Archive for October, 2013

A few developments


We bought our new apartment, eventually splitting the new transfer fees 50/50 – I ended up paying 3% of the total, the seller 1%.

We move in in June 2014 when the sellers move back to Oz. I’ll post some pictures – it’s lovely.

The real estate agent was utterly useless throughout – not communicating, getting figures wrong. Awful. HSBC were, amazingly, brilliant throughout. There is hope.

Even through we split the fees 3/1, the Dubai Land Department system can’t issue receipts that reflect anything other than a 2/2 split. This is odd – they announce a new rule regarding fees, but it’s not documented anywhere. They say the fees should be split, but don’t enforce that during the transfer and their system doesn’t issue receipts that reflect what has actually happened.

We’ll probably sell our current place towards the time we move into the new one, unless someone decides to pay me a lot more money or we can rent our current place out for a lot more than the current rate. Yes, I will be a greedy landlord if I can be. Rents seem to be rising again here, so we’ll see what will happen.

I’m very happy with our current situation. Buying was the right thing to do. Although we have the responsibility of the mortgage and (exorbitant and unexplained) service fees to bear, we don’t have the worry our friends have of rising rents, landlords increasing things beyond what the law allows or indulging in the usual scams – saying they are selling the place when they are not, or that their family is moving in, or other such nonsense. If we hadn’t done this now we’d never have had a place with a garden for Zara and space for guests or another small Saul, should that occur.

Zara has started nursery three days a week. I played with sticklebrick and fell off the concrete playground structures onto the tarmac when I was at the Russell School Petersham Nursery in 1976. Zara has an ‘interactive learning centre’ and will be doing Arabic and French twice a week. The mind boggles.

She had her first day yesterday and absolutely loved it.

Mrs Saul has decided to go back to work three days a week and has started at Jumeirah College.

We have a part time maid who is keeping the place spick and span six days a week, along with helping with Zara, as well as doing baby-sitting once a week.

All of this means I have some peace and quiet again to work from home in silence, whilst not really needing to do the washing up or much else around the house. For some reason I have ended up with Zara duty on Fridays, so the weekend is, ironically, the least relaxing day for me. I’ll manage somehow.

Why it’s important to fill forms in properly


What a nightmare to have to face!

Back home


Back home to Dubai after a wonderful Eid break.

Staying with one’s mother-in-law in Milton Keynes might not sound like a dream destination, but Mrs Saul’s mum looks after us wonderfully, her brother Riz comes to stay and we all eat a lot, go for the odd walk, read and generally have a good laugh. There’s always time to pop down to see my father and London’s not far away.

During this holiday, as work is going well and last year’s permanent on call status has paid off, I was able to switch work email off on my BlackBerry from day one, only dipping in to my messages a couple of times via the laptop.

Zara is getting even more enjoyable. There’s not much crying for reasons that aren’t obvious and fixable and there’s lots more playing happily with minimal supervision. I am getting better at looking after her and am (I hope!) taking on a bit more, but Mrs Saul does the lion’s share…








Dubai from the sky


I did blog about this at the time, but it’s fun to be reminded of the pictures seven years on.

Dubai from up in the air. Can you spot the patch of sand you’re probably living on now?

Here’s ours, with the Burj Khalifa a few stories high to the right.


Creek extension


Like so many construction projects in Dubai, this is bonkers.

They’ll manage it though!

It’s a shame it has to cut through an existing very pleasant peaceful area. The Jumeirah side will be massively affected. There’s so much space in Dubai, does it really make sense to uproot something that’s settled and working?

I was rather hoping our area would settle down in about five years’ time, but I can’t see this being completed in that timeframe and the construction’s going to cause huge disruption. A lot of pricey villas and families are going to be uprooted. I can’t see how the new development is going to handle the traffic it will attract, either.

Deadline missed


We’ve missed the Land Department’s deadline to process our property transfer by a whisker.

We weren’t able to get the No Objection Certificate from the developer in time. I have no idea why an NoC is needed from the developer – probably something to do with proving service fees aren’t owed on the new property. It still seems like a step that needn’t take as long as it does…

Now we have to hope there’s a ‘clarification’ or an extension, or that the seller agrees to pay all or at least the majority of the new fees.

If there is an extension, I will probably have to cancel a work trip to Jordan next week to an event I am supposed to be presenting at.

Friends have been going through a similarly tough time.

Let’s hope they clarify…

Direct debit coming?


Surely not?

Whatever next??!

To be quite honest, I would prefer, for most services, a direct debit from my credit card – we get Skywards miles for every dollar equivalent spent and always pay the card off every month.

The current system of manually paying everything is a pain, plus must surely delay revenue for so many government departments. I would quite happily have my Emaar service fees, DEWA, Salki top ups and everything else paid automatically from my credit card. I can do it for Du and Etisalat, at least.

What would make a huge difference to me would be direct debit for paying the credit card – currently I manually have to transfer money from my HSBC current account to my Citibank current account. If Citibank could just do a direct debit from my HSBC current account, I could finally wave goodbye to missing payments, managing two current accounts and all the associated hassle.