Watch your lenses
You feel good in the air conditioned. But you need to exit and... there's your photo!
Take it easy. The warmth and humidity instantly dims the lenses and disgraces any quick photo, so, each time you face the strong chock of temperature and humidity, you'd better give your camera a time to adapt, or clean the lens. Otherwise you will end, like me, ashamed of your pictures, and the computer will make only half miracle.
Remember - that may happen each time you leave the air-conditioned!
- Arts and Culture
Take seriously, very seriously, all the warnings about dehydration.
I only exposed myself to the sun for the needed seconds to enter the water, and had no problems, but Fernanda likes to stay under the sun, and even bypassing the “killing hours” of the day, she had problems twice.
Even before 10 AM, twice she felt… something she was not able to explain, but that I fought immediately with a big bottle of water, with immediate success.
At the second time she listened to me: since then she followed my precautions and everything ended happily.
The secret for a good vacation is… preparation. Time is always short, the budget, short or large must be controlled, and the location and quality of hotel may make the difference.
I booked my stay in Dubai with the objective to stay first in Deira to visit the city, and afterwards in Jumeirah beach. I booked the Sheraton hotel that, in the net, seemed very good and well priced.
In VT forum I was alerted for Sheraton's location, almost 30 km from town, and that made me change to Dubai Marine, at the other end of Jumeirah beach and close to town.
I visited the Sheraton and confirmed the wisdom of my decision: It is a good hotel (I think) in the middle of a building quarter. With the impossibility to stay long in the beach (the heat…) and with anything else than cranes in its surroundings, I would have spent a lot of time and money in long distance taxis.
VT (Thanks Jess) was precious!
What a waste of time, the red flag in the private beach of Dubai Marine until 7AM!
At 6 AM, both the air and water were under 40º C, the water absolutely quiet, the beach empty, good visibility, and… no swim?
Booking an escorted visit around town may seem a good idea, and, considered the aggressive weather out there... it was. But I must confess some disappointment, when I noticed that half of the announced time of the trip was used... collecting guests from the hotels. That's when we realize that the city is wide, the construction obsessive and the traffic generally jammed.
Of course, we passed in places where we wouldn't go, saw what we wouldn't see, but discovered that a taxi to the souks area would be cheaper and allow more time to what really should be seen.
- Arts and Culture
Dubai metro offense
It is a big offense not either tag in or out of Dubai metros, litter it or seat in the female areas.
if you get caught or found wanting in anyway, you will be made to pay through your noise- i mean u will pay in multiple of like 10 of what the metro will have charged you.
if sleeping is not allowed, so please lets be guided when entering metros. Below link tells you more
Early Closing Time at Bars, Pubs, Clubs, Lounges
Even though Dubai is the Most Liberal City in the Arabian Peninsula (Beirut in Lebanon is the most Liberal City in the Middle East), Please Remember that it is still a conservatic Islamic Society and hence Local Bars, Night Clubs, Lounges, Irish and English Pubs and late night hangouts must be closed by 1:00 am at the latest. So don't be surprised if your server of waiter in the bar will ask you for any last orders at midnight as the local police are strict in Enforcing that the Local Bars must close by 1:00 am or else they would face stiff fines.
An if you are driving a rental car, don't get caught drunk driving as they have a zero tolerance for Driving Under the Influence.
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Dubai Scam Warning!!
Please be aware of the travel scammers in Dubai. Normally their "representatives" are found in / around the shopping malls, sitting in fancy stalls where they will tell if you answer their question, you will win a gift (I was asked to tell the names of 3 Arabian countries ending in "N"), they will even help you answering the question by giving you clear hints!!
Next they will congratulate you on answering the question and winning a "surprise" gift. They will have your contact details written on a piece of paper and will invite you to join their "party" tomorrow where you will receive your "free" gift. There are also their reps in the shopping malls who will collect from you your contact details and will say they will contact you if you win in the "lucky draw" tonight!
And then you will start receiving calls from their company the next day seeking your confirmation to attend.
When you go to their well decorated office the next day, one of their rep will have a meeting with you for at least more than one and a half hours! Doing nothing but wasting your time and forcing you to buy one of their travel packages (staying for 36 nights or so in five star hotels around the world during coming five years on "discounted" rates etc.). You will find it a bit difficult to get rid of them once you join them.
To my understanding, they are fraud. Never ever give them any money, your financial details - simply avoid their reps in the shopping malls etc.
Has anyone else experienced the same??
Let's contribute in sharing information about the scams here.
Be extremely careful going to Dubai. My son has just returned after a nightmare where he went for his dream job as a personal trainer, with Fitness First, expectation of excellent accomadation and job. Well,the dream was the nightmare earning approx £3 and hour 6 day week , Accomadation 3 to a room covered in bed bugs no sanitation for 4 days when the water went off, literally a slum. He became very ill and only got his passport back because he said he needed urgent medical treatment and needed wired money.As a family we pulled together and got him the first flight back-check absolutely everything before you go, I know the temptation is there and they tell you it will be wonderful etc etc ?????
Fast Car Rentals/SCAM
MONEY STEALERS .... If this company has your credit card information, they will take money from your account. You have to sign a form stating that they are authorized to take money owing to them (damages, tickets etc). Legally, anytime they say you owe them money they will access your account without informing you and there is nothing you can do. I've never had a speeding ticket before and I found myself with 7 in a month, at a cost of over 4000 dirhams (fake tickets or tickets other people didn't pay that got past on to me). I found my bank account empty and I had no idea why. My advice is pay a little extra and go with a reputable company like Budget and know your bank account is safe.
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/162ea7/1c579b/8/#ixzz20JuEOau6
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Caution & General dangers at the beach
Whilst swimming at the beaches of Dubai, you usually don't have much to worry about: sharks, poisonous fish, etc. can only really be found on the East Coast of the UAE (Indian Ocean). Do, however, be aware of the strong currents, which cause many people to drown in even the shallowest of waters every year, jelly fish & sea snakes.
Snorkling/Diving is not possible along the Dubai coast, due to little or no plant-life, whirled-up sand & offshore construction.
All hotel beaches & beach parks have lifeguards (they may not be Pamela Anderson, but they do a good job anyway guys!), many equipped with jet skis to reach swimmers in trouble within seconds. If the red flag is up, do not enter the water. This indicates that the waves & currents are too dangerous.
If stung by a jelly fish, rub the area with sand immediately (this acts as a natural "peeling/scrub", popping the tiny poison-blisters created by the sting and getting the painful poison out of your skin.) For larger skin areas/attacks, visit a doctor or pharmacy.
Dubai is home to at least 7 species of sea snakes, abundant in the warm, shallow Arabian Gulf. Some are the Arabian Gulf Sea Snake, Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake, Short Sea Snake & an unidentified species of the genus Hydrophis. They are generally not aggressive, but will attack if provoked. Most bites occur when beachgoers accidentally step on a snake in shallow waters or on beached snakes. But don't worry too much - "encounters of the slithering kind" are pretty rare!
Difficulty Breathing & Swallowing / Aching Muscles or Numbness / Intense Pain / Swelling of the Affected Limb.
Apply ice to the site. Do not try to suck the venom out of the wound! Do not make any cuts. Some types of venom can enter the blood stream through the gums & tongue. Remain as still as possible & limit victims movement. Call for an ambulance immediately.
Be safe & sensible, and the only grim reminder of your day at the beach may be a sunburn.
UPDATE October 2008: Another occasional hazzard at Dubai's beaches is the contamination of the water by untreated sewage (yuck!!) being pumped into the ocean... many beaches have been closed in the past due to this stinky situation. Full Story HERE: http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/10/05/10249875.html.
- Family Travel
- Diving and Snorkeling
Wasta is a word often heard in Dubai in the UAE. It is Arabic and translates as something like authority, influence, political (or other) power, connections, or a combination of those terms. In practical terms it means that some rules can become more flexible if you have wasta, or know someone who has wasta. Also, a bit of wasta can smooth or speed up business transactions, bureaucratic issues, and other official procedures. At its best (or worst, depending on your point of view), a good dose of wasta could keep you out of jail or save you from other unpleasant consequences of dubious activities.
The common English expression "it's not what you know but who you know ... " is a rough equivalent of wasta.
On the wasta scale (not that there is an official one), things that can make a difference in the UAE are your nationality, your profession, who you work for, who you know, your political position in the country, your connections to people in positions of authority. Money and how long you have lived in the UAE don't usually directly affect your wasta level but indirectly they do since longer term residents may have built up a larger network of high-wasta friends, and rich people often associate with other rich people who may be high-wasta individuals.
Many expat residents learn about wasta through a driving experience. In simple terms, the more wasta someone has, the less likely they are to cop a fine and/or be blamed if there's an accident. Wasta can result in some unusual situations for example, green lights were actually red when you went through them because the person who crashed into you had enough wasta to change the color retroactively. Indications of higher levels of wasta on the road are dark tinted or mirror tinted windows (30% maximum is the law so anything more than that means it's likely they have enough wasta to get around this rule), number plates with fewer than 5 digits (but anyone can buy them now if they have enough cash so it's not as good an indication as in the past).
Wasta is something that many expats, especially westerners, find difficult to come to terms with but you'll find it easier to enjoy Dubai if you get used to that rather than try to fight it. And of course it helps if you can elevate your own wasta level somehow.
Wasta and Bribes
Don't confuse wasta with bribery. If you try to bribe a government official, for example a police officer who has just pulled you up for driving though somebody's garden, you should expect to be punished fairly harshly for trying to bribe them. And if the owner of the garden that you drove through has some wasta, then you'll probably be even worse off. In the business world, things may operate a little differently. Just as anywhere else in the world, the negotiation of business transactions and contracts is not always done on a level playing field, and bribes ... er gifts ... might be part of your discussions with interested parties.
Alcohol licences obtaining one
Alcohol Licence - obtaining one and why you should have one
An Alcohol Licence (or License) gives expats in Dubai and the UAE permission to drink alcohol - they need a residence visa before applying for an alcohol license. It is shown at off-licences or liquor stores in Dubai when making purchases. In theory it could be asked for at a bar or club but in practice it almost never is. Apparently the law says that only hotel guests may drink at hotel bars but it's unheard of for that to be enforced.
14 Nov 2006 news. A court case acquitted a resident for drinking in a bar because he did have an alcohol license, although the police arrested him because they claimed the license only allowed residents to drink alcohol at home.
Tourists do not need an alcohol licence since they are not in Dubai on a resident's visa.
Muslims are not permitted to have an alcohol licence (the application form asks what religion the applicant is).
Alcohol licenses are a legal requirement when buying alcohol from bottle shops like MMI, and A&E, and Spinneys in Abu Dhabi. How often it is asked for varies depending on emirate. Almost always in Dubai, sometimes not in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, and rarely, if ever, in Umm Al Quwain and Ajman.
Alcohol purchases can be made without a licence (illegally) at several establishments in Ajman and Umm Al Quwain. Or you can present your license and buy alcohol legally. Where you're likely to get into trouble is if you have an accident between shop and home, and the alcohol is found in your car. Sharjah especially would be more risky as it is a dry emirate. Checkpoints with car searches are a possibility but very rare. If you do have a license then you are permitted to transport alcohol for personal use between shop and home. However, for those living in Dubai, you would be expected to buy alcohol in Dubai.
On 03 July 2006 there was a report in the Gulf News of alcohol purchasers being followed from Ajman into Sharjah by conmen, made to pull over and threatened with being reported to the police unless a ransom was paid. Figures were reported as being 2000 dhs to 10,000 dhs. An Ajman police official apparently told the reporter that non-Muslims were allowed to transport legally purchased alcohol through any emirate to their home. Note that you need to present your alcohol license in these 'hole-in-the-wall' establishments in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, etc to become a legal alcohol purchaser.
The licence shows a monthly limit for purchases which depends on the applicants salary. Usually the limit is somewhere between 500 dhs and 1500 dhs per month.
Tax on Alcohol
There is a 30% tax added to all alcohol purchases made when presenting an alcohol licence (last confirmed June 2006).
Your company obtains one for you. There'll be fees of around 200 dhs per year to pay, and you'll need the usual paperwork (passport with residence visa, photos).
You apply for one yourself. The easiest way to do this is through one of the alcohol shops in Dubai - A & E or MMI. They have the forms and will obtain the license for you (about 200 dhs per year).
KURBAN TOURS-the worst travel agency ever
Hi! Our recommendation is to be very carefull when buying trips with the travel agency. This one, KURBAN TOURS, took our money, but did not paied the hotel, not anything else of what we had booked. We arrived in Dubai at night, without hotel, with all our plans ruined, no New Year's dinner, no view to thw fireworks, anything! And the only thing they done after all that, was to blackmail us by all the possible ways, is order to make us sign a letter as we renounced to our right to complaint against them...Just, please, be very carefull when giving the money to a travel agency, we don't want anybody to live the nightmare we lived in Dubai...
"Highway to the Danger Zone" - UAE Driving
Driving in the UAE is a daily adrenalin-rush: fearing for your life. This is no laughing matter - the UAE has the highest death rate on the roads per capita in the world. On average there is an accident every 2 minutes, and 1 person perishes in a road-related accident every day.
Residents' lives are ruled by the city's roads where huge volumes of traffic & poor driving etiquette can make a 20min journey into a 3 hour grid-lock nightmare.
In 10 years I've managed to "only" be involved in 2 accidents in rush-hour, when both times it was an Arab, and both times they rammed into the back of me...
The ratio of vehicles per person is 5.4 (compared to 2.1 in the UK & 1.3 in the USA) & fatalities per 100,000 vehicles are 10 times higher than in the UK, 6 times higher than in the US & 4 times higher than in Qatar.
Basically, lane-ettiquette doesn't exist: as soon as you indicate to change lanes the person behind you will make sure to close the gap so you cannot "get in his way".
The worst time is on Thursday afternoons & evenings, when many Arab & Expat youngsters fly into Dubai for a weekend of partying, racing their buddies on the way. They zig-zag inbetween cars on the highway at top-speeds. When you see them coming, it's best to just stay in your lane & keep the speed your driving at. Any attempt to get out of their way may prove fatal.
Bad fog & idiotic speeding caused a massive 6-car pile up in March 2008 with over 350 people injured!
And remember: during Ramadan people may get a bit ratty towards the end of the day due low blood sugar level or desparate for a cigarette! I NEVER drive 30min before and 30min after Iftar, because people are in a mad rush to reach home to break their fast. Every year in Ramadhan, the accident rate in Dubai shoots-up by 200%! So it's best to stay off the roads around sun set...
There's the added problem of gardeners/delivery-boys cycling without any lights on the wrong side of the road, and desparate suicidal labourers running onto the highways trying to get killed on purpose (!) so their families in Asia can benefit from the "Blood Money" that has to be paid by the driver.
Add to this many overloaded, speeding trucks loosing everything from cardboard boxes to wooden beams to blown-out truck tires - a true obstacle course!
Check this link for the danger of camel-related accidents: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/16cfbc
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