Archive for March, 2007

Red Bull Air Race

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Another Red Bull Air Race is coming to town. The even will be held on 6th April at the Abu Dhabi Corniche

So everyone, mark your calendars and gear up for a thrilling weekend!

Air-con bus stops coming – after summer!

Bad news for bus travellers in Dubai, who were looking forward to the installation of 500 air-conditioned bus stops before the brutal summer heat hits us. It’s reported that they will miss the deadline for installation due to “operational delays” – whatever that means.

This summer, travellers will again have to stand waiting for a bus in temperatures up to 50C (120F) and humidity in the 90% range.

Prototype a/c bus shelter outside Wild Wadi.
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Photo.K N Murali. Emirates Evening Post.
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Shamaal brings sandstorms

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That’s the view of Jumeirah Lake Towers from Dubai Marina when the sandstorm hit us two days ago. Gale-force shamaal winds brought sand in from the desert and cloaked the country in bad visibility and choking dust.
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New Creek bridge opens

I should probably start by explaining that Dubai has a ‘river’ running through the centre of the city.

It’s actually Al Khor, The Creek, because it’s an inlet from the Arabian Gulf rather than a river. It runs naturally for about 10 kilometres and then sinks into the desert, forming a wetlands area that’s a haven for migratory birds, including big flocks of flamingoes, which is quite a sight. (A further 12km man-made extension has been added to give more prime waterfront real estate blocks, and to add eye-pleasing water to a harsh desert environment).

But back to the story…like waterways in many cities around the world, it’s a traffic bottleneck as drivers cram onto the available crossings. Dubai has a tunnel and two bridges, and they’re gridlocked on very many occassions because of the city’s explosive growth.

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Dubai’s bus fleet to double

The explosive growth of Dubai, the huge increase in population & motor vehicles, coupled with the lack of an extensive public transport system, has caused chaos on the roads. Getting around and finding parking space can be a nightmare.

Currently we’re limited to around 600 buses, plus taxis and the little traditional ferries, abras, which take people across the Creek which runs through the centre of the city.

Not much for a city of 1.4 million!

But now US$270 million is being spent on additional buses, including double-deckers and long articulated ‘bendy’ buses.

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Gulf News photo.
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Chaos at Dubai Int’l Airport

Drama at the airport this morning, with a Bangladesh Biman Airbus A310 flight BG006 to Dhaka having ‘an incident’ on the runway at about 6.30am. The airport was closed for about eight hours, flights inbound were diverted and outbound flights were cancelled. A total of 71 flights were affected, so it will take some time to catch up and clear the backlog. The airport re-opened at 2pm local time.

The good news is that there were only fourteen minor injuries and all on board were evacuated safely.

A Gulf News reader sent in this photograph, which shows the aircraft nose-down on the runway after the wheel collapsed.

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Metro on schedule

One of the major problems that Dubai is struggling with is the lack of public transport. That’s partially being addressed by the construction of a rail system, the Metro, which will be part underground and part above ground.

Construction is visibly progressing very quickly and is reported to be well on schedule.

There will be 44 kilometres of elevated track and this shows part of that, alongside the main freeway into the city, Sheikh Zayed Road.

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Dubai’s frantic growth

Dubai Statistics Dept. have published a report that puts figures to the phenomenal growth that we’re experiencing.

In 2006 an additional 292,000 people became residents, making the population 1.422 million. That’s about 800 new residents every day! And we had nearly 6 million tourists in the city too.

Dubai is one vast construction site and the figures confirm the amazing development – in 2006 a total of 2,222 buildings were completed. In 2005 the figure was 2252, so in two years we’ve had nearly four and a half thousand buildings completed!

More on desert fog.

Just a follow-up on my fog post because there was a comment asking whether it was real fog in my photo or whether it was something to do with a sandstorm.

No, it’s real, genuine, wet, cold fog.

The sun burns it off, usually by nine or ten in the morning, and here’s another photo in Dubai Marina as it was being burnt off.

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