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My office decided to organise a go-karting evening for all of us as a "team building exercise". I don't know if we got closer or more competitive as a team, but it sure was a lot of fun!
The Dubai Autodrome is the region's first motorsports facility of this kind.
The complex not only includes an FIA sanctioned 5.39km circuit, but also incorporates a Race & Driving school and a CIK approved Karting track.
It was officially inaugurated in October 2004 when it hosted the final round of the FIA GT Championship
The 1.2km CIK-approved circuit at the Kartdrome features 17 corners plus a small tunnel and bridge. It can be divided into two smaller circuits of 720 metres & 525 metres each. It's equipped with a complete set of floodlight, so it wasn't a problem for us to go in the evening, we finished work.
The karts have a single Honda 4-stroke engine, with 390cc capacity and 13.5 bhp (break horse power) and hydraulic brakes... and a deafening noise to match!
For maintaining the karts and track there are multiple pit areas, and above the pit garage are a timing room and a race control room equipped with CCTV cameras, keeping an eye us whilst we where speeding with shrieking tyres around every corner ;-)
The karts are also equipped with computer chips to time each driver's best laps. To give you an idea: the fastest lap ever recorded on this track is 1 minute 12 seconds.
Considering the fact that this was my first ever karting experience, I'm quite proud of my fastest lap of 1 minute 22 seconds (a few of my colleagues only managed 1 minute 35 seconds and slower...) Maybe all Germans indeed have the "Schuhmacher-gene"? hahaha!
Equipment: You are provided with a racing suit, face mask, gloves and helmet (all available in different sizes). Just make sure to wear soft, comfortable sports/tennis shoes. Otherwise you will not be allowed to drive.
It's great fun, finally something a bit different to do in Dubai, and it really tests your skills, risk tolerance & reflexes. All in all: highly recommendable!
The Kartdrome also have smaller karts for children (ages 7 - 12)
Price per person: AED 100.- for a 15-minute session.
This may sound expensive, but believe me: 15 minutes in one of these karts seems like a iloooong time! But a long and really fun time!
For corporate events, it's also possible to reserve the track privately for your group only. Check with the kartdrome on booking schedules and prices.
Updated Sep 26, 2007
Address: Dubai Autodrome
Phone: 00971-4-367 8700
Dubai's latest and wackiest project opened in November 2005: Ski Dubai at the massive Mall of the Emirates.
Dubai is obviously striving to become the "one-stop-shop" tourist destination of the world: Be it shopping, beaches, luxury items, adventure sports, culture, or even snow... You name it, they've got it.
The gigantic structure is visible from the nearby highway, poking out of the sand like a big white tunnel; strange to think that inside 22,500 square metres are covered with real snow all year round.
Ski Dubai has 5 slopes that vary in difficulty, height & steepness, the longest run being 400 metres with a fall of over 60 metres. (Don't worry about climing up the slope... they didn't forget to install the ski lifts - haha!)
In true Swiss & Austrian style, they've even built a "St Moritz Cottage Cafe" where you can warm up your frozen bones with steaming beverages & snacks. It's a wee bit expensive, but that is to be expected next to such a propaganda-rich project.
Honestly: I believe this is completely unnecessary, ridiculous & a huge burden on the environment, but if you want to experience the "chill of excitement" during your holiday in Dubai this is the place for you.
Equipment: Ski Dubai offers guests the use of winter clothing, ski & snowboard equipment. You do, however, need to bring your own gloves.
Opening Hours: Saturday - Tuesday: 10.00am - 11.00pm.
Last tickets sold at 09.30pm.
Wednesday to Friday: 10.00am - midnight.
Last tickets sold at 10.30pm.
For the price lists on entrance fees, Click Here: http://www.skidxb.com/English/pricing_eng.aspx?mid=1&sid=8
Updated Sep 26, 2007
Address: Ground floor, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai
Phone: 00971-4-409 4000
Medecins Sans Frontieres, the international humanitarian organization, have a chapter based in Dubai as well. Fund-rasing and awareness are the two main objectives of MSF in this region. Towards this end, they organize various activities all through the year.
The best known and loved of these is Swim the Burj, an event where pros and amateurs alike get the chance to splash their way around the Burj. You can swim as an individual, or as part of a corporate team. Everyone pays a fee to take part, and the proceeds are sent on through to MSF's Headquarters in Paris.
It's a great event, highly popular among Dubaiians - so much so that over 100,000 Dhs. was raised at the event this year.
Updated Feb 21, 2005
Here is finally one of Dubai's newest crazy project-ideas, that may actually serve a purpose and won't just look good.
Dubai Sports City (DSC) is the world's first integrated purpose-built sports city.
The development costs are pegged at Dhs7 billion, and will include major sporting facilities and a large residential zone. This was all due for completion by 2007/2008 but has been majorly delayed but the global econimic crisis and the "bubble burst" of the Dubai property sector.
The city will be part of the 5 billion US Dollar "Dubailand" mega project and will cover 4.6 million square metres of desert... I wish they would just STOP with all of these massive projects! But whereever there's money to be made, the UAE will do it...
On the residential side, up to 1,200 family villas are to be built around an 18-hole championship golf course and plots of land will be sold to third party investors for the construction of medium rise buildings... well, that's the plan anyway...
Maybe this will help all the obese Arab youngsters to get off the sofa and on the field! Check this link for the increasing numbers of obese children in the UAE: http://www.writefix.com/writing/cause/obesity.htm
Equipment: On the sporting side, they are planning 4 stadiums: 1 for cricket, an outdoor multi-purpose site for rugby, football and track & field, an indoor multi-purpose stadium and a dedicated hockey centre.
There will also be training facilities and sports schools, including a Manchester United football academy, an ICC Global Cricket Academy and David Lloyd tennis school.
--> UPDATE April 2009: The Dubai Cricket Stadium is now open and operational. In May it has hosted matches between New Zealand and Pakistan. Click here for info: http://www.dubaisportscity.ae/articledisplay.asp?id=18
Updated May 11, 2009
Address: Part of the upcoming "DubaiLand"
Phone: 00971-4-329 3300
OK, so this isn't really a sport, but I didn't want to list this as a general "Thing to do", and for the animals it's a sporty day after all... haha!
Part business - part pleasure for me, the annual (February) Dubai Pet Show remains the dominant annual animal-lovers' event in the UAE. Until 2004, this event was called the "Dubai Dog Show", but has now been expanded to include cats & birds as well.
Last year (2006) saw the 18th year of this fun, educational & charitable event that is visited by approximately 18,000 people every year. IN 2007 THIS EVENT TAKES PLACE ON SATURDAY, 10TH FEBRUARY.
I once entered my dog in the competition (won the blue ribbon for "dog with the waggiest tail") but nowadays I mostly attend the Pet Show to help my friend Hilke with her stand. (She owns a clinic that specialises in alternative & natural medicines for animals, and is one of the event's sponsors)
Numerous UAE residents also take this day as an opportunity to give their dogs some "socialisation skills", as you are usually not allowed to take dogs anywhere with you: no restaurants, no shops, no parks, not even the beaches. To change the hearts & minds of people in this country is not easy, as the dog is regarded "unclean" in Islam. But the Pet Show is the highlight of any animal lover's social calendar & the pooches enjoy themselves, too!
There are plenty of things to do, even if you don't have any pets or don't want to bring your dog along to the competitions. Bouncy castles and rides for children, food stalls, flea markets & handicraft should keep you busy throughout the day.
Competitions continue throughout the day, with the more serious judging of posh pedigree & crossbreed classes, and also fun-competitions like "dog most like owner", "most adorable for no reason", etc. to make any mutt feel like Pooch-Prince of the Day ;-)
The program includes:
> Beautiful & graceful Arabian Saluki lure course
> Agility course & Fly-ball competitions for all participants
> Demonstrations by Abu Dhabi and Dubai Police K9 unit
> Handicraft stalls
> Prizes for Best in Show, Terrier Class, Toy Class (small dog breeds), Puppy Class, Best Pure Breed & Best Mixed Breed.
All proceeds of the day go to K9 Friends http://www.k9friends.com & Feline Friends http://www.felinefriendsuae.com who provide an invaluable service of caring for abandoned & abused dogs and cats.
The picture shows me with a Saluki pup and the director of the UAE Saluki Federation.
Updated Jan 31, 2007
Address: Nad Al Sheba, Dubai - UAE
This is for those of you that are clearly masochistic. Now, I enjoy a bit of swimming, cycling, dancing... but running a marathon? You've got to be kidding! I'll be on the sidelines, observing...
This is an annual sporting event sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, and its popularity has been growing steadily. In 2007 this event took place on Friday, 12th January.
The Marathon usually starts at 07:00am & stretches through the city over a distance of 42 km. It starts by the Dubai World Trade Centre, through Bur Dubai to Al Ittihad Flag (Union House), all along the Jumeirah Beach Road until Burj Al Arab. This is where the runners turn & head back to the finishing line by the Emirates Towers Hotel.
The route is a complete clockwise circuit of the city, encompassing many major landmarks. The southern suburbs section of the course is very flat & fast, with the only change in gradient being when crossing the Dubai Creek. Daytime temperatures in January rarely exceed 20 degrees Celsius, ensuring pleasant conditions for runners and spectators alike.
This is followed by the 10km road race (different route) setting-off 10min later, and the 3km Charity Run at 10:30am where professional runners, joggers, families, children on bicycles or skates can join just for fun & for a good cause. The supported charity is called "Seeing is Believing" and aims to restore the eyesight of people in the developing world. Since the end of 2006 they have raised US$ 1.4 Million.
Equipment: Recommended Viewing Areas for Spectators are:
> Start Line near Dubai World Trade Centre.
> 2nd Exit at Trade Centre Roundabout.
> Left turn onto Jumeirah Beach Road (at Al Ittihad Flag).
> Turn-around at Burj Al Arab Hotel.
> Left-turn onto last stretch (near Zabeel Stables).
> Finish Line behind Emirates Towers Hotel.
If you wish to join, registration usually closes about 2 months (December) before the event. International runners can register online - simply visit the website for details.
The winner in 2007 was from Kenya with a time of 2 hours and 9 min.
As Dubai is the city of prizes, raffles and give-aways he walked away with a brand new car & US$ 30,000... If a runner achieves a new world record he will be paid a whopping 1 Million Dirhams! (272,000 US$)
Updated Jan 31, 2007
What to do when summer arrives, with the mercury topping 50 degrees celsius (122 F), the roads are sizzling, and your wallet won't survive another trip around a shopping mall? It ain't romantic, it ain't exotic, but bowling is fun and gets you off the sofa and you know it :-)
Dubai's first & oldest bowling alley closed its doors in 2006 ("Thunderbowl") and has been sorely missed by many expatriates & locals; the old alley had always been more popular I guess for "nostalgic" reasons. The new centre operates Brunswick lanes in a plush & modern facility.
Some info from their website:
> "8-Ball" Billiards & Snooker Hall.
> Bowling Corner Pro-Shop.
> Video Games Arcade.
> Fast Food Counter.
> The Mugg & Bean Coffee Shop.
We now make a point of going bowling twice to thrice a month, and I'm actually starting to achieve the occasional strike! Whilst I hopped on the spot like a little girl, I heard a Fred Flintstone wanna-be from the neighbouring lane: "All 10 pins! Yabba-dabba-doooo!". There are also families with children enjoying themselves, stuffing their mouths with greasy snack foods & spending more time sliding around in their shoes & falling on their backsides than actually hitting any pins.
Unfortunately, you won't quite find the "authentic bowling-alley-feeling" here: there's no flat beer in plastic cups, as this venue is unlicensed and no alcohol is served. The hall is very clean, and staff are pretty friendly, and there is a small smoking section in the corner.
We had a great time, and this is definitely a good way to waste a few hours in the unbearable summer heat.
Equipment: PRICES (including shoe hire):
15 Dirhams per person per game,
or 95 Dirhams per 1 hour per game (on a weekday), Dhs 110 in the evenings & on the weekends.
(1 US Dollar = 3.67 Dirhams)
Opening Hours: 7 days a week from 10:00am - 11:00pm.
I guess one could argue whether Bowling truly is a "sport"... is Darts a sport? What about Golf? To me that's taking a walk with a purpose... haha! However, "One advantage of bowling over golf is that you never lose a bowling ball." (Quote by anonymous)
Updated May 11, 2009
Address: Dubai Bowling Centre, Al Quoz, Dubai.
Phone: 00971-4-339 1010
I hate bowling! The Big Lebowski's one of my favourite movies though. So some afternoons when nothing much's happening, I'll let myself be dragged along to a round or two. Have to admit, it's pretty good fun seeing grown men and women calculating and conniving their way into decapitating nine pins!
And in Dubai, Thunderbowl's probably a better place to do this than any other. It's easily the largest bowling rink in Dubai, with something like 20 lanes lying side-by-side. If you get sick of all the bowling, there are thankfully a few pool tables upstairs. It's largely frequented by local Arab kids, and you wouldn't want to waste more than an hour in here.
Updated Feb 21, 2005
This is a FUN-TASTIC weekend not to be missed! Even if you're not a rugby fan (like myself) the annual Dubai Rugby Sevens are a fun-filled weekend with a great atmosphere and superb crowds! Come and witness Dubai's expatriate society at its most uninhibited and its best!
"Featuring 16 of the best Sevens nations in the world, the Dubai Rugby Sevens has grown into a magical sporting event that attracts fans from around the globe."
>> Dates: Thursday, 29th Nov. - Saturday, 1st Dec. 2007.
>> Venue: Dubai Rugby Exiles Ground.
>> Entertainment on & off the pitch:
Cheerleaders (yes guys, there will be short skirts) and "ZU2" (U2 tribute band)
>> Tickets: Tickets for the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens usually go on sale 6 – 8 weeks before the event.
TICKETLINE: 800 4669.
INTERNATIONAL TICKETLINE: +971-4-210 8567.
VISIT THEIR WEBSITE FOR ONLINE TICKET PURCHASE & UPDATES!
Equipment: What to bring along: Comfortable shoes, a light jacket (the 2006 tournament was drenched in non-stop rain!) your country's flag and a fun attitude for the day!
Updated Oct 17, 2007
Address: Dubai Rugby Exiles Ground, UAE
Phone: +971-4-321 0008
Upstairs at the Hard Rock Cafe, they've got a pool table in one the smaller rooms. It's a nice place to play a few games, surrounded by some cool rock memorabilia - gold records, posters and framed photographs. You can have the waitress bring over your drinks and eats, as they've thrown in quite a few leather chairs in here as well.
It's 5 Dirhams per game, fed in through the table's slot machine (like with most other pool tables out here). Management really should put in a couple of more tables though, 'cause if there's even a small crowd around, you might end up waiting about half an hour before playing. But the Hard Rock's a great place, and I'd much rather play pool here than anyplace else.
Updated Feb 21, 2005
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