Monthly Archives: December 2008

Dubai Dotings


Some observations I felt I had to journal as memories and experiences during my recent trip to UAE (DubaiВ and Sharjah):

  1. The capital of UAE is actuallyВ Abu Dhabi, and NOTВ Dubai, althoughВ DubaiВ has over recent times emerged as the more industrious city.
  2. All drivers, especially taxi drivers are F1 drivers in disguise. They will suddenly rev up and accelerate without warning nor reason, take tight corners with one hand and still multi-task by cursing other drivers!
  3. Football commentary in Arabic is really colourful. I had the chance to watch one Champions League match and one BPL match and was pleasantly surprised at the passionate commentary, which was only a notch lower than the South Americans.
  4. Being 4 hours behind Malaysian time meant it was quite ideal to watch football matches on TV here.J
  5. UAE is filled with luxury cars! To illustrate, just imagine a country with the saloon taxis being 2.4 Toyota Camrys and 2.5 Nissan Altimas. Hummers are aplenty here too! I almost choked when I saw the list of car prices there. I could already own a Murano for less than what I paid for my Livina inMalaysia!
  6. Car modifications are not allowed in UAE. With such high specs they get for the price they are paying, I don’t see the need to anyway. So how would they spend the extra cash? Some would use it to buy luxurious number plates, of course. There was this story of a local who spent USD 25 million to get the number plate of his choice!
  7. I just couldn’t help but marvel at the outlandish and amazing construction wonders of the country. Already well known for the 7-star Burj Al-Arab, they recently opened another 7-Star hotel called Atlantis, an underwater hotel…
  8. Recently opened was the Dubai Mall (biggest in the world, complete with a huge undersea aquarium). It will have over 1,200 shops. Our entireВ MidvalleyВ MegamallВ probably covers one level of this huge mall!
  9. Upcoming constructions include the Dubai Tower – tallest tower in the world, The World (island feature of the world), an island within the city. Basically, they have cranes and other construction machinery everywhere! There was a remark that 30% of the world’s construction is found in UAE.
  10. People here are rather laid back and relaxed. It seemed as if they do not need to push themselves to work for a living. Maybe they are all getting paid rather well. Hmmm.
  11. Only about 10% of the population are local. The rest of the country are made up of various nationalities like Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis, Syrians, Jordanians, Chinese, etc. The locals, however, play a strong supporting and sponsoring role in all businesses.
  12. People here can really eat big portions! Even the ladies here have huge appetites! There was an occasion where three Malaysian guys (including myself) were outdone at a buffet spread by a local woman…of course, I observed they often skip their breakfast.
  13. Yemeni mandy rice is just too yummy!
  14. Almost every meal comes with greens as starters to hide the meats, shwarmas, kebabs, etc. as the main course. Popular soup starter is lentil soup (dhal soup)
  15. I had a McArabia!
  16. Hard Rock Dubai does not serve alcohol anymore. It was also very difficult to get there – really situated out of nowhere. No wonder business looked terrible and I think it’s gonna close shop soon. Hope the value of my T-shirt goes up then. Heh.
  17. No tolls on the highways. All cars are equipped with a device that is uploaded with cash. The toll amount is automatically scanned off this device as the car passes thru every toll arc.
  18. You can hardly find any motorcycles on the road. If you do, it would either be a store/shop/pizza delivery guy; or a Harley.
  19. It rained for a few minutes when I was there. Super rare occurrence. Yay!
  20. Traffic jams can be pretty nasty here. Although Sharjah andВ DubaiВ are only about 20km apart geographically, if you leave at the wrong time, you could end up in traffic for 3 hours.

(Originally posted on