Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just to prove it is me

Timestamp on this ad as it is getting a lot of traffic. BTW. Why 700 views on Dubizzle?

Don't ask questions. I'll tell you later. Things with CSI are heating up and so is my rent again!

Last ditch effort

The response has been crazy!

Last Ribs in Dubai

As you may know from a previous post, I am a fan of ribs. Love my baby-back, baby-back ribs!On of the benefits of Dubai is that not only can you get infidel juice, but also infidel meat. The government is good like that. Put up a sign that it is for non-Muslims, and infidel away! I have been craving the ribs at the Arabian Ranches golf course for two days now. When I read the news about no more pork this afternoon, I was concerned I would not be having my dinner. I managed to get there about 8:30 tonight hoping that they are far enough out in the sticks they wouldn't know that they were not allowed to sell pork anymore. I was right. As I put the last barren rip on the bone plate, the manager called a meeting to let staff know that pork was not available anymore effective immediately. Ah, sweet victory.

In case you haven't heard, we have a global financial crisis (I mean) recession (I mean) PANDEMIC! Get your freak on, people, it's Piggy Flu time!

Like the poor oinkers don't take a beating enough in this country, as of now all pork for sale or consumption is banned. No more ribs. Bugger. Seems the flu is the victim of an unfortunate name, seeing as you cant get it from consumption, but rather person-to-person transmission. They didn't ban poultry during the bird flu outbreak. Will we get pork back when this is over? Guess we'll see.

Seeing as fellow blogger,Seabee already spoke my opinion for me, I suggest you check out the story HERE. I 100% agree with what is said there.

What scares the shit out of me is that the W.H.O. said that increased personal hygiene would stave off infection. Hygiene. Really. You can tell by the vapours in the air already that hygiene is not high on the agenda of many in these parts. Besides that, there is air-kissing and hand-holding like nobody's business. I think we're going down.

Roll clip of "28 Days Later"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nothing to do with Dubai

Time for another gem from the Interwebz. Nothing to do with Dubai, just impressed with people's skills and amount of free time! The guys in this vid use the same effect as Akon and T-pain (and Cher). Funny stuff.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dubai Extension Cord

I love this. I spend money on quality equipment..ladders, tools, various supplies. In my line of work, I do it right and get it done. What amazes me is the fact that there are other contractors that will spend hours making something like a haphazard extension cord for power, rather than drop 50 AED on a proper one. What the hell is wrong with these guys? Here are some shots from a current job I am doing on the Palm Jumeira. Judging by the buggies in the driveway, would you think the client cuts corners? BTW, it is a young married couple that hired me. Good thing they got the X5/X7 in black AND white. What you can't see is the slickest 911 in town in the garage. My buggy is not in the frame, sadly. Can you spot any issues?

"Hey, I'm loaded and have more cars than I need"

"Hey, I can't spring for a real extension cord and do this stupid shit."

"I'm a total retard and put home made extension cord IN the pool."

"yup, confirmed, we ARE running the power directly through the pool."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Only MIke has a Comment?

I'm a little surprised. I know I said it before, but this time I am TRULY surprised. Two articles down, I offered to open up Pandora's Box, based on your responses. A couple of hundred people viewed the post, but only "Mike" commented. What gives. A simple yes/no would do.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dubai Darwinism

My goodness. Does this really get printed in the paper? Are there people THAT retarded? What is this world coming to?

1)How stupid do you need to be to "back into a boiling pot"?
2)Was this pot at floor level?
3)If people were charged with this man' death, god help us all! (god purposely lower case)
4)Disassociate yourself with anyone you consider mentally inferior to you THEY ARE A LIABILITY!

Here's the link
Here's the story for you lazy bastards:

Cleaner dies after falling into boiling pan while mopping floor

By Bassam Za'za', Senior Reporter
Published: April 15, 2009, 23:07

Dubai: Three workers have denied liability for the accidental death of a cleaner who fell in a hot pan - that contained tamarind sauce - while mopping the kitchen floor of a catering company.

Records showed the Indian cleaner was mopping the kitchen floor when he accidentally fell in to the boiling pan and incurred 40 per cent body burns.

Rashid Hospital's medical report confirmed that the victim, S.M., succumbed to his burns after 17 days. The Public Prosecution charged the three Indian workers, 52-year-old S.A. and 21-year-old N.C., assistant cooks and 45-year-old baker, D.N., with accidentally causing their compatriot's death.

The defendants denied their charges and pleaded not guilty when they appeared before the Dubai Misdemeanour Court yesterday.

The suspect argued before the judge that lack of attention on the part of the deceased led to his death.

According to police records, the victim was mopping the floor at the catering company's building in Jebel Ali.

Initial investigations revealed that S.M. walked backwards while cleaning the floor when he tumbled and fell in the tamarind sauce.

The suspects said they saw him screaming loudly in pain before he stood up again. The defendants rushed the victim to hospital where doctors said he sustained 40 per cent average burns. He succumbed to his injuries after 17 days.

Police's primary investigations revealed that S.A. ordered the other defendants to take the pan out of the oven and put it in the kitchen.

The police officer who conducted the investigations claimed that N.C. and D.N. failed to cover the pan. The trio were reportedly held liable for S.M.'s death and forwarded to court. The judge adjourned the case until the defendants submit their defence.

Don't get me wrong. I feel bad for the dude and his family et al. But Jesus, help us.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Using the Power of Internet for Evil

So here's a question. I have no idea of the legality of it, but....

It's no secret that my ex-good-for-nothing company whom I lovingly refer to as CSI jerked me off many months back. Long story short, I have not been paid a fil in seven months. No severance, no monies owing, nothing. It adds up to quite a tidy sum and I want and need it. Repeated meetings and discussions have gone nowhere, and it is beyond silly now.

As fellow blogger Naseem pointed out to me, search rankings in Google are easily achieved via Blogspot and other methods. Now, this blog was never meant to achieve any status or recognition, but it seems there is a decent readership these days. And yes, I know I need to step up and post more articles.

Here's where we can have some fun. I am wondering about a "Name and Shame" post for CSI. If the article were named correctly and submitted to the search engines accordingly, I can guarantee you that my post would surpass the company's own search rankings. Their dirty laundry would be aired for all the customers to see. Considering, for such a sizable company, their web savvy is piss poor, it would not be hard to get a tell-all post to the top of the rankings. It is difficult to find their site even if you are looking for it. How would that be for them to have potential and current clients reading how they treat their people?

My sole motivation would be to get results, as in PAID. Up till now I have never mentioned their name nor muddied their reputation in any way. What do you think? Illegal/legal? Should I do it or not?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Selling a car in Dubai

Caller/loser: "Hello sir/ma'am, in light of today's current economic downturn, I know you have your car listed for 24,000 AED, but I vood like to offer you you 12,000 AED........"

Me: "Huh?"

Looser: "Vell, you know der is a global financial crisis and prices are being cut"

Me: "yeah, and so...."

Looser: "Vell, I would like to offer you fair market value"

Me: "My car is the best value of it's kind for sale, it is realistically priced, check it out"

Lowlife: "Ve have, and 12k is out last price offer"

ME: "that's great, thanks for wasting my time and I hope you burn in hell, get bent"

Twat: "getting what?"


Shit-tard: "Ve thought ve could help you in this time to raise some money"

Me:"I don't recall writing 'desperate' in the ad. The car is for sale, 24,000AED, not a fil less. And how can you make an offer without seeing it or driving it?"

Bobbler: "Ve just look at the ads and make a guess"

Me: "Guess again, asshole"

What is wrong with these guys? I have never in my life looked at a used car ad in the paper or online and thought "I like that, I will call at random and offer half, never seeing it, driving it or knowing why they are asking the price they are". In Canada, you would be laughed off the street, and no one would ever dream of offering something so embarrasing. Why is it so here? Is it the bargaining mentality? Fair enough, but have a goddamn reason, not just an arbitrary figure in your head or think you "know how it works".

'cause you're wrong, cuz! I have for sale a very nice BMW Z3. Low miles, great paint, great condition and all service records. The price is listed as 24,000AED, not 48,000AED hoping to get half. 24k. That's the price. 12k? Wha? No, 24k. For 12k I would honestly destroy the car in front of potential buyers. I would take donations, call all potential ass-hat buyers together then proceed to get Medeival on the car and smash it to bits.

I hate you, car buyer. That is why I put my email on the ad, not my number, hoping to pre-screen you assholes. Sorry if I am abrasive on the phone, but I am over your shit!

end rant


2 nice gentlemen came to view the car. One Spanish fellow, one Brit. Both said they had done their research and felt that the car was worth the asking price. BOTH offered full price, and are in a bidding war with each other. Looks like there are some normal people in this city that know a deal when they get it and don't push their luck. The new owner gets his new buggy Saturday. Good news.

Now I don't want to sell it (of course).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Marnie Pearce Tragedy

I think we have all read about Marnie Pearce, the Brit lady charged with "adultery" after letting a guy use her computer, etc.

I have to say I have been a bit of a passive follower of this story, but only because the facts and the whole story are never printed. As you can read in the attached link, the asshole husband as well as the mistress' family confirms HE was screwing around. Regardless of who the cheater is/was, this story is so amazing, even Amnesty International considers Marnie Pearce a "prisoner of conscience".

What is shocking (maybe not) is the degree of cover-up or lack of publication of the facts. Very sad indeed, that authorities think it is better to jail a woman, separate her from her kids and ruin lives. All this while the beach-sex couple gain celebrity status and have their case dismissed. What the hell kind of world is this? These ridiculous laws and rulings are what is printed in countries with a free press. If the powers that be had an ounce of common sense and decency, they would think for a second what they are doing to their image.

Still from the video of kids being taken away.

Stories like this make me puke on my shoes. I could not even watch the 2 minute video past the one minute mark. Shame, shame, shame. This case LITERALLY means a man can have an affair, give the cops a few used rubbers and tell them it was his wife that did it.

Personally, I think the woman's story is 100% true and the prick she married should be hunted down. Good thing the UK papers printed then names and story, hopefully this dude's career will be ruined. You can sign the petition to have Marnie freed.

Here is the article, which BTW has been vetted by "real papers as well.

I just decided, he's this week's 'hole as well. And I forgot to include his picture and name. His little tartlet is in the pic as well...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Great Article on Dubai Real Estate Agents

It has been said before and discussed to death. The past few years, Real Estate agents here have been more like order takers than sales people. You are not "selling" anything when buyers are lining up to purchase your wares. The marketing department did the job for you by wrapping the Gulfnews in the latest splashy Tower Du Jour. Seems of late these poor guys actually have to have some kung-fu and actually sell something. They might need to know what they are talking about to have a competitive edge, huh? This article doesn't pull any punches. It is amazing that some of these guys are resorting to sleezy used-car-salesman methods. Not the least bit surprising, having dealt with some of theses nitwits in the past! I like how the author goes to town on Better Homes, long considered a leader in the UAE real estate market. I'd like to share a vat of infidel juice with the author. I like his style. Another gem article from Arabian

For those too lazy to click, here is the article:

Are estate agents the smartest guys in town?
by Anil Bhoyrul on Sunday, 22 March 2009

There are two schools of thought when it comes to estate agents. Either they are incredibly astute, sound, well informed and only interested in getting you the best deal going – or they are third rate shallow imbeciles who will sell their grandmother at the first available opportunity.

Which is it? In my search for a good property bargain over the past three months, I have been inundated with unsolicited calls from estate agents. Presumably word has got out on the street that “Bhoyrul is buying.” (or Bhoyrul is borrowing). As a result, they regularly pass vital market information on to me in “total confidence.”

Here are just a few recent lines.

“I shouldn’t be telling you this, but my boss's cousin works at HSBC. And they have been told that the market has already bottomed out, and in fact, prices in some parts of Dubai rose 12 percent in the past two weeks. This is triple A confidential. You really need to buy a property before the weekend or you will miss out.”

Really? I suggest the guys at HSBC get on the phone to the White House asap, as President Obama needs to get hold of this info right now.

How about this call I received yesterday. “I have a seller in the UK who wants 300,000 sterling. Now that works out, on today’s exchange rate of 5/1 at AED1.5m today. However, my uncle works at the Bank of England, and he told me – and please, don’t pass this on or I will get in serious trouble – that next week they are going to put the rate up at 7.5/1, which means the price will go up to AED2.25m. If you can complete the deal this weekend, you are saving yourself over AED700,000.”

Incredible! I had no idea the Bank of England sets the UAE exchange rate – again, I suggest Bank of England governor Mervyn King emails me at anil.bhoyrul@itp.comThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it , urgently, and I can pass on the estate agent’s contacts.

And let’s not forget the magnificent Ryan Mahoney, managing director of Better Homes, who suggested the market has turned because more people are visiting his website. Personally I think he’s a complete xxxxxx (use your imagination here).

So what is really happening? Could it just be, that after years of sitting by the phone taking sales orders in between eating Shawarmas, thousands of estate agents in the region have been struck by lightning.

They are having to make a sale, something they have never done before, and have no idea how to do. They will tell you nonsense, rubbish, or downright lies – take your pick. Or am I missing out on the deals of the century?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NBD and Emirates Bank...nice try

You know, looking back, I see I bitch a lot about government institutions. It is not a conscious effort, it just happens. It is usually these institutions that cause us residents a great deal of stress. It drives me nuts, but that is the way it is. The point of this Blog is to "tell it like it is" to potential residents and expats coming here and help them avoid the pitfalls that come with moving here.

I will say for the record, if I can score a decent gig here in the coming weeks, I will be happy to stay here, conform and put up with all the bullshit associated with living in Dubai. I made a 3 year minimum commitment when arriving and I am happy to see it through, but these bastards need to come to the party as well.

It is no secret that expats from every corner of the globe have been taking off and leaving their debts behind. There is little recourse, as when your visa is canceled, you gotta go. If faced with being trapped here and potentially going to the clink or taking off and leaving behind your debt, I would chose the former.

Let's be realistic for a second. Dubai is quite the rumour mill. There is a new BS email circulated or a new BS "law" you hear about every day. It is viral here. Back to reality. Many people have lost their jobs and had visas canceled. That sucks. These same people need to leave the country within 30 days. They own cars, houses, have credit cards, etc. The rumour du jour is that you can't leave the country if you lose your job. You "hear" that you will be turned around at the airport. This is complete and utter crap. Garbage. Drek. Get real.

Just to clarify, I have left and returned since losing my gig, and I also know several other people that have. We all have loans of some sort and have had no issue. I wish people would use their heads and think about it. YES, if you bounce checks and have legal issues, you are in shit....but if you are paying your bills, have a positive bank balance and carry on, you're fine.

Question: "Can a foreign Government detain you for losing your job?" I think not. People own cars and houses here that are nowhere near paid off. Do you think if you lose your job, you are now a prisoner? How the hell can the bank possibly keep you from leaving if you are paying your bills on time and are leaving the country. They can't or I think you would see several thousand "guests of Mo." Also, jailed people have a tough time paying their bill, me thinks!.

Over the past (almost) 2 years I have banked with Emirates Bank, EBI, or NBD, not sure who they are this week. I got a call a few weeks ago from someone there (in addition to the weekly "would you like a retarded-interest-loan" call) They/she was wondering if I had a new salary certificate to deposit with them as there is not one on file. I informed her that I do not have a job, but my loan is being paid and is guaranteed, so what is the problem. She said "no problem, but perhaps I would like to pay off my loan". I told her no, that I was fine with status quo, and why would she ask me such a question. Her reply: "Just checking dear, have a nice day". What are they checking? That I am still here?

Last week there was a good one. For the record, I keep my money in my mattress, not in the bank. Banks go tits-up these days and I don't trust the bastards. I made a deposit on a Tuesday to cover my monthly expenses, and of course it did not get credited in time (a day late, even after spending 2.5 hours at the bank). I got the following text from some she-twit at "Emarits Bank":

I texted the following back to said she twit:

She called back, I tuned her in and have never heard back.

My take on it is that they are giving these banktards some sort of incentive to get expats to pay up (or see if they are even still here). That is all well and good, but stupid methods like this? Are you serious? Get lost you twits. Banks are not the ultimate authority here or in any other country. I assure you, both local readers and son-to-be-expats....the banks can blow it out their ass. Keep the bills paid, you will see no problem. Don't let them try you on, and there is nothing illegal about calling them on it. Jackoffs.

BTW.I am happy to supply this bank employee's number to anyone interested for verification.

Dubai Ministry of them

The poor muffins. I think if they gave an award for the most useless piece of shit on the internet, it goes to the UAE MOL. Just a pile of steaming camel poo. As far as a self-service site....balls. Completely useless!
In no particular order:

1. Good luck finding the English link
2. If you find it, any forms are in Arabic
3. Most (if not all links are broken)
4. The maps do not enlarge=useless
5. No one answers the phone numbers given
6. Shittiest gov't self-help site on the net.

I was totally shocked. The e-portal should be functional and informative to reduce call and visit volume, would you not think? I guess they have covered all bases by (1)making the site so useless, you give up surfing, then decide to call, so (2) when you finally find the phone number after 30 minutes of surfing, they don't answer. After getting so annoyed you are "going to drive down there and do this in person"..the maps don't load and you can't see where the hell to go.

Not impressed, but so appropriate for here. I would give them a piece of my mind, but don't know how to get a hold of them. Yet another official agency appointed the AOTW. (I am seeing a trend here, sadly).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I know..more coming

Sorry gang. Been a busy time fighting with CSI. Have some ideas for some topical posts. Check back later tonight. (watching some local dudes get shit-canned right now) Strongbow, tequila shots and mixed company. Infidels. (I am having an over priced coffee) What is awesome is they are speaking English for some reason!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shout Out to Montenegro!

I am interested who is reading the blog. As mentioned before, Google Analytics is a powerful tool. You can see who visits, from where and how long, etc. Since the blog has been live, several hundred people per seek visit, but no one cares to comment. A blog can be interactive as well as helpful. As mentioned before, I frequent a local Dubai Expat Forum, a decent tool for advice whether visiting or considering a permanent move here.

I'd be curious to know what is on the reader's mind. I find it amazing that most South Africans read the blog from beginning to end, spending almost half an hour on average on the site. The next is Iran. Albeit only 5 unique visits, they spend an average of 15 minutes.

I am still considering a national tour in Malaysia. 97 unique visitors?!?! What are you learning? What do you need to know? What is the connection between Malaysia and Dubai?

Comments are open, readers. Chime in!

P.S. Montenegro....your board of tourism needs some marketing lessons. Those ads on CNN look like they were produced by a high school media class. Looks lovely, though.

485 Dirhams for a Friday Night!

And all I did was go grocery shopping! Seems everyone I know is out of town so I had nothing to do. The Mrs. had a night out with the ladies, so I dropped her off and made a move for Choitram's. I was hungry as hell and DYING for some bacon, and I knew I could get my fix at Choitram's. My covert pork-op led me to the infidel section around 9:30 last night. My vision was blurry from bacon withdrawal, but I knew I could make it. I was like a kid in a candy store there, but drew the line at 3.5 lbs. of bacon. Half a pound for dinner and the rest to stash in the freezer.

Last night's trip to the grocers was not a weekly "shop", but more of a sustenance trip. Like no combination of any items in the house could possibly pass for a meal, so I HAD to go. I walked in the door fully knowing that I was hungry and to avoid the impulse purchases, barring a small item to snack on for the trip home.

It is a little strange to go into a grocery store you are not familiar with, as you need to be on your guard. It is like you are on foreign turf, in a strange country and you literally need to keep your hand on your wallet. All those items you toss into the basket at your local, you need to double check for price on foreign soil. For example: a block of cheese that costs 12 AED at my cornershop is 26 AED here. Why? Back on the shelf with it. I was armed with a list, so if I stuck to it, I would be okay (other than the tin of cashews that were designated my drive snack)

I ended up with a total of 32 items...not all different, had some multiples of some but here is a synopsis with the Australian Dollar equivalent beside (as that is our next move), then the price for the same product available at Safeway in the US. (I'm not American, but we can all relate to the USD):
1. Toilet tissue AED 54/ AUD $23 (USD $7)
2. 1 litre milk AED 10/ AUD $4.25 (USD $3)
3. Butterball Turkey roast AED 60/ AUD $25 (USD $15)
4. 6 cans of cat food AED 30/ AUD $13.79 (USD $6)
5. 8-pack AA Batteries AED 23/ AUD $10.00 (USD $6)
6. 4 potatoes AED 02/ AUD $ 1.00 (USD $1)
7. Carton Marlboro lites AED 65/ AUD $26.50 (USD $30)
8. 4x 40w Light bulbs AED 8/ AUD $ 3.50 (USD $8)
9. Nescafe instant coffee AED 15/ AUD $ 6.50 (USD $4)
10. 3x1 lb. Bacon AED 93/ AUD $39.50 (USD $11)
11. 1/2 lb. Bacon AED 20/ AUD $ 8.50 (USD $3)
12. 250g Dutch Gouda chz. AED 17/ AUD $ 7.00 (USD $4)
13. 1/2 loaf white bread AED 4/ AUD $ 1.75 (USD $2)
14. q-tips AED 5/ AUD $ 2.00 (USD $2)
15. 4Xcans of baked beans AED 32/ AUD $14.00 (USD $8)
16. 4X sausage rolls AED 10/ AUD $ 4.00 (USD $4)
17. Doritos (small) AED 6/ AUD $ 2.25 (USD $3)
18. 5x peperoni sticks AED 16/ AUD $ 7.00 (USD $3)
19. Can of cashews salted AED 15/ AUD $ 7.25 (USD $5)

TOTALS-------------------> AED 485/AUD $206.79(USD $125)

You can throw out the items that are at or close to par, but the totals don't lie. take a look at the items, then think about it. The price of shit tickets is out of control, no wonder there are ass hoses in every bathroom. The bacon price is on par with truffles (I guess it IS a rare delicacy around here). Even things like the turkey roast and cat food are crazy. You can see by comparison to the USD prices, if everything is over priced, how quickly your grocery bill can get nuts. YES, rents are coming down to an extortionate level vs. murderous level, however, the cost of living is still crazy. After excursions like this, it makes me want to cut and run. In Australia, for 206 dollars, I could have a trolley filled to the top, not just a few random bags I can carry in one trip.

For those of you still considering the move here, be cautious. Don't let people trick you into thinking things are getting cheaper. I had a discussion with a recruiting agency last week regarding the cost of living and they have no idea. Hold your ground and let them know how it is just to buy groceries here.

BTW, the can of cashews I bought for the drive home never happened. I went to pop the top and the stupid pull-tab came off. I only bought them for the drive, but instead, had a 15AED passenger on my seat that now required a can opener. I should have just gone to McDonald's.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

This week's 'hole protects us...

...helps us make decisions and parents us and leads us from our devious ways. By being the moral compass of the internet, DU is able to decide for me (and you) what internet sites we can visit. I will admit, things are looser now than were when DU first introduced the proxy last year. A fellow blogger has a few dandy posts here. I recommend the blog as well, quite good reading the archived bits and he says he will be updating again soon. Seriously, how frustrating is it to see this page:

I read a quote on the aforementioned blog that something like 40% of the 'net is filtered or scrubbed for us here. In fact, the company that does it, Secure Computing, calls their morality tools "Webwashers". How appropriate. I am a big boy, I can make my own decisions and have my own moral compass, but like everything else here, the decision is made for you.

As a complete shocker, I see that the new "screw-you-we-say-no" page has changed! There is no longer any reference to the Religious, Cultural and Moral values of the UAE...yada yada yada. Let me double check. Yep, not there anymore. Instead they just say "because we said so". I guess that shoots my research and argument into the shitter. (I actually researched this one!) Well, those of us that have lived here for a while are familiar with the "consistent with.....etc. page". I guess I can assume we all know why the internet is washed here, the same reason you can't have a beer before sundown during Ramadan. Avoid temptation. If it's not available, you can't cheat, right?

Like I said in the opening paragraph, they ARE getting better, loosey-goosey, or maybe they did a while ago and I didn't notice. Or maybe the net-washers are in for repair. I dunno. I have been going through a list of sites that were published here and to my surprise, most sites were readily available. We have all had hassles with Youtube, Facebook and others (almost daily) as they are being scrubbed as we get the info into our computers. In fact, I would go so far as to high-five DU in their chilling out.

In doing the research for this post I stumbled across something surprising. SKYPE is accessible and free for download. I just did it tonight, no VPN. Switching to current affairs, the Israeli Government porthole is available. I thought all things Israeli were banned? Again, I'm impressed, DU. Again, maybe an accident. In researching, I found a few surprising things. Firstly, that Youtube was once blocked, as was social-retard site Twitter, of which I am a member. (went full retard second post). I was totally shocked to see that a site like UAE is readily available. They don't say nice things about the powers-that-be on that site.

If we fully delve into the sensitive nature of the UAE morality and internet blocking, there are a few weird ones. Why is the Budweiser website available? It always has been, as well as various other "infidel juice" websites. I don't get that one, infidel juice is evil. Other infidel-related activities that have been, and still are freely available are web pages with instructions how to obtain "herbal products" in Amsterdam, as well as pages of "herbal remedy coffee shops". I was totally shocked before my recent trip there that the ads and links are all over when you Google ANYTHING Amsterdam related. Like that is the only reason for going.

My wife and I download a great deal of torrents, as the TV also sucks here. (Hey that's provided by DU as well). We use a couple of very pedestrian sites to get our boob-tube. Occasionally, there are some good TV shows on I won't link it, as it is blocked. Apparently this site has some bad-boy, internet voodoo tools on it, but rather than blocking those sections, they block the whole damn site! Thanks guys!

This one is funny, but again an example of how they are loosening up there at DU. A family friend was looking at having some cosmetic surgery to fix some Caesarian scars on her tummy. She had seen Dr. 90210 on TV, but could not access the site to read about the procedure. When she called me I thought she was joking when she said the site was blocked. I went over and installed "my little friend" in her computer and Bob's yer uncle. Why was it blocked? It had pictues of Vajay-jays on it. These weren't s.e.xy V's, but medical Vajay's. C'mon DU, a Doctor's website? It just occurred to me to re-check, and lo-and-behold, it works fine, even the photos.

Now the dodgy shit. We all know the internet is ripe with porn. Seems you can't Google anything without there being an element of porn listed. What about dating? Is that SUCH a problem? I happen to know someone here in Dubai that genuinely wants to connect with someone. If you are not into the bar scene, work long hours, etc. How does a middle aged lady meet someone. I, for one, applaud her in being resourceful enough to look to internet match-making sites. The problem is, is blocked here. Seems you were meant to be solo and lonely here, the problem compounded if you work for a Government or local business with no social outlets. If you Google "Dubai dating Forum" you get pages of links available. Mostly forums and expat help sites, but still the same opportunities avail themselves there. The opportunities are there for fornicating if you like.

Something I noticed and long suspected is that the DU webwashing machines are language related or something to that effect. I still can't figure it out. Some sites load, some don't. By the time I wrote this and then went to make sure links worked, etc. some didn't. Are they following me? How did that happen? At least be consistent in your blocking, right? The parameters are fed into the the computer and it scrubs and culls until someone actually fills in the "bitch" form and submits it. That's fine and dandy, but why are mellow, low key dating sites blocked, but much more raunchy, foreign sites are not? Seeing as we were just in Amsterdam, the land of alleged debauchery, I Googled "Amsterdam escort service" and got pages of results that loaded, actually every second one loaded. Not sure what the deal is there. I was sure it was because they had a .nl extension, that's why they would load. I was kinda right, but not really. I don't get it. Seems you can't meet a nice ladyfriend or manfriend online here, but you CAN line up your hooker for a trip abroad. Try it and see what you get.

The real gaping hole in the whole net-washing thing is peer-to-peer filesharing sites like Limewire. It seems Limewire is turning into the same bag of shit that Napster and Kazaa once were. You type into the search box "Paris Hilton" because you want to hear her new cutting-edge-I-want-to-be-relevant single, but instead, it is nothing but links to her "film debut" and the occasional song. All the content on Limewire is downloadable, so what is DU doing to sensor that? Internet censorship is a touchy issue everywhere in the world. I am of the opinion that the individual user can make their choice what sites to visit and which ones not to. For those that want to protect their kids, they can download or install filters for their kids (although I am sure the kids are smart enough to hack around it). I think the random blocking, although admittedly getting more liberal is another perfect example of a half-assed attempt by the powers that be to instill their values and morals on the rest of us.

A special treat for those that read this far:

Another thing that seems to work is if the dirty pictures or video are embedded in a blog. I was researching this piece last night and testing out the proxy and what it picked up and did not pick up. You know how it link-to link-to link...then eventually get lost in the cyber world. Anyhoozles...I ended up on some (I think) German or Czech blog. I can't read a damn thing, but ended up clicking away at the hyperlinks. I was definitely "lost in translation" trying to prove my point. It was just perfect when my wife came downstairs to see me sitting at the computer with some chick stripping in a video window. I didn't ask for it (AFAIK) it was just there. Maybe if DU had their shit together, it would have saved me that hassle. "Sure you're surfing porn for research"...."right".

She is still not talking to me. DU, you are definitely assholes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

However, no Time Frame was Given

This is the closing phrase on most ingenious government schemes here. However, it allows the fellows in the dash that is dish to sneak in their little rules. Some of which are actually beneficial, like the "let's ban 10 year old cars from Jan. 1" rule that was never implemented. Someone on December 29th thought "holy camel shit, what the fck are we going to do with a million 10-year-old-probably-perfectly-fine-can-we-dump-them-in-Sharjah?-cars". Screw it. Lets NOT enforce this rule, however, lets NOT tell anyone, so cars that are 7+ years old are treated like metal lepers. (Anyone want a lovely BMW 2000 Z3).

The rule that is on the table now is the (used to be) much feared mandatory 6 month labour ban if you left your employer. There are certain exceptions to the current rule, but I think it only applies to Astronauts and people with a proven ability to zig-zag through the system. (Those that want to avoid a six month ban can do so, but it is a real pain in the ass). It looks like the rule is up for review and I applaud them. Seems the single-number plate boys are thinking that it is time to come to their senses. It is no longer a hardship to work here as it was a few years back, but it is no treat either. Many of us (including myself and some friends) just don't want to deal with the crap of visas, blood tests, etc. If people are made redundant, they can camp out on their residency permit (bought and paid for) and look for another gig, or just chill on the patio scene.

Further to that, shit might get done around here. Employees might be tempted to leave "DFA Contracting", paying them 100 widgets a month to go work for "Get It Friggin' Done" Contracting for 200 widgets a month. The difference being that DFA has no motivation, but "Get it Done" has. It will help separate the men from the boys and really encourage competition based on quality and expertise. God knows that the main contractor I work with has a grand total of about 4 decent dudes on staff. The rest sleep on the lawn. It would give these guys the ability to say to their bosses, "hey bastards, I perform, people know it, pay me more, or I'm outta here".

Getting rid of the labour ban would ease tensions everywhere. People would be tempted to stay and search out jobs, start businesses, etc. I know personally, until I realized that I could still do visa runs, it was a concern for me. Once that visa is canceled, the clock is ticking. You can't work without an NOC (good luck) and you have 30 days to leave. Leave your remaining rent that you paid, leave your friends, and probably leave your car and a bundle of debt at the airport.

Let's face it, the visa is bought and paid for for three years. Even if you transfer, you need to do all the medical hassle and all the forms again, right? Streamline things (don't think there is an Arabic word for Streamline or efficiency). I propose, if you have covered your probation, and therefor are considered a valued employee, lose the ban, keep the visa. Seems simple enough, right? Dole out NOC's, it means you don't need to pay for people's flights home. It would be helping everyone in my opinion.

What concerns me is the old standby, "No time frame was given". That means it is on the secret program or the never-never program. Pass the law and then shout it from the rooftops. Use your heads. The article is found here, in the Gospel according to Mo. As it is quite lengthy, I'll post it below:

Ministry of Labour to review six-month work ban

By Wafa Issa, Staff Reporter
Last updated: March 01, 2009, 23:04

Dubai: The Ministry of Labour is reviewing the six-month work ban, enforced when a person cancels their work permit, to facilitate for labour movement within the country, said a ministry official.

Abdul Razaq Qambar, training officer at the inspection department at the ministry, said during a seminar on wages aimed at raising awareness on workers' rights, that the review of the six-month ban, including the scrapping of the ban, is on the table.

"The ministry is studying different means to facilitate for labour movement within the country and the reviewing of the ban is part of this," said Qambar.

However, no time frame was given.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nothing to do with Dubai

But this is the funniest thing I have seen in ages. Literally have tears running down my face. Nice to have a good laugh once in a while. Now that the blog traffic is increasing, welcome newcomers. Feel free to leave a comment or question. I love that people take the time to do these comedy videos. So worth it!

BTW, I think I found this by Googling "Dubai" video or something similar on Youtube but only typed "Dub".

Friday, February 27, 2009

I Take back what I said

As far as the below post goes, I think I spoke too soon. I happened to look at the phone the next day and it said "Sim Registration failed". Wasn't sure what that meant so I rebooted the phone, then put the Sim in another phone. Same problem. I called DU, and they were having "system issues" with certain numbers. They said they would have it fixed in half an hour, by 12:30. They said the same thing at 2:00,3:00,4:00, then finally at 5:00 they said they wold sort it by 6:30. They did, but not being able to make or receive calls all day kinda stinks. Especially after singing their praises the day before. 'holes.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

DUbai internet and thee sux

Quite frequently at Dubai Helping Hand, we bitch a great deal about internet speeds and quality. It is almost a weekly event. Anyhoos...a couple of funny things transpired last night with regards to this. I picked up a DU sim card last night from the local mobile shop, after CSI didn't pay the bill on my Etisalat bill. Switching to the 055...we'll see how it goes...more on that later.

So I gets me manual out and it says to go to the website to check out activation, rates, etc. I go to do that and am greeted with this:

How ironic...I need their shitty internet service to activate my new mobile phone with them. Great. It seems every few weeks, I am not able to access certain sites for no reason other than you see above. These are not "morally blocked" sites like pr0n or anything, just noramal "workin' Joe" sites. I try 3 different browsers, nothing. Mac, PC..nothing. I even have to punch in some wacky codes to see my own frigging blog sometimes! Thanks Naseem (fellow blogger/IT guru) for bailing me out. Being an "average" net user, I don't speak "code", so have no clue how this shit works. I would still be phone-less if not for "my little friend":After going "sheilds up" I activate my phone and all is good. But I have to ask...why is the server not found for when I live a couple of KM from the server? Are you coming for me? I need to use the VPN through White Plains, NY to get access to my mobile phone in Dubai. You guys rock!
The net is pitifully slow here. We pay a fortune and you get about a third of what you pay for, and you are lucky if it performs reasonably....ergo DU is akin to semi-retarded, overpriced prostitute who MAY be tired. Seriously, it is frigging bad. We pay about 5-10 times for half the service that other countries get. I saw this speed test posted on a blog from Amsterdam:

Are you kidding me? I've never seen numbers that high. As per usual I have to do a million clandestine things to access the Speedtest site, as it never loads. It is not blocked, just doesn't load. *ahem*.And if it loads, it doesn't work. And for the record, going "shields up" and pinging the furthest place away from Dubai, I get better results. I have a 2 meg connection and pay 300 AED per month for it. Websites are scrubbed through the DU proxy, however downloads are not (weird). I guess you can download all the "immoral" material you want at a fast rate, just don't look at it online. I can't think of any other reason why it is so slow. Results just pinging with DU:

Anyway, DU, you suck as usual. But I will say, I have been able to make a phone call in my house for the first time in 15 months. It seems Etisalat did not deem Arabian Ranches (where I live) as worthy of a cellular/mobile repeater, so we have never had cell service IN our houses (most places in the Ranches). Our phones live in the back yard hoping for that last wisp of a bar to get that all-important call. I am surprised that when switching to the 055 (DU) I have full service all over the house. I made a call today inside the house...this has never been done before and was happy (thank God for the little things). If you could just speed up my internet and get your shit together in that department I would be grateful. Happy even. Isn't it funny that living in Dubai makes you grateful for overpriced services that you paid for? I mean seriously, I was soooo stoked that my phone worked inside my house. How stupid is that? I mean of all the cities I have lived in, I always had mobile service without having to go to the back gate to get a call. At this point I guess I am grateful to have a functional mobile in my house at the expense of crap internet. Not normal.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm not a Doomsday Prophet, but.....

In the comments section of the post before this one, I responded to a comment by Ian. I think with regards to Dubai being the "New Babylon", there are two schools of thought. The Dubai is the New Babylon with regards to success, wealth and the tallest tower. (seriously). Or there is my school of thought: The city of Babel fell. Eventually. Giving credit where due, there is a fellow Blogger with a discussion HERE. I'll just quote this little nugget from The Book of Revelations for you to chew on:
Revelation 18:1-3
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. With a mighty voice he shouted:
"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!
She has become a home for demons
and a haunt for every evil spirit,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.
For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."

And let us not forget the old standby which has got to be the most disregarded proverb in this part of the world:

From Matthew 19:24
"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dubai is on Crack AND the new Babylon

I stumbled across something funny today. I don't know how I came across it, but it has to do with Google "suggestions". You know, you basically start plugging something into Google and it finishes it for you. The thing I stumbled across was when you Google "I am extremely" and see what pops up. The last result is funny as hell as seen here (have a look at the last suggestion):
I thought I would try this out with a few Dubai Googles. The results were funny as hell in my opinion. Firstly, "Dubai is ", and I got the following results. Apparently there are crack fiends and semi-retarded people Googling Dubai. Right off the bat, I see that people have heard of Dubai, but have no clue what or where it is. Most of the tens of millions of suggestions are geography-related. Two of the results are regarding Dubai being both "insane" and "nuts" (I concur). Also, apparently Dubai is "the prize", yet also "bankrupt"?!?!? I would like to know how it is on "crack"...or is that just exponentially "crazier" than nuts and insane?
Changing the previous search to "Dubai is the", you get very different results. This search narrows it way down for you. Dubai now becomes "the prize", "the future", "the fastest growing city", and "the new Babylon". Really. Babylon? Is that good? Do you know where present'day Babylon is? You take the bombed out highway south of Baghdad for about 100 clicks where Wiki says that all that remains are some broken mud-brick buildings. Babylon was once a mighty empire that fell. How poetic. Funny, in the same Google suggestions, there are still people wondering where Dubai is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Week, New 'hole

I said I owed a few. This one was book-marked for me to come back to. This week's asshole is a collective, a veritable bouquet of bung, a cornucopia of cornholio's. Our beloved RTA (I'm going to jail for this one). These are the collection of brainiacs that decide the most inefficient way of getting around Dubai roads. This office is SO inept, it is shocking. By my house, there is a lovely 2 lane road, with a roundabout. Sounds easy enough, but there is daily gridlock, as the road lines are clearly painted on the road, but not the magically becomes one lane for 30 metres. Really smart. I have some Emaar "yellow #1" at my pad....I'll donate it. Shit, I'll even paint the lines on it if you let me (although I am sure I will go to jail for causing efficiency and ensuring a smooth flow of traffic. As per usual, I digress.
In normal countries (I'm not even qualifying that with the term "western"). If you want to give a neighbour, colleague, friend, stranger a ride, the process is simple. Stop the car, open the door, they sit, you drive, dump them at a mutually agreed upon location. Not bloody here.

You need to have a "car pool permit". That's right, apply for a permit with all the usual BS involved (although I think they skip the anal probe for this one). In true local fashion, the RTA decided to complicate things. First thing we need is a name "Sharekni", which when translated to English means "we're going to jerk you off again" (loosely). It is totally illegal for me to bring my neighbour to work with me, even though he works one floor above. With out a jerk-off permit, we are committing an offence. We have a similarly complex system in Canada, it's called "GAS MONEY" or "you drive next week".

The whole permit process is a joke. What kills me is that they are refusing permits! Only 108 were issued out of 8000 applications. You actually have to name the people sharing your car with you on the application. Does that mean that if you are pulled over with somebody in the car who is not on the certificate, you get a 5000 AED fine? I'm guessing so. There is a good read Here in the Gospel according to Mo

My suggestion? Can you take the application fees you got and paint some fucking lines on my roundabout so it doesn't end up like this (although the origin of the vid pretty much sums up why the driving is what it is here):

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dubai V. European Pricing

So I mentioned before, having a draft beer here in Dubai is "special"'s ALWAYS $10 beer night. When you get to the point where you no longer compare the Dirham to your home currency, you just accept "that's what things cost". (We are now over the fact that a head of lettuce here can cost 20 AED, when at home is is 2 or 3 dhs.) A draft beer is another example...usually 27-35 AED, which is about 14 bucks in Australia. You don't realize HOW expensive it is here until you start comparing international currencies again, and boy was it surprising. Especially when you are doing the conversion for people into Euros or Sterling and they tell you it is cheaper there!

Amsterdam was not cheap for many things, but eating out is what surprised me most. An "average" a burger and fries would run you around AED70...a "good" meal (like a rack or ribs with chips and salad) would start at about 110 dhs. At least in Dubai you can get a solid meal for way less than that. Using the beer factor again, a draft beer there runs about AED 23 at the MOST...usually around 20 dhs. What killed me is that a coke was about the same! We got a quality, 4 star hotel for about 350 AED a night..good luck getting that here! Amsterdam and Holland in general was a cheap place to visit pre-Euro. I wonder how the Dutch handled the sharp increase?

We found the UK and even London cheaper than here as well. We were in a few tourist areas where the prices are already jacked up, but still found it cheaper than here. A great pub-style meal (fish and chips, Pie, Sunday Roast) was only around 30-35 dhs. You'd pay double for the same thing here, minus the home-made quality.

Transport, on the other hand was quite expensive. We took a car service from Picadilly about 45 miles, and it was 85 Pounds...apparently that same fare in a Black Cab would have been 150 Pounds. That's almost AED 800!...You can hire a car service for the weekend here for that much!

All-in-all, I'd say your tourist dollars go pretty far in Europe and UK these days. I know the rest of the world thinks it is the most expensive place to visit, but after being here, I disagree. Who would ever think you would visit the UK because it is a "travel bargain". I always just "assumed" it was going to be more than here, but not a chance!

Are you frigging kidding?

Get 'em while they're hot! "International Driver Document". Only in Dubai do they dream this crap up. I mean, seriously....if you were pulled over ANYWHERE on the planet with thing (I'm even looking at you, Upper-West-Mongolia) the coppers would laugh their nards off. This was a Google ad on on a thread regarding cars for sale. Jesus tap-dancing Christ!

I owe you some Assholes

Sorry gang. Back from holidays, and believe it or not, blogging takes time. As soon as the 8th day a week is declared, or they invent more hours in the day, I can be a better poster. So.....down to biz. I need to update some assholes of the week. This time I will feature some international assholes. (yay)

The first back-ordered 'hole, for many reasons is Sol Kerzner. The South African Tycoon who built his empire on the back of Apartheid (but don't get me started on him). I have been to his place (Atlantis) in Bahamas a dozen or so times, and thought it was okay.

Needless to say, Atlantis here in Dubai has been a train smash. Blowing $20 million on fireworks to open the place in the midst of a financial meltdown..frowned upon. A captive whale shark (Sammy)...VERY frowned upon. Long story mom was here visiting and wanted to see Atlantis. For political and other reasons, my wife and I have never been, but mom wanted to go, so we did. Here's what we found:

-AED 150 for valet parking
-AED 30 for a coke
-crap service
-crap hours for food establishments
-AED 400 for the waterslides
-AED 800 for the dolphin explotation (sorry..I mean "show")
-The world's largest glass dildo needs to go, buddy:

Some quick math...a family of four for the slides, show and a meal is $1600.00 USD. Are you serious? You must be kidding? NO? Guess what, Sol..the shops are empty, the food licks and would sooner fly to a real beach and HOPE for dolphins than pay your ass.

I was particularly impressed with your wine list. I would love to pay AED 30,000 for a bottle of wine in your dump Italian restaurant. That brings the wine list in line with the AED 30 coke my wife had.
Chump. How dare you offer fine vintages in a place that does not even have their shit together. We were a party of 6...half of which the appies ordered were not available, the other half were done their mains before the others got theirs. Not good.

I have news, Sol. Your Italian restaurant's name when translated to English is "Greasy Spoon"...or as they call it on the highway.. a TRUCK STOP. We'll never be back, enjoy our money, cause it is the last fil you will ever see from us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dropping the Ball

Sorry for letting things go just as it was getting fun here on Ye Olde Check. I have been on a "Reality Check" of my own for 10 days in Europe, and man oh man do I have some good stuff to post when I get back tomorrow. Lack of internet and being tied up with friends, business and reality keeps a guy busy. Some things to look forward to:

- It still rains in London
- Amsterdam rocks and Dutch people rule
- Got to the theatre after 2 years!
- I am the gatekeeper to the Twitter secret
- When kitchen parties go bad
- Price comparison UAE V. AMS V. UK (wow)

See you soon!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The REAL Reality Check

So I am out of town for the time being. A little junket to Amsterdam then to London for the weekend. Let me tell you, before I left Dubai, I was a stress case. I could barely move my neck, couldn't sleep...if you looked up "bag of shit" in the dictionary, there would be a picture of me. After being here two days, I have slept 8 hours a night, supplemented by 2 naps per day. Pure bliss.

I am loving the architecture, loving the people, loving the fact I don't need to repeat myself 6 times to get a cup of black coffee. Loving it.

It is hard to compare this place to Dubai. Amsterdam is liberal, fun and hip.

*this was a draft I wrote while in Amsterdam...getting a dose of the west and a functional society.*

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Big in Malaysia

That famous phrase uttered by many-a-musician. Like Hasselhoff is in Germany. (WTF?) Anyway...thanks to the kind guys and gals at Google Analytics, I am able to get the statistics on the blog. That, and some research and some tips from fellow bloggers. I signed up for Google Analytics ages ago for my old company, but never submitted it to search engines. Funny now that I am publishing my opinion, people are actually searching it out and reading it.

For those that don't know, Google Analytics is a tool to track a website (like this blog). It has tons of info (most which I don't use, as I am not selling anything). The key things it shows is the traffic flow. Where your visitors are coming from, how they got to your site, how long they stayed, how many pages they viewed, etc. There is even the "bounce rate" (whatever that is) and a bunch of assorted crap I will never use.

The whole point of this blog (if there was ever going to be one) is have some fun and take a topical view of (sometimes) serious issues with regards to living in Dubai, and the UAE in general. It seems like people are actually interested. Huh. Who'd a thunk it?

Most viewers are from the UAE, but in the 2 weeks since I started submitting the articles to search engines, people are finding me. Pretty cool. Would be nice if you left a comment and let me know if you are interested (or not) in an article in particular. The growth rate seems to be exponential, but when starting out, who cares, right?

There is some really cool data though.Seems the Malaysians are the most enthused (or they just read slow) spending an average of 50 minutes on the site. The Dutch are next with 23 minutes, followed by the South Africans with 22 minutes. Canadians get their fill at a minute and a half, while the mental giants to the south need almost 8 minutes to absorb the same info on the same pages (hey, stats don't lie). Apparently I scared off the Irish and Serbians in 10 seconds flat, but Bahrain, what's up. Dismissing reality in seven seconds!

This is a great tool, one which I will keep you posted on the results as I gain readership. And to the guy/gal from Iceland that queried "dubai rent cap"..bless your heart. I thought things were messed up here. I still say give Bjork a ring and ask her to bail you out.

Cool country map:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ha! friggin' told'ja...

A couple of tidbits I learned I just stumbled across by accident.

#1 Just because a project has broken ground or nearing completion, does not mean that it will get finished. I am pleased to report that my previous employer, CSI got the proverbial carpet yanked from under them last week. Sales staff, admin and CAD people completely wasted a year of their life on a project. I can only assume you will not read it in the "Gospel According to Mo" (Gulfnews) as it is a 3 degrees of separation thing, but Harvard Medical School, Dubai Campus (HMSDC) has been shelved. That's right, get out, the site is on lockdown, they're shrink-wrapping it and moth balling it. Sucks to be them. This job was 70% complete and 25% paid. Boo-hoo.

I met with the Head C.S. of C.S.I. today and it was a very different meeting to our previous. Usually his line is ringing off the hook and his mobile is vibrating off the desk. Not today. His desk is usually cluttered with contracts, papers, his email "binging" away every 10 seconds, people knocking at the door. Not today. Today was quiet. An hour long meeting was interrupted by one call "do you want coffee or tea?"

I was shocked at the relative calm of the office. And at the exquisite coffee that was brought to me in the oh-so-ironic-chipped-mug. Life was good today.

#2 Don't pay Real Estate commissions anymore. One of the UAE's largest estate companies is now giving it away to buyers. Whoopity-doo. I was just checking their site to see what my palatial estate is renting for this week and saw this:

#3 Stating the obvious. The "Gospelnews" has become remarkable thinner in recent months. No longer is the front page wrapped in some glossy real estate announcement, and gone are the days of 37 property supplements. I am grateful, because it allows me to get to the drivel faster than before. Another surprise I had this week was scanning an issue of "Property Weekly", the property rag left on newsstands, restaurants and the like. It used to be as thick as a phone book. This week it was like a flimsy little brochure. The The National has a report on the dramatic drop in advertising spending found HERE A tidbit mentioned below:
Property adspend plunges

Keach Hagey

* Last Updated: January 25. 2009 8:36PM UAE / GMT

Property advertising, the largest advertising spending category in the country, dropped by more than two thirds during the final quarter of last year, according to data collected by the Pan Arab Research Center (PARC).

The sharp drop in developer spending from US$80 million (Dh293.8m) in October to $25m in December, combined with reduced advertising from the financial sector, helped to pull down total advertising spending growth rates in the last quarter, mirroring a wider trend in the Middle East region.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Peppering the Article

As the blog develops and gains a readership, I should probably put a disclaimer in here that I curse like a sailor. I don't feel it is gratuitous swearing, just enough to pepper the article accordingly. Sometimes, a curse word is the only adjective, verb or noun that actually fits.

I don't mean to offend, but I like my articles to illustrate how I speak. If swearing offends you, I'm really fucking sorry. I am guessing that people that discover this blog are mature adults wanting a "Reality Check" on Dubai. How things are, the way things work, etc. The reality is, people swear a shit-load here. I think much of it born of frustration.

Sorry to be a cursy-pants, but if you are offended by four-letter punctuation, just close your eyes when you get to the scary bits. It'll be okay. I even got busted this week swearing in the Religious Forum on Dubai Helping Hand. Whoops!

Funny Dubai drivers...I love this

The quality is not great, but just funny as hell. I guess they installed these speed bumps (the giant ones on Beach Road) and didn't sign them. Classic Dubai.

Hey, Habibi, here's another stupid idea we can't pull off!

Well, it's no secret that the braniacs that are in charge of dreaming up laws, regulations and "plans in general" are out to lunch when it comes to time lines. I mean, everything being built here in Dubai is delayed by years. There has been a great deal of concern over the Emirates Identity Card. Concern because no one is sure how to get one (EIDA's website would shit the bed whenever you filled in your PRE-application [whatever the fuck a PRE application is]), why we needed one (there is debate that it will be your labour card/e-gate/driving license) or why we would BOTHER getting one.

They gave an unrealistic timeline of processing 5 million people through a handful of EIDA centers. Published in the paper everyday we read "no extentions given", "fines if you don't get a card", "get off your ass and get our card". Many people panicked and camped out over night and then spent all day to apply for their pointless piece of plastic. Most expats just said "nahhhh", not doing it, too much hassle. I mean SERIOUSLY, only in this country do you go online to make an appointment, then have to queue for said appointment (get there early or they give your spot away), and then most likely need another visit as you did not know you need an anal probe and retinal scan BEFORE visiting. The 537 easy steps to getting your card are listed here:

Ministry of Useless Wallet Filler

We (or maybe just me) saw it coming a mile away:


Simple math tells you that you can't pull it off in the time given. The EIDA centres are manned by typical Dubai clerks with a real zest for "getting the job done", not to mention their command of the English language. (Still not sure who's friggin' name is on my driving license, but after 2 attempts I just left it). When the centres opened they were processing 140 applications a day PER CENTRE....isn't that an accomplishment! Wow, did you hurt yourself doing that? Just goes to show that even the people that "work" there don't know what the hell they are doing.

Here's the math: 26 centres X 140 applications a day = 3640 applications processed country-wide per work day

5,000,000 population / 3640 apps = 1374 work days to process the apps.

1374 work days = 4.57 YEARS to complete the process. Luckily, they have extended deadlines for EVERYONE, and told some groups not to even bother showing up for months. Now there is talk of them saying "never mind, bad idea, Emiratis ONLY need to have a card". Just let me know.

Oh wait.....I'll be long gone by then. Oh forgot the fucking driveway! These pics just sum up the thought process in this country. Nice building, snazzy sign, pretty parking lot, loooooove the barriers, and your choice of shade sails. I guess the Driveway Council of the UAE dropped the ball in this one! W-O-W.