked Ramadan?

What happened to fawanees Ramadan (lanterns)? Where is the mesahharati and the light-crescent decorations all over the place?

These past few years, the only noticeable public display of Ramadan in Dubai is by the 'Ramadan special promos’ billboard signs on Sh. Zayed Road. Isn't that just sad?

Or are Ramadan decorations now considered to be بدعة من بدع الشيطان وبئس المصير

Why is it that I get to experience the spirit of Dewali and Christmas much much more than Ramadan's? Hats off to our Indian and Christian brothers and sisters who won’t compromise their pride in their cultures nor religion, and will celebrate it no matter where they are.

Whereas we dubai-dwellers are becoming lazier and more self indulged by the day. Sadly, the only official Ramadan celebration ceremonies these days are performed in a poorly ventilated overpriced makeshift tent, smoking shisha and gossiping.

I am off to Taraweeh now... then I will go look for Ramadan fanoos and hang it on our home balcony. Any tips on where to get it from will be much appreciated..

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ramadan Charity Question

If you had the chance to give, would you donate to a 'care package for Dubai's Labourers' or to a 'care package to families in Gaza'?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Eyes on Healthcare

I don’t know about you, but I lost count to the number of times I felt mistreated, misdiagnosed, or simply screwed over by hospitals, medical clinics and -specially- insurance companies. And the worst part was that nobody would know about my frustration but maybe the handful of people who read this blog.

But hopefully, that won’t be the case anymore.

There is a new portal, a medical one, that lists every hospital, private clinic, pharmacy and insurance company; not only in the UAE, but in the entire GCC area.

The best thing about it is that for every listed entity, the portals added a user-generated star rating system and allows submiting comments and feedback. The portal offers a true Web 2.0 experience. It is easy to look at and to use, and requires neither registration nor verification.

If you have something good to say about a doctor or a hospital, I encourage you to submit it there. But if you have a negative experience, I’d URGE you share it. So that those so called “medical professionals” can know that someone is now watching them and they can’t get away with murder anymore.

Thanks @PamelaFrey for the tip

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cooking Gas Prices in the UAE

Read in Gulfnews the story on UAE residents refilling cooking gas in Oman: "Residents take big risk to save a few dirhams" .... Actually, they are saving a bit more than just “a few Dirhams”. Here is how much it costs in Other GCC countries:

Bahrain: BD 1.125 (Dhs 10)
Kuwait: KD 0.750 Fils (Dhs 9.5)
Oman: Om 2.5 (Dhs 24)
Qatar: QR 15 ( Dhs 15)
Saudi Arabia: SR 20 SR 15 (Dhs 14.5)

Whereas in the UAE, cost of a medium size cylinder refill has been fluctuating between 80/- and 120/- Dirhams, but never below that range.

Now seriously GulfNews, can you blame them?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ramadan Promotions that are not so Special

Me: Excuse me, but can I ask you a question?

Union Coop Rep: Yes, how can I help you.

Me: I was looking at the Basmati Rice promos you have here, and noticed this: Green Valley Basmati Rice 5KG + 2KG free for Dhs 48/-. But on the lower rack, the same Green Valley Basmati Rice 5KG for Dhs 37/-. Can you please explain?

[Rep takes long deep look at price tags. Removes old (lower) price tag from rack]
Coop Rep: This is old price for 5KG bag... before promotion.

Me: [Silence]

This conversation took place yesterday, around noon time at the Union Coop Supermarket on Al Wasel Road, Umm Squaim.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gulf News, Community reports need checking too

I read this story in the 'Letters to the Editor' section in Gulf News this morning. The headline was sizzling with words such "losing control" and "poses danger"..

The report suggests a driver was using a "malfunctioning spare tyre..." and that ".. it belonged to a small car" and labeled the driver as a menace to society.

30 seconds on Google can reveal that this type of cars, GMC Acadia, is equipped with what is called a 'Compact Spare Tire'. It is very commonly supplied by many US and European car makers and is designed to be used temporarily for a limited number of miles...check here:

And since no one asked the prejudged/condemned driver, I can see that (by the supplied photo), the driver is sticking to the far right (slow lane), most likely at low speed, which usually aggravates our short tempered Dubai motorists. One can also assume he JUST had flat tyre and most probably is on his way to fix it to avoid over-running his compact spare tyre as well.

Sadly, people here get off on negative criticism, jumping the gun and making false assumptions. I can't blame Mr. Anil Nair (the letter author) for his ignorance about cars. But the Gulf News staff who endorsed his intolerant letter, should know a bit better.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

... and we're back

back from personal time off, away from everything, everyone and only surrounded by family and very close friends ... normal activity to be resumed soon.