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Archive for September, 2009

So I’m buying a car (part 2)

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

In the end we compromised.  We settled for taking the Titanium model avec spoiler, with the option of having it either replaced at a later date (thus ending up with a spare spoiler), or swapped with a future prospective buyer (guy goes to Al Tayer looking at Ford Fiesta, sales tell him “oh and we have an option to upgrade to a brand new unwanted sports spoiler, interested?”).  We were hooked on the options, so we didn’t want to downgrade anymore.

The new car.  Apologies for the crop, was risking falling backwards on the landscaped slope.

The new car. Apologies for the crop, was risking falling backwards on the landscaped slope.

The sales experience was laughable though.  After taking an accusatory tone for the hassle I was creating, once we told them to go ahead they were all smiles and greetings and how’s everything.  What really got me was:

“There.  Now in about two weeks’ time you will be contacted by our customer service desk, asking about the sales experience.  Please leave favourable comments as it affects us.”  Fat chance.

This was also my first time taking out a loan in Dubai, through which I discovered the banking system’s reliance on cheques as method of payment.  Why are they clinging on to them? What is the issue for not creating standing orders.  I had to sign sixty cheques, and had to counter-sign two of my own signatures becuase “they were not like the rest”.  Which led me to consider going back to my branch to make sure the signature they have on file matches the one I used, don’t want another sixty headaches.

Anniversary

September 29, 2009 2 comments

Last Friday marked my first year in Dubai.  It was (still is) a fantastic journey, along which I learned the importance of: understanding different cultures, deodorants, starting a blog from arrival not after twelve months.  Oh well.

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District 9

September 26, 2009 Leave a comment

district9-posterNo other choice, I will be joining the plethora of voices around the media in heaping praise upon this movie, its makers and of course the actors.  It is always refreshing being treated to something other than what comes out of Hollywood’s mill.

The movie’s theme of alien immigration and the burdens on existing social structures of course runs parallel to the same situation in many locations worldwide.  You may have different opinions on the matter, but there are few enough mainstream movies that actually tell you something other than that chicks are hot, cars are fast, etc.  This issue touches a personal note because illegal immigration is a very hot situation in my home (is)land of Malta, where boatloads of refugees headed to Europe from Africa get a crash course in geography and learn there’s a very small island in the way.

Malta controls a disproportionate amount of sea in relation to its land size, so we end up intercepting quite a number of trips.  Refugees are then placed in camps, nobody knowing what their future holds.  Some of them find work, mostly illegally, and crime rates seem to escalate, creating friction with the locals.  Voices are split: they should be sent back home / but they will be killed there / they should be integrated into our society / but they would dilute our values / the burden should be bourne by Europe  / but nobody there wants to help us, it’s our problem / etc.  There’s no easy solution in sight.

Back to District 9, now I need to get my hands on the short film, by same director Neill Blomkamp, on which it was based – Alive in Joburg.  The same lead actor stars in this short, Sharlto Copley.  Apparently he had no acting experience and had no intention of pursuing an acting career (source: imdb).  I’m sure he is not regretting it now.

So I’m buying a car (part 1)

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment

My dear wife is getting her driving license soon so we started doing the rounds of the showrooms in SZR to find the best Ramadan deal.  We quickly fell for the new Ford Fiesta – small, stylish, very well priced and service / first year insurance included in offer.  Other cars in the same category do not come close, and we decided to close the deal.  Before finalising we wanted to check out the colour as metallic type finishes are notoriously misreproduced on brochures.  After the usual end of Ramadan delays we finally got our preview, and were treated to a small surprise.

Ford Fiesta, courtesy Ford ME

Ford Fiesta, courtesy Ford ME

The spoiler.

Basic models, and the one we were shown in the showroom, sported a very discrete spoiler, which is almost not a spoiler at all.  The titanium model we chose and was before us had this extended, awful spoiler.  It had gaps in the middle, and was wide enough to have picnics on.  Now this is the thing about spoilers, they say something about the person driving the car.  Whether it’s the sporty personality, or loud music lover,  outgoing type, etc.  Whatever it is that people have when identifying with spoilers, we did not have it.  It has to go, we have to downgrade, or it’s a different car.  Meeting the Al Tayer sales lady next week, we’ll see how it goes.

Introductions are in order

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Welcome to the Mute Herald, the channel of choice for ramblings about varying topics: life as it hits me, pathetic attempts at fighting back, general Dubai miscellania (being my current abode), and other completely random musings.  I sincerely wish your visits to be informative and / or of great entertainment, failing which feel free to deride me in your blog.

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