Wednesday, October 29, 2008


No, I'm not referring to how frequently I update this blog....I'm referring to the way some (most) taxi drivers drive their cars in this city.

I'm guessing they all went to the same driving school, because they all tend to press on the gas pedal for a couple of seconds, then take their foot off it for a couple of seconds, then press on it again for a couple of seconds...and so on and so forth....

Which makes for a very, very unpleasant ride (this is particularly true after a long night filled with boozy antics).

Who has taught these people how to drive? How hard is it to just keep your foot on the pedal? Has anyone else experienced (or been bothered by) this type of driving?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Who's handling the PR for Atlantis?

And do they really think they're doing a good job by letting all this negative publicity surround them, without really responding to it? I know we usually say "all publicity is good publicity" but still...this has got to hurt them at some point, no?

Ever since the opening of the water-themed resort, there has been a slew of reports and articles highlighting how unprepared they were for what was meant to be a soft launch.

From parking woes to check-in fiascoes, from the lack of water (at a water-themed park...ha!) to refusing to book non-hotel guests into their restaurants, Atlantis has really been dominating the news for the past couple of weeks.

And now the latest PR blunder to have come out of Atlantis revolves around "Sammy the Shark", a whale shark that was , apparently fatigued and disoriented and placed in the Atlantis aquarium. Initially, he was meant to stay there just long enough to recover. But now, it seems, Atlantis have decided to keep the shark in the aquarium. And this has upset quite a few people, including Gulf News which has launched a "Free Sammy the Shark" campaign which has now gone global.

And yet, despite all this, Atlantis has barely uttered a word, which makes me think that:
a) They are still scrambling, trying to figure out how to
deal with the situation (release the shark...they'll never win if they keep him)
b) They are deliberately not responding, because they're getting so much publicity anyway so who cares?
c) The whole thing was staged...Sammy the Shark was never really captured off the coast of Jebel Ali, this whole thing about him being fatigued and disoriented was just a story that was spun around the shark to make Atlantis look like heroes. And they did, for a little while, not realizing that it would eventually backfire when people started asking for Sammy to be released. So now they're in deep trouble because Atlantis does not really want to release a shark that they probably bought from somewhere and probably paid a lot of money for.

Yes, I'm speculating here, but really...How convenient is it that the Atlantis "found" this shark just a couple of weeks before they launched? And how odd is it that it was the Atlantis team that announced the capture of the shark, and not some environmental body? And how coincidental is it that Atlantis had "a custom-made transport unit with a highly advanced marine life transport system that was used to ensure the safety and well-being of the animal"??

Hmm??? Sounds a bit fishy to me!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Simply disgusting

There's been a recent wave of illegal dumping of raw sewage in storm water drains over the past few months, and this has now led to the closing of the Dubai Sailing Club due to water contamination.

Basically, sewage tank drivers have found a way to cut corners by dumping sewage in drains and other deserted areas, rather than going to the Al Aweer sewage treatment plant. Why? Because apparently they have to wait for up to 12 hours to dump their load at the treatment plant. And they get paid based on the number of loads they dump.

Little did they know that in doing so, they were causing serious environmental and potential health issues, with E-Coli and bacteria now floating around in the water and on our shores.

So who's to blame here? The drivers? Maybe a little bit, but then again, they're just trying to make a living and are probably oblivious to the fact that they are causing environmental damage.

Do we blame the companies that hire these drivers? Yes definitely. They should be blamed for not keeping a vigilant eye on how they run their business. And for not training their employees properly. Or, maybe they DO know what's happening but decide to turn a blind eye, simply because they only care about how much money they make at the end of the day.

Do we blame Dubai Municipality? For sure! With everything in Dubai growing at breakneck speed, no one thought that we would need more than one sewage treatment plant to handle the load of treating the sewage of an ever-expanding city that gets hundreds of new residents every day. Not only that, it seems that they are not doing a thorough job of warning residents not to swim in contaminated waters, with most beach-goers oblivious to the fact that there's been an illegal sewage dumping issue.

Do we blame Dubai Police? Yes, them too. Although they claim to be dealing with the situation by going after these trucks and fining them, there's also been reports of them being very slow in reacting to calls from residents who have spotted these trucks doing their illegal dumping.

All this to say that while we are all willing to put up with the growing pains of Dubai, I, for one, am not willing to accept cutting-corner tactics that may potentially damage my health and harm the environment. It's simply disgusting, and it's simply unacceptable.