Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category


So April 5 it is. Yeah! It’s coming and I’m sure I want to get my hands on the Nintendo DSi. I’ve actually seen it, held it and played with it a couple of months back as a colleague got one from Japan and had it shipped here. Of course, he got it for a hefty price of more than $250 (original price in Japan would roughly be $190) plus shipping. But having tested it, I say it’s quite a nice "upgrade" to the current Nintendo DS. Now, it’ll be priced at $170! That’s about 625 rials plus about 50-75 rials shipping that’ll burn a hole in my pocket.

What actually interests me with the new Nintendo DSi is the ability to record your voice and play with it (alter pitch and speed). Also, the 2 cameras might be fun to use once in a while. In terms of the other upgrades, I’m not too sure that they really were upgrades as the increase on the screen is only .25 inches. Though it is about 12% thinner (2.6 mm), it is longer than the previous DS Lite. A new SD card slot is used for external storage of pictures and downloaded software and to play AAC audio. It is also said to have better speakers.

However, there are 2 things that are not good about this upgrade. For GBA card owners, the Nintendo DSi doesn’t have  a GBA slot so your cards are now useless. For games such as Pokemon Platinum/Pearl/Diamond, where one can import Pokemons from other GBA cartridges, this is now obsolete. Also, the battery life has been made dismal. From the previous 5-8 hours (running at maximum light level), it has gone down to 3-4 hours. This was caused by the new, speedier processor and the battery itself has been diminished in order for it not to be as bulky as before. Trade offs.

I’ll be waiting for it to show up on Amazon! 


Oh. I must be mistaken! This is Korea’s IT Infrastructure plan for 2012. Imagine having 1Gbps speed right at your fingertips, at home! Instead, we get  a max of 2Mbps and Qtel boasts of having the cheapest Internet in the Middle east. Is it not possible to have the best of both worlds? Cheapest Internet PLUS the fastest one there is? Currently, homes in Korea have 100mbps. Compare that to the 2Mbps that Qtel provides. Actually, instead of your usual ADSL, Koreans get Fibre Technology, providing more thouroughput for Broadband HD Streaming , Video on Demand, and such. Ok, Qtel is doing well in terms of Mosaic, proving "cable" TV over the phone line. But want I would expect Qtel to do is to have such plan much like Korea. Definite timelines and what users would expect from them. Instead, we hear news on Qtel expanding, buying stakes, etc. Why not clean and spruce up your own garden before trying to take a stake at your neighbors’ garden, or even your neighbors’ neighbors’ garden (I hear they’re buying into a Philippine Telecom company as well as San Miguel)?
The coming Valentine’s Day celebration could be much more romantic and enjoyable as Philippine-based singer-actress Ara Mina brings her music here in a two-night concert on February 13 and 14 at the Qube in Ramada.

The first night of the show will see the launch of a month-long amateur talent search called ‘Qube Idol 2009’.

Apart from being a singer who has released a number of albums, Ara Mina has proven herself in the acting field having won accolades for her convincing portrayal in a number of films leading to her bagging Best Actress trophies from prestigious award-giving bodies.

The concert will also feature Doha-based singer Judi Azur Estrada, who would be rendering a variety of songs consisting of ballad and Latin beat, and sax player John Ray. Other performers highlighting the show are The Links band and Beats and Bytes dancers.

More after the cut

We were able to watch the Qatar ExxonMobil Open last Thursday! We were supposed to watch it with Mandy (our friend from Saudi) but he was unable to fly here on Wednesday as he was feeling quite sick. We bought him tickets too but alas, better to watch it at home than to make matters worse.

We got center court tickets for 100QR each. We were able to get some of the last tickets available so we didn’t have that much choice on the seats. Still, they were good and better than paying for a 10QR nosebleed seat. The Court was renovated. Probably up to International standards. However, the seats (20 feet behind the players) we usually get were now relegated to Corporate Sponsors boxes (5 figures per box). They also extended the upper gallery to accommodate more people (better to watch the game on TV than watch it that far). They have a Sky camera and now use Hawk-Eye in matches too! They even have a new on-court commentator which was 200% better than the previous.  All in all, the upgrades were good. Even buying tickets seem a better deal than watching for free and vying to get a seat in court.

We arrived at about 3:30, after eating our Hardees Take-Away in the car. There were not a lot of people when the first game started but they started pouring in after 5 PM. We were able to watch the top seeded players play; Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. Andy Murray was also set to play but we decided to go home since Xiane was already sleepy and we knew his match wouldn’t be exciting. The highlight of the day was probably the fall of Nadal against the French Monfils.

Overall, it was good. I was expecting a WTA tournament this February but it seems they scraped that off for the WTA Year-End Sony Ericsson Championships 2009. Oh well.

Did you know that the other countries bidding last year to get the Sony Ericsson Championships were Bangalore, India; Istanbul, Turkey; and Monterrey, Mexico? Also, the event is to be held in Doha till 2010 and was a result of a $42 million agreement? Wow! I do salute those who made this possible and hope they get other tournaments here in Qatar like the Qatar Telecom German Open which is held in Germany (?) in May. Duh? Why in Germany for a Qatar named event? It seems that the Tournament Director for the Qatar Telecom German Open is also Karim Alami, who is the Director here in Doha. Still, his efforts are well appreciated by Tennis Fans in Qatar.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to buy tickets earlier for the WTA Year-End Sony Ericsson Championships on October 27 – November 1, 2009. By the way, it was Andy Murray who won against Roger Federer. Photos to follow…

Dec. 20, 2008 – Last night we stepped out of our laziness and decided to go out.  But instead of going to our and most people’s destination here in Doha, which are the malls, we went to The Pearl instead.  I guess a lot of residents here have already heard of it.  It even has a big billboard just in front of the Toyota building.  It surely has gained popularity among us because it is like the counterpart of “The Palm” in Dubai; the very first of its kind here in Qatar.

Just recently, my husband heard that an area of The Pearl is now open to visitors though not really completed yet.  We wanted to go during the Eid but it didn’t push through until last night.  The funny thing is that we even got lost last night.  We first went to the Four Seasons area at West Bay thinking that it was close to the said hotel.  But after reaching a dead end and not finding “The Pearl” or even a single signage, we realized that it was nowhere near that area.  So Tian had to call a friend who knew where it was.  We then finally reached our destination.

Upon entry to the bridge, you instantly see how special the place is.  It was like you’re entering a different world.  True enough, once you get inside you feel like you are not in Qatar anymore.  Once of the security guys asked if we had the VIP pass.  We didn’t but he let us through anyway.  However it makes you think whether it will be exclusive once it is completed.  I hope not but you can’t blame if the residents would like some privacy and exclusivity since they have invested a lot of money in order to acquire a place there.  But since there isn’t really a final word yet about that, make the most of the chance to visit. 

You are allowed to go to "Porto Arabia". There is a parking space for vehicles and a pick up point where visitors are meant to board golf carts to be dropped off the main entrance of the future mall.  There were about 10 golf carts going to and fro the mall and the parking lot.  Inside the mall, there isn’t any store yet but you could see which stores are going to be there and they are surely signature shops.  You exit to an open air, long and wide park or walkway, the highlight of which is the view of the seawater.  There are benches to perch on and already there are a number of coffee shops doing business.  Among them are 2 Costa outlets, Cinnzeo, and two other the names of which I forgot.  Since there was nothing else, people were actually buying coffee from these stalls.  It was also a good way to keep yourself warm especially if you are visiting in the evening during this time of the year.

Last night was quite windy thus it was a bit cold.  We stopped by Cinnzeo since Xianelle wanted a cinnamon roll which she ate all by herself.  It would require someone to have a sweet tooth to be able to eat a whole cinnamon roll.  It was way too sweet for my taste thus I never tried it again after one bite.  Since we didn’t want coffee, the LPG-fueled lamp heater kept us warm.  Now talk about more demands on LPG’s and the consequent shortage here in Doha.  Luckily, it will only be during the cold months.  

The Pearl is also in a festive mood as there were lights everywhere and a nicely lit and decorated giant tree.  It was so lovely to look at the giant balls hanging on the tree.  It was like our Christmas tree here at home, only much bigger.  As way of entertaining guests, they commissioned two stilt walkers, one male and one female snow costume and fully made-up.  I’ve always wondered how it felt to be walking in those stilts.  It must have made them feel mighty high.  When we reached the very end of the walkway, we decided to go back.  It wasn’t long before we could get our golf cart ride back to the parking area.  It was a good way to spend the evening.  Next time we will try to visit during the day so it won’t be too chilly.

About our blog

It's been 10 years since the San Juan Family started their blog documenting their lives in this little spot called Qatar. Follow Chris, Mavis and Xianelle as they share what Doha has to offer.

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