Archive for January, 2006

Green, but still a desert (part 2/2)


In 1962, during the times when Abu Dhabi was in process of discovering and developing its oil wells. A man from Pakistan, Abdul Hafiz Khan, arrived in Al Ain, the capital of trucial state of Abu Dhabi, on special invitation by H.E. Shaikh Zayed Al Nahyan (Late).

Mr. Khan is a qualified agriculturist and was holding a masters degree with vast experience in agriculture, horticulture and salt plantation in Indian sub continent. With directives from H.E. Shaikh Zayed, Mr. Khan stared leading the Green Drive, he chalked out plan to make Al Ain city more green and advised to grow plants along road sides and helped in developing modern irrigation system. The very first neem tree planted can still be seen behind the Old Palace in Al Ain (which is turned into a museum these days). After sometime, H.E. Shaikh Zayed decided to make a fishermen island into a city and then the modern city of Abu Dhabi got born. That’s how agricultural revolution started in Abu Dhabi.

In 1971, after deceleration of union of 7 emirates, In patronage of H.E. Shaikh Rashid Al Maktom, Dubai also started taking bold actions in green revolution. Though, it was not an easy task due to scarcity of water and high level of salination in soil.

But after 34 years from the day, UAE came into being, you will find flower beds, green belts and date palms almost alongside every major road in Dubai and UAE. I was stunned to find out that in UAE there are 40 small dams, 6,313 green houses and 22,797 farms. Further, there is 40,500 ha of cultivated land around Liwa Oasis.

You can witness this greenery and farms, if you take road to Manamah from Al Dahid. On the way you may find many vendors selling farm produced fruits & vegitables on road side. The good things about these fruitsis that they are fresh not refrigerated. If you are interested in reading further about the green revolution in UAE, you may find the following links quite helpful.


Where in UAE 1?

A very popular and regular feature at many other metblogs, I thought that we can start the trivia here as well. This would definitely give a good glimpse of UAE to readers around the world. So lets roll it on and see who has the most accurate hits!!:

Ok, a very easy one! Lets see who gets it right. Which building is this and where is it located?


Fake Currency

Ok. This is a really old joke, but it makes you laugh whenever you hear it:

A guy involved in printing 10dirhams fake currency notes prints a 15dirham note by mistake. He decides to go to a small, unnoticeable shop in an isolated suburb to have the note exchanged. He asks the shopkeeper to give him change for 15dirhams and presents the fake note. The shopkeeper goes, “will 2 notes of 7.5dirhams do??” :-D

Going through Gulf News in the morning, I came across this article about a fake Dhs500 note being dispensed from an ATM in Shj.

As per the concerned Bank, the matter is under investigation and might take some time. Being myself in a Bank investigation team, I can imagine that judging the authenticity of the transaction and claim can be challenging.

However, it is a matter of great concern, and everyone from Banks and general public needs to be very viligent about such incidents.


Since the demise of Sheikh Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, the DSF has been cancelled this year. All sponsors to the events have been refunded their contributions. However, sale offers at almost all outlets continue to go on. I happened to visit the City Center yesterday to look for some good offers on digital and video cameras and other electronic items, and the prices were considerably lower, alongwith some very good bundle offers as well.

It was rather dejecting to see the prices of my Harman Kardon-JBL home theater system go down by 300 dirhams, with a promotion of surround speakers’ stands as well. I had bought the system just over a month ago!

For those who plan to shop to fill up their wardrobes, there is a very decent discount on almost every brand.

I think this gives me a good opportunity to renew my wardrobe, which I’ve been planning to do for the past 6 months!

Knowledge afloat

Here’s a cool idea: a floating book fair. It offers Arabic and English books, and the object is to “nurture cultural understanding”.

Now docked at Abu Dhabi Free Port, but open to visitors from all over the UAE. According to the Guinness Book of World Record it’s also the oldest active ocean-going passenger ship

Dubai satellite map

Google Earth has really disappointed anyone wanting to take a look at Dubai in detail. However there is one site which has Dubai satellite imagery in great detail. Check it out!

Deira Taxi Stand to be levelled

The Deira Taxi Station near the Union Square will be demolished in the coming months to make way for a part of the ambitious rail project.

According to sources, the station will be demolished for setting up a power sub-station for one of the two subway metro stations, to be located in a portion of the Union Square Park. The date for the taxi station’s demolition is yet to be finalised.

The taxi station has been in operation for over two decades, and is one of the oldest stations in Dubai according to some officials, started serving the Public Transport Department’s buses — managed until recently by Dubai Municipality (and now is under the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority), in 1999.

AbdulAziz Malik, Director of Transport Department at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (DRTA), said the Deira Taxi Station will be rebuilt in the same area, perhaps not very far from the existing location.

According to Malik, no bus route originates from the station. As such the public transport system in Dubai picks up 6,000 passengers from the station everyday, he added.

Dead whale washed ashore

A 35-foot-long whale was found on the rocks near the breakwaters of Mamzar corniche yesterday afternoon.

When informed of the beached dead whale, Reda Salman, Head of the Environment Protection and Safety Section (EPSS) at Dubai Municipality, said that it would be removed from the beach after details were collected and the cadaver disposed off in a safe way.

The species of the whale is yet to be confirmed by experts at Dubai Municipality’s Environment Department. “We do not know yet what kind of whale it is but we do know it belongs to the region and is an endangered species,” he said.–IF THEY DON’T KNOW THE SPECIES OF THE WHALE, HOW CAN THEY KNOW THAT ITS ENDANGERED??

He said experts are yet to find out the cause of death. “We don’t know how or why it died. The lower jaw is completely missing and the underbelly is also in a bad condition, with organs sticking out. There are many possibilities,” he added.

Cool Cool

Today, I left for work around 0600 Hrs, it was really nice to see less traffic on road. With my car windows down, cool breeze coming in and sipping on hot coffee. It was a nice feeling as it was smoke free air, soon the sun started coming up and I reached office by 0630Hrs.

Frankly speaking, I never experienced a chilly morning in Dubai, it was a pleasant experience and definitely I will do it again till these chilly mornings last.

I will recommend all of you to do the same, If you haven’t done it yet.

Traffic Jams

Getting stuck in traffic jams, every now and then, on the way to office / home, even on the way to some pre-arrangedl appointment, is getting into the daily norms of almost all of Dubaites. Whether it’s the regular traffic jam to / from Jebel Ali to Bur Dubai or to / from Garhoud Bridge till Sharjah City Centre, everywhere you will find a traffic jam, holding the commuters back on their car seats for a long time.

But there are many many drawbacks of these everyday traffic jams in UAE, specially in Dubai. Some of them are;

1. Increased level of stress among drivers, specially taxi and truck drivers, who have to work long hours on the road. This stress level is the one of the causes behind high level of per capita accidents in this city.

2. Economical loss due to excess fuel cost (the cost of fuel is already highest in the region) and delayed deliveries or less number of transport of goods per vehicle per day, which eventually results in higher price to consumers.

3. Air pollution due to carbon monoxide emission.

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