Archive for November, 2007

A beautiful time of year

This is a good time to be in Dubai and for me not just because the weather is so pleasant now. Daytime around 30C, night around 20C and low humidity.

For me it’s a visual thing too.

My favourite colours are the orange/yellow/gold palette and at this time of year Dubai is full of those colours. The street landscaping, especially in areas of ‘New Dubai’, is full of marigolds and zineas. The landscaping method is to have large beds of the same colour flower so that there is, for example, a mass of gold, a mass of yellow, a mass of red.

It really is very effective, and very pleasant on the eye as you move around.

Some examples:

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Drug law reality

A follow-on to my posting last week about the severity of Dubai’s drug laws, which visitors often seem not to take seriously.

A Canadian brought in a tiny amount of marijuana, 0.66 grams for personal use.

He fired his layer, pleaded guilty and asked the court for a ‘fast verdict’, saying he would pay a fine and leave.

He has been sentenced to four years in jail followed by deportation.

Dubai’s tallest palm tree

Just outside Wild Wadi is what has to be the tallest palm tree in Dubai. It’s many times taller than the thousands of date palms used in roadside landscaping.

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It is, of course, a fake. It’s actually a mobile phone tower.

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But it sure looks better than just a usual industrial-looking tower, especially in this location outside Wild Wadi, Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Madinat Jumeirah.

Dubai’s drug laws.

There was a report in Gulf News the other day that deserves wider international coverage. I wonder whether it was picked up by media overseas, because it really is important that people visiting Dubai understand the laws.

The report was regarding the laws in relation to drugs and began:
“Passengers who get caught carrying tiny amounts of drugs in Dubai face between four to fifteen years in jail and cannot escape with a fine as some of them assume, cautioned a judge.”

The judge made the comments after a case in which a Canadian was charged with possessing 0.66 grams of marijuana for personal use.

The suspect pleaded guilty and asked presiding judge Fahmi Mounir to give him a speedy judgement so he could pay a fine.

He said he needed a “fast judgement” and would pay a fine and then leave.
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The changing gold souk

Dubai’s famous gold souk has gone through a major change in recent years. Not just in the fact that it’s been renovated and upgraded, but in the type of jewellery on display.

There are about 130 shops side-by-side, displaying gold and precious stones worth tens of millions of dollars.

But it’s changed dramatically from when I remember it in the seventies, before Dubai embraced tourism.

Then the shops all sold jewellery for the local market, and it was predominently gold in traditional Arabic and Indian designs.

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Now with the influx of millions of tourists a year more than half the shops are selling what I think of as ‘European’ jewellery. The same as you see in European, or American, or Australian cities. So the gold souk, for me, has lost its magic.

But…
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Dubai Air Show……..at its best ever!

The 10th Dubai Air show is in full swing at the Dubai Airport Expo center, running between 11th and 15th Nov.

The show boasts the very best of exhibitors from around the world, including the grand Airbus A380. It is reported that a sheik of Saudia Arabia has ordered the 1st VIP A380 during his visit to the show.

head over to http://www.dubaiairshow.org/ for more info

Metro well advanced

Dubai’s new Metro train system is well on target according to the RTA’s Rail Agency and that seems to be true with what’s visible.

The overland stretch along Sheikh Zayed Road out to the Abu Dhabi border is really starting to take shape now, with several huge machines putting the concrete base for the tracks in place.

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The Metro going over a road bridge at Mall of the Emirates.

More than 40% of the Red Line is complete and the trains, which are being manufactured in Japan, are due for delivery starting in March. The Red Line is still on schedule to begin operating on September 9 2009.

The frustrated drivers in Dubai can’t wait! We’re hoping it will relieve some of the terrible traffic jams.

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