Updated Prices on Car

Saw several advertisement on car in Gulf Times during the month of May and thought that they are useful for my blog’s readers.

Note: I am not a car dealer and have no vested interest on the listed brands here 🙂

Updated 12 Sep 2010

Mazda 3 2010 Model, starting from QR66,000

Mazda 6 2009 Model, starting from 74,666

Mazda CX-7, 2010 Model, starting from 119,666

Ford Expedition starting from QR127,000 (free car registration)

Ford Flex, starting from QR119,000 (free car registration)

Ford Escape, starting from QR92,000 (free car registration)

Hyundai Santa Fee, 2010 Model QR82,999

Hyundai Elantra, 2010 Model QR43,999

Hyundai Accent, 2010 Model QR36,999

Hyundai Sonata, 2011 Model QR72,999

Hyundai Tucson, 2011 Model QR78,999

Renault Megane Convertible, starting QR84,000 (free registration)

Renault Koleos, starting QR71,000 (free registration and insurance)

Renault Safrane, starting QR62,000 (free registration)

Renault Fluence, starting QR52,000 (free registration)

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Jeep Grand Cherokee QR105,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Jeep Cherokee QR 94,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Jeep Commander QR139,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Jeep Patriot QR 85,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Jeep Wrangler QR 84,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Dodge Charger 2010 QR89,000 (Free registration, free insurance, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Chevrolet Cruze 2010 (QR1,111 a month) – 6-year installment

Chevrolet Malibu 2010 (QR1,444 a month) – 6-year installment

Chevrolet Tahoe 2010 (QR2,399 a month) – 6-year installment

Chevrolet Silverado Single Cab 2010 (QR99,900)

GM Yukon 2010 (QR2222 a month) – not clear how many installment

GM Acadia 2010 (QR1999 a month) – not clear how many installment

Jaguar XK 2010 starting from QR335,000 (5 years warranty, 5 years road assistance, free registration)

Jaguar XF 2010 starting from QR195,000 (5 years warranty, 5 years road assistance, free registration)

Nissan Tiida 2010 starting from QR54,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Nissan Altima 2010 starting from QR70,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Nissan Qashqai 2010 starting from QR70,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Nissan Armada 2010 starting from QR118,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Nissan Patrol 2010 starting from QR120,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Mercedes-Benz Used Car:

S280 Saloon 2008 QR175,000

S500L Saloon 2008 QR269,000

SLK350 2009 QR175,000

CLS63 AMG Coupe 2008 QR270,000

C280 Saloon 2008 QR115,000

ML500 2006 QR119,000

ML350 Sports 2006 QR99,000

E63AMG 2007 QR149,000

B150/160 2007 QR59,000

Used Passenger Car:

Porsche Cayenne 2009 Black QR190,000

Infiniti M45 2007 Black 99,000

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Doha Expressway

One of the critical stretch of Doha Expressway was open on 17 May 2010. Sigh… finally after months of delay (from dispute with previous contractor, among the causes). The stretch will see direct link between Airport to Al Shamal Road through multi-level Al Rayyan Interchange, dan the famous and busy Al Waab St.

With this opening I can now travel from my house next to Al Shamal Bridge/Interchange near Lulu Hypermarket to Airport in faster time. I tried in quiet Saturday morning 2 days after the opening and I saw a mere 10 minutes from Landmark Mall to Airport intersection. Just this Thursday evening 27 May 2010 I travelled the same stretch and saw almost double the time due to traffic congestion at The Mall Roundabout. Seems that it’s getting popularity. Nevertheless I couldn’t be happier with this opening.

Doha Expressway Project is a multi-Billion-Riyal project that links the north and south of the country through capital Doha. The Doha Expressway project is One of the major road projects of public work authority (Ashghal) , within its Five Year Plan to establish a modern road network to cope with the urban boom in the state. Work on the Doha Expressway has begun since December 2007. The project, being carried out by the Public Works Authority (Asghal)  is estimated to cost more than QR15bn and comprises 13 phases.

Istanbul Day 3 – Aya Sofia, Dolmabahce, Taksim, Galata Tower

[Narration will follow]

Aya Sofia
Aya Sofia. Now a museum, Aya Sofia keeps evidences that it once a church and mosque
The dome is 30 m in diameter and supported by 40 massive ribs constructed of special hollow bricks
Great mosaics upstairs
Obelisk of Theodosius - Hippodrome
Dolmabahce Mosque and Palace
Dolmabahce Clock Tower
Dolmabahce. Entrance Gate. On the left side is the ticket counter
Dolmabahce Palace enjoys a strategic position in Bosphorus Strait
Visit into palace is through a guided tour. No individual visit. Turkish and English tours are available at scheduled times
Istiklal Caddesi, Taksim, shown here with crowds and nostalgic tram
This nostalgic tram plys between Taksim Square to Galata through the famous Istiklal Caddesi
Galata Tower
View towards Old City from rooftop cafe, Anemon Galata Hotel
Galata Tower

Istanbul Day 2 – Topkapi Palace, Bazaars and Yeni Camii

[Narration will folow]

Topkapi Gate - entrance to First Court
Kitchen side of Topkapi Palace
One area inside Harem
The Court of The Concubines and The Sultan's Consorts (inside Harem)
Lunch with view at Topkapi
Entrance to Grand Bazaar from Nuruosmaniye Mosque
Kapali Carsi, or Grand Bazaar
Yeni Camii, or New Mosque, close to Spice Bazaar
Spice, from which Spice Bazaar gets its name
Not only spices but souvenirs are also available in Spice Bazaar
Doner kebab for our second dinner

More pictures are available in my Facebook album: 

Istanbul Day 2 – Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, and Spice Bazaar

Istanbul Day 1 – Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern & Sightseeing Tour

Okay, let’s go back to Istanbul travelogues. This is the first among few travelogues planned.

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Finally the day has come. We were on Airbus of Jazeera Airways that took us to Sabiha Gökçen Airport , Istanbul. Although it is no-frills airline (i.e. you need to buy meals onboard, 0.5L water is 0.5KD), this budget airline was excellent: new plane, punctual, big baggage allowance (20kg), and economic. But these come with cost: depart 9 PM from Doha, transit in Kuwait City and arrive early morning, 2.45 AM in Istanbul. Transit in Kuwait City was unpleasant one; arrived at Arrival Terminal we were quiet puzzled as to where to go because there were no signs whatsoever that could direct us to transit terminal until somebody recognized us and directed us upstairs. Oh thanks Kuwait.

Arrived at Sabiha Gokcen Airport, I saw a long queue of people seeking for visa-on-arrival. Fortunately we had a pre-obtained visa from Turkish Embassy in Qatar so that an immigration check was very quick. The immigration officer was polite and helpful despite his limitation in English.

Sabiha Gökçen Airport (http://www.sgairport.com/havaalani/eng/start.asp) is named after the first female combat pilot in the world and the first Turkish aviatrix . The airport is located 35 km southeast of central Istanbul, on the Asian side of bi-continental city.

The trip from airport to Sultanahmet was merely 45 minutes, owing to early morning traffic. We had an airport transfer from Erboy Hotel (http://www.erboyhotel.com) for we stay 7 nights. Taxi will normally cost you about 80 TL (1-4 people) or 120 TL (5-80 people).

Hotel Erboy

Early Morning Advantages

We could not have early check-in whereas all other rooms were also fully booked. So, stranded at the lobby we decided to take a walk to Sultanahmet for Subuh prayer. That early morning, amidst freezing temperature, we walked up tramvay from Gulhane to Sultanahmet. The decision seemed paid off. Streets were free of traffic, very quiet, and serenity was just excellent. Old city buildings, clean streets, warm lights, blue sky that provided constrasted background to yellow-lighted Blue Mosque made an attractive picture. We can’t stop clicking our camera shutter release to capture this wonderful view.

View towards Aya Sofia; that early morning on the first day in Istanbul

What is blue in Blue Mosque?

Blue Mosque that morning was hushed; no tourist crowd, while prayers might already finish their ritual. Only 8 of us inside the mosque, performed subuh prayer with prior cold-to-bone ablution. Finished praying we stay for a while enjoying the magnificent view of Blue Mosque interior. You must be wonder why this camii is called Blue Mosque.

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.It was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. With this mosque, Sultan Ahmet I, set out to build a monument that would rival and even surpass the nearby Aya Sofya in grandeur and beauty. (Wikipedia and Lonely Planet)

Inside Blue Mosque. These now low-hanging electric lamps were used to be oil lamps.

Rather than walking straight from Sultanahmet Park through the crowds, I’ll suggest that you approach the mosque via the middle of the Hippodrome. This way you will be able to fully appreciate the mosque’s design.Once you’re iInside the courtyard you’ll be able to appreciate the perfect proportions of the building.

Huddled around Blue Mosque is a tomb of the founder (Sultan Ahmet I) on the north side facing Sultanahmet Park, an imaret (soup kitchen) to serve the poor, a hamam, a medrese (theological college) and shops (the Arasta Bazaar) to upkeep the mosque from the rent fee collected.

Try to see this mosque twice: during the day and night. See how you feel the differences.

Blue Mosque from Sultanahmet Park

Blue Mosque

Istanbul in 1.5 hours

If you have only limited time in Istanbul or need to have a quick orientation over main city attractions, look no further, buy a 20 Euro ticket from a red tour-booth in Sultanahmet Square and hop-on the open-top double-decker sightseeing tour bus. Bear in mind that the bus can be fully occupied. That happened to us. Bought tickets for 10 AM departure, the bus has already fully occupied, primarily on its open –top seats.

The bus is scheduled to depart hourly from bus stop at Sultanahmet Park with last departure at 5 PM.

We finally got the seats for the last departure. The bus crawled on tramvay to Gulhane Park then to Sirkeci Station. From here, bus was crossing Galata Bridge to Kadikoy, Tophane, and Dolmabahce. Taksim is the next destination. Flowing down the road to Beyoglu, the bus again crossing Golden Horn to Western areas of Istanbul, passing cable car station to Pierre Lotti. The bus then made a U-turn to stoll along the perimeter road of City Walls up to intersection to yenikapi, then back to Sultanahmet.

It was so enthralling to be able to see the pulses of life of Istanbul from above: narrow streets, street vendors, traffic, people, almost-all historical sights and touristic objects,  amidst cold wind. Do remember that during winter, temperature can be freezing and you won’t be able to enjoy the trip freely as the top window will be shut.

To help you appreciate the trip, the bus operator provides you a headphone for listening to pre-recorded guides with as many as 11 language options. Plus music background that Ialways remember their lyrics and beats: ….”Istanbul….istanbul….ramazan…ramazan….”…. (hahaha….I’m not sure the actual song is!)

 Escape the crowd at Sultanahmet, sank into this cistern

The street that you are stepping on in Sultanahmet Area may be located above this cistern. Covering an area of 65m wide and 143m long underground, this extraordinary subterranean structure is the largest surviving Byzantine cistern in Istanbul. The cistern, located 500 feet (150 m) west of the Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

The cistern’s roof is supported by 336 columns arranged in 12 rows. Designed to store 80,000 cubic meters of water, this cistern is built to supply water for Topkapi Palace. The cistern is surrounded by a firebrick wall with a thickness of 4 metres (13 ft) and coated with a waterproofing mortar. The cistern’s water was provided from the Belgrade Woods—which lie 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of the city—via aqueducts built by the Emperor Justinian.

Access to the cistern is through a building on Yerebatan Caddesi near a small park behind Million Stone. Ticket is TL10, children are free.  After passing an entrance gate, you will need to walk down the stairs to walking platform. With perfect music and lighting background you’ll be able to appreciate the mystics of this cistern. Dripping water, fishes patrolling in dark water, massive column, brickwalls.

Basilica Cistern

Try to allocate 30 minutes here. Please bear in mind that entrance and exit are separate. You will be exiting onto Alemdar St (ascending tramvay from Gulhane to Sultanahmet Station). There is a photo booth where you can dress like Turkish Sultan and be photographed at the entrance for 5 Euro and a café and souvenir shop at the exit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_Cistern

http://www.yerebatan.com/english/index.html

Making up sleep deprivation  and free dinner

Sleep-deprived due to inconvenient departure time, we made it up by taking a short snap following check-in at 1 PM. I should have understood the price of using a low cost airline. No worry though given the cost saving from it.

To end the day we spent dinner at hotel’s resturanct, free complimentary dinner, again benefiting from long stay. Come at about 9 PM we need to wait quite long until meals were ready. So long enough that we skipped our dessert. (Our free dinner includes one starter, one main course, and one dessert. Drinks are at your own cost)

That’s all for the first day. Good enough and we were still on schedule.

More pictures on my Facebook album:

Istanbul Day 1 – Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Bus Tour

QR5bn ethylene plant opens in Ras Laffan

Qatar’s lead position in the global petrochemical industry has been further consolidated with the formal inauguration of the QR5bn world-scale ethane cracker at Ras Laffan yesterday.  HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani inaugurated the plant that is set up by Ras Laffan Olefins Company

Ras Laffan Olefins Company (RLOC) ‘successfully commencing production’ on 4 May 2010.

RLOC is a joint venture among Qatofin (45.7%), Q-Chem II (53.3%) and QP (1%). The RLOC plant will be managed and operated by Q-Chem II.

Ras Laffan Olefins Company has set up a world-scale ethane cracker plant at Ras Laffan, which will process (crack) the natural ethane gas from the North Field into ethylene for producing various plastic polymers.

The type of gas used for ethylene production is ethane, which is recovered during gas processing. So, whenever there is a development on Qatar’s gas projects – be it pipeline or GTL – there will be more ethane available.

The project will have a capacity of 1.3mn tonnes of ethylene each year, guaranteeing a ‘steady supply’ of the raw material to both Qatofin and Q-Chem.

The production capacity is expandable to 1.6mn tonnes per year at a later stage. The capacity boost, however, would depend on development of the other projects that mainly supply the feedstock.By making Ras Laffan its base, RLOC will have easy access to feedstock from the Dolphin and Al Khaleej Gas.

Ethylene produced by RLOC will be pumped from Ras Laffan to the Qatofin and Q-Chem plants in Mesaieed through a purpose-built high-pressure 120km pipeline.

The mega project exploits vast economies of scale and the unique synergies that exist in Qatar’s well-developed hydrocarbons sector to build exceptional value into the system.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project has been carried out by Technip France.

The RLOC Cracker is said to be among the largest constructed in the world. The RLOC site will cover an area of 60 hectares.

“The Ras Laffan Olefins Company is a critical step in consolidating Qatar’s position as one of the leading suppliers of polyethylene in the world. It will also establish new synergies within the industry by exploiting inherent economies of scale for maximum advantage.” (Gulf Times)

Further fall seen in rental rates

No impacts to me directly as our house is provided by company. However, this fall will at least arrest inflation. Those who are provided with housing allowance will have windfall profit from reduced rental rates.

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Residential rental rates in Doha have fallen as much as 45% from their peak in 2008 and are likely to fall further due to oversupply, a report published yesterday said. Rents in Doha fell by 20% to 30% last year after population growth slowed in the state due to the financial crisis, property consultant DTZ said in its report.

“Average rental prices for luxury apartments have reduced further by 10% to 15% over the first quarter of the year with supply continuing to outstrip demand,” DTZ said. Average office rents have dived between 20% to 30% thanks to oversupply, Nick Witty, chief operating officer of DTZ’s Middle East operations, told Zawya Dow Jones on the sidelines of a real-estate conference in Doha.(Gulf Times, May 2010)