Computer repairs in Al Ain

If you want to get your computer repaired in Al Ain – whether is a desktop PC or a laptop – then I’d recommend you visit Majid Amin at Golden Chip Computer in Kuwaitat, Al Ain. He’s probably a safer choice than trying the do-it-yourself approach!

What’s more, he’s local, he’s fast, and he’ll look at your computer for free to tell you what he thinks may be wrong, and how he could fix it.

This is Majid…

Majid Amin Golden Chip Computer, Al Ain

…who is very friendly and skilled at repairing faulty computers. This is his shop…

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How to get there…

If you come out of the Hilton car park, turn right at the roundabout and go over the bridge with the photos of the dignitaries on it. Go across the traffic lights. A few hundred metres on the right you may know the Welcome Traders stationery shop, and the Lulu supermarket. Park your car before Welcome Traders and walk between the shops to the road behind. Turn right and walk along until you find Golden Chip on your right.

Majid can also repair Apple Macs. He even repaired some Beats headphones my son owns. And his command of the English language is great too!

Call him on 055 677 4467 or email him at master-mind-comp [at]

Do tell him I sent you! :)

Fly to Nepal for a holiday

Many ex-pats who live in Al Ain have travelled to Nepal for a holiday as it’s only a 4-hour flight, and the price is keen.

We 4 Paynes went one Easter break for a week and had a fabulous time.

First up are some shots from Kathmandu (we stayed there for 2 days, which was enough as the city is very polluted, smelly, noisy and crowded, but delightful all the same).

This is a temple called Shree Boudhanath…

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An enormous prayer wheel for us to spin…

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Sadhus: holy men…

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Offering for the gods were on sale…

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On our second day we drove out to Changunarayan, a temple with craft village on the walk up to it…

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Then we drove to Bhaktapur for lunch, and to see more temples…

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On day 3 we flew to Pokhara, a 30-minute flight, costing $100 per person each way…

Here’s the view through the plane’s window…

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The airport in Pokhara…

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Our plane…

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We hired bikes after we had settled into our hotel. That’s Toby on the left having negotiated round the cows!…

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We rode to see the waterfall at Devi’s Fall…

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We stayed at Temple Trees Hotel for 3 nights for about $140 a night. You can pay $5 a night in a guest house and be very comfortable! We wanted some luxury! :)

While there, on day 4, we went pony trekking for two and a half hours…

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We reached a viewing point…

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Here’s the view of the town of Pokhara below…

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Then we rode back down into town…

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We went for an afternoon hike on day 4 to see how remote villagers lived. Here is inside one small home…

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…and admired the views…

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On the morning of our final day in Pokhara, I hired a motorbike for 350 rupees for an hour (£3 / US$4.50) so I could spend time with our second son, Felix…

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And I went for a 30-minute flight in a microlight with our 12-year-old, Toby, each in separate microlights, costing about $100 for each of us.

Here’s the microlight Toby was to fly in…

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And these all show Toby’s microlight and the magnificent views…

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We flew round a stupa on a hill overlooking Pokhara…

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This was a terrific holiday. I hope these photos and price guidelines inspire you to visit Nepal!

How to buy used/secondhand mobile phones in Al Ain

If you want to buy a used / secondhand mobile phone in Al Ain, you have a number of options

Email a request to Niala News and ask them to publicise it: this can take a week or 2 to get distributed

Put a message on the alainexpats yahoo group: you could get a reply within 5 minutes

Check out various shops selling used mobiles.

We bought a used Blackberry phone for our 12-year-old son from a kiosk at Jimi Mall. Go into the entrance on the far left. Turn to your right. Go to the second kiosk from the right. Alaa there was very helpful.

You’ll find other shops selling used phones around Al Ain.

Whatever price you are quoted, know that it is negotiable: you could bargain down by about 10%.

Al Ain Distribution Company: how to pay your electricity and water bill

All the supply of electricity and water in Al Ain is handled by the Al Ain Distribution Company. (It’s not like in the UK etc where there are a number of suppliers charging different prices.)

There are 2 ways to pay your bills. Option 1…

  • Go to an Al Ain Distribution counter: there’s one below Megamart in Al Ain Mall: go down the moving walkway: it’s opposite Gloria Jeans coffee shop.
  • Give the staff there the number of your account which is on the electricity meter at your property. The bill they give you will cover electricity and water. Sometimes that bill is entirely in Arabic, so there’s an element of trust when you pay!. At least you’ll be going away with a receipt. :)


Option 2…

  • Go to an Etisalat payment machine: there’s one in Jimi Mall next to the far right entrance.
  • Enter your account number
  • Feed in bank notes
  • Collect your receipt

Let me know if you know of other places where there is a payment machine or payment counter, or any other info to improve this article.


How to pay your Etisalat bill in Al Ain

You have a number of options when it comes to paying your Etisalat mobile phone or Internet bill.

First option…

  • Go to the main Etisalat building
  • Tell the receptionist that you want to pay a bill
  • Get a ticket from him/her
  • Wait in line in the correct area they point out to you
  • Provide your phone number
  • Hear the amount owed
  • Pay

Second option…

  • Find an Etisalat payment machine: there’s one in Jimi Mall next to the far right entrance.
  • Enter your landline number to see what you owe for your Internet account (which starts with 03). Or enter your mobile phone number to see the bill for that.
  • Feed in bank notes to pay your bill.
  • Collect the receipt.

Very roughly, if you let a bill go over 1,000 or 2,000 dirhams your account will be suspended, so it’s best to pay these bills regularly!

Let me know if you know of other places where there is a payment machine, or any other info to improve this article.

Tailoring, stitching and sewing work in Al Ain

If you want trousers or skirts to be turned up, or you want a rip to be repaired, there are lots of little tailoring workshops in Al Ain.

We used to live in Kuwaitat which is right behind/north of the Hilton Hotel. There you’ll find lots of tailor shops, and if you go down the stairs, beneath the tailors, you’ll find little workshops with sewing machines.

We get our tailoring done here…


…and simple sewing jobs they’ll do for free…

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…as they can do the work in a couple of minutes. I gave 5 dirhams for a rip to be fixed in a pair of shorts. I give 10 dirhams to turn up trousers. These guys are probably earning about 500 dirhams a month, working 6 days a week from 8am to 11pm with a break from around 1pm to 5pm. So they’re earning maybe 18 dirhams (£3/US$5) a day.

Pinkberry non-fat yoghurt in Al Ain

A delicious treat is to be had at the Pinkberry non-fat yoghurt outlet in the Al Ain Mall in Al Ain…


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They hand out a beautifully designed brochure…

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When we go, we get 2 scoops of yoghurt with a few toppings for 23 dirhams. Not cheap, but a great treat!

The staff are often offering small samples for you to try: this was enough to get me and my family to buy more.

Phone: 050 967 6100.

A Pinkberry will open in Bawadi Mall in May 2012, between Daiso and the information desk – on the site where Top Man used to be.


Looking for a vet / veterinary clinic in Al Ain?

If you’re looking for a vet in Al Ain, there are dozens and dozens of options.

One guy that’s worth checking out is ‘Dr Stas’ – his full name is Dr. Stanislav Alexeevych Vyrva, which is a bit of a mouthful! Here he is with an enormous python belonging to one of his local clients…

Dr Stanislav Vyrva Stas who I met

He and I have met and chatted, though our family doesn’t have any pets, so I can’t comment on his skills!

Dr Stas is Ukranian. He used to be head surgeon of Kharkov Zoo, and has been in private practice since 1995. He has been living in Al Ain since 2004.

He is currently Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Oasis Veterinary Clinic, here in Al Ain, behind Bawadi Mall. His English is fluent.

At his clinic he conducts advanced examinations (including X-ray and endoscopy).

Here’s a map…

Dr Stas vet map

Here’s a shot of the outside of the clinic…

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And here’s what it’s like inside…

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You can contact him on 055 727 9660 or 050 683 9899. His email address is stas_vr -at-

Apple Store opens in the UAE, selling iPads, iPhones, Macs etc

Apple opened an online store in the UAE in September 2011.

Now you can get a high-end MacBook Pro for about 500 dirhams less than previous local prices.

The Apple Store’s prices are about 10% less than UK prices, but 15% higher than US prices: though if you ordered an Apple product from the US you may have to pay local sales tax, plus shipping costs from the US to the UAE, then 5% customs duty once the goods arrive in this country.

Orders over 520 dirhams are sent out free of charge, and most goods should reach you in about 3 days.


Go to Happy shopping!

Getting eLife from Etisalat in Al Ain

Most of Al Ain has been re-wired for optical fibre, so if you want a fast broadband connection, you can get, say, an 8mb connection for less than an 8mb copper wire connection would have cost you last year.

Be aware that you will need to direct the installers to your home by phone. This isn’t helped by the fact that these people speak very little English! :)

So I arranged to meet my installers at the nearby Al Ain Paradise Gardens, or at the ‘zoo roundabout’ and let them follow me to our home.

But when another gang needed to come to do the next part of the job, they were starting from scratch, so they had no idea where they were coming, so we had the usual series of conversations before we got to the point that they understood where we would meet.

Me: “We’ll meet at the zoo roundabout, yes?”

Installer: “Hello?”

Me: “Zoo roundabout?”

Installer: “Okay”

Me: “When will you be there? In 5 minutes? 10 minutes?”

Installer: “Yes”

…etc etc! :)

We’re on a plot of land with 2 villas on it. The villa next to us had an optical fibre cable running to it. But the installers told me that there was no optical fibre cable running across to our building. They would happily dig up the flagged driveways, but I would have to drive into Sanaiya to buy a few metres of plastic corrugated piping 2 inches across for the optical fibre cable to run through! :)

So off I went to buy it!

A team of 4 workers spent ALL DAY digging up the flag stones, most of the time taken up with trying to put the tightly packed flags back into place again.

Their English may not be great but, boy!, do they work hard in the scorching sun!!

I bought these Indian/Bangladeshis bottles of water and a couple of packets of dry Digestive biscuits: they’re not keen on chocolate or sugar coating which amazed me.