Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet by Armstrong
If you are travelling to the Middle East or any other Muslim country, you might want read some thing about Islam or better yet read some thing about Prophet Muhammed and his life.
In the process you'll learn why Muslim love this guy. You'll also learn quite a bit about history of Arabia and the social seen from which Mohammed have emerged from. I think it is important some times to separate the Man from his religion and I think this what Karen Armstrong did in her book
I read this book by accident and I found it to be very fair and very good starting point. This book contains basic information about Prophet Mohammed's life. Of course the book did not have any thing new for me as a Muslim.
I have provided a link to Amazon where you can buy the book and read further reviews.
Horse and Camel races in Dubai and U.A.E :-)
Dubai Equestrian Centre (04 3361394) is located near the camel race track Nad al-Sheba The centre has 147 horses and extensive facilities, including floodlit arena, riding school arenas and dressage arenas.
Jebel Ali Equestrian Club, Jebel Ali Village (04 8845566) is an approved branch of the British Pony Club and offers lessons for children and adults. Hacking, dressage and jumping are also available.
Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club, Al Dhaid Rd (06 5311155), situated about 17km from the centre of Sharjah on the Sharjah-Dhaid road, keeps 95 horses for riding. Facilities include a floodlit sand arena, a floodlit paddock, grass show jumping arena and hacking trails. Camel Racing
This may be your only opportunity to view a unique sport which is an integral part of the heritage of the UAE. Camel racing takes place during the winter season (Thursdays and Friday mornings, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., from October to March) at special tracks around the country. The atmosphere is electric, especially during public holidays when major races for considerable prize money are held. There is no admission fee.
Al Wathba Racetrack is about 45km east of Abu Dhabi. Al Ain Racetrack is situated approximately 25km from Al Ain on the Abu Dhabi road. Nad al-Sheba camel track, which has an impressive grandstand in the shape of a billowing bedouin tent, is located on the outskirts of Dubai city behind the Metropolitan Hotel. Sharjah, Ajman, Ra’s al-Khaimah and Fujairah also host camel racing but the camel racetrack, located between Falaj al-Mualla and Umm al-Qaiwain city, is one of the more simple and attractive of UAE racetracks.
Check with your tour operator or local newspapers for exact dates and times of events.
In the souq there are several places selling abayas - abayas are very light and airy, and have two added bonuses:
1- you don't have to worry about what you will wear (and if it modest enough)
2- because of the heascarf your hair need not be perfectly brushed and styled
If you can find a place with hand-sewn abayas, go for it and buy one or two. They have abayas with different "decorations" - and in different sizes and lenghts... even then the hosrtest was too long for me. Being in a taylor's shop, it took him two minutes to shorten it even further. Abayas - black robes with headcarf. Some come with colourful decorations, others with embroideries, others again are plain black. I paid about 10 dollars for mine.
Bahri bar is a great bar located at Mina Al Salam perfect for after brunch drinks. The inside is fairly tight when it gets busy but the large balcony is ideal for sitting and having a relaxing drink with friends with an amazing view thrown in.
The only problem I found with Bahri Bar is that there were only 2 people working behind the bar and you could wait up to 20 minutes before being served. Also, although the drinks menu is huge, prices are extremely steep and it's not a place to drink away the night unless you've got a penny or two.
Navigating Dubai and the Emirates
Geographical references within Dubai and/or the UAE can be a bit confusing to the newcomer principally because the names of the main towns are the same as the names of the seven emirates. Therefore, there is the Emirate of Dubai or Abu Dhabi or Fujeirah, but there are also the cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Fujeirah (There are four more, too; I cite the three only as examples. Some of the Emirates, e.g., Dubai or Ajman are so small that they are really almost the same as the cities. However, if you take Abu Dhabi, you find that the emirate comprises well over half of the entire UAE, while the city of Abu Dhabi itself is quite a bit smaller than Dubai Cityâ€¦.
As for Dubai itself, the Creek is, of course, the single most important landmark in town. As a visitor, what you really need to keep straight are Deira and Bur Dubai. If you look at a map, Deira is above â€“ I say â€œaboveâ€? because the Creek doesnâ€™t run straight east-west â€“ or what seems to be north of the Creek. Bur Dubai is below it.
You can get across three different ways: by using the Al-Garhoud and Al-Maktoum bridges, which are inland in the direction of the airport, the tunnel under the mouth of the Creek, or by taking a water-taxi â€“ a.k.a. an abra â€“ which is generally the fastest.
The oldest sections of town are quite close to the water; indeed, the very oldest sections are around the tight curve of the Creek, which is near its outlet to the Gulf. It is in this area where youâ€™ll find the Heritage Village, Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoumâ€™s house, the Gold Suq and the Old Suq. Itâ€™s also useful to know that Deira is a bit more high-rise than Bur Dubai, though the very tallest buildings in town are on the Bur Dubai side of the Creekâ€¦ I know thatâ€™s confusing, but themâ€™s the breaks in Dubai.
The truly fancy hotels are mostly located west of Dubai City along the beach going in the direction of Abu Dhabi. The Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the Burj Al-Arab are both out there, for example.