Debt is the money of slaves

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“Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants – but debt is the money of slaves.” Norm Franz, Money and Wealth in the New Millennium

Emirates Palace unveils $11m Christmas tree

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Surrounded by examples of decadent wealth, Abu Dhabi is probably the only place where an $11m Christmas tree might not seem a little over the top.

Dubbed one of the ‘most expensive Christmas trees ever’, the glitzy Emirates Palace hotel has unveiled the 40ft evergreen in its gold-leaf bedecked atrium.

Decorated with traditional silver and gold bows, baubles and white lights, the tree is also decked out in necklaces, earrings and other jewellery giving it its record value.

It holds a total of 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones according to Khalifa Khouri, owner of Style Gallery which provided the jewellery.

Hans Olbertz, general manager of the hotel, said: ‘The tree itself is about $10,000. The jewellery has a value of over $11million – I think 11.4m, 11.5m.’

He added that the hotel would apply to the Guinness Book of World Records to find out if its tree is the most expensive ever.

Asked if the tree might offend religious sensibilities in the United Arab Emirates, where the vast majority of the population is Muslim, Mr Olbertz said: ‘It’s a very liberal country.’

The above is dedicated to all the ‘Muslim Haters’ out there. Although I would rather see the money spent on worth while causes. They could at least start by paying their unseen, unheard, modren day slaves that are building their new vision of the UAE.

Charity starts at home first.

They finally came

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It took them over a week but the engineers from Olympic Group, finally came to fix the fridge freezer. The only reason I had a quick turn around was because the engineer recognised my name and address, so knew that it would be easy to find. The same engineer had fixed our water boilers in the house.

It seems if you stick to one decent person from the same company and keep asking them to come, would be easier and quicker. From the customers point of view, there can be accountability and from the engineers point of view, more chance of a tip.

Note: I must add here that whatever price people quote you and however little or as much people work, you as a customer are expected to pay extra as a tip and when you do pay, the worker will politely refuse your payment and argue that he does not want the money. You as a customer will have to insist that he takes the money. It sounds weird but it happens a lot.

so the conversation has gone something like this:

me: How much for all?

workers: 22 LE

me: Here is 25LE

worker: No, it’s ok I don’y need it.

me: Please take the money.

worker: No thank you, it’s ok.

me: Please take it, you are embarrassing me.

worker: Thank you very much.

me: Ma Salama (Peace be with you)

worker: Ma Salama (Peace be with you)


ATMs in Jordan

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(photo by wasapninjordan)

Jordan Commercial Bank (JCB) announced today that it will continue to expand the number of Auto Teller Machines (ATMs) across Jordan. To follow this promise JCB has installed a new ATM in City Mall, Amman. The new ATM will offer complete banking services 24 hours a day (well you can only have access to the ATM as long the opening hours of City Mall🙂). JCB boasts about 28 ATMs in Amman.

As an expatriate living and working in Amman it is wonderful to have easy access to my hard earned money easily at a time that is convenient to me. The service is also available in English so making a mistake should be minimal🙂.

My concern is this and we have the same problem in the UK and that is why the banks charge you a fee of 0.5JD for using their services if that bank is not your opening account bank. When I first arrived in Jordan I used to access my money from any ATM, until I got my statement, which showed that every time I used another banks ATM I was charged without prior warning. In the UK if you are using another banks ATM, you are warned before taking the money out that a small fee will incur. If I accept I do so willingly. In Jordan this is not the case. Just a helpful tip for future expatriates.

To be honest I am more against the principle of being charged for something which I did not consent to rather than the small fee that I actually paid off. I do however believe it should be the banks that should pay the fees and not the customers. I think the banks make plenty and there is no need for this, whether in the UK or Jordan.