Saturday, November 01, 2008


Sad Plight of Nepalis in Dubai Airport

30 Sep 2008 - On the way to Egypt in the Dubai Airport, I saw many people sleeping on the way to the Departure Gates. On closer look, I thought they could be Nepali and I also overheard someone talking in Nepali. I went and talked with some of them. They said some of them have been stranded in the airport for more than 30 days. They left Nepal to work on various positions in Iraq. They were supposed to meet someone in the Dubai airport who would then charter a flight to Iraq. The person was not there to be seen at the airport and they have been left stranded in the airport ever since. Apparently, they were tricked by the agent who flew them from Nepal and/or the agent who was supposed to pick them up.

They hadn't washed their clothes or eaten properly for more than a month. Some of them looked very depressed and some were taking it easy for temporary relief by playing cards when all the options had run out. A sad story when one human being cheats on other and plays with someone's life for greed of money. The workers had dreams, to work, save some money and send it home so that their families live better life. Not of being stranded in a foreign airport where there was no one helping them out.

I was there in Dubai, but I was helpless. I was flying to Cairo the same evening. I gave my numbers to them asking them to call me (if they think I could be of any help) after a week when I am back from Cairo. Some of them had a prepaid simcard, so they were at least able to receive calls and make some calls. One of them said they had already called the Nepali Embassy in Abu Dhabi which was also of no help.


Trip to Egypt

In front of the Giza Pyramids near Cairo in Egypt

On the week long holidays of Eid (after the month long Ramadan period), I flew to Egypt as it was just about 4 hours away from Dubai and that was one country I always wanted to go if I got a chance. On top of that, my good friend from IESE in Barcelona was there in Cairo living like a king in his grand apartment. That meant I would visit a good Brazilian friend of mine who would take me around Cairo and rest of Egypt and I would also save on accommodation cost. So it was an event where I did not seem to lose. :)

Based on the information of the websites, I was happy that being a Nepali, I could get the visa on arrival. Apparently that was not the case. When I reached the airport, the airport officials made me wait at not-too-exciting place for about 1 and half hours and finally said 'Welcome to Egypt" and let me enter the country. It was a small adventure already.

Overall, except for the visa adventure, I really had a good time there. We first visited the famous Pyramids in Giza. Unlike taking a camel to go there, we rode horse this time. Having come from Nepal, it is probably a shame to say this but it was the first time I rode a horse. Horse riding was a lot of fun. At one point, we were going quite first and I didn't quite manage to synchronize with the jumping up and down and you can imagine what happened to me next day when I got up.

Seeing the 4500 years old Pyramid was really an amazing experience.I felt very lucky to have been able to see the only remaining ancient seven wonders of the world. I recalled the moment Srijana and I had been to the historic Taj Mahal together. It reminded me of the similar time except that I was seeing something very very old.

In front of the The Great Sphinx of Giza, next to the Pyramids

Next day, we went on a Felluca ride on the Nile river. This was also a lot of fun. Felluca is a local name for the local sailing boat. The breeze was cool, the water pretty clean, and the felluca master was mastering the direction and the strength of the wind to position the sail. Amazing how you can use the strength of the wind to navigate through water. We were told that people probably used huge Fellucas to bring the stones for the Pyramids 4500 years back.

Wesley, my IESE classmate and Brazilian host and myself enjoying the Felluca ride

Christian, my "English" colleauge from work and Wesley, my IESE classmate and Brazilian host enjoying the Felluca ride

I also went to the famous Egyptian museum in Cairo. I got to see the famous young king Tutankhamun's mask, and two layers of mummy case all made of mostly gold and precious stones. I also dared to see about 3000 or more years old dead bodies (mummys) of the Paroah kings who used to rule Egypt.

One day, we went to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, founded by the Greek Alexander the Great. Saw the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the re-constructed version of what is now considered the oldest library in the world. The interior and exterior design of the library is really awesome and unique. Kuods to the Norwegian architects who designed it.

Along the dates trees in Alexandria

The highway to Alexandria from Cairo are all lined up with billboards, probably every 50 meters. I thought they spoiled the beauty of the place but I guess they are probably generating income for the maintenance of the highway.

Although I was happy going through this precious place on earth learning about history of human civilization, I was saddened about the lack of environmental awareness among the locals and tourists alike. It was common to see the litters like above near the beautiful shoreline of Alexandria. All the white plastic was coming from a local fast food shop just across the street. It was also not uncommon to see people just throwing away Coca Cola cans into the Nile river. I wsih no cans were sold in Egypt and only bottles (which were collected by the soft drink companies) were allowed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


paperwork tips: IESE graduates moving to Dubai to work

Since I went though a painful paperwork experience to be able to work in Dubai I thought I would share some of it so that you don't probably have to go though the same thing.

[Rules change very quickly in Dubai so this may not apply any more.] To work in Dubai, as a foreigner you will need a work permit. The company you will be working for will process that for you. However they will need the "attested" original educational certificate from you. The attestation has to be done by the U.A.E. consulate of the country where the certificate was issued. So in the case of IESE graduates who will be attesting their MBA degree certificate rather than their undergrad certificate, this will mean you will have to go to Spain for the attestation process. If you are already in Spain or nearby, it may not be a big issue, but if you are in a far away country from Spain like USA, India, Nepal, Australia, etc, it is painful first to actually have to travel to get a piece of paper attested. So the steps are:

1) Get your original certificate. Too bad if you had it proudly framed on the wall of your house (as it was the case with me).

2) Find a notary in Spain who will make the photocopy of the certificate and attest that the photocopy is the true copy of the original. I think the original requirement is to have the original certificate attested by notary who recognizes the signature of IESE signatories. For this you will actually have to go to Barcelona and ask IESE for the name and address of the notary who can do it for you.

However attesting the photocopy seemed to work for me. In my case, all the notary was saying was the photocopy is the true copy. He was not verifying any signatures in the original. You can already see the stupidity of having to attest your certificate here. The notary I went to was:
Prada, Pizarro, Notarios C.B.
Bravo Murillo, 297 Portal 1 - 1 Derecha
28020 Madrid ( 91 579 4444)

3) Now somebody has to recognize the signature of the notary. The notary will probably mention the name and address of the notary organization he is a member of. You will have to take it there which will verify they have recognized the signature of the notary. The one I went to was Decano del Colegio Notarial
Ruiz de Alarcon, 3
28014 Madrid
Phone: 91 213 00 00
It is located close to Paseo del Prado, the famous street where Museo Prado is located.

They will only give back your documents the same day after 2:30 or the other day. Make sure you mention it is urgent so that you can have it processed the same day, although not before 2:30. This is all to get a stupid signature and stamp. This means you have to wait next day for actually having your process completed because UAE consulate accepts the documents for attesting only until 12.

4) Next, Justice Ministry has to recognize the signature of the Colegio Notarial. So take it to Ministerio de Justicia located in C/ San Bernardo 45 . The entrance is located in Calle De La Manzana. (Phone: 91 390 20 11). Luckily, the Justice Ministry is quick. Once your turn comes in the queue, they will instantly stamp it for you.

5) Next take it to Ministry of External Affairs which has to recognize the signature of Justice Ministry. Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores is located little far away from Justice Ministry. The address is
C/ Serrano Galvance 26, Edificio "Torees Agora". (Phone: 91 379 16 06 /09)
Luckily they are also quick in putting the stamp.

6) Now wait for next day and at 10 ( up to noon) in the morning, take it to the U.A.E. consulate located in c/ Capitan Haya 40. Tell them, its urgent, they will charge you extra for this and at around 2 pm or later, finally you will have the photocopy of your degree attested and ready to be submitted to your company's HR so that they can submit it for work permit.

I think it took more than 2 weeks to get the work permit once the paperwork was submitted by HR.

All the best and let me know if you have any questions.

( I recently found out from my friends that there are companies in U.A.E. that can do the attestation for you. I do not know the names and the fees they charge)


in Dubai now

I have moved again. This time I am in Dubai. Its already been 2 months I am here. I have to admit the timing was not right in terms of weather. Last 2 months including these days have been very hot and humid. Even in the evening, the air is hot. So we spend most of our time indoors where there would be some air conditioning.

I am still working for the same firm in London. Because of the arrangement of the program I am in, unfortunately I have not been able to take advantage of the sweet "no income tax" feature of United Arab Emirates. I still get paid in the UK and hence have to pay tax. However I have been provided a good accommodation. Considering the rent is very high (even higher than what I found in London), its not bad to have this option, I guess.

I am also getting used to changes in the life style here. I used to take the subway(tube) in London to commute to work. Here I am taking a cab to commute. Interestingly, the cab option is less expensive than my tube option in London. The difficult part is getting a taxi in the rush hour. At times I have been lucky to have found a taxi on time. At times, I have waited up to half an hour. I have been told, during the shopping festival in Jan or Feb, waiting for one hour is common.

At work, there is a cafeteria which serves South Asian food and Lebanese food. However the dal or curry seems to be very oily. They also have a salad bar which is not bad. Its a place with good value for money. Many people tend to order food from their favorite restaurants in Wafi mall, which is just 5 minutes away but in the summer heat, it is not always a preferable option to walk there.

Hopefully I will write again soon.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Some videos of Saara (Paaru)

Monday, December 03, 2007


Paaru, Paru and Siru

Paaru happy and awake after a bath from grandmom

I don't know what she is smiling at. I think she finds us too childish!:)

Naming ceremony with a Nepali Priest in London

I am not happy mom and grandmom! Dad, please help me!

On bhai-tika day: With Siru's cousin

Friday, October 19, 2007


Life has changed - I am a dad now

I think the arrival of a new baby is an auspicious occasion to start writing again after some hibernation. On Tuesday evening, Srijana gave birth to a healthy baby girl at St Mary's hospital in London. I am a happy dad, who has luckily got 2 weeks of paternity leave. That means I will be a nice dad and when I am not changing nappies, may be I can continue blogging. Will post photos soon.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007


sad countdown

We have only 24 days remaining to complete our MBA. Then most of us will be traveling here and there and coming back to the graduation ceremony on April 27th. After April 27th, many of us will again be again heading to various destinations in different corners of the world. I am already feeling sad that we will be going our ways very soon. It seems like lately, we have all been hanging out with each other more often by going to dinners, BOWS or just chatting in the cafeteria.

Keeping in mind that we will soon be alumni of IESE, we had a presentation from IESE Alumni Association today. We learned about how big the organization is, where the alumni chapters are, how we can contribute to the Alumni association, how we become paid members and what the benefits are. If we do not become paid members, from June onwards we will only have limited access to IESE emails, i.e. we can have the emails forwarded but we cannot access the emails directly from the IESE server.

I am enjoying my classes. "Financing Entrepreneurial Opportunities" (ENFI) is one of classes I am enjoying the most. Rob Johnson, visiting professor from LBS and Heinrich Liechtenstein teach the class. Since Rob didn't teach other classes at IESE, I never knew him before I took this class. He is amazing. He is also an experienced entrepreneur and an investor. I now know one more person who I can talk to to build/expand my network when I am looking for investors to invest in my future company.

Because the class is so popular, double classes are offered, so that more students can be accommodated. In some cases, the primary person who started the company or did the "Management Buy Out", "Management Buy In" or just invested in the company (that we are discussing in the class) is actually present in the class. Sometimes the professors do not make us aware of this. And after we discuss the case, (during some discussions, we even suggest to fire the person), we are introduced to him/her. As you can imagine, the class becomes even more interesting after that. The guest then talks about his experiences, comments on our comments and answers questions we may have. Really cool to hear from the actual person who executed the deal! One of those guests was the person from TPG who was the primary person involved in buying Ducati.

This past weekend, we organized the Doing Good Doing Well conference. I was primarily involed with finding the sponsors. The conference went smoothly. One company Vectrix even offered to put their Electric bikes for display. I thought, why not a photo riding the stylish bike?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Week of highs and lows

Last week was an interesting week. I got to see the King and Queen of Spain when they came to IESE to inaugurate the new campus. I also had a minute of fame when my brief interview was shown in a big screen for the VIP audience including the King and Queen in the new auditorium. The article on the inauguration can be read at
and the video can be seen at

It was also the week when I failed DIEN for the second time. My Spanish professor's view was I climbed all the way but few meters to the top and then said, "nah! I am not gonna climb anymore". I got close to reaching the threshold but didn't reach it. That means I won't be able to take classes offered in Spanish this semester. But when there is a will, there is a way, right? I am thinking of at least "auditing" the classes.

Classes started from the middle of last week. I am taking 3 most popular electives at IESE this semester among others. They are "Globalization and Strategy", "Financing Entrepreneurial Opportunities" and "Managerial Decision Models". For each of the first 2 subjects, there are 2 classes offered to cater to about 140 students who want to take the class. That means we have about 70 students in each of those classes. Pankaj Ghemawat is teaching the " Globalization and Strategy" class. There was a lot of news coverage at IESE when he joined us full time this year. At his class this morning, there was a 3-members camera crew recording the class, from the center and the two corners. When I entered the class, for a moment I wondered if a mini concert was taking place when I saw lots of wires lying around on the floor.

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