Dubai Favorites

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Dubai Creek

    by sue_stone Written Jan 6, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dubai Creek
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    Favorite thing: Dubai has been a trading centre for centuries thanks to Dubai Creek, a natural sea-water inlet which meanders through the centre of the city. To me it doesn't look much like a creek, but more like a river.

    This picturesque waterway offers you a glimpse of the old Dubai. The Creek is lined with bustling wharves where you can watch the loading and unloading of the dhows (traditional boats), which still travel the ancient trade routes to places like India and Eastern Africa.

    The best way to get a feel for the Creek and traditional Dubai life is to get out on the water. Catch one of the public water-taxi type boats called abras, which go from one side to the other, and can be hired for longer trips too.

    Fondest memory: The banks of the Creek are undergoing major redevelopment. On the Deira side you can enjoy a walk on the paved promenade, snooping at the dhows and gaining an insight into the importance of the Creek in the city's history.

    At the inland end of the Creek is a wildlife sanctuary where you can see migrating shore birds, including the beautiful Flamingos which have made the Creek their permanent home. We drove past the sanctuary and I was amazed to see the massive flock of these impressive birds.

    Related to:
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    "Where am I?!"... asking for directions

    by JessH Updated Apr 19, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Confused by Dubai streets...
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    Favorite thing: You'll quickly notice that Dubai has many streets & areas with either no name, or "adopted" names, given by locals & expatriates.

    Most side-streets only have numbers. Because of this, the postal system is run on postboxes at various post offices. No mail, etc. is ever sent directly to a physical address. Everything is sent to P.O. Boxes. (courier services such as DHL, FedEx, etc. do - of course - deilver to your door).

    Then there are the areas & streets that have names, which you will never find in a guide book or street map.
    > For example: "Khalid bin Walid Road" in Bur Dubai is called "Bank Street" & further down changes to "Computer Street"... explanation superfluous in this case.

    > In the same area there's the "Falcon Roundabout". Now this is a tricky one. There used to be a roundabout just before the Shindagha Tunnel with a golden falcon statue in the middle. Nowadays, it's an intersection with no statue but people have kept the old name.

    > Then there's the "Wollongong Beach" or "Kite Surfer's Beach" in Umm Suqeim area. There used to be the Wollongong University located here, nowadays it's an Islamic art centre and the beach is frequented by - you guessed it - kite surfers.

    > And finally, who could forget the hilarious & brand new (2006) "Interchange 4 1/2" on the Sheikh Zayed highway to Abu Dhabi... they're building so fast, there's no space for new names :-)

    > Most of the city is under construction, so numerous "detours" add to the confusion on the roads.

    Fondest memory: Because of all this confusion, when asking for directions most people will not give street names or even proper building names. Directions are given by landmarks & places of interest. For example, in the area of Karama there is a building called "Sana Fashion". It's been there since the 80s and everyone knows it. Same goes for "Fish Roundabout" in Deira, or "Safa Park" in Jumeirah. Or they'll simply mention the nearest shopping mall or hotel.

    --> I use this interactive map of Dubai very often. It's extremely useful, you can zoom in / out and it is updated regularly. http://map.dubaitourism.ae/

    I sometimes wonder whether U2's song "Where the streets have no name" was written about Dubai:

    "We're beaten and blown by the wind,
    Trampled into dust.
    I'll show you a place,
    High on a desert plain,
    Where the streets have no name.
    Where the streets have no name.
    Still building, (yep, there's a lot of construction)
    then burning down love, burning down love.
    And when I go there, I go there with you
    It's all I can do."

    PROBLEMS? Since August 2007 there is a new department within Dubai Police, especially for tourists: Tourists may call on toll-free number 8004438 (24 hours) or e-mail t.s@dubaipolice.gov.ae.

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  • JessH's Profile Photo

    Laws (& Punishment) when Visiting or Relocating

    by JessH Updated Aug 28, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dubai is still one of the safest destinations

    Favorite thing: It is forbidden to import narcotics, pork products & pornographic material. This may even include medical journals/publications, fashion magazines (such as Vogue, etc.) that features pictures of women's busts or wearing lingerie.
    Videos/DVDs are subject to scrutiny and may be censored or confiscated.

    Import of any Israeli products, reading material, etc. is forbidden.
    Visitors that have previously travelled to Israel & have an Israeli visit-visa in their passport will NOT be granted entry to the U.A.E.

    Penalties for drug trafficking, smuggling & possession are severe. Those arrested on suspicion of alcohol or drugs will have to undergo blood and urine tests. The presence of drugs in the system is counted as possession & carries a min. sentence of 4 years. (see my seperate Warnings & Dangers Tip on Drugs...)

    It is a punishable offence to drink or to be drunk in public. Offenders may incur a prison sentence, fine & deportation.
    The UAE also holds an absolute zero tolerance in regards to alcohol & driving - the limit is set at blood alcohol level of 0,000 Promille. Even if you haven't consumed alcohol but are transporting it in your vehicle & cause an accident, you are regarded as DUI & will be punished.

    Job seekers should be aware that they have to undergo a blood test in order to request a visa: those testing HIV positive whilst applying for their residence visa are detained prior to deportation. The blood is also tested for Hepatitis. Your chest is also X-rayed to test for TB. There is no appeal process. Taking a blood test shortly before travelling to the UAE would therefore be advisable.

    Single women are also subjected to a pregnancy test, as it is illegal to have a relationship with a man outside wedlock. If a single woman is found to be pregnant, hefty fines and deportation from the country will follow.

    Fondest memory: "Committing suicide or provoking a person to commit suicide is prohibited & those who attempt to commit suicide but fail will face jail term."

    "Abortion is prohibited. If a woman aborts a foetus, she will face jail. Doctors, surgeons, pharmacists or any other person, who help abort will face severe penalty."

    "Cross-dressing or men wearing women's clothes to enter a *women's only* place can land you behind bars."

    "Gambling is not allowed either in public or in private by law."

    With our world becoming more violent, more politically tense and with fear ruling our everyday-lives, I just wanted to share some information on the safety of Dubai with you.

    Not visiting Dubai because of the events in Iraq, Saudi Arabia & Sharm El Sheikh is too generalising. It's the same as saying: London was attacked, so I will not travel to Amsterdam. There is no reason to stay-away or cancel holidays and business trips.

    "The United Arab Emirates is one of the safest countries in the world even though it is regionally located in the Middle East. Since 1970 it is a neutral country that has no disputes with any nation or country."

    Interesting Article: http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/08/25/10148980.html

    PROBLEMS? Since August 2007 there is a new department within Dubai Police, especially for tourists: Tourists may call on toll-free number 8004438 (24 hours) or e-mail t.s@dubaipolice.gov.ae.

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  • JessH's Profile Photo

    Crime & Safety... the down-side of progress

    by JessH Updated Aug 8, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing:
    Dubai has often been viewed as a safe haven and it's true that many foolishly leave the doors to homes & cars open and can still come back to find them untouched and intact.
    But as the emirate has grown and begun to attract more money and tourists, the place has also become more vulnerable to crime.
    Luckily, most expatriates & tourists have so far been deterred from crime because of Dubai's strict deportation laws.
    You will notice that Dubai Police is constantly patrolling certain areas of the city.

    With the arrival of crowds of tourists, the odd pickpocket can be spotted in busy public areas frequented by visitors that are too busy taking pictures, without noticing a hand in their pocket or bag.

    A disturbing phenomenon is the arrival of "date-rape" drugs in the clubbing-scene. It's advisable for women to not leave any drinks unattended, and to keep a close eye on the cute stranger that just offered to buy you a cocktail...

    Especially in the summer months most expatriates flee from the heat and take-up "shelter" in their home countries in Europe, USA, South Africa, etc.
    It is at this time that thieves come out of the shadows, prying on uninhabited residences: large villas in expensive parts of town (e.g. Jumeirah)) are at highest risk. The danger is amplified by the fact that many residents never got acquainted to their neighbours, and so this incredible story happened a mere 5 houses from my old residence:
    Personal Experience: the family was on vacation, and cunning burglars drove-up in broad daylight with a van painted with the logo of a fake removals/furniture packing company. Neighbours & passers-by simply assumed that another expatriate family was leaving, and nobody even looked twice whilst the thieves emptied out the entire house over a 4 hour period: television sets, sofa, curtains, beds, furniture, painting, clothing... Everything!

    Fondest memory:
    Either way: Dubai is still one of the safest places in the world where we all live a relatively care-free existence, but residents & tourists should not be fooled into a sense of false security - there's always the exception to the rule...

    Dubai Police: 999.
    Ambulance: 997.

    PROBLEMS? Since August 2007 there is a new department within Dubai Police, especially for tourists: Tourists may call on toll-free number 8004438 (24 hours) or e-mail t.s@dubaipolice.gov.ae.

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  • JessH's Profile Photo

    Ramadhan: The Muslim Holy Month

    by JessH Updated Jun 19, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Traditional Arabic coffee
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    Favorite thing: I've noticed that in the Western World, there's a lot of confusion about Islam & its traditions. So I wanted to share my experience, understanding & perception of Ramadhan with you here:

    In 2012, Ramadhan will take place from approx. July 20th until Aug. 18th.

    For over 1 billion Muslims throughout the world, Ramadhan is the 9th lunar month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It was the month in which the 1st verses of the holy Qur'an were revealed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH = Peace be upon Him). It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God and self-control:
    -- Restraining the stomach from food & drink & the "private parts" from temptation.
    -- Restraining other body parts: the tongue must avoid bad-mouthing, insult & lies; the eyes should avoid looking into things considered as unlawful or haram; the ears must stop from listening to conversation or songs that spoil the spirit of fasting.
    -- Restraining heart & mind from indulging themselves in things other than Allah.

    There are also clear rules about who is exempt from fasting:
    > Children (before reaching puberty) & Pregnant & nursing women
    > Women having their menstrual period
    > Travelling people
    > People performing hard, physical labour (especially outdoors)
    > Sick people (diabetics, flu, etc.)
    > Elderly people
    > People on medication or who have a disability (physical or mental)

    Muslims who were unable to fast may redeem their fast after Ramadhan has finished.

    IFTAAR is to "break the fast" = breakfast.
    This is done when the sunset prayer "maghreb" is heard. After breaking the fast (recommended are fresh dates & water or camel milk or Laban (drink yoghurt), they perform "vudoo" (=ritual washing before prayer), then pray and may then eat & drink a full meal.

    Before the sunrise prayer "sohur", Muslims rise early from their beds to have a hearty meal before the day of fast begins.

    Fondest memory: You will notice that many gather in typical Ramadhan tents, either as part of hotel restaurants, or in a tent in front of their residence. They sit together for many hours, spend time with the family & discuss matters of life.

    The sighting of the new moon at the end of Ramadhan proclaims the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. (2-3 days public holiday).
    Gifts are exchanged, especially for children (new clothes, school items, etc.) This is also the time that Muslim women usually visit beauty salons to have their hands & feet painted with "Hennah". Sometimes I go together with my mother (she is Muslim).

    TIP: To wish someone a happy Ramadhan, say Ramadhan Kareem.
    The greeting during Eid is: Eid Mubarak.

    And remember: during Ramadan people may get a bit ratty towards the end of the day due low blood sugar level or feeling desperate for a cigarette!

    Expatriates & visitors alike also enjoy traditional Ramadhan evenings, sitting on large pillow, gathering for "Sheesha" & Arabic specialities (hommous, falafel, etc).

    CHECK HERE for a list of Arabic dishes:
    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/1411c2/

    CHECK HERE for information on Sheesha:
    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/13efb3/

    TIP: If you wish to see the traditional, quiet side of Dubai - as well as the hectic shopping malls, street scenes & nightlife, why not arrive during the last few days before the beginning or the end of Ramadhan?
    You can then experience both "sides/faces" of the city.

    CHECK HERE for facts about nightlife & other restrictions during Ramadhan:
    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/130464/

    News Article: RAMADHAN EXPLAINED http://www.timeoutdubai.com/dubai/features/review.php?id=1632

    Related to:
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    Get connected! - mobile phone service for visitors

    by JessH Updated Apr 19, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Stay connected: mobile phones in Dubai
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    Favorite thing: In today's hi-tech society, we're all connected - with wires, wireless, high speed, digital, etc.
    So if you want to be reachable while on holiday in Dubai, or especially if you're here on business, here's some info on how to "get connected":

    The 2 telephone providers in the UAE are called ETISALAT and DU.
    They both provide a pre-paid / pay-as-you-go mobile phone service.

    You just have to visit any Etisalat or DU office with your passport (they need a passport copy & a copy of the page with your UAE visit visa) and the fee is about Dhs 100.- You then immediately get your sim card, can activate it and start making & receiving calls.

    Phone cards to re-charge the mobile are avaible at petrol stations & supermarkets throughout Dubai (e.g. card for Dhs 30.-) You can also re-charge your card by paying cash into Etisalat's public payment machines, that are situated in most major shopping malls (1 US Dollar = 3.67 Dirhams).

    Wasel Prepaid GSM Service: an initial subscription charge, inclusive of connection charges, 1 year rental & the cost of the WASEL GSM Card enables subscribers to receive incoming calls on their mobile phones during the one year validity period. An initial credit of Dhs 10.- is provided to enable outgoing calls.

    Fondest memory: The WASEL system (pre-paid by ETISALAT) even gives you international roaming! So you can use it also after leaving the UAE (if you charge it up beforehand). The card has to be renewed every year, if you want to continue using the number.
    Another advantage is that WASEL customers can dial emergency numbers 998, 999 and 997 free of charge.

    MORE INFO ON THE CARD:
    http://www.etisalat.co.ae (then click "Travellers", then "Visitors")

    CLICK HERE for more info on the Pay-as-you-go Service by DU.


    You can also apply for your "Ahlan" Prepaid Mobile Package at Etisalat Kiosks at Dubai Airport, and also in Dubai Duty Free. "Ahlan" only costs 90 Dhs (US$25.00) & is valid for 3 months.

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    Dubai - Life in a protective (restrictive?) Bubble

    by JessH Updated Apr 19, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    'Sophisticated Racism' is common in Dubai

    Favorite thing: After having lived in Dubai since 1998 & having friends that have lived here twice as long, I have realised that life here really is a "protected bubble", with its censored media & society's own unspoken rules, and why the first thing everyone asks is: "Where are you from?"

    1. Unspoken law:
    The law seems to be literally "black & white" and will often be quite lenient with UAE Nationals (=Emirati =Local) in comparison to the punishment that expatriates would face. Example: speeding, reckless driving, parking tickets, bar-brauls, etc. This is slowly improving, but one can notice that Emiratis receive preferential treatment by the authorities.
    And note this: a women, if harassed can defend herself - even physically. The boyfriend/husband however, better keep his hands in his pockets.
    Generally, the hundreds of nationalities living together in Dubai reside in a relatively peaceful & accepting existence; just make sure you know the rules...

    2. Unspoken law: (for women)
    If a man approaches you & the interest/feeling is NOT mutual, telling him you are married will usually have little effect... many Arab/Muslim men seem to think that because Westerners are "allowed" to have sex before marriage & because women are allowed to go out alone, we don't really care about marriage & will cheat whatever chance we get.
    So Ladies, be painfully direct and say: "I am not interested in you. I don't like you. Leave me alone".

    3. The boys in green:
    Dubai Police seem to implement the country's laws in accordance with their mood. If they are grumpy just shut up & don't argue. Also, it's a problem that many officers do not speak sufficient English. It always helps to know some Arabic or have a friend who does. (Strangely enough: if you speak Arabic they immedidately lighten-up and sometimes even let you off...)

    4. Unspoken law:
    In the public, women do receive a huge amount of respect in the Middle East. You may notice this when queueing and being asked to step before all the men waiting...

    Fondest memory: 5. City of Eternal Youth:
    One of the rarest sights is old people. It is as if they barely exist. Old grannies & grandads - they are not part of this surreal, youth-obsessed world.
    Elderly expats don't exist here because work visas expire at age 60 (bar a few rare exceptions). The only senior citizens one ever sees are elderly parents visiting their expat-children. It can be quite startling to see a couple of silver-haired seniors after months of seeing nobody past middle age... Elderly Locals are just as rare. There are some older emirati ladies around the shopping malls, but they tend to wear the traditional "bronze-effect" face mask, so who can tell if they're fifty or ninety? As for old Emirati men - perhaps they prefer the quiet & privacy of their villas, away from the alien, modern world that has invaded theirs.

    6. "Sophisticated Racism"
    Dubai society can be described as "sophisticated racism": Western expatriates are respected less (& paid less!) than Locals, but are generally treated better (& paid more) than Asian expatriates (Philipinos, Indians, Pakistanis). Brits (well, the English) are nowadays being regarded as "snobby" by many Locals - after all: they colonised this country once...
    If you are Scottish, Irish, German or Swiss, Arabs usually loooove you! Many Arabs holiday in Germany/Switzerland or send their children there for school.

    7. Seeing & being Seen:
    Dubai is the Los Angeles of the Gulf with its share of "trend setters". For them it's all about being seen in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.
    "Coffee culture": People always meet in cafes, and the city get's very crowded during lunch-hours & Fridays. Dubai has many nice cafes, especially in Jumeirah along the Beach Road.

    Sorry if you think that this tip isn't "politically correct"...
    reality rarely is.
    Superb Dubai Blog: http://dubaithoughts.blogspot.com/

    Related to:
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    "Hear no evil, see no evil": UAE Media Censorship

    by JessH Updated May 14, 2007

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    I wish I had THIS book! Impossible to find?
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    Favorite thing: According to rumours, the UAE's press is swiftly becoming a bastion of free speech. Why then, is the UAE still ranked below Yemen on the Press Freedom Index?

    Much has improved in the past 2 decades, but the UAE still ranks an astonishingly dismal 137th in the world on respected free-speech organisation Reporters Sans Frontiers' Press Freedom Index, sitting below such "havens of tolerance" as Yemen, Sudan & Egypt.

    At the turn of the millennium, openly recommending anything other than a "hops-based beverage" or "bottle of grape beverage" brought unwanted attention from authorities.

    In an online survey in 2005, over 80% of residents agreed:
    Dubai's heavy censorship is a real cause for concern.

    "The problem is restriction of access" a journalist explains. "There was a big accident at the dry docks and they didn't allow us in. We reported their statement but added our eyewitness saying how many people were in the body bags. We counted 3 times the bodies acknowledged by the government!"

    Dubai's press still faces a subtle pressure to avoid highlighting the uglier side of life in the city. Journalists here are always afraid of writing something will get them in trouble, so they start ignoring facts because they're worried about upsetting someone high up, be it in the Information Ministry or a business tycoon.

    UAE LAW Article 70:
    "No criticism shall be made against the Head of State or Rulers of the Emirates."

    UAE LAW Article 84:
    "It is prohibited to malign a public official, or anybody occupying a post in the public prosecution, or assigned to perform a public job. The writer shall not be held responsible if he proves he did so in good faith."

    BANNED BOOKS: One of the most notorious & desirable forbidden reads is Robin Moore's 1977 blockbuster "Dubai": "Dubai. The hot spot... Where adventurers play the world's most dangerous games; Gold, sex, oil... and war."

    Fondest memory: Sadly "Dubai" has been out of print for decades. The rumour is that Sheikh Rashid was so appalled by its contents, and the accuracy of its portrayal of the Creek, gold smuggling, tribal politics and so on, that he bought the rights to it to prevent further publication.

    After talking to editors & journalists it becomes clear that this view is driven by 2 main factors. 90% of media staff in the UAE are non-local & therefore need a visa to work - many professionals are cowed by the prospect of deportation...
    Secondly, journalists walk a tightrope, both culturally & legally, of not really knowing what they can get away with.

    Journalists shy away from the region's bigger stories that are always being ignored.
    > Prostitution is happening everywhere, even in Saudi Arabia.
    > What about human trafficking of house maids & construction workers?
    > What about money laundering?
    > And the real estate boom? Who's buying these villas, sometimes 50 at once?

    Also, this is an Islamic country, which has endemic prostitution.
    Sensitive things such as religion, prostitution, corruption & anything on the Royal family are not touched by the media.

    The fact remains that the UAE is a largely appointed society dominated by tribes and powerful families; perhaps it's understandable that, in the medium term at least, it's who you know and not what you have to say which influences the stories making it onto the newsstands.

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    Working in Dubai Part I

    by Rinjani Written Feb 28, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    People

    Favorite thing: Due to rapid development, Dubai has attract many job seekers from different nationalities. Popular fields are among other Accountancy, Information Technology, Interior Design, Real Estate, Hospitality, etc.

    If you asked me, is it difficult to find a job in Dubai?? Well, I can say that as many other places in the world, hunting and finding a job is different experience from one to another person. Some say will find it easy, while some don’t.

    Looking to job advertisement in local news paper in Dubai, I notice that some advertisements are not hesitant to mention preferable citizenships. For example wanted US/UK educated, or Indian/Arabic preferred. Some advertisements mention preferable visa status, for example : Husband or Father visa preferred. It means that the advertised company will not give sponsorship for the employee and prefer to hire candidate on husband or father visa.

    To work in UAE, you are legally required to have a valid labour card. This can only be applied once you have residency. Employment/Residence visa provided by a company unless if you are under husband/father sponsorship. A person who wishes to find a job in UAE under visit visa (valid until 60 days with an extension for 30 day and required extension fee) should change to employment visa once they found a job.

    If you wish to find a job in UAE, it will be wise to read rules and regulations applied. For example, there is a regulation that impose a six-month ban for employee who resign from the company before certain period of time, or there are regulation to govern changing a job, visa transfer, minimum income for sponsor family, etc. You just need to know these regulations.

    For further info :

    http://www.gulfnews.com/UAEinfo/default.asp
    http://www.dnrd.gov.ae/dnrd/default.htm

    http://www.dubai.ae

    Hope it’s help.

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    "Tough in the Gulf" - storms and flooding!

    by JessH Updated Apr 19, 2009

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    Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan (Hail storm March 2009)
    4 more images

    Favorite thing: The weather in the UAE isn't as visibly seasonal as in most other countries: no autumn colours, no spring flowers, etc. Usual it’s either hot, less hot, humid, or windy.

    The UAE sometimes experiences some pretty extreme weather conditions that bring a new sense to the saying: It doesn't merely rain, it pours!

    RAIN is very rare and always welcomed by UAE residents with great joy, with even adults running outside to stand in the rain & children cheerfully playing in puddles! From my experience, the highest likelyhood of rain is between the months of December - March. Due to the fact that the road sewage/drain system gets clogged with sand throughout the summer months, the water cannot go anywhere - leading to some quite severe localised FLOODING in the cities! (see photo)

    Most extreme weather can usually be witnessed just before the major climate changes, i.e. just before or after summer. Prevailing northwesterly winds, known by their Arabic name Shammal (meaning "north") are the main cause of moderate to severe sandstorms, whipping sand up in the desert & lashing it across the country.

    SANDSTORMS lend an eerie feeling to the day.
    It almost seems like once in a while, the desert attempts to reclaim its territory and to bury the artificial glitter & glamour built by man. Exercise caution whilst driving during poor visibility, as well as mini-dunes building up on the highways.

    THICK FOG is also a major disturbance in many parts of the country, due to previous rainfalls or sudden high humidity. It's quite common in September & October, and flights have had to be redirected or delayed because of heavy fog in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or the Northern Emirates.

    We even had SNOW in early 2009 in Ras Al Khaimah, and HAIL STONES in Dubai and some other emirates! http://archive.gulfnews.com/gngalleries/galleries/10278675.html

    Fondest memory: Below, I have listed some newspaper articles about past weather disturbances that made it into the UAE's headlines:

    More rain, thunder storms & gale-force winds & even hail (!) batter the UAE:
    Gulf News - March 2009:
    "Dubai's freakish weather continues, with Met office warnings for residents to stay away from the ocean and also the wadis in the mountains."

    Rain storms lash Dubai; low visibility, lightning and fog:
    Gulf News - March 2009:
    --> Here you can see pictures and even video footage of Dubai's freakish weather in the spring of 2009.

    Agony continues as relentless rain floods the roads:
    Gulf News - 15th January 2008
    Dubai/Sharjah: Motorists had another agonising day on the roads as heavy rains flooded most of the busy streets while some areas became "lakes" trapping drivers who drove through. Most arterial roads were clogged with vehicles, which moved bumper to bumper.


    Health Warning:
    Doctors strongly advise people with respiratory conditions to stay indoors during sandstorms and to take extra care if they do have to venture outside.
    Dr Abdul Rehman Shihabi (Vetrauensarzt des Deutschen Generalkonsulats) said asthmatics were at risk of suffering attacks during sandstorms.
    People with allergies to dust or elderly residents with chronic lung conditions should also try to avoid sandstorms, Shihabi said.

    Related to:
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    Camels - The Ships (& Milk!) of the Desert

    by JessH Updated Apr 19, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Label from UAE Camel milk
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    Favorite thing: In the UAE, you will actually never find a Camel... shocked?
    What I mean to say is: they are actually Dromedaries: Dromedaries have 1 hump. Camels have 2 humps. We only say "camel" because it's shorter & easier...

    Vital statistics:
    I have a single hump, which is a flesh mound not supported by bones. Everyone thinks I store water, but I actually store fat.

    Body length: 10 feet/3 m. Shoulder height: 6-7 feet/2 m. I weigh 1,000-1,500 pounds (450-680 kg)

    I have long legs ending in 2 toes beneath which is a broad, callous & elastic pad, making it easy for me to navigate in deep sand.

    My lips are thickened to withstand the coarsest of desert plants. My diet in captivity includes hay & grains. Race camels are fed dates, alpha alpha sprouts, fresh greens, barley & their diet is supplemented with vitamin & mineral supplements.

    My eyes are heavily lashed for protection in sand storms & a 3rd eyelid acts as a windshield wiper, moving from side to side. A broad ridge of bone above my eyes serves as a sun visor.

    My nostrils are slit-like & can close to keep the sand from getting in.

    My coloration is fawn or beige & matches the environment.
    I have calluses on my knees & chest for sitting down on the hot sand.

    I can tolerate a rise in body temperature of 12 degrees! I am even able to drink salt water if I have too! Most animals perish when 20% of their body weight is lost, but I can survive a 40% loss of body weight.

    I can drink between 60-100 litres of water in a space of 15 minutes. On average I need only to be watered every 3-4 days. With this system, I can live up to 3 weeks without water, whilst loosing 33% of my weight.
    Under the same severe circumstances, a human being would loose 8% of his weight, but die within 36 hours...

    I run like a giraffe with both legs on one side of the body moving simultaneously.
    The resulting rocking, shuffling gait gave rise to the term *Ship of the Desert*.

    Fondest memory: Arabs have always utilized almost every portion of the camel's body to keep them alive in the harsh desert environment: Tents are made of camel-hair cloth. The meat is said to be low in cholesterol & fat. Skin makes good leather. Dried bones are substituted for ivory. Dung is burned as fuel for the desert campfires. Camel milk is nutritious and low in lactose.

    TIP: "Camelicious": Since 2004 we are actually able to purchase fresh Camel milk in local supermarkets. It has an extremely white colour and a slightly sweet taste. I like using it over cereal, and we also use camel milk to give to kittens/puppies, as it is lactose-free! Other selling points are:
    It has less that 1/2 the fat of cow's milk.
    Rich in Calcium and Vitamin C.
    Perfect for people with lactose intolerance!
    So go on and have a taste!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Desert

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    Mix Races and Nationalities

    by Rinjani Written Feb 13, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We are the World

    Favorite thing: The most interesting part of Dubai is you can meet people from all over the world. There are around more than 170 nationalities living and working in Dubai.

    You can find many different cultures, languages, customs and food.

    Fondest memory: It's always invite curiosity to hear people talking in their native languages . (Sometimes, you can hear also dozens of swearing in different languages)
    And among friends, we like to play 'guess-where he/she- is-from' game. And the answer can be surprising.

    If you ask poltely, the opening question can lead you to a new friend. It's fun!! Because, even we are different, there is always universal language that most common, such as smile, polite and friendly.

    Related to:
    • Work Abroad
    • Backpacking
    • Business Travel

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    Living Cost in Dubai

    by Rinjani Written Feb 28, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Land of Opportunity (?)

    Favorite thing: Living cost in Dubai is not that cheap. With so many shopping festivals, discounts and many places to go out will need a mammoth effort to save money in Dubai.
    It seems many Dubai people trap into motto “earn hard and spend harder”. Dubai is not a very good place to save money or think about retirement plan.
    Well again, lifestyle is individual’s choice (hopefully many choose a wise way : ))

    Meal.
    Simple meals like Paratha, Shwarma or sandwich cost around AED 2 to 10. In some cafeteria where you can have a package sandwich, french fries and pickle will cost you AED 15. Fast food families offer package meal start from AED 8 (quite big portion, satisfying and don’t ask whether it’s a healthy choice or not). Mineral water, coffee, tea and soft drink can cost around AED 1 to 3 (Warning : not a coffee from fancy coffee shop chains) With AED 30 per person, you can enjoy a nice meal in restaurant.

    Telephone, Water and Electricity
    Water and electricity will depend on the use. Free of charge for a local telephone (If you call local number from the local telephone) Telephone card is AED 30. Also voucher for pre-paid telephone card costs AED 30. Mobile number can be obtained by register to Etisalat or you can buy a used number from colleague or friends.

    www.etisalat.ae

    Transportation

    It depends. If you travel by bus it will be cheap way to travel. You can save money a lot, but you can’t save time. Some bus destination takes quite a while to wait, just be patient and don’t easily to give up. Bus fare costs you AED 1.50 – 2.50. You can also buy subscriber card. It’s cheaper and faster.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Work Abroad
    • Study Abroad

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    Working in Dubai Part II

    by Rinjani Updated Feb 28, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dubai is still favorit place to look for a job

    Favorite thing: The next most popular question is about salary matter. Well, we all know that salary will be depend on qualification, experience, education, skill, etc, etc. And sometimes it also depends on profession. I just can give a very rough illustration (My dear Dubai fellow, feel free to correct me if I am wrong)

    For example, a labour work and maid salary range is from AED 800 – 1,500. For labour work, usually company provides accommodation and meals. Secretarial and administrative range is AED 1,500 – 8,000 (again, this is also depend on qualification. Arabic speaker or those who can speak Arabic or multilingual will be paid higher), Information Technology range is from AED 2,000 >15,000. Accountant starts from AED 2,500 above. There are many professions that I’m not familiar about the salary bracket.

    Some companies are quite generous. They provide housing allowance (it would be great since housing in Dubai is costly), transportation allowance, medical and annual ticket to go back to home country. While there are also many companies apply “Less is the best” package. In this case, you need to be careful, since cost of living in Dubai is not that cheap.

    Recruitment Agency :

    www.clarendonparker.com

    www.kershawleonard.net

    www.talentdubai.com

    www.nadia-me.com

    www.bacme.com

    www.bayt.com

    www.strategiy.com

    www.jobs-me.com

    www.sosrecruitment.net

    www.indigo.ae

    www.mosaicsearch.com

    www.charterhouseme.ae

    www.IQselection.com

    www.jobtrackme.com

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Work Abroad
    • Business Travel

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    Housing and Accommodation

    by Rinjani Written Feb 28, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Accommodation in Dubai is costly

    Favorite thing: With a rapid development in Dubai, housing becomes quite popular issue these days.
    Whether you are looking for room, flat, apartment or villa, it’s not just about the high price, but also availability.

    Middle to lower budget will find it’s quite difficult to find a decent place to stay with the tight budget. The alternative way is to sharing accommodation.
    The accommodation hunting also depends on the location.

    Again, a rough illustration. Room only in Jumeirah costs around AED 2,000 to 6,000. per month plus water and electricity. Usually, a villa in Jumeirah has two to four bed rooms, available for rent. While one bed room apartment in Jumeirah starts with AED 75,000 per year. Villa with three bed room starts from AED 100,000 per year.

    Satwa, Karama and Bur Dubai are favourite locations for new comer in Dubai. But the issue is to get accommodation in these areas are also not easy. Sharing accommodation in apartment per room starts from AED 1,250 above. Two bed room apartments starts from AED 30,000 per year.

    Accommodation in Deira is little bit cheaper than aforementioned areas. (Room starts from AED 800 above) But many buildings are quite old and also the availability is pretty rare.

    Another option is bed space. But for this kind of option, you must have first class of tolerance and patience to other people, since there will be at least 5 people in one room.

    Some new apartment and housing area such as The Greens, The Meadows, Emirates Hills, Marina are quite fancy, since there is an option to own property in Dubai. But to rent apartment or villa in these areas are quite expensive.
    (check www.emaar.com)

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Business Travel
    • Work Abroad

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