HAILO – The Experience

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For the last couple of years there were different applications that came out for Black Cabs, and finding a cab or quick transprotation is London is always a gamble. There have been times where I ended up walking over an hour heading home instead of finding a cab in the rain or on a Friday night. Other Apps came out but they were hit or miss, and always searching for vehicles which drove me nuts.

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Hailo is different then the pack, it is extremely easy to use and secure with cash or credit payment option when requesting the blackcab, so even if you don’t have your wallet or cash on you, you can just charge it to your card which is registered to your Hailo account. The application is both on Android and iOS so anyone could use it.

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The application opens up to your location and you can search for black cabs right away, when it finds a few usually there are anywhere from 3 to 10, you click yes and the closest one or the one that is free first will confirm. They will give you an update on the amount of time, anywhere between 4 minutes up to 20 minutes and usually they are perfectly on time and you can track their progress on your Hailo App.

The best part is that the Cabbie is there to pick you up and can only start the meter with you in it. Once the ride is done you pay the normal fare with a minimum fare starting at 10 & 15 GBP depending on the time of day. Overall it is a very simple experience even when they pick you up from a busy location like a restaurant or the movie theater, they have your name and your confirmation number when they come to pick you up. Each cab has a Hailo sticker on it to make it easy to identify.

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The experience is very simple,easy and straight forward, and once the cab ride is done you rate your cab driver. And I have given mine 5 stars because they pick me up on time and get me where I need to go making it for a pleasent and easy experience. I seriously love this application, no more major issues and has worked perfectly every time I use it, even when I don’t find a cab I try it again and it works perfectly.

Currently its Running in:

  • London
  • Dublin
  • Toronto
  • Chicago
  • Boston

Opening Soon In:

  • New York
  • Tokyo
  • Washington DC
  • Cork
  • Madrid
  • Barcelona

There are some cities like Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Singapore, and London which I would happily get in the cab because they are genuinely great cabs which are comfortable, but Cabs in the US are usually pretty bad, the crown victorias or not maintained vehicles, when I use vehicles in the US I use the Uber App for private driver who usually have decent vehicles like an Escalade or a vehicle like that when in New York or LA.

Link: HailoCab

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Vodafone UK – 4G

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All the Providers are talking about their 4G Coverage in London. Of course the 4G Services is only available to Contract numbers, not Pay As You Go or Top Up lines. In my case I have a contract line and upgraded to 4G contectivity with a max of 8GB per month for 36 GB per month, you can change from month to month, but only stay on 4G.

I was happy and thought I would get the same service as I do in Kuwait. At full signal I was getting 50+ MB/s which was impressive. Out of all the companies – EE, Orange, O2, Vodafone, & 3 – I read that Vodafone has the best 4G coverage in London as well as the fastest.

It seems their definition of coverage is similar to swiss cheese, lots of holes in the network. 4G was fine as long as I had 4G coverage, spotty would be putting it nicely. The coverage in London’s main metropolitan area is a disaster. Every building I go into, there is almost little to no coverage, and even when we are outisde it is max one or two bars. Rarely do I see full bars, I don’t know how they planned their coverage but Vodafone falls far behind Zain or any of our Mobile Companies in Kuwait. Zain has spoilt us, our expectations are too high.

Bulgari Hotel London

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I remember hearing about the Bulgari Hotel in Milan Italy when it first opened, nobody thought a Jewelry chain would open its own hotel, it never made sense, but now everyone is opening their own hotel. I was going to London for 48 hours and decided to try a new hotel and this hotel was an interesting one to see. London has a lot of choices, but I called American Express Platinum services to see if they had any deals on hotels on a short notice, and they did for about 40% off the normal price for a junior suite and when I got there I got upgraded to a higher level suite when I checked into the Bulgari Hotel. There are lots of hotels in London and so many boutique hotels but this was worth checking out.

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Basically I got a very large suite for the price of a room in London which rarely happens, but they said during Ramadan it is very quiet in London and that was what you could see out on the streets. I saw a few Saudi & Qatari Supercars parked on some of the more famous roads in London, and they never moved, I asked the doorman what was going on they said that they paid for the parking for up to two months so they won’t lose the spot and its cheaper then shipping the car back home, it seems some people love their spots.

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The hotel has this sleek modern feel to it, very stylish with a lot of interesting amenities. I was told they have a beautiful pool but I didn’t have a chance to check it out. The hotel is located in Knightsbridge, and most women would know this area because its where most of their shopping takes place. Personally I’m not too keen on the area because there is a lot of traffic at that location.

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Going into the room it felt like an apartment, not a room, a large living room with two types closets, a small dining table and beautiful bathroom. The first night of my arrival I had a late night burger because I didn’t have a chance to eat while I was out and I wasn’t too impressed with it, I expected room service to be a lot better, but the staff were fantastic. Very helpful and always going the extra mile to get anything I requested done.

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The room was quite different then what I expected in London, even for a suite it was huge, and it was very spacious. They hid all the power plugs in drawers and the wifi was strong all over the room which was great. And the bathroom was the best part of the room, it was huge and the shower had amazing pressure, even the size of the shower was fantastic.

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This hotel was a surprise for me, I wasn’t expecting the the rooms to be like that, and the lobby is always buzzing with people. It is one of those funky hotels you have to try at least once, I don’t think I will stay there again. One thing that is a problem for me is the high price of the rooms, I got a deal this time around but on normal days this would have been a very expensive 48 hours. I would prefer trying another one of the amazing hotels in London but this is an amazing hotel, and one I don’t mind repeating.

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Redemption – Trailer

Homeless and on the run from a military court martial, a damaged ex-special forces soldier navigating London’s criminal underworld seizes an opportunity to assume another man’s identity — transforming into an avenging angel in the process.

I never get tired form the Jason Stathom movies, and this one seems to be a bit deeper then most. But I do love that they keep the action going and then he is back to beating the bad guys up. Seems like an interesting story, I do like London criminal movies.

Waterstones Visit in London

At the beginning of July I had a quick business trip to London and one of the usual stops other then the Harrods Pizzeria is the Waterstones bookstore in Piccadly. There is always something different about bookstores, there is a personal touch and you get introduced to books that you would never think of taking a look at online.

The best part of the bookstore are the personal reviews of the staffers, a lot of these people work there because they like it and they give you a personal opinion on these books. It gives me a chance to checkout books that I would never think of picking up and that is how I discovered a few of my favorites authors.

A usual my favorite section is the Fantasy & Science Fiction section on the first floor but I decided to check out all the other sections before heading there so I start from the Fifth Floor and clear each floor before heading to the next one. Usually I end up spending about 15 mins per section, and then about two hours in the Fantasy & Science Fiction section. This time around there were more Vampire & Zombie books then usual and I picked up a few that seemed interesting, I chose a few different books and the usual. I said I would only get two books but ended up getting five with me.


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Pizzeria @ Harrods

One of my favorite places to eat while in London and it has its own sort of fame over the years and some people would wait over two hours just to get a seat when its really crowded. When I got in line there were a lot of people ahead of me, but luckily I was on my own and I told the Italian Maitredee and he had a seat ready to go.

It was my last day in London, my flight is later at night, I finished up most of my errands and I was going to stuff myself silly on this food before taking off. I love the smell of the place and they made it bigger then it used to be but the service is still good, and they have tables now but I only love eating at the counter.

I didn’t even need to look at the menu, I ordered four things:

  • Roca Salad
  • Margarita Pizza
  • Lasagna
  • Coke with Ice & Lemon

I didn’t leave a bite on the plate when I was done, and I had a huge smile on my face. Honestly the food tasted better then I expected, I always think that over the years it wouldn’t maintain their level but somehow they got even better. Of course at the time in the beginning of July the place was packed with people from the GCC (Mostly Saudi, Emirates, and Qatar). I just came for the meal and it was worth it, even right at this moment I’m thinking about that Pizza and Lasagna.


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Forbidden Planet – A Must In London

Pop Culture Central of Europe, the best place for any Geek/Nerd to visit while in London, I visit there on every trip I take to London and there is always something different to see or something that really excites me. Movie memorabilia of every kind, Comics, games and anime collectibles that you only see online, every Star Wars & Harry Potter fan would go nuts there. Still I never get tired of it, I could spend hours there, there is always something that I want to purchase but these days I am lacking space so I always choose items that fit or that make me think “MUST HAVE IT”

One section that people forget about is there HUGE comic and graphic novel collection down stairs, I picked up all of the novels by the comedian Kevin Smith, read a few pages and they are pretty funny and he is a funny guy so decided to take all his books. Then there is the Transformers section which have all the stuff dating back to the 80s up to the new things from IDW in 2012. They sold some fake weaponry which looked really cool but I didn’t want to risk taking that on a plane with me. When walking around upstairs I honestly don’t know what to pick up, I tell myself not to go overboard, I never have enough space in my bags but then I don’t reason well with myself and pick up a few things that I end up walking out with a smile, if your wondering what they are its the items in the last picture in this post.


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London Film & Comic Con

I was in London for about 6 days, first day meetings, then Saturday and Sunday off, then nonstop meetings until the hour I leave. As I woke up I got a tweet from my fellow nerd @Qatami that the London Film & Comic Con is going on right now, it was 9:30 am when I got the Tweet. By 9:36 am I showered, changed, and already was in a cab to Olympia halls for an event that I didn’t know was going and was extatic to attend.

As I drove in there was a ridiculously long line, at least 1.5 kilos going around the building at around 10am, I knew it was the right line because half of the people in line were in costume, so I walked all the way back and waited, I thought it was just a ridiculously long line, but turns out it wasn’t open yet to the general public, just the gold ticket holders who bought their tickets earlier. So when they opened the line started flowing and about 20 mins later I was inside, and the first thing in front of me was the beautiful Batmobile from the 1989 Batman with Michael Keaton.

As I started walking I had no plan was so ever and didn’t know anything that was going on, I opened up the map and read Artist’s corner so that’s where I love going, not including the toys. I went with a certain amount of cash which disappeared within three hours and I was planning to spend the whole day there. There was just too much for my nerdery to resist, art work, models, one of pieces, and so much more to see. I was literally overwhelmed, I was smiling so much it gave me headache, I tried walking around in a systematic fashion but sometimes I would lose myself when I see some cool stuff and can’t help but head in that direction.

I picked up as much Transformers, DC Comics, and Marvel Art Work that I could put together from some amazing Artists and some of them are one pieces that I love. I don’t even know where I want to put them, in vault or a vacuum sealed room to just look at them and enjoy them. I really don’t know what to do, and honestly it wasn’t enough time to go and talk to these people. Some of them are really nice guys and very easy to talk to, laid back, and I know half of them by heart and other I recognized from the Marvel, IDW, and DC comics that I read. I think they thought I was nuts but they were really nice about it. I even met some amazing actors who were really really nice and cool to talk to like: Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Andromeda), Holly Marie Combs (Charmed, Pretty Little Liars), Alec Baldwin (Chuck, Serenity, Stargate SG-1, Firefly, & Independence Day), Robert Maschio (Dr Todd from Scrubs (The High Fiving Guy)), and Al Leong (Big Trouble Little China, Die Hard, & Lethal Weapon). Seriously they were all very nice and I chatted with them for a bit, felt a surreal because some of them were in character which was cool.

It was a hell of an event and I could keep on going about how fantastic it is, but every Film & Comic nut has to go once in their life time. This experience has taught me that I have to to go San Diego Comic Con which is taking place right now. There are just some things in life that every man must do, and the San Diego Comic Con is the biggest thing for every nerd, the largest Pop Culture event in the world, so many gathered in one place.


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Automat – Damn Good Burgers

Whenever I am in London I always make a stop in Automat, its one of those places that I am familiar with and always enjoy. They have just been consistent over the years, they never really disappoint, a very simple menu, salads, burgers, and a few pastas and in my case the most important being the Mac & Cheese.

The Mac & Cheese is just a perfect combination and not too heavy, I love taking a bite off the top of the baked crust. With the burger there which is also pretty damn good, I didn’t know what to eat, and I always like to start off with their Chicken Ceaser Salad, it just tastes so good and refreshing. You have to book sometimes to eat there, the place gets packed.

Link: Automat

In & Out Of London

London is one of those places I really enjoy going to, there is always something to do, and this time around I didn’t have enough time at all to do what I want. The weather couldn’t be any better, very cold and sunny the whole time I was there, four days is just not enough to have fun in London and I always want to stay there longer when I get there.

My Usual Simple To Do List:

  • Waterstones Bookstore
  • Phoenix Palace Off Baker Street (Chinese Food)
  • Harrods Pizzeria
  • Movie @ Apollos
  • Movie @ Vue Cinemas West End
  • Bike Store To Check Out Some Gear
  • Harrods
  • Walk In Regent Park
  • Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet is one of my favorite stops in London and I tend to spend hours there roaming about. I literally can’t help but stay there for hours, they have a fantastic comic book and science fiction section in the basement which you can really get lost in. As usual at the end of my trip I ended up eating at the Caviar House, it really hits the spot and for about a decade it was always my last bite to eat while in the airport. For some reason I like taking my time at the airport, gives me time to check out the books in WHSmith.


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