Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How to Obtain an Etisalat Clearance

If you are leaving the UAE for good, you would need to obtain a clearance from Etisalat.  Having lived in the Emirates for almost 10 years, I know that a simple procedure could turn out to be your worst nightmare.

Etisalat Clearance
My family and I are leaving the country in mid April.  In early February, I went to Etisalat Spinney's to ask how could I obtain a clearance certificate from Etisalat.  The Customer Service Representative there told me the following:
  1. Etisalat clearance could only be obtained from Etisalat's main branch - the one in Airport Road.
  2. If your payments are up-to-date, you can get the clearance the same day.
  3. Apply for disconnection on the same day that you apply for clearance.  Please note that Etisalat requires one month's notice for the disconnection.
Since we will be staying in our flat until 15 April 2014, I decided to go to Etisalat on 23 March to apply for my clearance.

The following are the steps in getting you clearance:
  1. Go to the 3rd floor.
  2. Proceed to the Enquiry section, ask for the appropriate form and your ticket number.
  3. Fill up the form.
  4. Wait.... wait.... and wait....for your number to be called.
  5. When called, give the following documents to the counter - Clearance form, passport copy, visa copy and EID copy.  Trust me, it's better to give all these documentations though only the passport copy is being asked as per the clearance form.
  6. Ask if you can apply for disconnection at the same time, unless you want to come back and apply another day.  I applied for clearance and disconnection on the same day.
  7. Wait for your claim slip.
  8. Go home take a rest, and return to Etisalat the next day for your clearance. 
To claim your clearance, here are the steps:
  1. Go to the 4th floor.
  2. Proceed to counter #1 (this guy is the one responsible for clearances).
  3. Present your claim slip.
  4. Get your clearance.
It should have been a very easy procedure.  Mine was a bit complicated.  Because I applied for disconnection and clearance at the same time, when I went to the 4th floor to get the clearance, the man told me that he couldn't issue my clearance because I also applied for disconnection.  I was like - WTF!!!! What is the difference between applying for a clearance today and coming back tomorrow to apply for disconnection?  Besides, it was Etisalat Khalidiya who instructed me to apply for clearance and disconnection at the same time and who told me that Etisalat requires one month's notice for disconnection.  The man further told me that for disconnection there are two options:
  1. Apply for disconnection on that day, bring your decoder, pay your dues and the service will automatically be disconnected on the same day and then you can apply for clearance.
  2. Give one month's notice, bring your decoder after the notice period and the service will be disconnected on that day and then you can apply for clearance.
I  was like - NO!  I told the man that I even asked the person on the 3rd floor if I can have my clearance first then give one month's notice for disconnection and he said that it was okay.  I just didn't accept what this man was trying to tell me so he went down to the 3rd floor himself and confirmed with I dunno who so when he returned to the 4th floor, he gave me the clearance with no questions asked. 

My advice - To make it less complicated for you, do not apply for the clearance and disconnection on the same day.  For your clearance, just make sure that your payments are up-to-date.  For the disconnection, you can apply the week after you took your clearance and give your month's notice.  I noticed that one person is saying a different thing from another though they are both working in the same company.  

I am sure glad that I am done with this step.  Now off to our visa cancellation!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Juicing in Abu Dhabi

Most of you have already read about the latest fad today - yes you're right - it's juicing.  There have been many written articles about the benefits of juicing.  It not only detoxifies our bodies of toxins and impurities but also helps lose weight.

One problem I could see with juicing is that it is too tasky for working moms like me to make my own juice.  Imagine you have to shop for veggies, clean them, juice them and then clean your juicer of course.  Another thing is that you have to have a high quality juicer for this to work!  I tried juicing with my cheap (haha!) juicer and it just ended up in a mess.  It didn't do the job.

Cucumber juice
As I really wanted to try this, I consulted Mr. Google to find out if there is anyone who delivers ready made juices in Abu Dhabi.  To my surprise, there is, but to my bigger surprise the prices are very expensive.  I really couldn't afford it.  For three days of juicing, it would cost around AED 1000, and that was it - I gave up my hopes in juicing.

One day while I was doing my weekly groceries at Lulu and while I was at their vegetable section, I saw an advertisement stating that Lulu is now offering fresh vegetable juices.  I checked it out and saw that there were a lot of flavors to choose from.  They have cucumber, beetroot, carrots, etc.  To my surprise, a bottle of juice costs around AED 6 to AED 10 only!  I was really happy as I found my fuss-free juicing.  The next thing for me to find out is which flavors are yummy, and which ones are not.

Keep posted guys!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Max Burger

Max Burger claims to be Europe's oldest and Sweden's most popular hamburger chain.  They have now conquered the Middle East and we, Abu Dhabi peeps, are fortunate enough to taste what they have been bragging about.

I know of only two branches here in Abu Dhabi; one in Abu Dhabi Mall and the other one in Al Wahda Mall.  So one day while waiting for our kids to finish from their workshop, we decided to give it a try.  We ordered their Frisco meal, which comes in beef, chicken or vegetable patties.

Frisco meal
I was really surprised when I tasted it.  The flavors were playing in my mouth.  First the bun - it was very soft and sweet!  The patties were fresh as well as the vegetables, and the sauce they had was just awesome.  It had this distinct tangy flavor that is different from the usual over-the-counter burgers that we have.  The fries were also excellent and they used sea salt instead of the ordinary table salt.  It's like Wendy's in the sense that their fries still had some skin on it.  

Yummy burger
You can also add on some dips and the dips come in different flavors - sweet mustard, teriyaki, barbecue, green garlic, mayonaise, etc.

Dipping sauce
The price was just too afordable - only AED 14 for one Frisco meal.

For me, Max burger is way better than other overhyped, if not overpriced, burger joints here claiming to be 100% organic and 100% natural.

Try Max Burger and you'll know what I am talking about.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Loving the Abu Dhabi Bus Service

Most expats, if not all, had the same reason for leaving our mother land and braving the steps to move into another country - that is to earn more.  My husband and I are both employed, but job stability has always been a question here in the UAE especially now that the government is really serious in the country's Emiratization plan.  We are taking advantage of the opportunity that we have and are saving for our kids' futures to the best of our ability.

Photo credits to Visitabudhabi.ae
There are many ways to save with the fast paced lifestyle here in the UAE.  One way is to use public transportation rather than taxi services.  I know that taxis are far more convenient than buses.  One doesn't have to wait forever for taxis to come compared with the never ending waiting game with the buses.  With taxis, one doesn't have to spend almost 30 minutes for what was supposed to be a 10-minute ride.  However, don't you know that by using public transportation, you could save some hundreds of dirhams a month.

I live in the Corniche area and I use the bus to go home from work.  Going to work is no problem for me since my husband gives me a ride.

Let's do the math here:

My taxi fare from Karama to Corniche is around AED 10 to 12 depending on traffic.

I work 5 days a week, four weeks a month and that would equate to:

AED 10 x 5 days x 4 weeks = AED 200 per month

If I use the bus, I only have to pay AED2 plus a few minutes of walking.  Putting this to a Mathematical problem, that would be:

AED 2 x 5 days x 4 weeks = AED 40 per month

The difference might not look sooo big at only AED 160 per month, but multiply AED 160 to twelve months, and that would give you AED 1920 worth of savings for one year.

Just imagine if one would commute two times a day, that would automatically rip off AED 400 per month or AED 4800 a year just for transportation.

Aside from the reasons stated above, I think most of us here do not know which bus to take if we want to go to a certain place, so I visited Department of Transportation's website and put into a table the places/landmarks with the corresponding bus numbers:

Abella Supermarket
5, 34
Abu Dhabi Courts
34, 52
A1, 170
Al Bateen (Bainunah)
8, 9 , 10, 11
Al Maryah Island
5, 40, 52
Al Mina Souq
9, 56
Al Muhairy Center
7, 8, 32, 34
Al Wahda Bus Station
11, 32, 34, 52, 54, 56
City Terminal (AUH Mall)
5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 40, 44, 52
Corniche Road (Family Beach)
34, 63
Fish Market
8, 54
Hamdan Street
5, 54
Ikea, Ferrari World, Yas Water World
Immigration Dept/St. Joseph’s Church
Khalidiya Garden
5, 7, 32, 40
Khalidiya Mall
Khalifa Park
Khalifa Street
40, 63
Madinat Zayed Shopping Center
32, 52, 56
Marina Mall
5, 7, 9, 11, 32, 34, 63
Masdar City
Mina Fishermen Association
11, 44
Mina ISC
New Airport Road
34, 54
Officer’s Club
Petroleum Institute
Ras Al Akhdar
10, 34
Reem Island
7, 63
Spinney’s Khalidiyah
5, 7, 11, 32
Souk Qaryat Al Berri
Tourist Club Mina Road
8, 9 , 10, 11, 44, 54, 56
Yas Island Hotels
170, 180, 185
Zayed Mosque
54, R
Zayed Sports City
32, 34, 44, 52, 54

I hope this information is helpful.  There are also maps available in the website for a more detailed bus route. I know that most women, including me, can't read maps, so just in case you need help just call the DOT's help desk at 800-88888.

For those who do not want to bother looking for coins for the bus fare, there are Ojra cards available. A weekly pass costs AED30 and a monthly pass costs AED80.  Senior citizens and persons with disability can avail of the bus services for free.

More information is available here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Late Post: Crafting with Kids - Christmas Tree

I know, I know, Christmas is over, but please forgive me for this very late post.  I have been very busy the past few weeks and was not able to update my blog on time.  Still, I would like to share this post as this could also give you guys an idea on your future craft activities with your angels.

The materials needed are:
  1. Christmas tree template (just google for this one).
  2. Punchers of different shapes
  3. Colored paper
  4. Paint
  5. Glue

First, I had the kids paint their trees green and paint a star on top of the tree.  Once they were done, we let it dry.

Let's paint the tree green
Then I let asked them produce different shapes with the use of punchers.  This was a little difficult for my youngest as the puncher was a bit hard, so I had to give him an extra hand. 

Punch, punch and punch
Just look at how colorful the shapes were!

This was the part they got most excited about.  Have your kids stick the cut-out shapes to the tree.  Just let them do their own style and try not to be perfectionist about it.  This will help your kids be more creative and confident, too.

Stick them up
Look how colorful they are.

Finished product

Thumbs up
Mission accomplished!  Another fun and easy craft completed.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rolls N Rice

Hidden in the Al Nahyan area, Rolls N Rice is creating noise and slowly making a name for itself.  I have read good reviews for this resto, so we decided to give it a try.

Rolls N Rice
We were actually the only customers in the resto the night we went there and when a restaurant is empty it could only mean two things - bad food or sky high prices.  However, we still gave it a shot and conquered our fears!

Looking at their menu, I've noticed that price-wise it is very affordable considering that Al Nahyan is a commercial area surrounded by numerous business establishments and offices.  Most of the dishes they serve are Mediterranean. 

Restaurant Interior
We ordered chicken barbecue for the kids and we made the right choice.  My youngest does not usually eat chicken with any sauce in it, but this one he devoured till the last piece.  The serving was also huge!  My two kids were able to share in one order and they were both full and satisfied.

Chicken Barbecue
I had the spicy grilled chicken with safron rice and salad.  When they say it's spicy - believe me, it was the true definition of the word!  Flavor wise, I found it a bit too salty for me and I think it's very dry even with salad on the side, which was F-A-B by the way .  One should have something else, say a soup as a side perhaps?

Spicy grilled fish
My hubby ordered chelo kebab and it was divine!  It was served with yogurt cucumber and chili paste.  It was really tasty and very tender.

Chelo kebab
In addition, we also received excellent service from the staff who were very corteous and helpful.

I will definitely make sure to drop by this resto whenever I'm in the area.

Rolls N Rice
Y-Tower Near Al Mamoura
Al Nahyan Area, Muroor Street
Abu Dhabi
Telephone number:  9712-555-6589 / 9712-445-1118
Website:  www.rollsnriceuae.com

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chicken Kitchen

I have been warned by a friend of mine not to eat at the Chicken Kitchen, a new resto at Al Wahda Mall Extension.  However, I still wanted to give this resto a shot.

Chicken Kitchen
My friend and I went there and we were immediately attended to by one of the staff.  We told her that we wanted to eat at the back side of the resto since they have an open kitchen and we would not want to go out smelling like roasted chickens!  Little did we know that we will be surprised with such an amazing view.  We could oversee the Al Jazeera Stadium at the comfort of our seats!  For this, I will give them a plus point. 

The view from the window
So we started browsing their menu and, as the name implies, everything on the menu was chicken!  However, they do not have broasted or fried chicken here.  

I was eyeing for the Mexican Chop-Chop, but our attended recommended their rotisserie.  So okay, I took her word for it and ordered one.  I wanted to have the dark (meat) part, but she told me that the portion was very small and told me to have the white (meat) part instead.  Another plus for staff honesty.

So I went ahead and ordered as she suggested and this is what I got.  The portion was really too small.  Just imagine if I had the dark part!  Now the taste - the rice was "kinda" Mexican in a way but still I believe they still need a lot of improvement in terms of the flavor.  The chicken was way too spicy for me.  I love spicy food, but I think they have overdone the spices on this chicken.  The chicken was also too tender, if not overcooked!  I didn't need to chew the chicken.  It melted in my mouth instantly.  This was a no-no for me. I want to savor and enjoy the chicken, and having had the chicken done this way made my dining experience with them unpleasant. 

1/4 chicken rotisserie
My friend had the Original Chop Chop.  It's like tacos placed on top of a rice platter.  It was served with two different kinds of dippers - honey mustard and Cesar's.  According to his review, the presentation was appetizing, the portion was huge, but flavor wise - it is lacking big time!

Original chop
We also ordered steamed veggies on the side.  As the name implies, the veggies were only steamed.  They didn't add anything to give flavor to the veggies.  Another negative point from me.

Steamed veggies
The bill came out to be AED 10 shy of AED 100.  I believe that this resto has a lot of potential but still needs a lot of improvement, too.