Car Inspection in Al Wakrah

Today, I took my Outlander for inspection for annual istimarah renewal. Unlike before, this time I chose FAHES vehicle inspection point in Al Wakrah. No specific reason except that the inspection point is easy to find, and the inspection itself is well-known for its quickness.

The site is located at ground in front of Hamza bin Abdulmotaleb Mosque (a grand mosque you’ll see on your right when driving from Doha to Messaied on Wakrah – Messaied main road). The mosque is about 300m south of the famous Pearl Roundabout.

Knowing from other’s experience that inspection line can be long during Saturday morning, I made myself hit the road at 5.35am from home. Arrived there at 6.05am, you know what, I was already on the 21st spot, the best I can get. Not long after, line after me quickly filled up. By 7.05am when the inspection started, the queue was probably around 40 cars. (Note: some said that inspection during weekday or Saturday afternoon may be less crowded).

And yes, I had to wait for about an hour before the inspection started. Fortunately I came prepared with hot tea to beat cold winter, newspaper and Android tablet to kill the time, and a pack of snack – fearing that inspection is gonna take so long.

Snaking around the entrance, car-by-car was inspected very quickly. It took less than 5 minute per car to be inspected, which includes technical and legal checks. Prior to go to inspection bay, car owner must register his/her car in registration office (brown building), just next to inspection bay (blue building). Inspection fee is QR75 cash only.

Finished with inspection, I went to registration office to get inspection result. My car failed in Tint/Film on Windshield Film a part of  Legal Requirements. No worry though as  I could seek waiver from a standby Police Officer, who don’t bother to check my car windshields. By 7.40am all was done. The rest is a formality for istimarah renewal with insurance and Traffic Dept.

This was 6.15am and inspection line has been this long (Al Wakrah Vehicle Inspection. Hamza bin Abdulmotaleb Mosque (left) and small brown building is registration office, blue building is inspection bay (right)


Vehicle Inspection in Al Wakrah. Brown building is registration office, blue building is inspection bay.


25°10’26″N   51°36’21″E (click link to take you to Wikimapia) 


Qatar Motor Show 2012 – A Guide

The second edition of Qatar Motor Show was just opened to public since today, 25 Jan 2012, and it runs until 28 Jan 2012. Here are some guides to the show.

References: Facebook – Qatar Motor Show, Website – Qatar Motor Show

Open for public: 25 – 28 Jan 2012. Free admission

Timing: Wed-Thu (25-26) 4pm – 10pm, Fri – Sat (27-28) 1pm – 10pm

Location: Doha Exhibition Center (next to Katara) for Exhibition and open area south of exhibition center for outdoor shows

Parking: anywhere around the exhibition center both on asphalted parking lot and ground. Some parking on road side between Exhibition and Katara. Parking lot on the east side of the building is a bit quieter. Expect crowded parking and traffic jams during weekend

Requirements: No children under 12 years old allowed to exhibition

Food: Costa Cofee, snack counters near spectator seating in outdoor show arena

Exhibitors: see Floor Plan below. Almost all big brands present except Honda, KIA, Mitsubishi. Don’t miss photo with many luxury cars, concept cars, and F1 cars. Also try F1 video games at Shell booth

Qatar Motor Show - Exhibition Floor Plan

Outdoor Shows: Red Bull Drifting Shows, Stunt Biker Show, Red Bull FMX. Check the following link for outdoor show timing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

Here are some pictures I took on Wednesday.

One of the concept cars
Classic Car Show by Al Fardan

Aston Martin
Harley Davidson
Texas A&M Qatar GTL Diesel-fueled Urban Concept Car
Red Bull Drift Show
With Scuderia Ferrari

I think I rather like summer

Blame it to Siberian cold wave that cold(er) weather becomes talk of town. The sudden dip to mercury down to 4 deg C  triggering wave of status in social network sites. Friends posting X deg C at Y time complete with pictures of mostly temperature indicator of car is not uncommon. Meanwhile, all busy with keeping their body warm.

Basically, Qatar’s climate can be summarized into: arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers. Note pleasant winters! So when it’s colder (average low temperature in January is 13 C)than it is used to be, like now, then it becomes “unpleasant’ winter to some long time Qatar resident or those from tropical countries 🙂

The lowest my car has recorded outside temperature

“I think I rather like summer”, said my son. “We can escape from the heat but not cold”

My son wearing headgear to go to school

Gone Fishing

I never like fishing until I found that it is not the fishing itself that is interesting but whatever around it.

To me, I thought fishing was wasting time, throwing your bait then wait…wait…wait…until poor, unfortunate fish attracted to your bit and ouch ..hooked! And it is a kind of deception, isn’t it. That’s why I don’t like it.

As time goes, I started to like offroad while in Qatar. When we went for night dune bashing, the morning after is always fishing time for most of my friends. I just watched them, tried to understand what joy fishing does bring. Many of my friends are fishing maniac; they bought boat, went fishing every weekend: in Al Dhakira, in Simaisma, and in Inland Sea.

My father-in-law is also a fishing maniac so maniac that whenever he sees a pool of water, he retorically asks himself “Is there fish inside? He never persuades me to like fishing but when I express my interest in buying fishing tools he can’t hide his enthusiasm. So here we go, I bring along a fishing kit from my last vacation.

Last weekend was my first fishing lesson. First, throwing bait, rolling up, throwing, rolling up. I didn’t get any fish yet, nor heaps of enjoyment. But at least I started, though I am thinking that may be watching them doing fishing amidst laugh, jeers and jokes can’t be more jollifying.

I don’t know.

Fishing amidst fog, at Rock Island, Inland Sea
After quite some time, I joined night dune bashing and morning fishing
..when stuck is no longer a shame nor frightening
Jeep thing you won't understand
...and tire slippage or out of place is just another lesson learned

Weekend without malls?

I noticed that for couple of weekends recently I spent them accidentally without going to malls. Hmmmm…. so it’s possible, it’s doable to spent weekend without them. These weekends-without-going-to-malls are worthy exercise as those big attractive red banner hanging everywhere (read: SALE) – how do you know then? – inviting unnecessary spending 🙂

In fact, it’s no that difficult to pass the weekends without malls. Last weekend for example, I went for night fishing and dune bashing Thursday night till Friday morning, then went for gathering in the afternoon. On Saturday, I spent the whole day with my kids, playing board games, rearranging their toy rooms, and reading. This weekend, another example, I spent reading on Thursday night, went to Al Khor for photo hunting in the morning of Friday, visited a friend in the afternoon till evening. On Saturday, lingered the whole morning and then went to Corniche till late afternoon.

So, it’s possible.

Next big thing is a weekend without TV and then without internet? Is it doable?

I’ll let you know.

Man Jadda Wajada

The second book I read is an English edition of “Negeri 5 Menara”: The Land of Five Towers.

Man jadda wajada. He who gives his all, will surely succeed

Inspired by a true story, the book’s main message is one thing: that He who gives his all will surely succeed, or if you give it everything you’ve got you will surely succeed.

The story has it that Alif had never set foot outside of West Sumatra. He passed his childhood days searching for fallen durian fruit in the jungle, playing soccer on rice paddies, and swimming in the blue waters of Lake Maninjau. His mother wants him to attend an Islamic boarding school, a pesantren, while he dreams of public high school. Halfheartedly, he follows his mother’s wishes. He finds himself on a grueling three-day bus ride from Sumatra to Madani Pesantren (MP) in a remote village on Java.

On his first day at MP, Alif is captivated by the powerful phrase man jadda wajada. He who gives his all will surely succeed. United by punishment, he quickly becomes friends with five boys from across the archipelago, and together they become known as the Fellowship of the Manara. Beneath the mosque’s minaret, the boys gaze at the clouds on the horizon, seeing in them their individual dreams of far-away lands, like America and Europe. Where would these dreams take them? They didn’t know. What they did know was: never underestimate dreams, no matter how high they may be. God truly is The Listener.

The Land of 5 Towers is the first book in a trilogy written by A. Fuadi—a former TEMPO & VOA reporter, photography buff, and a social entrepreneur. He went to George Washington University and Royal Holloway, University of London for his masters. A portion of the royalties from the trilogy are intended to build Komunitas Menara, a volunteer-based social organization which aims to provide free schools, libraries, clinics and soup kitchens for the less fortunate.

At many points, I have reflections on the book as some of my life experiences proved that man jadda wajada:

– I was forced out of university taking sick leave for one semester due to sick after an expedition in Ujung Kulon National Park, 1995. Skipping one semester means that I must wait in some subjects to next year to complete certain subjects as they are interdependent: you can’t take one subject unles you pass pre-requisite subject. Then, I decided to focus on study (chemical engineering), to keep minimal extracurricular activities, and to catch up others. Finally I could graduate in due time, 4.5 years, with cum laude!

– I pursued my master degree in National University of Singapore. Although I got scholarship, all of my family expenses were relied on/supported only through my own savings that probably barely enough for 2 years. Given this tight financial situation I forced my self to complete master program in only 1 year (instead of 1.5 years for normal full time student). With all hardships, at the end, one year and good GPA were the results. Man jadda wajada.

Do you have the similar experiences?

* the book is now filmed under the same title. See on Youtube:*

Saving is not enough. 100 steps not to become poor

Amidst the busy vacation, I forced myself to complete reading books. One of the five books is about financial planning. The title seems intriguing; opposite to what normally best sellers have, things like how to become rich, super duper quick ways to become rich, financial freedom in very flash time, etc.

The author, Ligwina Hananto, talked about strengthening the middle class. Middle class is like most people in Indonesia. Average of us: have income, can live proper, can go shopping, able to take vacation once a year, able to spend time in cafe, able to watch movie in cinema. Middle class feel they have enough about their financial issues as it turns out they don’t have proper plan and their power of purchase are not maintained with ability to sustain the life style for longer term.

In summary she recommended that we should have:

– Educational Fund, that enough to compensate for tuition fee increase and inflation. Here she wakes me up that saving does not solve everything. Though I have had two educational saving plans, I still have some homeworks. That I must invest in moderate to high risk instrument for long term plan to be able to meet the always increasing education fee.

– Emergency Fund, that addequate to cover our living expenses during hard time (lay-off, unfortunate events, etc.). For a family with two children, 12 months emergency fund is recommended. This fund is not necessarily achieved in one go. Putting money into gold investment may be a good idea in here. Another homework.

– Pension and Protection Plan, through insurances and pension plan. I think I get them covered although pension plan to be increased to ensure that the current life style can still be maintained in retirement life.

– Personal Fund, for vacation, sharing, charity, or religious intention. 

Ligwina also provided readers with 100 steps/checklist financial action plan, from separating monthly expenses with weekly expenses, pay all credit card bills every month, own the first house, to starting to own active asset, and ensuring pension fund achieved, so forth and so forth.

The book makes me scared. But scared that gets me think and take action! Thanks for “pinching me”, Ligwina!