31 July, 2007

Murderous Al Salem bus driver

The other day I saw a bus barrelling down Sheikh Zayed road at what must have been around 160kmph. I even increased my speed to 140kmph to try and level with it, but it was too fast and the road was far too full of traffic to drive safely at 140 (which is illegal anyway) let alone go even faster to try to catch up with it.

Not only was the bus speeding, it was weaving in and out of lanes, including the "fast" ie left-most lane where heavy vehicles are usually banned. This wasn't even a minibus - it was a full size bus or coach, taller than a labourer bus.

The number plate was Arabic and it went too quickly for me to be able to read it, but it may have been a Saudi plate. I think the writing was red. The company name on the bus was Al Salem.

What should one do in a case like this? Contact Al Salem? Contact Dubai Police?

30 July, 2007

Kinky baby

Interesting to see what kind of offers circulate on the net for some kinky hours in Dubai.
Can't believe this site is not blocked.
I've been told many times by friends in the Dubai Hotel Industry that guests who visit in-house hookers at the hotels (or vice versa) must register at Reception for AED 200. Apparently this is a nice extra income for the hotel....sell the hotel room and then cash in on every customer additionally.

29 July, 2007

Everybody Dance Now in the Tune of Thriller...

Prison inmates in the Philippines practice their "Thriller" routine. This WILL be the best thing you see all day. Or month. (The Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center Philippines)


Another evil practise that needs more light shed on it! Our great Middle Eastern hospitality does not seem to extent to everyone. Especially if they are 'serving' us.


What can I say?

28 July, 2007

Purely a coincidence, then...

How can you not love the RTA?

On page 29 of this morning's Gulf News there's a half page ad, announcing the opening (?) of the Floating Bridge across Dubai Creek, complete with a rather odd satellite map of its location. Tucked away at the bottom of this timely announcement is a line announcing a ban on the movement of trucks of 2.5 tons and above, which are now forbidden on the bridge.

No connection at all with last week's sudden closure, and the class one, gold standard, grade A peice of double-speak face-saving gobbledygook also printed by an unblushing GN...

According to Dubai's RTA (Roads and Transport Authority), quoted by Gulf News: "The bridge was closed for about two hours as part of the contingency plan to conduct some technical experiments during the peak hours so as to ensure that the emergency system works effectively using the smart traffic systems." (Thanks, Fake Plastic Souqs)


27 July, 2007

Islamic Nation

This popped up a week back. Supposedly the reason why we can't discuss delicate issues [like sex, pornography...etc], the reason why Orkut [& various other sites] was blocked in the UAE is because its a Islamic nation. What Islamic nation are we talking about....we have so many amenities in this supposed Islamic nation that are against the Basic Islamic guidelines. So this isn't an Islamic nation, not even Sharjah is a Islamic city. Yes we know the various rules enforced by Sharjah, but that's just a single step...Its does not make it an Islamic city or whatever you want to call it.

If Islam was the reason for such restrictions, a simple Children's book called Harry Potter should be banned cause it promotes various thoughts, ideas that are not appropriate.

Now this isn't a post against Harry Potter[I've read them all] nor am I promoting the idea of restricting freedom of speech[I had made a post on Orkut some time back against it getting blocked]. I'm just saying, stop blaming Islam [the religion] for various restrictions laid down by this country we live in. Its the lawmakers personal choices/opinion not the religion.....they choose what to stop & what not to......

Some of you might not agree so argue if you must, but keep it clean of any offensive content.

26 July, 2007

Calling all Orkutians..

It is evident that established players are still active in Orkut, consistently finding ways around the system. But what about the lesser mortals?

The ban on Orkut has been a senseless one, and I had made an effort in vain, to mobilise an online petition to Etisalat. Unfortunately, I couldnt pass the message around effectively.

Im not giving up hope though; onto another attempt. Click here to go to the Etisalat feedback page for unblock requests.

Orkut is about the community. Do pass on this message. Click here to read the original post.


Facebook faces fraud claim

Read the article here.

25 July, 2007

Iraq Won!!!

I'm soooooo sooooo Very Very Happy
Iraq won against Korea in the penalties 4-3

Asia Cup 2007

Hazard lights

This has been in my personal blog from earlier this month (http://mitasrambling.blogspot.com) but I thought I would share it with the community at large. In case you were unaware (not possible for the drivers here in UAE), your car's hazard lights play a very important role and have a myriad of uses.

Hazard lights allow you to:
  • Park illegally ANYWHERE on a road
  • Stop in the middle of the road to ask for directions
  • Have a conversation with a friend you have not met in a long time
  • Drive in foggy conditions at speeds above 120km on major highways
  • Change lanes
  • Drive on the hard shoulder in peak traffic
  • Avoid putting money in the parking meter
Can any other driver think of any I might have missed?

24 July, 2007

Labourers in lament

As the summer heat draws on, I wonder why labourers are left standing, waiting for their bus.

Why do they wait? Where do they go?

22 July, 2007

New Chat Room

Hi everyone, last week I launched a new chat room which is targetted at people living in the UAE and people wanting to move to the UAE. It is a mixture of both chat and information. Please feel free to join my 'virtual world' at www.expatjam.com.

Geordie Armani

UAE Targeted by Fraudsters

How it goes: you get a call from a ‘No Number’ and most probably it’s a sweet female who’s trying hard to fake an American accent. Then she hits you with the wonderful news:

Congratulations, sir! You’ve won the lottery!

The prize is more than 50 thousand dollars! WHAT? But I never bought a lottery ticket! They know your full name, so forget about the fact that you never bought a ticket. You’re the winner, MAN!

Now to complete the transfer of the money, all you need to do is give them your credit card number, the expiry date and the 3 digits in the back. Wow that’s easy, but what do they need my credit card for? To transfer the money, stupid! Oh ok, in that case, there you go.

Now I don’t exactly know what they do with your credit card after that, but I’m sure it’s not something sweet.

It was discussed last week on the Emirati Dr. Phil show (Bu Rashid from Radio Ajman) where people called to complain that they’ve been getting international calls from people trying to con them into giving them their credit card numbers, one of them did but called his bank who immediately cancelled any incoming/outgoing transaction.

You might be smart enough to know that it's all a crock of poop, but somebody doesn’t, so please help by spreading the word.

The longer version of this can be found on my blog.

19 July, 2007

The new Harry Potter **MAJOR SPOILERS**

In case anyone can't wait two more days, I have a synopsis of the seventh Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I'm not going to post any spoilers here.

But if you can't wait and you're happy to be spoiled, email me.

EDIT: So it's finally out, I'm not going to put any spoilers in this post still, but if anyone wants to post reviews (including spoilers) in the comment section below, then feel free.

18 July, 2007

Just to the coward who thinks I am "proud and am an idiot"

18th July 2007

Why do people have to be so rude and narrow-minded ? Recently , Secret Dubai invited me to post on his blog and this was what I posted :

Hello , ! I am Mark and secret dubai just invited me to post in this blog. I am 28 and I live in The Springs.You might have heard ( or read ) my blog Words Of An Sgt.

See ya ,
I got about 5 Comments , most of them were cool and warm , except for one obnoxious coward whose too scared to at least give a fake name , who hated me for stating I lived in the springs !

"and I live in The Springs"....woww, you must so proud..."I LIVE IN SSSSSSSPRINGSSSSSSS"

Do you think I was what he said ? Tell me what you think . And if you are that person , ESPECIALLY BE SURE to comment back !


17 July, 2007

The Burj Dubai is Amazing!

Not only will the Burj "become the world's tallest tower on 21st July 2007", it will reduce the distance from Dubai to Al Ain:
On a clear day: The tip of the spire can be seen by a person 95 km (60 miles) away.
A person in the Observation Deck can see as far away as 80 km (50 miles), which is more than twice the distance from Dubai to Al Ain.
(The above viewing distances are based on calculations that include the earth’s curvature)

Real Estate? Boom? Who?

Officially on 10 September, I shall be homeless! My brother already is - well he's just taken up residence in my spare room and his furniture is all over my courtyard. So I'm back to house hunting again.

I still rent because I cannot afford the house I would like and don't want the ones on offer now. Officially - there is a real estate boom in the region; definitely in Dubai but who for? Not for us expatriates, especially those like me who have been here a long time. And by all accounts, not for the Emiratis either, if the media reports and conversations with some Emirati friends are anything to go by.

My main reason (and it could well be those of others) is that experience (I think 18 years in Dubai qualifies me) of this region tells us that anything and everything is liable to change - at a moments' notice. Which would explain why I don't have a house to my name or a flat or even a shack. Its also my perverse nature that shies away from buying into expensive council estates!! Ever looked at the buildings on Palm from the old Barasti bar or from the window of a high rise in DMC - thats what the buildings on Palm look like. But I digress.

So after living here in Dubai - it spoils you in some ways I have to say - I am seriously contemplating a move to Sharjah for two (in my opinion) very valid reasons.

Moving to Sharjah means I can still live in a villa and have a bit of a garden within my budget and hopefully even some money to spare for some more gadgets that means I am connected to my office and everyone else.

Moving to Sharjah means that I don't have to opt for living in a claustrophic flat with central AC because landlords of villas don't want to rent to single people! (Discrimination!)

Now I know that the Dubai Sharjah highway poses some problems (ok, so I'm downplaying this a bit; alright more than a bit) but as an entrepreneur - I can work from home thanks to Etisalat and its very capable broadband service (and I am serious about that - but that is another story).

So I've resigned myself to moving to Sharjah or Dhaid even. Anyone know any reliable landlords I can talk to?

iSmoked up, perhaps

I dont think iPhone is all hype and marketing. It has a million listed features, and an additional non-listed one. It's an integral ingredient if you are in the mood for an iSmoothie.

iPhone wasn't existed in a vacuum.

Unlocking the iPhone by John C. Dvorak: here

"Interestingly, none of the American reviews of the iPhone bothered to mention the Neonode, discussing the iPhone as if it existed in a vacuum. I've had a touch-screen-based Neonode for over two years. So there's really nothing new to the idea. The Neonode also incorporates a slew of gesture commands into the screen, so you can navigate on less space."

So Apple wasn't really creative they just found the right ally:
What was Apple thinking when it signed on with AT&T? I am completely baffled by this relationship. Was Apple insecure about the phone and thought that it would sell zero copies if there was no partner?"

Neonode were un-smart or un-devilish
"When I first heard about this phone, I equated it with the pricey Neonode touch-screen phone from Sweden. I have one of these phones, and it has many similarities to the Apple iPhone. But Neonode never intended to make any deals with the devil."

Myself I think Apple creating an amazing phone but what they did better than the phone was the marketing. YET its not a revoultionary phone, because there is a poor marketed amazing phone which is 2 years older than the iPhone that already encompasses most of the iPhone charachteristics.

16 July, 2007

Unblock the Blog

We're back! And obviously not pleased with the censorship of our blog, though grateful for the solidarity shown in the blogosphere through the petition SD created and the several resulting posts on other blogs.

With promiscuous behaviour rampant and in plain view in Dubai, it's a sad state of affairs when the Government would rather clean up the blogosphere instead of the city's streets.

While many of you may not be happy with the content of our blog, we can all safely agree that it being blocked is a dangerous infringement on free speech, especially given its anonymous nature and the fact that at the end of the day, it is social commentary on Dubai and a reflection of the ever increasing single population in the Emirate.

We have written to the editors of the city's newspapers and invite you to do the same. Our blog may not get unblocked, but together our voices may still be heard.

Gulf News - letter2editor@gulfnews.com
Khaleej Times - kletter@emirates.net.ae
7 Days - letters@7days.ae
Emirates Today - letters@emiratestodayonline.com

New Comer

Hello , ! I am Mark and secret dubai just invited me to post in this blog. I am 28 and I live in The Springs.You might have heard ( or read ) my blog Words Of An Sgt.

See ya ,
Mark Posted by Sgt.Mar



I'm sorry I'm just so happy!


THREE is the score OF BRAZIL
The Extra Time was Three minutes
(as if Argentina players can score a goal every minute)
Sorry for the colors but they are my new FAV colors

15 July, 2007

Try the iPhone in Dubai

It's not the first iPhone in Dubai, but it's the first one that the public can demo as far as I know.

Since so many people are into iPhone, I figured many Community Blog readers would be interested.

Playing the Devil's Advocate

I thought long and hard before penning down my thoughts. I could foresee the outrage of angry eyes shaking their heads furiously at my post wanting to come and stone me to death at my outrageous comment. I kept thinking should I or should I not but then being such a daredevil I thought what the heck, I'll say it and risk the wrath and anger of all the readers living in Dubai.

I actually think the government knew what they were doing when they instituted Salik - Salik means 'clear' and for people living in Garhoud to see the Garhoud Bridge deserted at 6:30 pm[a sight as beautiful as it's unbelievable] one must think that the government knew what they were doing and they knew it would work, because it has!!

That said, of course I think that the toll is excessive and I think that maybe they should have timings for it like they do in Singapore [like they do for parking here] and companies should pay for it, but as far as getting their goal accomplished, Salik's done that. As long as they don't decide to toll any more roads - as not only will it defeat the purpose but also become more crippling then it is now.

An addendum/P.S.:
A reader actually misunderstood what I thought was very clear in the first line - the 'angry eyes' mentioned are yours dear readers as you read what I have to say and the 'stone me to death' was metaphorically referring to the angry comments to that would necessarily follow

Facebook safe for now says TRA

According to an ITP article, the TRA is saying that Facebook.com is safe for now and that they have "no plans" to ban it. "There have been no complaints made about Facebook and there are no plans to stop people using it as of now," TRA said.

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Facebook is the second most visited site in the Emirates, according to the article.

Hi everyone

hey everyone...iam new here..feels like i just got into a new country and a new life..well actually i was born and brought up here but only for a short while..until my 5th grade..did the rest of my schooling and college in india..anyways iam back here now..dont know wat its abt this place that attracts me like a honeypot attracts a bunch of flies..maybe its the people and the quality of life here..i always wanted to come back here one day and work till i get fed up..
thats all i want 2 say for this post..will b back soon..wrote this from my office computer:)being a monday,everyone is just trickling into work...sayonara and b back soon..

14 July, 2007

A smile for the day, very funny ads

13 July, 2007

Blogroll Cleanup - Updated

To clean up the blogrolls, the admins have decided to take all blogs that have not been updated since March 2007 and move them to an "Inactive" blogroll, which should be ready in a few days. The following blogs have been removed. If any of these blogs should not have been removed from the active list (i.e. the last update date is wrong), please let one of the admins know.

[Update] 16 more added at the end

Dubai bloggers' meet (Last Update: 28-01-2006)
GeorgeHopkin.com (Last Update: 18-04-2006)
Middle East Media (Last Update: 31-05-2006)
Dubai spy (Last Update: 01-06-2006)
Arsal's blog (Last Update: 07-06-2006)
Black Collar Worker (Last Update: 26-06-2006)
Right Angle (Last Update: 17-06-2006)
Stolen Dubai diary (Last Update: 02-06-2006)
Ahmed's Site Map (Last Update: 13-06-2006)
Dubai FCP users (Last Update: 23-07-2006)
At the Movies (Last Update: 27-07-2006)
The Moon? Sun? or a planet? (Last Update: 30-07-2006)
Ergo Dubai (Last Update: 17-08-2006)
Mirage Studios (Last Update: 26-08-2006)
Al-Hashr (The Gathering) (Last Update: 17-08-2006)
Mirdiff Lite (Last Update: 04-09-2006)
Life in Arabia (Last Update: 03-09-2006)
Paradoxic Dymunds (Last Update: 13-09-2006)
Red LipStick (Last Update: 26-09-2006)
Driving in Dubai (Last Update: 15-10-2006)
Kaboom Times (Last Update: 06-10-2006)
The Desert Skink (Last Update: 08-10-2006)
The Shabaab Of Emaraat (Last Update: 06-10-2006)
UAEview (Last Update: 04-10-2006)
Autoguy (Last Update: 25-10-2006)
Communicate magazine (Last Update: 10-10-2006)
Philosopher's Stoned Theories (Last Update: 14-10-2006)
Photo unit UAE (Last Update: 10-10-2006)
UAE Web of Life (Last Update: 07-10-2006)
Emirates Reuters (Last Update: 25-11-2006)
Raging Issues (Last Update: 01-11-2006)
Secret Arabian redux (Last Update: 20-11-2006)
The pickle in your shawarma (Last Update: 09-11-2006)
Career Mentoring (Last Update: 08-11-2006)
Phanchology (Last Update: 16-11-2006)
dengrousboy (Last Update: 11-11-2006)
Distant Thunder (Last Update: 09-11-2006)
Freedom (Last Update: 25-11-2006)
The Woods are Lovely (Last Update: 24-11-2006)
ultrablue552 (Last Update: 06-11-2006)
Wind Roses (Last Update: 08-11-2006)
Falsaf (Last Update: 13-11-2006)
Immigrant Diaries (Last Update: 25-11-2006)
NaNoWriMo UAE (Last Update: 29-11-2006)
Fresh Dubai (Last Update: 02-12-2006)
GulfPearl (Last Update: 28-12-2006)
Thirteen in Dubai (Last Update: 20-12-2006)
Yin Shui Si Yuan (Last Update: 06-12-2006)
Your man in Al Ain (Last Update: 07-12-2006)
Dubai Rent & Property Info (Last Update: 08-12-2006)
Postcards from a Wanderer (Last Update: 26-12-2006)
Shedding Kommissars (Last Update: 08-12-2006)
Sand in my pants (Last Update: 17-12-2006)
Freneza Arabulo (Last Update: 15-12-2006)
Freneza Arabulo (Esperanto) (Last Update: 15-12-2006)
Muslim women writing (Last Update: 02-12-2006)
Dubai Mist (Last Update: 06-01-2007)
Pulling the puzzles apart (Last Update: 27-01-2007)
Abu Dhabi Sunshine (Last Update: 29-01-2007)
Balushi (Last Update: 15-01-2007)
Jobless and Broke in UAE (Last Update: 21-01-2007)
Matt in Dubai (Last Update: 27-01-2007)
Dubai Magic (Last Update: 20-02-2007)
I Think; Therefore I am (Last Update: 19-02-2007)
MAG 218 Community (Last Update: 02-02-2007)
Mediasans (Last Update: 25-02-2007)
Roundabout Dubai (Last Update: 05-02-2007)
DM Blog (Dubai Marina) (Last Update: 12-02-2007)
De Grouchy Owl (Last Update: 28-02-2007)
Der Kommissar (Last Update: 13-02-2007)
Desert Pundit (Last Update: 10-02-2007)
Driving in Dubai (Last Update: 04-02-2007)
Dubai Dating Chronicles (Last Update: 12-02-2007)
Eyes of Dubai (Last Update: 12-02-2007)
Hiya's Choices (Last Update: 16-02-2007)
Introverted bliss (Last Update: 26-02-2007)
Kismet 101 (Last Update: 14-02-2007)
Ravings of an AUSian (Last Update: 20-02-2007)
Roundabout Dubai (Last Update: 05-02-2007)
Sophia Farag (Last Update: 15-02-2007)
Why, Dubai? (Last Update: 21-02-2007)
Absolute Lee (Last Update: 18-03-2007)
Blinging Dubai (Last Update: 27-03-2007)
DG Diary (Last Update: 20-03-2007)
Emarati Nickel & Dime (Last Update: 11-03-2007)
Everyday Dubai (Last Update: 15-03-2007)
The Desert Mirage (Last Update: 22-03-2007)
A Blessing in Tragedy (Last Update: 24-03-2007)
A Girl in the Pamirs (Last Update: 11-03-2007)
Bdwai (Last Update: 10-03-2007)
Dubai'en Chic (Last Update: 09-03-2007)
Lost in Translation (Last Update: 30-03-2007)
Midnight Siesta (Last Update: 31-03-2007)
Momentary Musings (Last Update: 24-03-2007)
Viva Las Dubai (Last Update: 17-03-2007)
Kalam Wa Kalimat (Last Update: 11-03-2007)
Rediscover Quran - Do You Really Know This Book ? (Last Update: 24-03-2007)
Arabic UAE community (Last Update: 15-03-2007)
ORB-UAE Creative Club (Last Update: 25-03-2007)

[Added at 9:30]

The Noisy American Last Update: 1-1-2007
Online Forex tips Last Update: 12-10-2006
Dune Bashing Last Update: 1-6-2006
Dubai42 Last Update: 17-10-2006
Metroblogging Abu Dhabi Last Update: 20-4-2006
Gridskipper: Abu Dhabi Last Update: 2-2-2007
jamshaid Last Update: 22-6-2007
Healthy Food UAE Last Update: 23-12-2006
Dubai Diary Last Update: 2-3-2007
Garmoosha Last Update: 23-2-2006
Within The Psychosphere Last Update: 24-3-2007
Amiri.info Last Update: 30-1-2007
Middle Eastern expats Last Update: 30-1-2007
Dhabyani Last Update: 5-11-2006
Sharjah Diva Last Update: 5-3-2007
Godolphin Last Update: 6-7-2006

12 July, 2007

No more sex in dubai

It appears Etisalat has decided to block the popular blog Sex and Dubai.

EDIT by SD: Please click here to sign a petition to get the blog unblocked.

Etisalat $1bn profit

From AMEInfo: "Etisalat has reported a 33% rise in profit to $1.02bn for the first six months of 2006."


11 July, 2007

Dubai Most Congested City in Middle East

Not sure if this has been posted before, but I really thought Cairo was the most congested city in the Middle East!
Dubai is the Middle East's most congested city with a growing number of cars overwhelming the transport system, a study said on Saturday.

Commuters in Dubai, a Gulf Arab trading and tourism hub, spend nearly two hours in their cars per day, often in bumper-to-bumper traffic, recruitment company GulfTalent.com said.

Spiraling rents in the emirate, where population growth is outpacing the supply of housing, are pushing people to cheaper areas farther away from the centre of town, raising commuting time, GulfTalent said.

Spending on transport infrastructure in Dubai and other Gulf countries has lagged investments in more glamorous mega projects, such as a tower in Dubai that developers say will be the world's largest when complete next year, the study said.

The 15-kilometer commute from the neighboring UAE emirate of Sharjah, where many expatriates live, takes an average of two hours and 44 minutes roundtrip despite two express highways, GulfTalent said.

Dubai's average total daily commuting time was one hour and 45 minutes, resulting in reports of stress and fatigue among drivers.

Dubai is planning to spend at least 75 billion dirhams ($20.42 billion) over the next five years building roads, bridges and a metro system.

Well what do you know ... it really is the City of Superlatives!

10 July, 2007

Oliver Stone/ President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Would like your comments on my blog site. Thx.

Happiness is no accident?

It occurred to me this morning as I made my way to work through the Salik section of Shk Zayed Road that it has been a remarkable two weeks. Dubai Police reckon that, after Emirates Road, this section of SZR is the most accident-prone in the UAE, and can quote depressing figures for death and injuries occurring by the hour.

Yet the past two weeks have been, until this morning, accident free, continue HERE


GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING PPL Miss Typos and spelling mistakes is here today! Anybody missing me =) I don't think so... I don't care vat eva dats not vat I vanted to talk about today in dis post...
wow today I'm in a bery good mood...
So today I want to say why I prefer AD over Dubai As A UAE LOCAL
#1: AD is Safer
#2: AD is Richer
#3: AD is Salik free and its roads are VERY SALIK
#4: AD 's rents are more reasonable
#5: AD is a place where I feel I belong as An Emarati/Muslim
#6: AD is a place to stay, Dubai shop and run away
#7: AD is holding more cultural events that are related to my identity as an Emarati
#8: AD is where his highness Sheikh Zayed is staying forever and so my heart.

Don’t anybody dare saying this post is personal grrrrrr…there have been quite much of personal posting by other members leave my AD post alone!

09 July, 2007

First Mcdonalds?

I am going to use this space for some personal quest I am on.

I was having a trivial discussion with some friends about the opening of the first McDonalds in the UAE. I was arguing that it was in Al Ghurair in the mid 90s but they were saying it was in city centre. We all went online to find some information regarding this issue but could not find anything.

Do any of you remember where the first McDonalds opened in the UAE?

I need to end this feud I have started with my friends :-)

08 July, 2007

No fish on Friday

Having been so impressed with the quality and variety of fish on display on our new LuLu Hypermarket last week, I paid a return visit yesterday. We had a couple of friends coming to dinner, and as it has been a little while since I did any serious cooking, our thoughts turned to fish. Maybe a turbot, steamed with ginger and spring onions. Or a nice piece of halibut, served with wilted greens and a sauce vierge. Spent a happy hour with Gordon Ramsay and Charlie Trotter looking for inspiration and ideas. More HERE

07 July, 2007

Online Hotel Booking

Anyone booking hotel properties in the UAE or abroad, avoid this one: hotelrentalgroup.com

Basically, you go through the normal online booking process and finally come to the payment form. They indicate a total charge and even explain further in a footnote:

Once the reservation confirmed, we will charge the amount of ______ (USD).

The indicated amount is identical to the earlier mentioned total charge.

All fine and good until you receive email confirmation a day or so later. Whatever that total charge was, you are now provided a total charge which includes a $15 per person surcharge. So, if your reservation was for two persons that's an additional $30, for three persons an additional $45 and so on. Complain, and they point you to the hotel info page that, if you had scrolled down on, you would have found their $15 per person surcharge mentioned. Still, they conveniently forget to list this on the payment form where the total charge is highlighted in red minus the surcharge.

Avoid them! Try www.asiatravels.com or www.asiarooms.com.

The Parking Lot Effect on Palm Island Seabed

So here I am yesterday on my small yacht with some friends trying to escape the heat of Dubai so we stopped between the Royal Mirage hotel beach and the Palm island. As soon as the yacht stopped I jumped in to cool off, only to feel even hotter in the water!!

How can that be? Water is supposed to cool you off not feel like a Jacuzzi, but hey it could be something with water being trapped between the beach and the Palm Island. So we decided to move on and pulled the anchor of boat only to find it’s full of cement on it, not sand!!!

That when a friend said “this is the parking lot effect, the asphalt on the seabed produces heat instead of the sand absorbing the heat.”

Welcome the Moral Police!

Not that Etisalat a.k.a TRA wasn't enough with its moral police doing the unnecessary rounds to ban access to all websites possible, but now Gulf News has joined them. Under the headline "Gulf News IT department is watching you", we now have one more reason to be scared.

Some people will do anything to get their point across. The Gulf News IT department got an alert that one person from Abu Dhabi is trying to rig the poll results.

The question was whether Gulf News was right in highlighting the issue of adult content on orkut.com? Despite precautions taken against such rigging, people seem to go to extreme lengths to sway the votes.

I never knew the people or the government gave so much of a damn to Gulf News' online polls. Not that KT's narcissism wasn't enough, we have yet another one joining the league.

Source: http://gulfnews.com/nation/News_In_Brief/10137572.html

06 July, 2007

Facebook next???

According to ArabianBusiness.com the next online community website facing a ban could be FACEBOOK!!! I can't believe such a cool site might be blocked when it is so much better and advanced than Orkut. You can always count on Gulf News to lead the pack of morality wolves. Are there all mutawwas on the board of the TRA?!
Read the article here

05 July, 2007

The Region's First CSR & Sustainability Report!


"Though perhaps the notion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) may be relatively new to the region, it is far from foreign to the integral way of life in civil societies. The concept, through basic principles is deeply woven in the thread of a society’s history, culture and religion

Therefore, for an organisation to develop an alignment of such activities and endeavours and be able to maintain a relative norm in the socially responsible manner that it would conduct itself as a responsible corporate citizen, it is therefore only natural to have a neutral body that would guide and assist in this process.

Through its dedicated team, the
Dubai Centre for Corporate Values has developed methodologies and processes for such accomplishments. A plan and program for an implementation is what the centre would assist in, including raising awareness and knowledge building as well as the development of CSR strategies.

Therefore, aiding in integrating such principles within the business activities of companies across the region is what the
Dubai Centre for Corporate Values is committed to."
Copyright © 2007

Download a copy in Arabic and/or English here

Changing the face of online community

A new application is being developed that will integrate an instant messenger application with the Facebook. The application will display all of your friends and allow video chat, video messaging, and more. Airwaves is a combination of Adobe’s AIR (previously Apollo) and the Yahoo! Messenger Vista client.
Click here to follow the post.

New World

This pic has inspired me to write my latest post on my blog MAZAJY “Political Coincidents”. Walaken (but) what really impressed me about this picture is the comment by the artist who created it, here. It is just thrilling to see un“brain washed” Americans who think out of the box and who can see what the world is seeing about their regime's democracy.

04 July, 2007

Orkut blocked!!!

So Etisalat has blocked Orkut... I knew this was going to happen. One day they will even block Facebook. Why don't they just think rationally and use some of that common sense which they've locked up in the banks vault?! Are they going to keep blocking these kind of sites just coz of some "immoral" pages? It doesn't make sense to block the entire thing! Crap...

BBC's Gaza correspondent released

BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been released by kidnappers in Gaza after nearly four months in captivity. to read more about it here
EverytimeI checked the BBC web page and saw his pic in the footnote I was praying he'll be released, and he was released thanks to HAMAS =)

03 July, 2007

Win....a free bottle of water!

It doesn't get any better than this.

The next time you win a free cap - thank the stars.

Orkut + immoral activities = field day for GN

This is not an issue of national importance but still seems important to me. Not because its a threat against my orkut social life but in general against the freedom of surfing the net. The following article was published in Gulf news

Orkut.com 'being used for immoral activities'
By Daniel Bardsley, Staff

Dubai: Calls have gone out for a controversial website to be banned
amid fears it is promoting promiscuity and corrupting young people.
UAE residents have contacted Gulf News to say Orkut.com should be banned by the authorities here because it contains sexual content.

Hundreds of people have posted profiles under the 'Dubai Sex' listing and there are countless indecent pictures on the site, which is used by people across the world.
Other UAE residents say the site is good for tracking down old friends and other innocent activities.

Orkut.com was blocked once before in the UAE, but Etisalat unblocked the site after many people wrote in calling for it to be allowed. A UAE national, who declined to be named, said Orkut was being used for 'immoral activities'.

read more......

Now this is just ridiculous. The internet is such a media that if you want to see 'stuff' online, there is always a way around the proxy of Etisalat. Blocking social sites like orkut won't make a difference to such people. Plus many people like me use orkut to communicate with friends. I've met about a dozen of my old friends who I had lost contact with through orkut. Next thing we know, they'll block yahoo games cause some people promote there personal adult sites there. Okay maybe I am getting a little personal, but its already a pain for a person like me not being able to use flickr, not orkut too......

The Salik Song

(Please sing in tune of OMC's - How Bizzare)

Brother Ahmed's in the back
Sweet Sameena's in the front
Cruising down the freeway
In the hot, hot sun

Suddenly yellow orange lights
Flash us from behind
Loud voice
"all will please stick a salik on the front"

Ahmed breathes words of comfort
Sameena just hides her eyes
RTA taps his shades
Is that a Salik tag?

How bizarre
How bizarre
How bizarre

Destination Garhoud!
Home is across SZR!
As we pull in for some gas
A freshly pasted poster
Reveals a Salik from the pack

How bizarre
How bizarre
How bizarre

Ooh baby, (ooh baby)
It's making me crazy, (it's making me crazy)
Everytime I look around
Look around
Everytime I look around
Everytime I look around
Everytime I look around
It's in my face
It's in my face

For one blessed minute, forget Salik.

Because some things are *more* important.

5 ways to keep your windscreen clean.

I guess many of us would've got this email forwarded to our inboxes today.
Thought I'd share it here....

1. Starting off from the Deira and Hor Al Anz area, this route will take you through Shindagha tunnel, passing through Al Mina and ending up in Al Diyafah. At this point, you can either take Al Wasl Road or Jumeirah Beach road. This route will take you straight to Dubai Marina avoiding the Salik toll gate, or you can take Al Diyafah Road to get onto Shaikh Zayed Road.
2. Coming from Sharjah on the Dubai-Sharjah highway, this route will take you to Maktoum Bridge by way of Al Ittihad, direct to Shaikh Zayed Road. Alternatively, you could take the floating bridge which will connect you through Oud Metha and rejoin Shaikh Zayed Road. You can then take a right straight to Madinat Jumeirah on the fourth interchange. (The floating bridge will be complete in July.)
3. Coming from Sharjah by way of Al Qusais, you take the Dubai Airport Tunnel and go straight through Festival City and over Business Bay Bridge. This will take you to Zabeel Road and connects you to Shaikh Zayed Road at the first interchange. You can take a right at the fourth interchange to Madinat Jumeirah or alternatively, you can take the third interchange and get onto Al Wasl Road.
4. The third alternative route coming from Sharjah is by Emirates Road, all the way through until you get to the Arabian Ranches, after which you take the next right straight to Al Barsha. Just behind the Mall of the Emirates, you can turn left to Al Mafraq Road, that links up to Shaikh Zayed Road, allowing you to avoid both Salik toll gates.

From the areas of Mirdiff and Al Rashidiya, one can take a short ride on Emirates road and turn right to Ras Al Khor road and join Shaikh Zayed Road via the third or fourth interchange. You can either take Shaikh Zayed Road or go across to Al Wasl Road or onto Jumeirah Beach Road.

02 July, 2007

So you really care about labourers, do you?

Some popular bloggers claim they care about the UAE when their posts are all really propaganda = in simple words: complaints, complaints and more propaganda.

And when the time comes that they have to pay up in terms of Salik, suddenly their complaints on the subject forget to mention the so-called "poor treatment of labourers".

When the time comes for cash to exit their own pockets, they only think of themselves. What hypocrisy.

Salik, and any other complaints you may have, o complainers, also happens to affect, amongst yourselves, the poor little labourers whose "lack of rights" you so dearly "speak out" against.

And not one of these o dear complainers' posts against Salik include the "disadvantage" of the even longer distance labourers have in getting to their own dear old homes.

What a selfish, two-faced blogging-world we live in.

01 July, 2007

Another word on Salik...

After three days of not being able to get into their website, finally this evening I have.

I clicked on 'News' to see what the reports of today's traffic chaos might be.

Stupid, I know. I'm in Dubai and I'm expecting a website to be up-to-date!

Here's the latest news from the RTA, copy & paste from their website this evening, July 1st:


RTA selling Salik tags in petrol stations and banks in preparation for official
launch July 1
- June 04, 2007

RTA continues preparations to activate Salik on July 1st
- June 03, 2007

The latest news they have for us is dated June 4.

Salik, Aalik, Halik

Salik, in Arabic meaning smooth flowing

Aalik, in Arabic meaning stuck

Halik, in Arabic meaning doomed

Is it appropriate, yes for a place with a complete transportation system in place, where most use public transport, where there is no congestion on alternative routes, where there are appropriate tolls on all other major arteries creating zoning areas.

So where does the money go?If you don't pay and get fined, does that relate to your car registration?

I guess then there will be no WASTA for all who will pass, forget to pay, not want to pay etc...right?

Sorry but it's the wrong time to implement such a system in the wrong place.

Shopping with Lulu

Finally, after months of anticipation, the new LuLu Hypermarket in Al Barsha opened its doors. Shame it is such a copy of the current dominant rivals, Carrefour and Geant, each a clone of the other, and both aped by the new Hyper Panda in Festival City.

Yet despite aiming at the lowest common denominator and falling short, the new Lulu does have a number of redeeming feautres. It really is worth figuring out the lunatic access route through backroad Barsha. . Continue reading and share your impressions HERE


Salik, Day 1 - and how was it for you?

So, life in the new era. Seems to be pretty much what was expected. Chaos.

Shk Zayed Road this morning was carrying less than half of the usual traffic. I crossed Garhoud Bridge at about 8.15 without ever having to slow down for traffic in front. At a guess, Friday morning levels of traffic. Expensive bliss.


My preferred alternative was impassible. From the Greens/Jebel Ali Racecourse roundabout to Al Khail Road, at a standstill. And I have just heard that the queue in the other direction backs up from the Barsha/Greens traffic signal all the way to the Al Khail Road slip.

Anyone comment on Al Wasl or Beach Roads?


Confessions of a Salik Fan because it Suits Me.

8:15 am, in the morning, still in bed trying to stretch the weekend to a few more minutes a few more seconds, until I am awaken from my half asleep and half awake state, "Come on honey, today is your first SALIK day", says hubby who has a reason to be snide because he rides against the traffic everyday from Burdubai to Diera. Sighing, I drag myself out of the bed lazily and finally I am awake after a quick shower. I put on the least fussy clothes, hair and makeup, a glass of milk and I am ready to go.
8:45 am, drive out the Bur Dubai Golden Sands, into the mainstream traffic where the construction of Dubai underground is going on. Traffic seems similar to any other day though I am curious to know what happens after I cross the Trade Centre to which I get after two red lights.
8:55 am, cross the under pass and am now on the Sheikh Zayed road. I notice that the traffic which on most days was very slow here is moving fast. I move my car to the left lane and “step on it”. I feel a strange sense of relief and my car is off to a good start. I am hoping that I don't get delayed near the exit 47 (the exit to avoid Salik on SZR). I pass the exit with little or no difference in my speed. On the other hand I see cars queuing up to the next exit before the media city.
9:00 am, successfully pass under the toll gate although I am wondering that since I pasted my tag on the left instead of the centre of the windshield as per instructions, would it make a difference and whether I would be fined for not pasting it in the centre. You might ask me why I didn't just paste it in the centre. Well, I took a call on better aesthetics. I know it still is not something that I would like to paste on my car especially because it's orange but I thought it would still do some justice to my car by placing it on the side rather than the centre and making it less obvious.
9:05 am, slide smoothly into the media city and feel that it's not so bad to live in Bur Dubai after all.
(my husband on the other hand says that it took him 2 hours to get to his office in Deira from Burdubai).

"lack of evidence"

Gulf News, Page 3, 01 July 2007