Schengen Visa – Getting Difficult

Schengenzone

I just renewed my passport last year and I still had a valid US Visa for a few more years but my Schengen ran out, and my UK Visa ran out with my passport. The UK visa was straight forward, I submit the required documents and since I scanned the finger prints five years ago I don’t need to do it again.

I’m traveling and going through Germany so I submitted to get the Visa from the German Embassy with my original bookings at the time. I went to Al Qabas Visa processing in Sanabil Tower or Al Babtain Tower as it used to be remembered. Went through the process, it was smooth, they asked for my insurance, and the preliminary bookings. It was several weeks before my travel date which worked out fine.

I get notified after a week that my Schengen Visa was refused because I didn’t have a confirmed hotel booking and for 10 days I don’t have a hotel booking in Germany. I mentioned that Germany was not my end destination and they didn’t even pay attention to that. I was confused and pissed, there is even a stamp on my passport stating that my passport was reject by the German Embassy, on a new passport so that pissed me off.

I go back to them this time with the bookings stating that Germany is not my final destination, and the visa for the final destination is attached from when I originally submitted and if there were questions why didn’t anyone ask me, my cell phone number is on the form. The person at the counter didn’t type that up so they thought I was going to stay in Germany for 10 days without a hotel booking. Great, back to square one but this time instead of 5 days it took 3 days, and I got it after the weekend.

The surprising part was the Visa, the validity of it starts at the date of travel not when it is issued, usually the validity starts when the Visa is issued. And I only got 4 months when my previous one was three years, something is odd, but I will take it for now since I’m traveling soon. Still it was very odd that they are doing this and its not like I have had multiple Schengens before. so its surprising that they gave me such a short Visa validity. It seems they are getting more Anal or they want people to pay more for the Visas, I’m not sure what changed but its very annoying.

AMG To Purchase Ducati?

This is a little more then it seems, at the launch of the Diavel there was some exciting news about AMG and Ducati collaborating on a few porjects. At first I thought it was just for marketting reasons but after reading A&R’s article below it seems that Mercedes has interest to buy Ducati but they are feeling things out before proceeding. Ducati has had a spectacular 5 years with the debut of the 1098, they have really worked on the quality of their products and slowly expanding their product line. Ducati have had a bit of rough time earlier but these days they are on top and it seems that Mercedes has noticed, but they don’t want them because they are on top. They want them so that they have another arm of their business which is in direct competition with BMW, with an established product portfolio and distribution line, Mercedes wants to take on BMW. But what Mercedes and Ducati are trying to do is to see how they fit together, they each don’t want to alienate their customer and fan base, and Ducatiests are known to be loyal to the brand and don’t want any interference. I wonder how this would work out? Would they share their technical knowledge? Would distribution lines be streamlined? Would you start seeing Ducaties at Mercedes Dealerships? It is a shocking development and I’m not sure if its a good or bad thing, and it seems to Mercedes that there is a lot of good to take Ducati but they have to do carefully or a lot of damage will be done to either brand.

Link: AsphalyAndRubber

BMW M’s Secret Underground Garage

The guys over at BimmerPost got invited to Germany for the unveiling of the new BMW M5 which I find to be a beautiful and aggressive looking machine, but that isn’t the best part of the trip, they also got invited to see the BMW’s M Garage. A secret garage that they keep all the BMW M cars ever built in pristine and bueatiful condition. I have always been BMW fan, and they have everything in this garage worth having from BMW. My favorite and at the top of the list is the BMW 850csi, and I also love the M1 & E36 M3, the E36 being one of the best BMWs I have driven. When I saw the Z3M in the youtube video it reminded me of the old James Bond movie with Peirce Brosnan, and I love how they used them and felt bad for the Z8 in their later Bond movie. Check out the link below for a lot more pics and very nice video of all the cars.

Link: BimmerPost


Continue reading…

M5 RingTaxi – The GreenHell

As any man who has an inkling to cars and driving fast I know of the Nuremberg Ring aka The GreenHell. One of the most sought after tracks in the world, every manufacturer tests their cars on that track to beat out other manufacturers. There was even that little shuffle between Porsche and Nissan, and Porsche threw a tantrum about a Japanese manufacturer beating them on their turf. I want to drive on the Nuremberg Ring and its simple to do it but I was think that I lack the skill to drive on it since a lot of professional drivers are on their at the same time, so its a no mercy situation, but their is a small solution and that would be the BMW M5 Ring Taxi. For €195 you can take a lap in a BMW sponsored M5 for the track with a professional driver. I would want to try it out to see what I could learn from the professional driver before taking my shot at it.

Some Interesting Facts about those M5 “Taxis”

  • Tires changed every 10 Laps
  • Brake Pads Changed every 20 Laps
  • Suspension Changed every 50 Laps
  • Cars Changed Annually

Ferrari California – Anderson Germany

Ferrari has really changed up their line up over the past year, with the California and 458 being the sexiest of the bunch. Anderson is one of the premiere tuners out of Germany, always able to get a little bit more out of the car. With an ECU reflash and a tri-mode stainless steel exhaust system they managed to get an extra 55 horsepower out to beast up to 515 bhp.

The pipes are built with a special valve that can be adjusted depending on how much of a menace to society you feel like at that particular moment. The company also bolted on a set of 21-inch wheels up front and 22-inch rollers out back and installed a new suspension control module that can allow the car to be lowered up to 1.3 inches.

Link: Autoblog


Continue reading…

Bank & Economies in Europe

EuropeFinancesSM

Seems like the topic of the day are banks and the European countries, and the relationship between them. Greece has been in the news a lot lately and so has UK and Spain about their debt, then there is the decision of Germany to support Greece, and the other countries in the long list. Now all of these numbers flying around, but this infographic pretty much puts all the relationships into considertaion, keeping in mind if one of them goes down then this whole balancing act comes tumbling down. Click the picture for a bigger image.

Link: NYTimes