Category Archives: Doha

Long Term Parking @HIA

It was back in last August when I had to go back to Indonesia for my second batch of summer vacation. Unlucky enough that I couldn’t take a straight 7-week vacation. Travelling alone, I have a liberty to drive and park at HIA Employee Parking area. I left my car for two weeks and it was fine and FREE.

Apart from Employee Parking there are actually short term paid parking area and long term free parking area (at least until now).

Shuttle bus will ferry “Employee” from parking area to dropping point on the left side of arrival terminal, a mere few (5-7 min) drive. As HIA operates 24-hour shuttle bus is supposedly always available with very short waiting time. I left my car at around 10pm when departing and picked up at 4.30am when landing and on both cases I waited for no time.

If you have big luggage you may face some difficulties as the bus is not designed to carry passenger with luggages.

I haven’t tried Long Term Parking area yet so not sure if shuttle bus is also available. I was initially lost to Long Term Parking area and observed no shuttle. Not sure now though.

If you’d like to try, I suggest that you make a dry run to the location to avoid any hassle on the D-day.

Coordinate “J”block – Employee Parking Area: 25 15’06.5″N 51 36’52″E

How to reach Employee Parking Area

Route 1:

Follow normal route from Ras Abu Aboud Road to HIA Road (F Ring Road). After passing two bridges, just before the road forks out into Parking and Arrival/Departure look for the yellow “High Vehicle Exit” sign. Then you’ll see blue signs to Long Term Parking and Employee Parking. Follow Employee Parking sign, passing through Rental Center on your right and Long Term Parking on your left. Turn left at intersection with Exit sign on blue-arrows signboard. Aim for “J” block which can be identified from high mast with black letter at the top. This is where shuttle bus picks the employees from. Last September construction was on going to provide an air conditioned waiting room at every block.

How to reach Employee Parking area
How to reach Employee Parking area

 

Route 2.

Google Maps shows that this route is possible. From HIA Road (F Ring Road) take the second ramp down (the first one being to Emiri Terminal). Turn left at the first intersection to pass through underpass. Turn right at the first next intersection, and again aim for “J”block.

How to reach Employee Parking Area
How to reach Employee Parking Area

 

Look for the yellow "High Vehicle Exit" sign
Look for the yellow “High Vehicle Exit” sign

 

Employee Parking Area. Look for "J" block
Employee Parking Area. Look for “J” block

 

Dropping Points - Shuttle Bus on the left side of Arrival Terminal
Dropping Points – Shuttle Bus on the left side of Arrival Terminal

 

Bird-eye view to access to Drop Point (left; gate behind Ooredoo counter)
Bird-eye view to access to Drop Point (left; gate behind Ooredoo counter)
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Doha’s Bird Eye Views July 2013

It’s always fascinating to see Doha from above. I wish I could fly. The below pictures were taken onboard Qatar Airways flight to Jakarta last month, 3rd July 2013.

Ras Abu Aboud Intersection
Ras Abu Aboud Intersection and desert rose-inspired National Museum under construction
Doha Corniche starts appearing on right
Doha Corniche starts appearing on right
MIA Park looks gorgeous here
MIA Park looks gorgeous here
Doha Bay and skyscrapers of West Bay
Doha Bay and skyscrapers of West Bay
West Bay areas
West Bay areas. The Sheraton Park Project and Doha Convention Center Project can be seen here
Another view of West Bay
Another view of West Bay
Doha Intercontinental Hotel and The St. regis
Doha Intercontinental Hotel and The St. Regis complex, and Katara
Katara and its Katara Hills development
Katara and its Katara Hills development, and West Bay Lagoon
Love this! North-South view of Katara and West Bay and Corniche
Love this! North-South view of Katara and West Bay and Corniche
Another North-South view of Doha
Another North-South view of Doha. Newton International School on the bottom center
Dahl Al Hamam Park can be seen here
Dahl Al Hamam Park can be seen here. Just below it is Tawal Mall under construction
West-East view of Doha
West-East view of Doha
Look at that green patches of Doha's Central Park under halt
Look at that green patches of Doha’s Central Park under halt
The loooong awaited Hamad International Airport on further right
The loooong awaited Hamad International Airport on further right. Also, the F-ring road under construction and Barwa Village on the bottom of picture

For the laugh of football: 100% out 150% in

I have to admit that I don’t play football very well. Don’t talk about dribbling yet. I can only kick the ball out of attacked area 🙂

But not playing well is not a valid reason for missing a morning football session. When I say morning it’s really early morning. Well, just after sun rises. Miss a session and then I’ll miss the main attraction: Indonesian breakfast!

“Playing football is number 27. The number 1priority is the breakfast after”, said one of my friends. Indeed. Then a typical breakfast dish of Indonesia is what we aim for. Name it, we have them covered: nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodle), bubur ayam (chicken porridge), gudeg (young jackfruit soup), pempek (fish cake), or pecel (vegetable stew with peanut sauce). No rules who to provide…all by voluntary.

While playing football may take few calories, the breakfast will surely make it up, even much more. 100% (calories) out, 150% in. LOL. We end up getting fatter :)..though healthier..

With exceptions, most players are in their late 30-s or early 40-s. What’s happening is then the ball goes faster than our run, our laugh is louder than our actions, and friendship can only go bolder.

This two hours of laughing, joking, exercising, and exchanging rumours is why we always want a weekend to come faster. And this also what makes living in Doha more enjoyable..

 

100% out 150% in :)
100% out 150% in 🙂

 

An offer you can't resist
An offer you can’t resist

 

IMG-20130525-WA000

Why should I clear my own table?

whyshouldiclearmytable

It was a weird weekend where we went to home furnishings store just to have our dinner: yup…meat balls! We sat at one very clean table in a modern-minimalist-designed restaurant. I struck at a rhetoric question displayed on acrylic triangle on the table. Why should I clear my own table?

Yes, why should I?” , you may think; if I am in this country that cheap services are common; from petrol station attendant, groceries helper or foodcourt I-clean-your-mess helpers.

So I cleared my own table and then sat for quite a while…observing restaurant patrons if this question really works

…and (I was surprised) it did.

People follow what ‘suggested’ by the question. Are they doing it because others doing it? because it hits their bottom line (you should clear your table so that we can maintain our price low) or it is a polite thing to do? You won’t never see this in mall’s food courts nor in fast food restaurants.

Wonder if this sign is put in those places…..

Do you clear your own table?

People discuss in the net about this question: http://www.yelp.com/topic/chandler-should-i-clean-up-my-table-at-fast-food-places

How to avoid leaving Doha broke!

broke-clipart-illustration

While the original article is published on Dubai’s Gulf News “How to avoid leaving Dubai broke”, the similarity of tax-free, expat life and consumerism between Dubai and Doha makes this article obviously still valid for Doha. I copy paste the original article below with a link provided to original site. Read on if you don’t want to be one of them. A lot of good advices too from the article and reader’s comments (check original site).

http://gulfnews.com/about-gulf-news/al-nisr-portfolio/xpress/how-to-avoid-leaving-dubai-broke-1.1136919

Dubai: If you earn Dh20,000 per month and have no money left in your account by month end, you are likely to retire from the UAE no better off than a tea boy.

Yes this is the sad truth for thousands of expats who come here with dreams of making big money, only to end up broke with hardly any savings to write home about, after years spent on living the high life or lured by shopping festivals and discount offers.

Those who succumb to the temptation to upgrade — to a nicer car, a bigger villa, pricier signature items — are in effect trading their present for a bad future, experts say.

Take the case of Richard, a European working in Dubai for seven years. The 42-year-old has no children, but has racked up a combined debt of Dh210,000 on five credit cards, and has a Dh90,000 car loan. His rent, food and bills take up most of his Dh24,000 paycheque, with nothing left at the end of the month.

Article continues below

Dev, 40, a divorced airline executive, gets free accommodation and does not have a lavish lifestyle. But family commitments prevent him from saving anything.

He earns well, has no debt, but also has no savings — not even an emergency fund.

“When you come and live and work in Dubai,” Reg Ormond, managing director of financial advisory The Wealth Practice, said, “the attraction of tax-free earnings would suggest that the majority of people would build up decent savings to help them in their future.”

But the fixed costs of living eat into monthly salaries, according to Ormond, who runs free seminars on financial planning. “Large shopping malls and the ‘eating out’ culture — to name just two of Dubai’s attractions — take away whatever is left.”

The temptation to upgrade to a bigger apartment/villa, a nicer car — and the high cost of schooling for children — is also a constant challenge for expatriates.

So how does one get out of the rut? Ormond advises people to take a step back: “Accept that your time in Dubai with tax-free savings may be limited. Maximise your time here by listing your financial priorities.”

Most debt-laden expatriates have also had to part with their end-of-service (ESB) benefits, which banks collect at the first sign that a person has lost his job.

 

Pension fund

In 2010, UAE authorities and the International Labour Organisation discussed establishing a pension fund for expatriate workers to guarantee they receive their ESB.

In March 2012, a senior official of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED) said they have completed a feasibility study for an expat pension fund, which was to be launched by end-2012 after clearance from relevant authorities. If pushed through, Dubai could become the first Gulf state to launch a pension fund for expatriates.

UAE lawyer Mohammad Al Suwaidi that a pension fund is a step in the right direction. “It’s a good idea, but it needs sound regulations from the start.”

Al Suwaidi said, however, that clubbing an employees pension fund with their ESB may be problematic, since by the definition an ESB is only due when an employee’s service comes to an end and grows over time as an employee’s salary rises.

protection

Other experts also feel a pension fund would help protect expats in their old age.

Steve Gregory, managing partner of financial consultancy Holborne Assets Ltd. said most expats (especially Western) are capable of saving at least 10 per cent of their salary, but are reluctant to alter their lifestyle.

“There are some who spend a lot, get into debt and leave broke,” said Gregory. “This applies to younger Western expats and people earning less than, say, Dh8,000 per month who are struggling to survive, especially when they send money home for families.”

Gregory, whose career in financial services spans 30 years, gave a rare insight into the spending habits of UAE expatriates.

UAE-based Americans and citizens of G7 countries, he said, do save and invest at least four times the equivalent of their counterparts back home.

He cited the example of Andrew, a 55-year-old from South Africa, who moved to Dubai in 2006 with his wife Lea. The parents of two started to save $500 (Dh1,836) per month, and then grew it periodically. In recent years, Lea has paid all of her salary into their investment plan to prepare for retirement. Their joint investments now exceed $300,000, with three or four more years of saving before going home.

British expatriate Robert Keay, 56, managing director of customer service consultancy Ethos, blames the weather and the many “distractions”. “For much of the year it’s too hot to do anything else — either you stay at home or you can go to the mall. If you go to the mall, you don’t just go there to walk, you’re tempted to spend and buy things. “Expats also face the situation of paying everything in advance — rent, school, etc.

Many expats come from countries where there are no school fees. Not many people have the luxury of their company paying for these expenses so they end up borrowing money to pay for these things. People come here and they do not realise that you need to pay for a lot of things in advance.”

Another major culprit, Keay said, is the relatively easy access to credit cards.

“There’s no central database in monitoring the bank customers’ personal borrowings … it allows expats the opportunity to borrow too much money and too easily.”

 

BOX 1

 

DO’S and DON’TS

 

Pay yourself first. Include savings in your budget. Investing in National Bonds is a good start (it prevents you from buying things you don’t need, like more expensive cars or accommodation).

Think of it as rescuing the old man/woman (you in future) from the follies of the young man/woman, (you today).

Saving between 10-20 per cent of your pay is a good guide.

Have emergency funds – between two to three month’s salary — in a deposit account

Diversify. Do not to put your ‘eggs in one basket’. Hierarchy of diversification: a) Cash in the bank is secure and accessible; 2) owning a property, which generally increases in value; 3) combine other assets classes such as stocks and managed fund, as these offer good long-term growth potential

Take financial advice. This is important to get a wider view of the options available for you (insurance, mutual funds, stocks, or a mix of these)

Live for today, but also plan for tomorrow. Life is about balance. Enjoy your time in Dubai, but work on personal financial plan

Balance your own interests against your family’s demands/needs. Due to cultural traditions among Asians, many send home a fair percentage of their salaries, which can sometimes be a drain and pressure on those people living here

Don’t buy a new car on mortgage, especially if your existing one still works fine

 

WHY IS INSURANCE IMPORTANT?

• There many types of insurance, but basic protection should cover income (or loss of it), health, life and investments. Buy insurance that works for you

• Some insurance packages also offer investment-like features, allowing you to gain from market growth while protecting yourself and loved ones

 

WHAT IS CURRENCY HEDGING?

• Hedging is a way to guard against foreign exchange fluctuations. If you invest in a fund and the growth is good over a 12-month period but the currency moves against your base currency, then this growth could be wiped out.

• In Dubai, where the majority of people are paid in dirhams (fixed against the US dollar), a practical approach is to use dollar as the currency to start your savings. Then you could switch to your base currency in the future when the currency exchange rate is to their advantage, said Ormond

 

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR SAVINGS

• Consider saving as a mandatory expense

• Open a savings account that’s harder to get to than your checking account

• Systematically (monthly) save to that isolated account on a regular basis

• Pair your raises with increase in savings

• Set milestones with rewards

• Write down expenses in three to six-month goals

• See where your money is going (A daily coffee may cost you only Dh12, but if you add that up over a one-year period, this could set you off Dh5,400)

Before buying electronics, jewellery or fashion items on impulse, wait 30 days (you might realize you don’t need those things at all. This could save you thousands by the end of the year)

 

WHAT IS SAVER’S REMORSE?

Saver’s remorse is non-existent. No one complains of having money in the bank. But if you buy a new phone/item during a promotion, you may regret it soon afterwards

Dahl Al Hamam Park

Dahl Al Hamam Family Park is located in Madinat Khalifa, Doha, at the corner of a roundabout bear its name,  intersection of Al Markhiya St and Arab League St. The park is so named because of a cave inside it, Dahl means cave. I found it also means House of the Dove. The cave is apparently closed and fenced on safety grounds. Visit the following link to know more about the cave: http://www.saudicaves.com/hamam/index.html

Established in 2004 on an area of 93,297m2, Dahl Al Hamam is a very well equipped park for family, only. Some of the facilities and services include sports activities area (football, basketball, skateboard), live shows (open air theater), occasion yard, children play area (big shaded area and small open playground), and restaurant and food court. The park also has ample parking lots close to the park. Free wifi add as a major advantage. Unfortunately, no prayer room or mosque available although one may walk few minutes across the park for praying.

Coordinate: 25°19’58″N   51°28’53″E

 

Here are some pictures taken on 22 & 23 March 2012.

Signboard at the entrance to Dahl Al Hamam Park
Park Layout

 

Free wifi at Dahl Al Hamam. Enter your mobile number to get PIN code while starting browser

 

The park is very well kept. With a lot of greenery no wonder this is one of the resident favorites

 

Shaded children playground

 

Food court area

 

This is the cave, currently fenced and closed for safety reasons

 

Skateboard area and open air theater

 

Football ground

Al Wakrah Fish Market

One “fishy” Saturday morning at Al Wakrah Fish Market, located behind Al Wakrah Petrol Station.

Fish vendor at Al Wakrah Fish Market. Point, Bargain, Cleaned, Bagged!
Boxes ready for auctions
"..khamsin riyals...khamsin riyals....." Auction warms up smelly atmosphere in the market
Auction participants, or just observers
Al Wakrah Fish Market
Manta Ray? This box has been auctioned and ready to be picked up
Stores selling fish and its friends 🙂
Fish of Qatar. Now I know your name Fish!
This restaurant receives a roasting order for your purchased fish