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Realistically idealistic daydreamer, seasoned procrastinator, atheist and monarchist with a secret agenda and a slight inclination towards voodoo practices.
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    29 November 2006
    Qatari hospitality


    Beautiful house.

    Warm welcome.

    Men... traditional, respectful, friendly..

    Exquisite, gorgeous ladies.

    Fun fun fun with makeup and abayas and sheilas!

    Food.

    OMG, FOOD!!!

    Loud TV.

    Loud everything.

    Exotic fragrances.

    Arabic coffee with cardamom.

    Conversation.

    Trust.

    Hugs and kisses.

    Promises.

    I will miss you till I see you again...

    Thank you.
    posted by Bravecat @ 9:42 am   18 comments
    23 November 2006
    What exactly did they expect??
    Six imams taken off US flight.

    Six imams who were performing evening prayers aboard an airplane were handcuffed and taken off the plane in an incident at Minneapolis-St Paul airport on Monday, media reports said yesterday.

    The reports said the six imams, who had attended a conference in the city, were on a plane about to fly back to Phoenix, Arizona, and had stood up to perform evening prayers.

    Alarmed passengers, regarding the action as "suspicious behaviour", alerted cabin crew who in turn alerted security staff who handcuffed the six and took them off the plane. The six were questioned for several hours and then released.

    The imams said they were removed from the flight "for no reason" and were "humiliated" by being handcuffed and taken off the plane in the view of other passengers.

    The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Islamic body in the US, condemned the incident as exposing the prejudices of other passengers and airplane personnel.



    I wonder what they were thinking, these imams. Were they not able to at least predict what was going to happen? They know what times we live in. They were in America, for goodness sake. In the country where 9/11 happened, and it wasn't long ago, and the people haven't forgotten yet. Was there such a need to stand up in a group in the airplane and start praying?? Why does it never happen on the plane in the Middle East? Most people who fly here are Muslims. Why have I never seen them do that? Why do I sometimes see Muslim people in the airplanes quietly praying in their seats without disturbing or alarming anyone? It can be done, you know. Last time I flew to Qatar, a man sitting not far from me performed his prayer, and I doubt anyone noticed, except me.

    Is it not akin to touching the hot plate and then complaining that it burns?


    Or am I wrong? Please enlighten me, my friends.
    posted by Bravecat @ 12:23 am   58 comments
    20 November 2006
    Toilet saga


    Guys you know me. I am nice. I am polite. I mind my language and I have my manners.

    But:

    I swear, if I walk into a flooded toilet one more time, somebody will die. There was water on the WALLS!! There was water all over the toilet seat, even the toilet roll was drenched. I mean, seriously, WTF???

    At work, every time I walk in the toilet I secretly hope that I am not the first one to use the toilet after a Muslim girl. When I walk into a flooded toilet I have to mop up before I could use it. I hate doing this!!

    Today I was waiting for a free cubicle in the mall. I heard the flush. Then I heard the all-too-familiar sound of the water spray. I prayed that someone else will walk out first - no such luck. A girl floated out adjusting her abaya and proceeded to the sink to wash her hands. With some other ladies in line behind me I had no choice but to walk into the cubicle she had just vacated... and what do you know? It was as if monsoon just happened to pass through there. OK so you don't sit on the actual toilet seat, you prefer to crouch over it while hanging for dear life on the door handle - that's your own problem. It doesn't mean you should spray all over the seat that someone else might actually use the way it is meant to be used!!

    If you think you are so damn clean that you have to have a shower in the toilet cubicle every time you pee - STAY IN YOUR DAMN HOUSE AND FLOOD YOUR OWN DAMN TOILET!

    Yuck

    Eww

    Gross
    posted by Bravecat @ 12:10 am   31 comments
    6 November 2006
    Banking pains
    I was doing all my banking with HSBfreakingC here in Qatar. It was OK. I used to work in the building that housed the main branch (that meant I never had to drive and look for parking within 1 mile radius), I had a friend in customer service and she gave me preferential treatment, there was a Ladies section there with comfy sofas and drinks and yadda yadda yadda. I was willing to overlook all the shortcomings of the bank and their exorbitant charges because of these little comforts. This year, however, everything just went downhill. First, we moved out to new offices miles away from any HSBC branch. Strike minus one. They closed Ladies section. Strike minus two. My friend left the customer service and went into Status department. Strike minus three. For those who don't know what HSBC Status is - it's a catch for those stupid customers who make over a specific amount a month, and are therefore "entitled" to a special status within the bank: supposedly they get free Platinum Visa and Gold MasterCard, they get a special counter, and they can make a free transfer once a month. Oh and they have to pay for it all, of course. Monthly. QR 70 (US$20 or so).

    Anyways, long story short, I somehow bought into this scam, and subscribed for this Status service. Not least 'cause my friend was now Status officer, and I could continue banking with her. My new Visa and Master cards weren't ready one month after I subscribed. I was due to go to Malta on vacation, they were still not ready. A helpful HSBC officer offered to courier the cards to Malta for me, so that I could pick them up there. I said whatever, fine, courier them. So I arrive to Malta, go to the HSBC there, one card is waiting for me, one is missing. PIN numbers are missing - i.e. cards are no good to me as such. Awesome. I arrive back home 2 weeks later, go check with the bank here in Doha - they have no idea how come the card and the PIN numbers are missing but they will "investigate and call me" (charging me QR70 every month since I subscribed). So a month or so later, I get a call from HSBC, officer cheerfully informing me that the card was found, and already sent to Malta, along with all the PIN numbers. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. I laughed, told them that they are morons.

    Later that week I went to the bank and told them that I need my card and the PIN numbers. The bank issues a new card and new PIN numbers. My name on the card is spelled wrong. I point it out to the officer who gave me the card - she said it's my fault as I filled in the application form. I said I did no such thing, I was already a customer with HSBC for 4 years, I was told no separate application form is necessary. So no problem they say, we'll replace the card. Fair enough. Few weeks later the card arrives, name is spelled correctly, everyone is happy. Right? Wrong. I check my bank statement. I discover the following list of charges:

    - Status charge monthly for the account I converted into Status (all fine)
    - Status charge for my separate personal account I did NOT convert into Status (and I couldn't even if I wanted to, which I didn't, because the salary doesn't go into that account, and it's a prerequisite for converting any account into Status)
    - Status charge for my husband's personal account he did NOT convert into Status (same as above)
    - replacement charges for the lost credit card which never made it to Malta in the first place
    - replacement charges for the same card again, for being reissued to me here
    - replacement charges for the PIN numbers
    - replacement charges for the credit card with the wrong spelling

    I mean, WTF??? WTF??

    I go to the bank, tell them to cancel their f**king Status. It takes a total of 2 months to arrange. After shouting and pleading with them for an hour they agree to refund the Status charges to personal accounts. They agree to refund the charges for the misspelled name on the credit card. They REFUSE to refund all the other charges, because it is not bank's fault. Yes of course, it's Saddam Hussein's fault.

    I forgot to add that their so called "free monthly transfer" is only free when it's a standing order for the same amount, same country, same date of execution, every month. So much for "free transfer".

    Today I received a call from the bank, congratulating me on receipt of the refund of Status charges. I go online and find out that they only refunded 4 months instead of 6. Apparently, they can't go that far back and I should be happy they refunded 4 months as such. But hey, people rejoice, my account is no longer Status and there will be no more Status charges. Hopefully.

    I am opening an account with IBQ. So very very soon not only my account won't be a Status, it won't be HSBfreakingC, either.

    Morons.
    posted by Bravecat @ 10:19 am   20 comments
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