Transfer of Vehicle Ownership

Just today I sold my car and completed the necessary procedure for transfer of vehicle ownership. The process is straightforward. Here is how.

From Hukoomi (Qatar E-Government):

When a vehicle is sold from one owner to another, the buyer and seller are required to complete the transfer of ownership. The procedure allows the buyer to become the new registered owner.

Follow these steps to transfer the ownership of a vehicle:

  • Print and fill out the application form.
  • Bring original vehicle registration, along with copies of ID from both seller and buyer.
  • Supply insurance document under the buyer’s name.
  • Produce a no objection letter from the seller, if he/she is not present.
  • Submit all required documents to the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department.
  • Pay appropriate fee.

Now let’s see how it is in practice.

Secured a deal with the potential buyer, I and the buyer went to nearest Traffic Police Station. We went to Al Khor Traffic Police as both of us working in Ras Laffan. We asked a typist at portacabin to complete the required application form. We presented to him: original vehicle registration and IDs. He asked us our mobile numbers to put into the application form. 10QR for this typing service.

We went then to traffic police office, presented her the application form, original istimarah and copies of ID. It turned out that we needed to also supply an insurance paper associated with the vehicle.That’s what worried me. I totally remember that when I renewed the istimarah, Al Khaleeji Insurance man at the satellite office in Rayyan Traffic Police didnot give me the paper. Sh**. I regretted my stupidity to accept his words that insurance paper was not required because it is clearly mentioned at the back of istimarah. It won’t cause you a problem, unless you need to sell the car.

We inquire the matter to Al Khaleeji officer at the same portacabin only to be advised that we needed to go to its main office in Grand Hamad St. in Doha. His satellite office is not online (connected to main office). Aaaargh…

The same day on the evening, I went to Al Khaleeji satellite office in Rayyan Traffic Police. Just in case. The answer: no different. Okay. Now time to vent my exacerbation. I had a talk with the same old man; warned him that he and his insurance couldn’t just be simply not giving a copy to its customer since it causes headache when it comes to transfer. I can say this because the other insurance always gives the copy (Note: I took Islamic Insurance for my Mitsubishi and I had the copy). A new list added to my [you know that].

And then there was another twist. Seeing I came with the application form in copy not original, the man insisted me to make a new application using original as he said the traffic office may not accept a copy of application form. I convinced him that I just came from Al Khor Traffic and the form was provided by the typist, and it was okay except the missing insurance paper. “Paper that you didn’t give me last time….” I told him, again. May be he is right that Rayyan Office does not accept application form in copy, but the fact that he is working in a silo and doesn’t listen to me only justify my plan not to use his insurance in the future. Inuf!

Lesson Learned: Do make sure that you get a copy of insurance paper!

The following morning I went to Al Khaleeji Insurance Main Office, at Grand Hamad St, just beside Mashraf Al Rayyan. Fortunately it went very smooth. No queue, and no fee – contrary to what I have read. Feel bad for this good service due to the poor old man in the insurance’s satellite office in Rayyan. What to do…I am just a customer, and I have the right to choose 🙂

With the insurance paper completed, I went back to Al Khor Traffic Police (on the way back to work at Ras Laffan). And it also went very smooth. The – probably- same lady received my application and processed swiftly. Within minutes after I paid 100QR fee by card, the new istimarah is ready. Well done.

You may have heard that for buying a vehicle, an NOC from company is required. In our transfer case, my car buyer was never asked such document. Some people said that if you are working for Q company no NOC is required, but this was also not true as I was asked in Rayyan Office to provide the document (about 14months ago when I bought this car). E-Hukoomi doesn’t specify an NOC requirement although a poster in Al Khor Traffic Police Office does say so.


Silent Cancellation

If only I knew…

The story started with a big advertisement from Qatar Marine Festival  in Gulf Times (not sure how many) but the last time I saw was on Tuesday, about Qatar Marine Festival Carnival to be planned on Friday, 11 March 2011, 4-6pm. The carnival is basically a parade of 16 floats with marine motifs and 140-street-artis performance.

And here we go. We had been standby at Corniche in front of Emiri Diwan from 4pm. Unfortunately, until 5+pm no signs of carnival whatsoever. We checked its website, Facebook status, Tentangqatar milist, and Qatarliving if there were any update. None. At 7pm we passed corniche from souq waqif but it’s negative. Morning before I read newspaper and no cancellation notice posted, so i assumed it’s still going on.

Turned out it wasn’t only me. At least three of my friends were waiting in vain. One milister advised us that there was cancellation note in Facebook page! Oh my….

The carnival parade is now part of daily event during festival. Parade will take place twice a day at 6-6.30pm and 9-9.30pm.

Probably it’s not enough for me just to read main newspaper, social website or rely on organizer official website. I should expand my event future telling capabilities….May I recommend that if you want to cancel something already been publicly announced, make it louder, louder….  as loud as you firstly announced it.

In any case, it’s just a grain of sand in my shoes…don’t bother… 🙂 …just no offense. Cheers. Good luck with the festival.

No weekend without events to choose from

No weekend without events to choose from. The only hurdle is sometimes staying at home is the best option! But below are my assessments.

MotoGP Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar. Losail International Circuit, New Al Khor Highway, Doha, Qatar. 17,18,19,20 March 2011. Ticket starting from 30 USD (Grandstand ticket, 4 days).

             Negative. Been there twice. Plan to watch at Al Jazeera Sports.

Formula Drift Qatar. Industrial Area Street 52. Friday, 18th March 2011, 4.30pm. Tickets available at Villagio, Landmark, City Center, The Mall)

           Negative. Been there.         

Qatar Marine Festival. Cultural Village (Katara) Sea Front – East Side. March 16-26, 2011. Free Entrance Tickets except for Seal Show, Musical Play and Cinema with limited seat capacity. Tickets can be obtained at Event Counter.

         Undecided. Disappointed by silent cancellation of Carnival! Probably going if kids ask for

The Golden Age of Dutch Painting, masterpiece from the Rijksmuseum. 11 March – 6 June 2011. Museum of Islamic Art Temporary Exhibition Gallery. Tickets cost QR25 each and can be purchased from the MIA Gift Shop. Free admission for students and children under 16 years old.

        Negative. Seen them at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam last summer.

The Golden Age of the Arab Sciences. Katara, Multi Purpose Hall, Building No.12. Exhibition from March 17th – April 30th, 2011. Daily from 1500-2000hrs, Saturday 1000-2000hrs. Free entrance.

      Positive. Plan to visit next weekends given the long Exhibition period.     

Weighing up options for Umrah

One of the privileges (for Muslim) living in Qatar is Qatar’s closeness to Mecca and Medina. Doha is about 1440km driving distance to Mecca. It means Muslim can choose one of the various options for performing Umrah.

I am currently weighing up option for Umrah, that Insya Allah, to be performed early April during school term break.

A.  By Car

1.  Self-Driving

One can self-drive to Mecca. The usual route is Doha-Mecca-Medina-Doha. Depending upon how the journey is broken, one can reach Mecca directly from Doha without any overnight break (in which case involves 14-18hours driving). The safer option is to stay overnight in Riyadh (another 750s km to Mecca).

Self-driving offers self-dependency, and flexibility at its most. The downside however is that driving long distance may cause fatigue, tiredness that may impact safety of driving or the performance of Umrah itself. It also requires good preparation and planning (for journey route, accommodation, etc.). Many are doing self-driving in a group which is good just in case of emergency happens during the trip or for enjoyable journey.

The cost associated with self-driving options are: visa: 250QR per person, car insurance: 10SAR per day, hotel: varies from 150SAR to 600SAR (5 star close to Haram) per day, petrol: less than 500QR.

2. Chauffeur Driving

In this option, we can have a chauffeur–driven Chevrolet Suburban XL 2011 (with 7-adult capacity). The service offers a private journey, door-to-door service, quicker border process, and flexibility (can choose any departure and arrival date). The provider (currently offered by Hamlah Labbaik) also provides Indonesian drivers. For Doha-Mecca-Doha this will cost 3500QR, whereas Doha-Mecca-Medina-Doha will cost 4500QR. This cost includes car rental, driver fee and his meals, and petrol.

To add up to this cost is all other Umrah cost such as visa, and accommodation.

This seems an interesting option although it carries a potential safety risk in case the driver does not get enough rest-break period between trips.

B.  By Bus

One can hire bus service for Umrah through appointed Hajj and Umrah agent (hamlah). There are various options available. This is a preferred option if you can bear with longer journey (4-6 hours longer than self-driving) or don’t have any back problem.

–          Hamlah Labbaik (located at second floor of Bakery next to Family Food Center (FFC) Bin Nasr)

  • VIP Package, 8 days  

49-seat capacity Executive Bus. 3-night stay in 4-star hotel in Mecca (70m from Haram) and 2-night in Medina (50m from Prophet Mosque).

Transport and Umrah visa: 700 QR/person (infrant <2 yo free)

Accommodation: Double Bed (2100 QR per room), Triple Bed (2570QR), Quad Bed (2960QR)

  • Exclusive Package, 8 days

49-seat capacity Executive Bus. 3-night stay in 4-star hotel in Mecca (200m from Haram) and 2-night in Medina (50m from Prophet Mosque).

Transport and Umrah visa: 700 QR/person (infrant <2 yo free)

Accommodation: Double Bed (1725 QR per room), Triple Bed (1975QR), Quad Bed (2200QR)

  • Regular Package, 10 days

5 nights Mekkah and 3 nights Medina. 1100 QR, twice each month, departed on Wednesday

 –          Hamlah Haramain (Rawdat Al Khalil St. in front of Al Shaheen – Al Muntazah)

  • VIP Package. 9 days ( 5 star hotels: 5 nights Mekkah + 2 nights Medina). 2500 QR per person

–          Hamlah Doha Transport (Umm Al Shebram St. Off B-Ring Road, Al Muntazah/Abdul Aziz)

  • VIP Package. 10 days. (6 nights  Mekkah + 2 nights Medina). 1500 QR per person  
  • Regular Package. 10 days. (6 nights  Mekkah + 2 nights Medina). 1500 QR per person. Departures every Wednesday every week.

–          Hamlah Al Ansar

  •  Regular Package. 9 days (5 nights  Mekkah + 2 nights Madinah). 1200 QR per person. Departures every Wednesday twice a month.

C.  By Air

This is probably the most comfortable and quickest option but it incurs the most expensive cost. Jeddah and Medina both have international airport for access to Mecca. Saudi Airlines, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways, Etihad are among airlines with frequent flights to both cities. One economy return trip costs from QR1200 (to Jeddah).

One can then organize transfer transport himself (i.e. rent a car – from 200QR per day) or through hamlah.

Bahrain – Day 2 Part 1

Day 2 – Part 1 . 20 December 2010

Okay, so now time for kids as I promised them with Water Park.

20.  City Center Mall & Gold Souk

Bahrain City Centre is the first and biggest mixed-use development in Bahrain offering the best shopping, leisure and entertainment experience to its customers under one roof. Strategically located on Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa Highway in the heart of Manama, Bahrain City Centre is home for Bahrain’s biggest cinema complex, Wahoo Water Park, Magic Planet and hundreds of international retail brands.

We managed to visit City Center with a main purpose of getting wet in water park, no shopping, no strolling!  The nearby airy, clean and bright food court was our lunch venue.  Meanwhile my kids were impatient to rush into the water park while they were having their lunch. Calm down kids!

We went to Gold Souk, not for buying gold this time but for praying…hehehe. The interior design of gold souk itself is excellent; Arabian architecture with golden touch.

Gold Souk - Bahrain City Center

Walked back to water park we passed the mall’s main atrium where way down below a Cinderella dressed and flooded with apples: can you count how many apples are there?

How many apples on her dress?

21.  Wahoo  Water Park

My kids can’t help hiding their excitement as we entered a ticket counter. Normal price is BD10 for adult and children above 1.2m, BD6 for children below 1.2m.

You can easily spend half day here and may see time flying fast. Located near food court in 3rd floor of Bahrain City Center, this region’s first indoor/outdoor water park offers temperature controlled 15,000 square meter water park facilities both indoor and outdoor. So you can enjoy the park regardless the seasons.

Upon purchasing tickets we were given watch-like water-proof wrist identities which shall be used to access the park and/or access locker. Access to locker can be had by paying additional fee and then activating “the watch”.

Indoor facilities include wave pool (at regular interval), lazy river, side winder, and many water slides (named as The Rain Fortress, The Master Blaster, and The Black Hole). Restaurants are also available for a cup of hot coffee and alike.

Indoor part of Wahoo Water Park
May I be drifted as lazy as possible? (at Lazy River Wahoo Water Park)


While outdoor, there are gangslides (4 paralel slides), The Mat Racer (long long slides), and the Flow Rider where you can practice surfing. The last two are not for free unfortunately.

Learn to surf in artificial outdoor surfing

And here we go, enjoy the rest of the day, trying every single ride until heavy wrinkles appeared on our skin.

“Next time we should go to Bahrain again and go here! Yes, Dad?”  ask my youngest son.

22.  King Faisal Corniche, Bahrain WTC

Night fell in Bahrain when we left City Center. Intrigued by high twin tower with its wind turbines, the first skyscraper in the world to integrate it into its design, I drove my car towards Bahrain World Trade Center. The best photograph spot, perpendicular to the tower is from King Faisal Corniche, right near a small hut selling snacks and hot tea or coffee, perfect companion for enjoying the vistas. From this point you will also get view to Bahrain Financial Harbour.

At Bahrain World Trade Center from King Faisal Corniche
Bahrain Financial Harbour (from King Faisal Corniche)

Bahrain WTC is a 240m high and 50-floor twin tower complex built in 2008. It is now the second tallest building in Bahrain after the twin towers of the Bahrain Financial Harbour. The two towers are linked via three skybridges, each holding a 225KW wind turbine, totaling to 675kW of wind power production. Each of these turbines measure 29 m (95 ft) in diameter, and is aligned north, which is the direction from which air from the Persian Gulf blows in. The sail-shaped buildings on either side are designed to funnel wind through the gap to provide accelerated wind passing through the turbines. This was confirmed by wind tunnel tests, which showed that the buildings create an S-shaped flow, ensuring that any wind coming within a 45° angle to either side of the central axis will create a wind stream that remains perpendicular to the turbines. This significantly increases their potential to generate electricity.

The wind turbines are expected to provide 11% to 15% of the towers’ total power consumption, or approximately 1.1 to 1.3 GWh a year. This is equivalent to providing the lighting for about 300 homes annually. The three turbines were turned on for the first time on the 8th of April, 2008. They are expected to operate 50% of the time on an average day (Wikipedia)

23.   Seef Mall

Before back to hotel we managed to go to Seef Mall. It is the first but second largest mall in Bahrain. Our plan is to search for souvenirs but nothing in here so we ended up with having dinner only.

24.  Hard Rock Cafe and Exhibition Avenue

A must for every city where it has Hard Rock Café is to buy its shot glass: been there, done that, got the shot glass!  From Seef Mall we drove home and took detour to Exhibition Avenue where HRC is located at. The Exhibition Avenue is the most prominent location in Hoora (considered as one of Manama’s nightlife centers). In the evenings, especially during weekends, this avenue becomes a very busy street with many tourists, locals, and foreigners. Much of the architecture of Hoora is in the traditional Gulf style and dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. At the backside of this row of buildings lie narrow streets and old buildings, very similar to Musheireb, and Sofitel area.

Beware that securing a parking spot can be arduous in this vibrant street strip.

Next: Bab Al Bahrain, Al Khamis Mosque, Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Corniche, Bait Al Quran & La Fontaine

Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art

Mathaf - The Guardian of the Fertile Crescent and Al-Safina (the ship)
Museum facade

Finally I had a chance to visit the new addition to Doha’s attraction . If Abu Dhabi buys the franchises of Guggenheim and Louvre Museums, Doha has its own museum. Mathaf (is pronounced ‘mat-haf’ and means “museum”) opens the door for public since December 30, 2010.

Quoted press release from Qatar Museum Authority:

“Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art presents exhibitions and programs that explore modern Arab art. Its collection of more than 6,000 works represents major trends and sites of production of modern Arab art, spanning the 1840s to the present. In addition to its collection and special exhibitions, Mathaf’s on-site and online programs will reinforce its role as a center for global dialogue, research and scholarship. Through these activities, which are designed to engage artists, writers, students, scholars and the widest possible public audience, Mathaf will contribute to the cultural landscape of the Gulf region, the Middle East and the Arab Diaspora.

The Museum will temporarily occupy a former school building in Doha’s Education City, which was re-designed for Mathaf by the French architect Jean-François Bodin. QMA will determine its plans for the construction of a future, permanent home for the Museum at a later date.

Mathaf is the outgrowth of more than two decades of activity by QMA’s Vice-Chairperson, His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al-Thani. The collection was adopted originally by Qatar Foundation, who safeguarded it for four years before QMA took the Museum on as a Museums Authority project, at which point the current partnership was formed. As the catalyst of this project, Sheikh Hassan has encouraged creativity in Qatar and throughout the region with his longtime commitment to Arab artists.

Overseeing the establishment and opening of Mathaf is QMA Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.”

When I visited Mathaf on 4 March 2011, Mathaf featured Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art : an inaugural exhibition of highlights from the collection, featuring works by more than 100 artists and representing pivotal experiments in aesthetics. Sajjil, an Arabic word meaning the act of recording, initiates a space in which various narratives can be articulated in an effort to allow Arab modern art its historical place within a wider tradition of art history.

Ismail Fatah’s the guardian of the fertile crescent (two statues at the very foreforent of museum) welcomed me when I just alighted at the parking lots. To the right is Adam Henein’s “al-safina” (the ship). Al-Safina is based on approximately 64 blocks of pink and black granite quarried in Aswan, Egypt. On and around the blocks stand twenty granite and bronze sculptures of animals, human figures, plants and abstract forms. This sculpture is immediately recognizable as a ship but it leaves room for the imagination.

Adam Henein's the ship

I then passed through a screen-wrapped scaffolding-style façade, upon which imagery and video can be projected at night. Reception Hall is the next space. Security Guard indicated that I must report to Reception Desk which has two big art pictures of Emir and Sheikha Mozah at the opposite side. No fee to enjoy the whole art galleries and facilities. Receptionist asked few questions such as where do I know Mathaf, if I am tourist or resident. I inquired to the receptionist if I am allowed to take pictures and reminded that photography is limited to reception hall and outside museum.

Art pictures of Emir and Sheikha Mozah at the reception hall
Signages in the museum ("Negative" mode picture)

Inside Mathaf, the flexible space has an informal and contemporary aesthetic. I can easily recognize the ‘school’ parts of museum. There are 10 galleries arranged in two floors. At ground floor are form and abstraction, city, Doha, nature, and individualsm, whereas the first floor houses Horoufiyah, family, society, struggle, and history and myth galleries.

Also available at the ground floor are library (Maktaba), gift shop (Mahal), coffee shop (Maqha), activity center (Manara). The library was worth visited. It is spacious, well aranged. Soft, and comfortable sofa, Apple desktops, and vast array of art books are ingredient to this lovely library that its bookselves walls are made of stack of books. Interesting. The library is open to small grass field. Book can only be read in the library and not to be borrowed, unfortunately.

Striking colorful art structure at the reception hall




Visitor Information:

Opening Times

Sun, Mon, Tue, Thurs, Sat: 1100-1800

Friday: 1500-2100

Monday: Closed

The Mathaf café, library, education center and gift-shop are open during gallery hours

Maqha Relax with a coffee or lemonade and enjoy the breeze on our shaded terrace

Manara All kinds of active learning, from family fun to volunteering, intern programs and academic research

Maktaba Find the books and resources to help you pursue your own interest in art

Mahal Featuring creativegifts from the region alongside our own Mathaf merchandise


T: +974.4487.6662/+974.4402.8855

Coordinate: 25 18’39.02”N 51 25’08.15”E (drive Al Luqta Street  from Madinat Khalifa to the west, pass Slope Roundabout, pass one roundabout, turn left at the next roundabout, follow the road bend, turn right then right. Follow signages.

Museum complex from the road

How is Doha like from above?

Take off from Doha International Airport, I was fortunate to be able to get this magnificent view of Doha from above. Taken from the window of Qatar Airways, flight QR019, 18 feb 2011, around 8am. Canon EOS 7D. Tamron 18-270mm.

Al Ghanim area, few minutes after take-off. Corniche about to appear on the right


Start of Corniche and Museum Islamic Art.


Doha Corniche and West Bay skylines


Doha skylines. The legendary Sheraton hotel on the bottom middle


Tornado Tower, Qtel Tower, City Center. Can you recognize them?


West Bay Lagoon, Zig Zag Tower, and Doha Golf Club

The last two are not Doha’s but worth showing here: Lusail City and Al Khor.

Lusail City is under construction
Al Khor (clockwise): Al Khor town, Industrial Area, Al Khor Community complex, Purple Island, and Al Khor Bay