Archive for Annoyances

Garbage thrown around at the Pearl – Highly Infectious Material??

Just watch the video and let me know what you think.

The quality of Qatar’s water? Is it safe?

This is something that I’ve been talking about for quite a while and it’s something to be concerned about.
The water in many places in Qatar isn’t healthy. I don’t mean that it’s not drinkable, but it’s the cause for bad skin, dryness, hair loss, and even damaging to pipes.

I wonder if the government inspects any of the towers and does water sampling to ensure that we’re all living with healthy water. People often talk about the calcium level of the water being quite high. You know it’s high when you can’t even scrub the limescale off of glass! You can judge by yourself by looking at your faucets or around your sink for white scaling. High calcium content damages the skin and hair, that’s for sure, but I’m going to talk about something even more worrying. Rust/Dirty water.

I’ve recently been told (by a source that prefers to be anonymous) that there are construction companies that are using the wrong types of pipes. They should be using anti-corossion coated pipes. Basically, metal pipes (like any pipe) rust from the inside. They actually rust and get damaged even worse in our type of environment. This means you could be drinking rust…

Now I’m a sensitive person. So I decided to buy a 10,000 Riyal water filteration system from Japan (I know, it’s a lot). It’s state of the art and supposed to last 3 years. It’s attached to a secondary filter which is replaced every month and a half to two months.

Now take a look at this picture. I don’t need to say much.

photo

See that transparent tube with that brown sponge in the middle? That’s what it looks like after just a 10 days! In the center, that super white roll is what the filter used to look like. Now this is quite scary to me. Something that’s supposed to last MUCH longer, turns a filthy brown in just a short period of time. I’m concerned for people who don’t have filters..

Think about this for a second… washing your face, your hair, brushing your teeth, or possibly event drinking this… This is the result of an apartment that’s only a few years old.

I wonder if anything is being done? How harmful is it?

So my question is, how many other people are concerned about the water in Qatar?

 

Are Qatar Airways promotions useless when you need them?

I really want to know if Qatar Airways is an airline that’s trying to mess with customers…. Perhaps it’s just that they’re an airline with a perpetual ‘asterisk’; meaning that there is always a catch with them. I really love Qatar Airways. When things go right, they go great. Love the new planes. Love the fact that they are representing Qatar to the world. iLoveQatar also applauded the fact that they won a best airline award on our social networks. I try to help them so much that I point out mistakes to them on Twitter so that I can help them improve but this time…. I’m just disappointed. I’m going to talk about two situations.

The extra condition of exclusion

They’ve been advertising a great promotion that they have going on for customers. Sending out newsletters, announcing it in the papers, and even adding it to their website’s homepage.

Buy a ticket to certain destinations in a certain time frame and travel within a certain date, and you qualify. (Already sounds a bit messy with the requirements, but I hope that I’m intelligent enough to figure it out.)

According to the special offers page, if I travel from DOHA to LONDON as an Economy passenger, and I BUY the ticket between 3-31 July 2012 and I travel between 10 July and 17 October, then the price of the ticket is 3,130 QR.

Here’s a screenshot.

So I decide to click on ‘BOOK’. I chose the dates 16 August to 25th of August. (I picked those dates since it’s near the end of Ramadan and I figure that I might as well take some days off and make the most of this great offer). Now my flight is BEFORE 17 October and AFTER 10 July. Today is the 16th of July so I’ve tried to make the booking before 21st of July.  However, I’m greeted with the following screen…

The price of the ticket is almost 5,000 QR. That’s a big difference from the special price mentioned right?

So I check out their Terms & Conditions. Besides being a mess to read (there’s something called bullet points you know), I’m disappointed by point 5.
“Promotional fares are not valid during the following period: To all destinations from 16-25 august and inbound flights from 25 August to 10 September”

Another lovely condition applied. This time within the Terms & Conditions themselves. So sadly, I’m unable to make use of this promotion during the end of Ramadan. Of course they know that people will want to be traveling during this period, so they’ve put out a special offer that excludes the travel peak in Qatar itself. *sighs*

 

The one where ‘Up to’ starts from 0%

So this one is pretty much straight forward. In April, Qatar Airways said that if you book between the 17th and 19th of April, you can save up to 25%.

Their rules? Travel between 20th of April and 6th of June (going and coming). So you’ve literally got 3 days to make a decision for a flight, and you got to go and come back within 2 weeks. It’s tight, but fine.

Now on the 16th of April, I was just playing around on Qatar Airways website and was toying with the idea of visiting Korea. (I’ve always wanted to go there). At the time I had plugged in random dates. I chose 25th to 30th of April. Price of the ticket? 5,760QR. I took a screenshot so that I could remember it  for later. (Yes I always take screenshots. I’m a screenshotaholic).

Two days later, the fantastic Qatar Airways promotion is announced. So I  think, “hmm, I wonder… if I could save up to 25% off, how much would a ticket be to Korea now”. So I search… Here’s a screenshot of what I find.

On the left we see that the price of the ticket is 5,760QR DURING the promotion. On the right we see the screenshot I took BEFORE the promotion, also at 5,760QR.

So I take a look at the Terms & Conditions just in case. There’s NOTHING that indicates WHY I wouldn’t be elegible. Take a look for yourself, perhaps I’ve missed something.

Long story short… I’m really starting to have my doubts about Qatar Airways promotions… it’s like they’re created just to get you excited and then disappoint you in the end.  Comments?

It doesn’t make sense to buy property in Qatar… here’s why!

So it’s clear to me that the real estate market in Qatar is messed up. Who agrees with me? No? You think that things are great?; then I shall break it down for you with some examples.

Let’s say you bought a property in Zig Zag towers. You paid well over a million Qatari Riyals because you were promised the best in luxury. You think to yourself, I’m going to be living in an amazing peice of architecture, instead, all you get is what can only be described as a wonky building.

The banks:
To buy that lovely apartment, you need to take a loan. QNB’s interest rate for me was something like 9.7% (I know I know). At 25 years that’s around 11,000 QR per month. Recently I was offered an amazing deal from Doha bank that would lower my installments by 3k and also shave off 5 years. Nice! Sadly I can’t switch. Qatar’s introduced a new law that doesn’t allow banks to buy off loans… so I’m stuck with QNB. (This law was most probably passed because QNB was losing customers and so needed some good ‘ole wasta).

Central cooling:
So I’m stuck with using Qatar Cool. A monopoly since there is no other company other than them that provides this service. They want around 12,000 QR per year so that you can be provided with a service that would otherwise have cost me 50-100QR extra a month (since I still have to pay for water and electricity anyway!) if I just had a split unit. I’m sorry, I really DO care about the environment, but who are we fooling? The carbon emissions are simply being moved to the central cooling facility. We’ve just moved the problem, we haven’t solved it…

The developers:
So Al Dar, the company that sold ZigZag, took the first year’s ‘maintenance fee’ and did nothing for the tenants. 2 year later, and countless days of fire alarms going off, leaks in the underground parking, filthy marble floors and me staring at a tic-tac-toe game that was scratched into the stainless steel door of one of the elevators, they decided to go ahead and create the tenants committee. What they did was dump all of their dirty laundry with them and didn’t even bother to give them the maintenance fee from the previous year!

The late fee:
According to Al Dar, the late fee is automatically waived if you buy the property from second party. Wait what? So Al Dar was supposed to pay 1,000 QR a month for every month they were late with the development. They didn’t finish the property until a year and a half later (they had 6 months delay allowable), so they had to pay 12,000 QR to me. Nope, I bought that apartment from someone so they automatically got up to THREE YEARS extra time to delay the project. How does Qatar legally allow that? I’ll tell you how, we don’t have a Land Law court. Going to Civil court takes an average of two years here…

The maintenance fee:
So the tenants council mentioned that they were thinking of a way to make the maintenance fee a bit more fair. It’s currently set at 1% of what you bought the property for. I had wanted it to be a fixed price per square meter. It makes logical sense to me that they should first calculate the cost of what was needed for the maintenance and then divide it by the total number of square meters. Nope, they decided that if it’s from below 90 Sqm it’s 11,000 QR, 100-150sqm it’s 14,500 QR, if it’s 151-200sqm it’s 17,500 QR , if it’s 201-250sqm its 19,800 QR and if its 250sqm its 21,000 QR(something like that anyway, if you’ve got the exacts let me know as I cant remember).
How the hell is that fair? Long story short, I’m paying 2,000 QR MORE now for my 147sqm apartment and 10,000 QR more for my 250SQM apartment I bought a while back. I guess to the association I’m paying ‘fairly more’. Their math doesn’t even make sense. The different between a property that’s 250sqm and one that’s larger than that is 1,200 QR, that means 1,200 QR / 50 (sqm) is 24QR per sqm. But the difference between a 93sqm tier and a 100sqm tier is 3,500 QR which means that it’s an extra 70 QR per sqm. That means that the smaller your apartment, the more you pay… Shouldn’t it be set so that we all pay equally per square meter as I had just mentioned?

So now let’s do the math. For a fully furnished and redone apartment like mine that’s 147sqm, on the 21st floor, and facing the lagoon, I could probably get 10-12k (depends really). Let’s say 10k for arguments sake.

I’ve got to pay 11,000 QR a month for the mortgage, 12,000 QR a year for Central cooling, 14,000 QR for a maintenance fee, which means that over 2 months of rent goes straight to fees and even after that all the rent goes straight to the bank. It’s actually BETTER for an owner to just RENT than buy in this country!

If you’re confused by the time you get to the end of this blog post. Good. We all are.

What… the… hell…? Qatar! Help us! Help place rules and regulations in the country to help the real estate sector. Companies like Al Dar are causing foreign investors to lose faith in our market. :(

You just know that Mr. Q’s blog is rumbling

I’m writing a blog post that I want to make sure is both fair and balanced about the AFC… recent… incidences… which have more than infuriated me compelled me to wait a few days to calm down before putting ‘pen to paper’.

Planning on opening an account with QNB? Read my story.

First of all let me say that there are people in QNB that I adore. I think that they are amazing people, but I only wish that the whole organization acted the way that they do. There’s no way I’m keeping this bottled in. Qatar National Bank is a STUPID bank. Now I’ve ALREADY got an account with them, but every time I wanted to check if transfers were made, I had to drive to a branch, wait in a que, then ask for a print out. Why? Because they don’t give you internet banking by default, you have to apply for it, and at the time of joining them they didn’t TELL me that I had to apply for it.

So I finally decided that I was going to get online banking. I stepped into a bank and asked for the service. The man behind the counter told me that I could just register online at home. “Are you sure?”, I asked. “Yes of course”, he replied. So I went home and tried to register. [Please enter your atm number]. I don’t have an ATM card for my companies account… So I finally decide to go back to the bank again and explain the lovely situation I was in. The fun begins. Read the rest of this entry »

Aww Poor Lamborghini Qatar

I feel sorry for them :( Not only is their showroom in a run down building in a completely wrong location, but they can’t afford to fix the neon lights behind their sign either.

On a serious note, sort yourselves out will you? You managed to make a luxurious brand look cheap! Your logo isn’t lined up properly with the rest of the signs. Every time  I drive passed the windows I can’t even look at the cars because I’m distracted by the filthy windows. Don’t tell me, no budget for window cleaner either?

*sighs*

Mr. Q’s list of people who should be deported

Oh no he di’int. (Think of a woman named Laquisha saying that). I decided that since people seem to be under the impression that Qatari’s have a magical iPhone application that enables us to deport people with the touch of a button, then I might as well create a list of people that I wish I really could deport.

1) The guy in the right lane who decides to not just turn left at a round about, but also attempt a U-Turn. You know who you are Mr. crappy pick up truck or busted up Honda Civic.

2) The guy who says ‘next week’. You know the guy. He works in a small store, and when you walk in and ask if he’s got something, he says ‘Next week’, when he KNOWS he’s not getting them in next week. He just wants you to come by the store again. That’s like the equivelant of night clubs in the UK that build up a cue outside, even though nobody is inside!

3) Crappy customer care agents. Who promise to call you back soon and don’t. No I don’t mean they don’t call back soon. They never call back…. Never.

4) That guy who stares so hard that he either might have constipation OR thinks he’s superman and is trying to shoot lazer beams out of his eyes. Yeah Yeah, we live in a society where there is a 3/1 ratio of men to women, but common!! These dudes don’t just stare down women, they stare down everyone! I feel naked when they look at me :(

5) All those people who never smile or say thank you when you hold the door open for them. Although it was my life long dream to be a door opener, I never graduated from door opening school, so I never got the job… I open doors for free now. Well maybe not for free payment is a smile or thanks!

6) Lazy Traffic police. I think they didn’t get the memo. Traffic police aren’t supposed to CAUSE traffic. Why is that there’s always a super build up of traffic at a round about?

7) Roundabouts. While I’m dreaming. Let’s deport roundabouts. Bring over underpasses and bridges to keep traffic FLOWING.

8) Both insensitive and sensitive people when it comes to religion. Can’t handle people wearing a bikini at a beach? Don’t go to that beach. Think it’s funny that some people cover up a lot when they go to the beach? Then… *sighs*….

9) Guys with pointy shoes. You definately know who I’m talking about. They usually wear tight shirts, have greasy hair, and pointy shoes. Looking like you came straight out of Saturday Night Fever is NOT going to come back into fashion! Women like men that are clean and look fresh. Plus you might poke someone’s eye out with those shoes!

So who do YOU think should be deported?

The last straw with Zig Zag

I’ve had it. I’m going to sue Al Dar and ecovert and I’m going to sort out a petition

1) 1 and a half years later and they STILL haven’t paid me my penalty (for being 1 year late with handover). They keep lieing and saying ‘Oh the Sheikh is away, he’ll sign the cheques next week’. I wonder if the ‘Sheikh’ knows that Al Dar is making him look like a dishonest person. (I’m sure he’d be very upset that this is happening.)

2) 1 and a half years later and they STILL have the building falling apart, fixing cracks, dull marble, leaks, broken elevator.

3) They gave the services and maintanence contract to a company called ecovert. I didn’t vote for them. MY contract states that the tenants association would be responsible for voting for the company that takes over from Dar 1 year after hand over. I didn’t vote for ecovert. In FACT I’ve spoken to around 19 tenants who all said they didn’t either.

I don’t want ecovert. Their security guards SUCK, useless and RUDE. They don’t fix ANYTHING. Only good for digging holes in the underground parking and wasting water EVERYDAY since they have a burst pipe or something for the past 3 months. (Where’s the government inspections?)

All ecovert has done for us is paint the swimming pool area in vomit colour peach and put up a few cheap carrefour chairs.

4) The alarms go off DAILY. You’re telling me that it takes over a year to fix the damn problem? Their excuse to me was ‘There are indians living in the building that cook with fire’. Ok let’s say that’s true, you’re telling me that they’re cooking with fire at 3am in the morning? You’re telling me you can’t stop them or kick them out for health and safety risks?

5) The gym is pathetic and unhygenic. The equipment looks 10 years old, there’s no sheet that mentions when and who has cleaned the area. It’s also tiny! in fact! Ecovert has gone and taken TWO large offices right opposite of the gym that’s FOUR TIMES bigger than the gym.

6) My apartment still has issues which they keep on delaying or simply don’t take care of. (My main door looks like it’s covered in oil, marble is cracked, wall is cracking, hallway marble is dull, toilet pipes don’t flush well in one bathroom, oh and get this, my apartment has three television satellite ports, they installed a two way splitter so one room doesn’t have access to satellite!!

7) NOW FOR THE BIG ONE. Ecovert is so busy trying to make MORE money rather than fix the damn problem with the service fee that they got (By the way 1% of value of property. So avg of 1m propert X .1 X 750 = 7.5 million riyals a year). They have gym instructors (CLEAN THE GYM!), they have swimming instructors (GIVE US SOME DAMN POOL SIDE EQUIPMENT), they even tried to impose a rule that people can’t invite guests and have a ‘party’ without their permission (yeah right), and they even gave space to QTEL to open up a booth and put up roll-ups!!

BUT that’s not what I’m getting to! Now they’re covering up the Zig Zag with a giant advert! Yes! The one thing that was nice about the Zig Zag was the VIEW. Now they’re blocking it? They didn’t ask me if they could do it. I don’t want my window covered with a semi transparent vinyl coating. As soon as they do, I’ve going to open the window and rip it off.

I’m going to fight to get my penalty fee. I’m going to get rid of ecovert. They’ve messed with the wrong Qatari. Who’s with me?

Note: this is a note someone posted on the floors. At least there is someone else in the building with opinions and a brain.

(Sorry for the rant guys but I’m furious)

Qtel’s censoring really annoys me!

Well this was a shocker! Qtel not only goes and filters google images and ‘Age restricted’ videos on youtube, but they now block based on keywords (They force the strict safe search!)

I wanted to watch a review of the ‘Nude’ case for the iPhone 4 and got this lovely message.

*sighs*

Click to enlarge

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.