Sunday, 27 September 2015

[TripAdvisor Contribution] Cold Stone Creamery - Fab Ice-Cream!

Popped into Hyatt Plaza for some shopping after a long drive across Doha and back, promised the daughter an ice-cream to cool off! (actually fancied one myself!)

The daughter settled on chocolate and cotton candy mixed and topped off with Reeces Peanut Butter pieces, I had a dark chocolate ball in a plain wafer basket.

Parked our bums on a nearby table and chair, and enjoyed.....very nice indeed!

Review posted at:

Saturday, 26 September 2015

[Trip Advisor Contribution] Sawa - Friday Brunch

Family and Friends headed to Sawa for Friday brunch (10 adults and 7 children), needless to say, I think I ate too much.

The food was delicious, great selection, for me I focused mainly on the meat dishes, there were pre-cooked dishes as well as made to order steak, burgers etc.

The steaks were cooked to perfection. Also the rib beef was lovely and pink.

Started off with a plate of mixed grill, chicken, cold cuts while my two steaks were cooking, after that lot had a couple of chocolate puddings, then followed with some more beef and cheesy potato, followed by another chocolate pudding (yes I was reaching burst point!).

Washed down with bubbles and beer, made for a pleasing feast.

Priced very well at 425QR for the alcohol brunch per adult and the kids were under 12 so they were 50% off the non-alcohol brunch price of 330QR, so for my 2Adults+2Cchildren = 1180QR for all you can eat and drink over the 4 hours. (£213, $324).

Outside the hotel had also set up a bouncy castle, had face painting and some other activities which kept the kids occupied.

Review posted at:

[TripAdvisor Contribution] Johnny Rockets - Excellent Burgers!

We were up doing a spot of shopping in Ezdan Mall, and the kids wanted to pop in here for lunch. The place was empty, with only a handful of other diners, so was a bit unsure what to make of it, but kids wanted here so gave it a shot.

Decked out in an American Rock 'n Roll type theme, we sat in one of the booths with its mini retro juke box on the table, having had a flick through the menu, I elected for a Premium Wagyu burger (without the onion rings), the was a beef burger with beef bacon and cheddar cheese, it was absolutely delicious!

The kids went for the mini burgers for the youngest and for some reason the eldest fancied the peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

There were no complaints all round!

Review posted at:

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Satellite TV installation - Prompt Service!

When I first moved into the villa, the company provided an OSN box with a subscription. If you wanted to add any more packages to the subscription or to add additional boxes etc to the villa you had to sort this out yourself. The provided subscription was fine and served well initially.

Info: OSN is the middle east equivalent of the UK's Sky.

Now that the upper hall has a seating area and tv unit, I really needed a second box for this area. Further to this, with the oil industry continuing to see a decline, the company was looking at all options to streamline costs, and when you consider the number of employees they have in the city, then the costs for subscription TV services would be fairly substantial over the course of a year. They had therefore decided to withdraw this benefit at the end of the year. This would mean I would need to source my own subscription anyway.

The existing LNB was a dual output, so first up I ran a coax from the dish on top of the roof of the stairwell, then along the water pipe on the roof area and followed it down onto the balcony and through an existing hole in the wall that the previous occupier had made. I still had to put the F-connectors on the ends, but will leave this to later.

Next up was getting my hands on a box for upstairs. I had no idea how it all worked over here so after searching online and looking at the OSN website, I decided to jump into the car and head of to Hyatt Plaza mall where there was apparently an OSN outlet (according to the website).

This was the first time into this mall, so no idea where the oulet was, so just wondered around until I spotted it, it was a simple booth with a guy and a computer, that was it. I thought that maybe you could just buy a box take it home and then phone up to activate the smart card, but having had a look around the shop, couldn't see any set top boxes.

I headed over to the booth and asked the guy where can I get a box. He said you can't buy them, and you get them when you subscribe. I explained to him what I was looking for and that I had no idea what current 'package' the company was providing.

After a good chat with the guy, I decided to sign up for a 'Platinum HD' package, which came with a 1TB Recording Full HD set top box, 102 Channels (53 HD), 10 new movie rentals per month, On Demand, On Demand Extra (library of box sets etc.), it also came with a second HD box and kids package (30 channels). This would do to get going until I fully understood what I was getting.

I asked the guy how long it normal takes for installation and he said within 48Hrs, but would see if they could do it today. I thought that given it was already afternoon, there is no chance it would be the same day, but within a couple of days was fine by me.

I got back to the villa and took a phone call from a guy later that afternoon and he asked if he could come and fit the boxes. As you could imagine I was fine with this, but surprised considering it was now starting to get dark. The main box needed internet access for the on demand services, but the location in the villa was WiFi only, so he also proceeded to install a WiFi dongle on the box.

The guy turned up (now dark) and proceeded to change out the LNB on the roof, terminate the cable that I had pulled in and set up both the boxes. He said that the cards would be activated in about an hour.

3 hours later, the cards were still not activated, so I did some searching online and found an activation page on the OSN website, unfortunately the Captcha mechanism wasn't working and even though I had entered the correct verification code, it kept saying I had done it wrong. Just to be on the safe side I tried different browsers and different devices, but no joy. 

I resorted to phoning the UAE telephone number on the screen. I had some issues with my mobile not being recognised when I keyed '2' to select English, and in the end had to use the landline phone. The representative was really helpful and after setting up the first box which was next to the phone, she called me back on my mobile so I could go downstairs and try the other box.

I also asked the rep how I could upgrade the second box to receive more than just the kids channels. This required to upgrade to a 'Platinum +' package, however the second box would need to be replaced, I was happy with this and see arranged an appointment for 2 days time.

The next morning I got a phone call about 8.30, it was another OSN installer and he wanted to come over now and replace my box. So much for 2 days time! Again, I was more than happy with this.

He turned up, went up onto the roof, installed a splitter on the primary LNB output, then replaced the upstairs 'kids' box or a 'showtime hd' box that was also a recorder. The card was then activated and he left with the original second box.

So, all working now. Less than 24 hours, from first rocking up at the OSN booth to have the system installed and then upgraded!

I really would wonder if Sky TV in the UK would have been as effective....

Anyway, everyone happy now and just need to get a jumbo telly now!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Family Residency Completed and Driving License done!

With the residency permits and QIDs all returned, the only outstanding thing was for Nadia's driving license to be transferred.

I got an email at work requesting I go and sign the paperwork for the driving license application, I was offshore at the time, so not possible to pop in and do it. I responded saying this and the company government affairs contact said not to worry, they will proceed with the application and I will sign it later.

A few days later I received an appointment meeting request for Nadia to meet the GA rep up at the driving centre. Having not signed the paperwork yet, I confirmed that she was still to meet considering I had not signed the sponsorship forms yet. They came back and confirmed everything okay and to meet at the requested time and place.

She proceeded to the Al Rayah driving school and met up with the GA rep, he gave them instructions to follow, quick eye test and all done.

A couple of days later, I received an email from the GA rep to collect the new driving license from the office. Having not signed any paperwork yet, I contacted the GA rep to see if I still needed to come into the office when I got back from offshore to sign the documents, however, everything had been taken care of and nothing needed signing. Don't know who/what/how, but safe to say it was taken care off.

And that's it, end of the process! Residency done and driving licenses done!

Nadia could now take the QIDs etc to the school for them to copy and allow the kids to start school.