Wednesday, June 30, 2010

UAE Speeding fines cut in half

This must be the most ridiculous law passed so far this year!

Drivers who have clocked up huge speeding fines (which don't need to be paid until the car's annual registration) are to be given a 50% discount under a new law passed yesterday by Sheikh Khalifa.

It is already common knowledge that discounts of up to 30% can be granted if you pay off your fines "in bulk" ! But this formalises the discount at 50%.

"Col Hussein al Harthi, director of traffic and patrols, said the new decision to halve fines, which applies to all traffic departments in the emirate, had been made in “sympathy” for drivers. He said the scheme aimed to encourage them to comply with traffic rules and regulations."

How on earth does that work!? Sympathy!? "Awwww diddums, have you been speeding very fast many, many times.....let me help you out....."

"Hmm... let me off half the fine - that will stop me doing it again eh?" - cunning plan!

The most disgusting thing about this was that is was announced on the same day that was the anniversary of a highly publicised incident when 3 young Emirati girls were run over by a speeding car. How bloody insensitive.

Speeding fines cut in half
Matthew Chung and Mohamed Yahia
The National - News
30 Jun 2010

abudhabi // Drivers who owe unpaid fines for speeding and other traffic offences are being treated with “sympathy” by the traffic and patrols department and will be given a 50 per cent discount on outstanding debts. The new legislation, law number more...
Tech Tags: The National - News newspaper The Emirates

Abu Dhabi Tourism Video

This is a really nice advert which just won a Cannes Lions award.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A sad night for English football

They think it’s all over.... it is now!

They arrived. Played crap. Went home. Poor show all round.

Capello has some explaining to do regarding his tactics and the players all want sacking because not one of them earnt their pay cheque.

So, now who to support? ...

I can’t support Argentina (although I think they will win) - yes we still hold a grudge over The Falklands

I can’t support Germany - it just goes completely against the English psyche

I can’t support Portugal - because Ronaldo is a smug, arrogant git

I guess I should go for a European side - so I think I’ll plump for....

Spain! Ole ole ole...Viva Espagne!

And here’s my pic of the virals.......









Monday, June 21, 2010

Abu Dhabi Traffic Police

I followed a police car all the way across the Yas/Saadiyat 5 lane highway today. A few observations:-

  • I drove all the way either in the inside lane, or next left if overtaking
  • The police car drove all the way in the outside lane or next right
  • The police car drove well above the speed limit for the whole journey and never changed speed for any section whether the limit is 100 or 80. Mostly they went at 130-140
  • At this speed they allowed at least one car overtake with no action
  • On the Sheikh Khalifa Bridge a truck had split a load of either flour/powder paint/cocaine across two lanes of the highway - police didn’t stop
  • Also on the bridge a very large, fully loaded lorry was parked on the hard shoulder, wheels barely off the highway - police didn’t stop
What exactly do the traffic police do?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Coming to a spot near ADNEC soon...

With it’s new found infamy, maybe everyone will be wanting to take this picture of the Capital Gate tower .......


Hitler and the vuvuzelas

Germany Lose!

Germany 0-1 Serbia

Yes!! And they missed a penalty! A good omen for England I think. How many times have we lost to Germany on penalties?

So the “itches” - Vidic, Stojkovic, Ivanovic etc etc (I’m sure there was one called stinkybitch) have done their country proud - good on you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's jam hot !

It got a bit on the warm side today......


... and Moulin Rouge comes to Abu Dhabi !


Alas just a cafe in the park between Hamdan St and Khalifa St - shame.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The most annoying thing about the 2010 World Cup..... the vuvuzelas !!

For the uninitiated, this is a vuvuzela :-


If you haven’t heard it, I’m sure you can imagine the “vu vu” sound it might make. Now try imagining thousands of these being blown at the same time. Yes, it’s bloody annoying at a football match. Not only is it annoying, but I think it is suppressing the more traditional singing and chanting that you would otherwise get at football matches. There is no change in the sound the whole way through the match. At least you would get different chants and songs through the game normally.

It’s like watching the game with a massive swarm of bees buzzing overhead the whole time. I have now taken to switching off the sound when watching the games as I find it so annoying and it gives me a headache!

I would support a ban. Melt them all down and make something useful out of them!

Shove your vuvuvelas where the sun don’t shine!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Footy channels!

After having subscribed to TV through the phone company 2 weeks ago, I have been calling Etisalat daily to find out why I am not getting the free World Cup footy channels promised. Finally last night they appeared! Yippee! So now I can watch the world cup in glorious HD....can’t wait! I also have a 3D feed, but I think I need a 3D TV for that to work?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Construction workers wages

Construction wages fall by 30 percent
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 11:08
According to data from the Statistics Centre – Abu Dhabi (SCAD), the average wage for construction workers in the capital has dropped by almost a third over the last two years as a result of the global financial crisis.
Data shows that the average hourly wage aggregated across the range of construction site workers fell by AED 5.5 from AED 18.1 to AED 12.6 for the period from April 2008 to April 2010.
Surveyors and steel fixers have been hit the hardest with Surveyors seeing a loss of AED 7 from an average AED 25 to AED 18 per hour, and steel fixers losing AED 6 per hour from an average of AED 16 to AED 10 per hour. The hourly rates for electricians and helpers also fell by AED 4 and AED 3 respectively and semi-skilled labour saw their wages drop from AED 13 to AED 9.5 per hour.
In recent weeks, the Ministry of Labour has been focussing on construction wages and it has introduced new policies to ensure companies pay labourers working on a Friday at least 50 percent above their usual hourly wage or give Friday workers a day off in lieu.

The article above doesn’t give the hourly rate for an unskilled labourer, of which of course there are hundreds of thousand. I doubt even that the rates above are fairly applied and that they are actually paid. It is normal for an unskilled labourer to be getting c.600 Dhs (c.£112) per month. So that is maybe c.£0.39 per hour for a 12 hour day, 6 days a week. For three months of the summer they get a 3 hour break in the middle of the day, but even for the other hours of the day, the temperatures will be 45-50C - doing back breaking work.

I also know of cleaners in buildings getting as little as 300 Dhs per month.

This is of course free market capitalism at work. Or slavery. Either way, it’s pretty disgusting.

Leaning tower my butt!

Leaning tower of Abu Dhabi makes Pisa sit up straight
Matt Kwong Online forum: what buildings, other than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, could Abu Dhabi emulate?
The National - News
06 Jun 2010

Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa may tilt necks, but Abu Dhabi’s Capital Gate puts a new slant on edgy architecture. Guinness World Records officials this week named the 160-metretall UAE landmark as the “World’s Furthest Leaning Manmade Tower”, more...

This story appeared this week. It was said long ago that they would be applying for this record. Actually I think it is a great shame the an icon like the Tower of Pisa is displaced in the record books by what I believe to be a sham. The tower is not “leaning” at all in the truest sense. I have had some involvement with this project last year so I am aware of it’s internal construction. I have made a crude drawing below (sorry - I did fail technical drawing at O level!)....

This is the tower....

...and below shows how the internal “core” of the building is in fact perfectly straight. The floor areas just build out to either side giving the impression that it is leaning. What a swiz!!

OK, I it’s a crap drawing, it’s not going to be an exact replica of how it is done, but you get the idea. I think it is a cheek to take the record away from Pisa - and I think the Guinness Book of Records should reconsider.

Friday, June 4, 2010


We decided to try Frankie’s tonight, The restaurant owned by Frankie Dettori and Marco Pierre White. In Abu Dhabi it is in the Fairmont Bab al Bahr hotel next to the Shangri La hotel. There is also Marco Pierre White Steakhouse next to Frankie’s which we will have to try another time. It was a nicely presented restaurant and the service was good, but not excellent. I was expecting it to be more expensive, which was a pleasant surprise (c.50 Dhs - under a tenner - for a pizza). The hotel looks very good, with a nice stretch of beach looking out over the water to the Grand Mosque.

Highlight of the evening was watching the restaurant staff nudging each other and calling out the kitchen staff to eye up a lady (?) who had virtually the whole of her tits out on display! Very amusing.........





Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Abu Dhabi housing

Interesting article on the Abu Dhabi housing market......,6BL4,28XWR7,FN6B,1

Triple Play

Many of the homes in Abu Dhabi are now served by a direct fibre optic connection, right into the villa or apartment. In the UK Virgin claim to have a fibre optic service, but in reality the fibre only comes to a termination point in the street somewhere and from there it is good old copper that has been in the ground for probably 40 or 50 years that is delivering the broadband service.

I have a fibre router (from Huawei - a Chinese manufacturer) on the wall of my apartment, rather like this one....


The fibre connectivity allows Etisalat (one of only 2 telecoms companies in the country) to provide “Triple Play” (voice, internet, TV - all IP) over a single connection, with high speed internet services. So, as they had an offer on which included all the World Cup footy for free (!), I decided to upgrade to 30mbps triple play. They have been and installed it, although the TV channels have yet to appear. The internet though, isn’t bad.... here is a screen shot of the speed test...


So, nearly 23 meg over my wireless network. Not bad!

You can get faster from some providers at home, where the internet market is much more mature - and for much less money too. It will cost c.£100 a month for triple play. Fortunately, my work will pay the broadband costs, some makes it doable.

I’ll let you know how I get on with the TV.......