Uber: Review and Thoughts

UberWe have decided to go from Fresno, CA to Los Angeles and Disneyland to spend a 3 day weekend without driving or renting a car. In spite of the fact that one part of the trip wasn’t very nice and I wouldn’t do again; the Bus from LA to Disneyland, will use Uber next time.

However, the Uber part of the trip was pleasant and here’s why:

Uber App
– Setup: Easy download and user setup.
– User experience: Very convenient user interface and easy to use.
– Features: You can have free estimates before requesting a drive.
– Features: Drivers and users can rate each other.

Drivers and cars
– Availability: Drivers were available in all the areas we went to, even on top of the Hollywood Lake Park close to the Hollywood sign, there weren’t any cars passing, I have to mention though that one driver cancelled the request.
– Quality: Very thoughtful, two of them had two bottles of water in case we were thirsty. Another one had a USB charger in the back and front seats.
– They drive safely and not one driver was a reckless driver.
– They picked shortest distance to our destinations.
– Cars quality: Cars were in a great condition, we got an SUV twice, which was very convenient since we were three people.

Price and Payment
– Price: We took different trips and one of them was from Disneyland, Anaheim to China Town, LA that took $40. Trips inside LA cost less than $20 each. These trips were between China Town and Griffith Observatory, between Griffith Observatory and Lake Hollywood Park, and last one from Lake Hollywood Park to China Town.
– Payment: Everything is paid online, extremely easy.

In general, the experience was great and I would definitely use Uber again, drivers told me about how Uber team approve drivers, made me feel safe as they make a background check, request photos of the car and car has to be 2007+ as one driver said. On the other hand, one driver told me that they do get “funny” riders 🙂

I tried to use other apps like lyft and sidecar but the apps weren’t as friendly as Uber. I heard they’re cheaper though.

Have you used Uber or the other apps? How was your experience?

Millennium Resort, Oman

Whenever there’s a weekend of a holiday connected to the weekend, almost all hotels in Muscat become fully booked. However, we managed to finally find a hotel with one free room.

About an hour and a half to two hours from Al-Khuwair in Oman to the Millennium resort in Mussanah. Very easy road passing AS Seeb and Barka with some constructions until you find a sign that says you have to take right to get to the resort.

Plenty of free parking lots for a hotel that is fully booked. I would have loved it even more if they were shaded. We were welcomed by the friendly staff at the reception and as we booked the night before on the phone, we got the sea view room.

The room wasn’t very spacious but adequate and clean. Stunning view from the balcony overlooking the marina and sea.

It was about midday so we decided to go directly to the pools and the beach. There are three pools, one of them is in the back; indoor and ladies only. The other two are outdoor; one of them is big but isn’t deep, probably 1.2-1.5 meters. The third was smaller and kids kinda pool overlooking the beach area, which was quite nice and relaxing.

We enjoyed the pools and the beach. At the pool side, we’ve ordered turkey sandwiches, they were good. And from the beach collected some cool shells to take back home.

At night, we had dinner at one of the two restaurants which basically are the same. I wasn’t impressed with the food and if I go there again I would order from the menu rather than eating from the buffet.

After dinner we walked to the Hookah bar, ordered Sheeshah and green tea. The weather was very relaxing.

The bed was comfortable, I slept very well. After the shower in the morning we headed to have our breakfast. Again, there weren’t so many options. There was a live omelette cook though, my favorite corner in every hotel I go to! 🙂

Overall, it was a very relaxing stay, I have enjoyed it and would definitely go there again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Al Jabal Al Akhdar – الجبل الأخضر

3 hours away from Muscat, Oman, and more than 2,000 meters up, you’ll be surprised by the spectacular view and the stunning weather at the top of Al Jabal Al Akhdar. While it was the hottest and longest day in Oman, Muscat exceeded the 50 c but Jabal Akhdar stayed cool at 20’s and refreshing breeze.

A very great initiative from the Ministry of Tourism here in Oman, which we heard about through Facebook, to organize such an exciting trip! Around 50 4×4’s were ready at 7 am to start our trip to Al Jabal Al Akhdar. Very nice people, organized, and helpful. Two police cars and an ambulance were with us all the way to help us whenever needed. And they were needed!

We passed by Birkat Al Mouz, the “pool of bananas”, it was called so because it’s known for Banana, of course, and pure spring water. However, I haven’t seen either but could be because we did not check it all out, only the castle. Birkat Al mouz’s ancient water system is one of the other four in Oman on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

We continued our way up to the mountain, stopped at a rest area where there was an Omani group doing of what we call in Jordan; Dabkeh, with swords and a drum. Very exciting and traditional. 🙂

We continued our drive to Al Ayn Village, left our cars and walked in a very tiny passage to another village. there was a water channel all the way and beautiful views for the mountains. When we reached the other village after about 30 minutes walk, we walked again to reach our cars that moved to meet us at the other end, cars can’t reach the center of the village, they stay outside and we have to walk to reach them. There was a very close area were you can overlook an ancient village with old houses.

After all this walking, we can to rest, drove up to the top where there was a beautiful hotel, Sahar Hotel. They have good food, stunning views, swimming pool, amazing weather, but not a very friendly staff. I might go back there to spend a weekend and relax. Even though their prices were a bit high; rooms ranging from 83 – 97 OMR, they were fully booked!

On our way back down from the mountains, we stopped at a rest area, played some games, quizes, etc. We enjoyed our time and will definitely do it again! Well done Ministry of Tourism. 🙂

٣ ساعات بعيدا عن مسقط، سلطنة عمان، وأكثر من ٢٠٠٠ متر فوق سطح البحر، سوف تفاجأ من منظر وطقس رائعين في الجبل الأخضر. مع أنه كان أكثر يوم حار و طويل في عمان، حيث الحرارة في مسقط تجاوزت الخمسين مئوية ولكن بقيالجبل الأخضر في درجات حرارة حوالي ٢٤.

مبادرة جميلة جدا من وزارة السياحة هنا في عمان بأن تنظم هذه الرحلة، والتي سمعنا عنها من خلال الفيسبوك. كان هناك نحو ٥٠ سيارة ذات الدفع الرباعي جاهزة على الساعة ٧ صباحا لبدء رحلتنا إلى الجبل الأخضر. الناس لطفاء وتنظيم جيد.وكانت ترافقنا سيارتي شرطة وسيارة إسعاف لمساعدتنا كلما دعت الحاجة.

مررنا بمنطقة تسمى بركة الموز، وتسمى بذلك لأنها معروفة بزراعة الموز ومياه الينابيع النقية. ومع ذلك، أنا لم أر أي أشجار موز ولكن قد يكون لأننا لم نتفقد المنطقة كلها، إلا أنه يوجد قلعة صغيرة. النظام القادم للمياه جعلها واحدة من المناطق الاربعالاخرى في عمان على قائمة اليونسكو للتراث العالمي.

واصلنا طريقنا إلى الجبل، وتوقفت في منطقة للراحة حيث كان هناك مجموعة من العمانيين في الزي التقليدي يرقصون، ما نسميه في الأردن الدبكة، بالسيوف والطبول. جميلة جداً. 🙂

واصلنا مسيرنا إلى قرية عين. تركنا سياراتنا ومشينا في ممر صغير جدا إلى قرية أخرى. كانت هناك قناة للمياه على طول الطريق ومناظر خلابة للجبال. عندما وصلنا الى القرية الأخرى، بعد حوالي ٣٠ دقيقة سيرا على الأقدام، مشينا مرة أخرى لنصل إلى سياراتنا التي انتقلت لملاقاتنا في الطرف الآخر. كانت هناك منطقة قريبة جدا تستطيع رؤية قرية قديمة مع البيوت القديمة جدا.

بعد كل هذا المشي، ركبنا السيارات لنصل الى أعلى الجبل حيث كان هناك فندق جميل، لديهم الطعام الجيد، والمناظر الخلابة، وبركة سباحة، والطقس المذهل، ولكن الموظفين لم يكونوا ودودين. ومع ذلك أود أن أذهب إلى هناك مرة أخرى لقضاء عطلةنهاية الأسبوع والاسترخاء. أسعار الفندق مرتفعة قليلا، الغرف تتراوح بين ٨٣-٩٧ ريال عماني، ومع ذلك، كانت جميع الغرف محجوزة بالكامل!

ونحن في طريقنا إلى أسفل الجبل، توقفنا في منطقة للراحة، ولعبنا بعض المباريات، المسابقات الثقافية، وما إلى ذلك، استمتعنا كثيراً، وبالتأكيد سنذهب إلى الجبل الأخضر مرة أخرى! أحسنت يا وزارة السياحة العمانية. 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Four days in Muscat

Early morning Saturday, after several 5-minute sleeps from the night before, I found myself in the airport of Muscat, Oman. On my way out, I saw a Nawras booth; Nawras is one of the two telecom companies in Oman. I asked the guy for a SIM card to use during my stay and how I can activate the blackberry service. He was very friendly and helpful; offered me that SIM card for 2 OMR with a credit of 2 OMR already in it. I charged my credit with another 7 OMR because I did not know what to expect regarding prices. Later, I found that they’re relatively cheap, especially when I went to Dubai after Muscat and used Nawras’s SmartRoamer; very convenient and cheap! Make sure you roam through Etisalat though, it’s cheaper than Du.

Before going to Muscat, I’ve read some blogs and articles on how beautiful Oman is and how everyone, especially expats, fall in love with it. This made me want to look for their reasons everywhere around me, for the small details and the overall look of Muscat. It was so obvious why everyone is so fond of Oman.

People are very kind, laid-back and helpful. Everyone is ready to help when you ask them to. They don’t rush into things, especially on the road, which is not the case in Amman. All men wear the traditional Omani outfit and women mostly have their hair covered, except for expats. I found it amazing how they keep their traditions and are very proud of it.

There is a place called Jawharit Alshati in Muscat, it’s a beach area with different cafés and restaurants like Slider station, Starbucks, Costa Café and others around you. Just take a cab or park your car there and go to one of them, enjoy the great service and the sound and smell of the sea. I love water!

Another must go place is called Matrah, it’s also by the sea, has old souq and beautiful mosques, nearby is the Sultan palace, we could get to the gate, beautiful clean streets, amazing architecture and lovely weather this time of the year. I heard it gets REALLY hot during summer time.

Taxis around Muscat vary from 2 OMR to 7 OMR for far places. One cab took us around the city and showed us different areas for only 10 OMR. I thought they were expensive but then realized it’s the range of prices there.

I stayed at the Ibis hotel; friendly staff, convenient, adequate, affordable (49 OMR/night) and clean. It’s a walking distance from McDonald’s, BinAteeq (Omani restaurant) and a pizza place. Also from there you can go by taxi to a sea food restaurant called Turki House, very famous there and their food is delicious.

My overall experience was great, met great Jordanians as well, they told me more about Oman and, again, how beautiful it is. I will definitely go back soon. 🙂

Internet in Jordan and My Experience With #MadaJordan

The most annoying thing about internet in Jordan is the service itself. The fact that they can give you and guarantee you the speed you pay for but for some reason it just does not happen. The mentality of “up to” needs to disappear. Sell me a speed and guarantee that it does not go less than that except for outages that I should be notified about. This should not be too hard, is it?

Mada, one of the ISP’s in Jordan, have these cool offers. I have tried the Biscuit for few months now and it is good. What I would have loved more is a better coverage. Other than that, it’s just perfect!

Mada has reached out to me to try their internet biscuit for few months and let them know how it is. They said I can be completely honest so that’s +1 to them. At first I had some difficulties with connecting it from my MacBook, called their support but they could not help me. Coming from a technical background I have figured out the DNS issue and fixed it. If I would suggest something here is a more qualified support. First -1.

Speed was amazing. At first I used to download my favorite shows then stopped and started streaming them instead of taking from the hard disk space. Another +1.

Coverage! It wasn’t great but it covered a good portion of Amman and around. I wish they had better coverage on the way to Jerash and there, had an amazing weekend there that only missed the internet connection (or maybe not 🙂 ). It would be cool actually to start with attractions and where people spend their weekends. That would be a +1 but so far it’s in between.

One cool +1 about it is sharing the connection; 5 people can connect to the internet through Mada biscuit and enjoy the web! Also liked the design, easy to carry. You can check how many people are connected, their IP and MAC addresses. Just in case you felt some unauthorized person hacked into your biscuit.

Up time: They told me it lasts 4 hours but definitely it lasted much more! I even check to see if it’s still working or not. You also have the ability to check the battery status from your browser.

Easy to set up, easy to use, take anywhere and cool prices. I recommend you check them out and see if there’s coverage at your area!

التغير في الاردن

صراحة هذا أحلى اشي قرأته من ألف سنه ! مش لئنو اسامة ما راح يكتب سياسه .. بس يا رايت الكل يستوعب إنو مرات كتر الحكي بخرب ما بصلح .. والبدّو إصلاح يبلّش بحالو .. لو كل انسان فالأردن بلش يشتغل على إصلاح نفسه ، عيلتو، الناس الحواليه كان الحكومه طلعت منيحة.. كان أصلاً ما حدا إحتاج حكومه .. وكان لمرة وحده بنصير زي الشعوب المنظمه .. مش ضروري ما نمشي خطوه غير بقانون …

لن أكتب في السياسة بعد الآن 

منذ أن بدأت التدوين منذ ٣ سنوات وأنا أكتب مقالات معظمها سياسية لكنها لا تسير على طريق واضح، فأنا لا أملك فِكراً سياسياً وليس لي في السياسة باع، ولأكون صريحاً أكثر، أنا لا أعرف عن ماذا أدافع وماذا أريد، شأني شأن الكثيرين ممن ينضمّون إلى المظاهرات أو الاعتصامات وهم لا يعلمون لماذا هم هناك، شأني شأن الكثيرين ممّن يجتمعون على طاولة تملأها “كاسات الشاي” وفناجين القهوة يتجادلون بالسياسة بنقاشات متداخلة لا يعي منها المُستمع شيئا.

ولكي أرد على كثيرٍ من الأسئلة التي وصلتني، نعم لقد تابعت لحظة بلحظة ما حدث في تونس ثم مصر ثم اليمن ثم البحرين ثم سوريا فالأردن، ولم يُسعغني قلمي أن أكتب كلمة واحدة حينها لسببين، أولهما ذهولي مما حصل وما يحصل، أما ثانيهما فهي الحيرة التي وقعت فيها بين فاعلية “المقال والتغيير” ورغبتي في التغيير نفسه وأي تغيير نريد ولماذا وكيف.

ما حدث في الأردن مؤخراً من اعتصامات لا يعي الكثيرون ممّن شاركوا فيها أدنى فكرة عنها وعن أهدافها جعلني أتساءل: هل نحن فعلاً نريد تغييراً سياسياً في الأردن؟ يُطالبون بالملكية الدستورية التي قد تأخذ الأردن إلى هاوية الإنهيار، يُطالبون بإسقاط مدير المخابرات الأردني لمجرد أنه “مدير مخابرات”.. نحن لسنا بحاجة لتغيير سياسي أبداً بل نحن في حاجة مُلحّة إلى تطوير وعينا الذاتي وحياتنا الخاصة حتى نصل إلى مرحلة نستطيع فيها فهم الأمور فهماً دقيقاً وبتخطيطٍ سليم وبدراسة لعواقب كل حركة نقوم بها.

ومن الأمور التي أصابتني بصدمة، مطالبة البعض بأن يكون سمر الأمير الحسن بن طلال رئيساً للوزراء أو رئيساً للحكومة، ألم يُفكر هؤلاء أنه لو أصبح الحسن رئيساً للحكومة فإن حرية الإعلام ستقبع في غرفة موصدة لا مخرج فيها؟ فكيف لكاتب أو لمدوّن أن ينتقد الحسن إن أصدر قراراً شاع أنّه خطأ وهو “أمير” ؟

الكثير من الأمور التي حدثت مؤخراً جعلتني أعيد ترتيب أفكاري في رأسي، ووصلت لقناعة بأنّ التغيير لا يأتي من رأس الهرم بل من قاعدته، التغيير يأتي منّي أنا ومنك أنت أيها القارئ.. وبالنهاية، فالهدف من التغيير هو “حياة أفضل” لك ولي وللجميع، أليس كذلك؟

لا يُصدقنَّ أحدكم أن حياتنا تتوقف على الشؤون السياسية فحسب، فهناك أمور تُبنى عليها السياسة ونسيناها، وهي الأمور والقضايا والشؤون الإجتماعية الخاصة بالفرد والجماعة.. أخلاقنا التي ضاعت في مسيرات التأييد في عمّان خلال الأسابيع الماضية التي بسببها أغلقت معظم شوارع عمّان حتى الصباح بشبّان اعترضوا طريق السيارات التي لم ترفع العلم الأردني بعبارات لا تليق، وعينا الذي دُفِن في ألوان العلم الأردني الذي أصبح يُباع بـ 20 ديناراً على الإشارات في تجارة واضحة بوطنيتنا، عقولنا التي أثبتت أن فيها خللاً حين اعتقد الكثيرون أن جلالة الملك سيشعر بالفخر حين تسير “جاهة” من السيارات باتجاه القصر الملكي بإطلاق نار في الهواء تعبيراً عن “تجديد الولاء” للملك، ثقافتنا التي لا تتعدى صفحات فيس بوك أو “Fan Pages” حين انضم الكثيرون لاعتصام دوار الداخلية على أساس “بدنا عزا نشبع فيه لطم”.. وهناك المزيد.

استناداً إلى ما سبق، أعلن أنني لن أكتب في السياسة بعد الآن.

أسامة الرمح

18th of April, 2011

المي يا جماعة

متخيلين شو رح يصير فينا بعد كم سنه؟ راح نشرب “هوا” ! لأنو ما رح يضل مي نشربها!

مشكلة المي صارت زي صباح الخير، كلنا بنحكي فيها بس ما حدا عارف شو معناها..  أصلاً مافي مي.. والناس مش عم ترحم النتفه الموجوده مشان نعيش عليها. وأنا من الناس هدول ومشان هيك قررت اقتصد فالمي. يعني مش ضروري ساعة او نص حمام ومش ضروري طول ما أنا بجلي أخلي المي شغاله.. ومش ضروري نشطف الرصيف اللي قدام بيتنا (عن جد بنشطفو) ومش ضروري كتير أشياء الناس بتسويها ممكن ما تسويها أو تخفف من المي فيها. بس أكيد ضلكم إتحممو 🙂

عم نحكي عن ReformJO ، أنا بقترح إنو إنبلّش بحالنا. واحنا إلي همه الشعب كله.. إن كان حكومه أو مواطن “عادي” ..كبير أو زغير (صغير ؟).. في كتير أفكار ممكن إنو تخلينا نوفر بالمي. أهم أشياء إلي بحكي عنها أبو سليم بالفيديو هاد http://aramram.com/episode/473

إعرف أكتر عن أبو سليم وعن كم مشكله من مشاكل الأردن اللي برأيي أهم إنو ننتبه عليهم