Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Nights out

I have had a couple of busy nights for a change. We went out for a team drink last night at Bahri Bar in Mina Salam. It's places like this that make you think "ok, Dubai is really a cool place". It's just a chill place, with a magnificent view of the Burj el Arab, and the man-made lake/pond. Here are some pics I found.

Tonight I watched an outdoor movie called Bosta (The Bus), one of the movies playing during the Dubai International Film Festival. This is the second year the festival is running. It was lots of fun. A huge screen is set up in the middle of Media City (a 3 minute walk from my office), and hundreds of bean bags are made available for people to sit on the grass. It reminded me of the Jazz and Film festivals in Monty.
The movie was also a pleasant surprise. It's a Lebanese movie revolving around a dabkeh dancing troupe trying to set itself apart by modernising the traditional dance. It also follows the story of Kamal, the troupe's choreographer and music producer who just returned to Lebanon after a 15-year absence to reunite his old dance troupe.
The actors were excellent, the music was good, and the cool part is some of the actors and the director of the movie were actually there watching the movie as well! Actually I am quite impressed that the Film Festival has attracted so many celebrities...Some of the attendants include Morgan Freeman (it's the second year he attends), Bob Geldof, Dylan McDermott, and many Arab celebrities including Egyptian actor Adel Imam.
One thing I am still not impressed with is my bank... After switching from my savings to my payroll account, I had forgotten to advise my company that my savings account is now closed. My salary got transferred to my old account, but the company did not get any note advising them that the account was closed (it's the middle of the month already!). So I call the bank to try to find out why my company has not been advised yet because they can't pay me unless they make sure the money has bounced back. I called the 1-800 number, they tell me to call the branch in Abu Dhabi (which is where I opened my account). I talk to the first person who tells me "Can you call back in 10 minutes I am opening an account". Excuse me???? Is she serious??? I say "umm, no, can you transfer me to someone else? So she says "Ok tell me what you need", I explain to her, she transfers me to another person, and then I get disconnected.
I call again, speak to another person who was not very pleasant to speak to. She sa ys "OK hold on" and tansfers me to yet another person, and I have to repeat my story for the 5th time in 5 minutes. The woman tells me I need to check with my company where the money wasdeposited, and what the cheque number was, and a whole bunch of stuff I did not want to know about really...Finally I tell her "listen, just speak to HR and figure it out between yourselves". They spoke, and 6 hours later, my money was found (hurrah!) and it will be transferred into my new account soon.
It seems banks in the UAE are really lagging when it comes to customer service. It's time something is done about this, and fast! I dread the next call I need to make to my bank!

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