Except at dawnOr dead of nightTake Maktoum southAnd you’ll be right
One of Dubai’s best traffic mantras failed utterly today. Despite the side entry to Maktoum bridge being inexplicably closed, an endless metallic gridlock-snake slithered southwards across it. Stranger still: Garhoud bridge, despite bearing the extra weight of the diverted traffic, was a 120kmph open race track.
It was slight compensation for the forty minutes spent travelling the length of the J W Marriott on Abu Baker Siddique street. This works out to a dazzling 0.15kmph, compared to average walking speed, which is around 5kmph.
In Dubai, cars travel 33 times more slowly than human beings. The gridlock has won, and we are all doomed.
At the Global Village
Busting Bus Myths
One of my favorite lunch destinations is a place called Al Tawasol. It is a Majlis-style restaurant that serves a
/Yemeni menu with dishes like Mandi, Mathbi and Madghot. The only problem (for me) is that the place is located next to Clock roundabout in Deira – which is a mid-day nightmare to drive through during lunch hour.
Anyways, my lunch buddy and I decided to leave the office early around 12:30 to catch a cab. Our Office is located on the busy Zabeel Road, next to Karama Post Office. 1 hr later and we are still in the street waiting for a taxi.
By then, It was not about lunch anymore, we are 5 minutes away from BurJuman Center. It was about making a point: “We WILL catch a cab and We WILL eat Mandi today!” (in a hard-headed Levant-style attitude 😉 )
We finally grabbed a taxi (literally standing in its way to stop it). We started interrogating the driver on the whereabouts of his colleagues. He told us about a
Dubai Transport drivers are staging…etc
We made it to the Mandi Joint and stuffed our faces in a rush. It was 2:15 already and we were wondering if we can make it back to the office in time to see if we still have our jobs or not.
It was 3:00 and not a single cab in sight. We were like, “That’s it, we are going on foot”.
We scurried toward the Clock Roundabout heading to Al Maktoum bridge when we passed by a bus station. Incidentally, a bus with the sign (KARAMA) on its destination board was about to leave the station.
It took both of us a split second of exchanging ‘you-wanna-do-this’ glances and we were banging on the bus doors begging the driver to let us in.
We got in and asked the driver if Karama Post is on his route. He agitatedly nodded with a yes sign and stretched his arm demanding payment.
I heard so much about how bad, slow, smelly and overcrowded public bus transportation in Dubai is. That’s why I never took the bus here before, though back in my Kuwait days, public transportation was an integral component of my pre-car-owning commuting solution.
“Hope this goes well,” I was telling myself.
The ride was a bit long, but curiously fast. We were worried a bit when the bus took a hard left (in opposite direction to where we’re heading) toward City Centre. But relieved after it headed back to Maktoum Bridge again through Bani Yass road after covering most of the inside roads along the way.
The bus then took the Sh. Rashid Hospital exit off Al Maktoum bridge and went all the way around DTV studios area.
It was another 10 minutes of zigzagging Karama’s internal roads before we stepped off at a bus stop which was a one minute walk from the office.
“we made it!”
Realistically speaking, if i was in a hurry, I would not take the bus. It could be slow because of Dubai traffic and the long routes buses here cover.
But in any other situation, I don’t see a reason for not taking the bus instead of a taxi.
We were seated comfortably and the bus was air conditioned and remarkably clean. No spit, gum or paper slips on the floor. There was no graffiti on the chairs or walls and people were sitting quietly minding their own business. Oh and get this, the air had occasional whisks of ‘ocean breeze’ from a timed air freshener thingi that you typically see in hotel bathrooms.
All this for Dhs 1.5 only.
The air freshener thingi
My first bus ticket in Dubai
Seriously, I do encourage everyone to take DM’s Public Transport buses from time to time. Help reduce car condensation on Dubai streets, give your nervous system a break from the Sunny’s and the Cruisers, help make the air less polluted AND save lotsa $$$..
Dubai Traffic Festival
UAE Cabinet warns of tough action against dairy ca…
UAE Cabinet warns of tough action against dairy cartels :: Gulf News
Chaired by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Cabinet rejected attempts by any cartel to maintain high prices or restrict competition. “The Cabinet rejects the principle of setting up cartels to fix prices, because this approach does not serve society and the national economy. It also contravenes the principle of free economy adopted by the country,” a statement said yesterday. The Cabinet instructed ministries of Finance and Industry and Economy and Planning to take all measures to stop these monopolistic practices “which distorts the principle of free economy adopted by the country”.
Reacting to the new prices, the Consumer Cooperative Union which accounts for nearly 45 per cent of the overall volume of dairy products sourced in the country, has stopped selling dairy products from yesterday.
Emphasis added. I look forward to seeing what comes of this.
The Warm Little Boy vs. The Cold Little Boy :: Pos…
The Warm Little Boy vs. The Cold Little Boy :: Postrel
Schelling’s “The Intimate Contest for Self-Control”
Most of us see ourselves as younger than we are; it’s part of how we endure. Schelling always will be; it’s part of the reason his ideas will endure.
Arnold Kling on the near future for productivity, …
Arnold Kling on the near future for productivity, solar power, and cancer treatment. Don’t worry, be happy.
January 2, 2006
Queries from Readers
Wow! Strangers actually e-mailed me to ask some questions on Life in Dubai. I appreciate the inquiries, so I think I’ll publish some of my replies in here for others who may also want to ask. Please be WARNED: These are my own personal experiences and opinions. Please do take them with a grain of salt. I’ve only been in Dubai for less than 2 years so I cannot speak in authority. To long-time Dubai residents, please feel free to comment. IKM asks: Is it easy to apply for jobs while you are living abroad, or do you have to be in Dubai? I guess it depends on what type of work and for what position. For high level positions, I think it is less risky (but not necessarily easier) if you apply from abroad. Sometimes, the company can sponsor you a visit visa & ticket to come to Dubai for interview. Or sometimes, if you are hired through a headhunter based abroad, they can already send you papers to be able to work here. I’m sure there are lots of headhunters based in the UK looking for UK-educated people to work in Dubai. On the other hand, applying from here does have some advantages. You get to check out the daily job listings on the local paper, as some employers don’t post their vacancies online. You can also literally walk in offices to distribute your CV. Though personally, I did all my applications online, via email or fax. I didn’t do the “walk-in” bit but I heard some people find jobs this way. Another advantage of being here is that some employers also only give 1 or 2 days notice for the interview. One company even called me in the morning, and told me to come for interview in the afternoon of the same day. Many are risking to come to Dubai to look for work with a visit visa that was sponsored by either a relative or a travel agency. While some are lucky to find one before their visa expires, others who take longer to find a job are forced to pay an additional fee or exit the country to get a new visa. I hope this answers your question. I think the best person to answer this would be someone working in HR or a recruitment agency in Dubai. I’m not sure exactly how they screen candidates. But I’m thinking, if I were in their shoes, with so many people here on visit visa looking for work, I’d pick those who are already here available for interview first before I get to those who aren’t here. Why don’t you give it a shot? Try applying online while abroad first. DC writes: My husband traveled to Dubai to work. He said Dubai is so promising.. with many beautiful sights… He decided to let me follow there at the soonest possible time… so my cousin will sponsor me through a Visit Visa. Well, I pray I can get a job there and eventually liberate us from the bondage of debt here… Will this be a good idea? I’m not sure how I can help you. It seems you have already decided on going to Dubai. What I can tell you is that though Dubai can be promising, it’s not THE “land of promise” as even the Star Cinema film has depicted. Maybe for some, but not for all. As for the “sights”, as it is true that it is nice, just remember na magsasawa ka rin in time so don’t base your decision on this alone. As for liberating you from the bondage of debt, just remember that though salaries here are indeed so many times greater than what is offered in the Philippines, remember that rent and cost of living is high too. I can’t even begin to tell you what kind of lifestyle I had to give up for moving here. We used to watch movies a lot in Manila, now we don’t even do that once a month. A visit visa can get you here, but being here doesn’t assure you of a job. Some have to renew their visit visas while others are forced to make hasty decisions about getting a job because of the time constraint of their visa expiry. Kung baga, napipilitan na kung anu-ano nalang na trabaho or sweldo basta makakuha lang ng sponsor. I know people who take 6 months or more before they find a job, so just be prepared. I guess it all boils down to being together with your husband, and I truly agree with your decision for that reason alone. It would be better though, if your husband will be the one to sponsor you with a residence visa. That way, you don’t have that time constraint on getting a job. He should be able to sponsor you as long as his basic salary is Dhs3,500 (not sure, go to http://www.dnrd.gov.ae/ for details). Also, don’t forget to have all your certificates (marriage, birth, diplomas & transcripts, etc..) attested by DECS, Malacañang, DFA and the UAE Consulate before coming here.
Plan to update UAE economic laws under study :: Gu…
Plan to update UAE economic laws under study :: Gulf News
Quote: Nada Yousuf Al Hashimi, head of the Ministry’s project to build a comprehensive database on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the UAE, said the project, to be completed by the end of 2006, would increase FDI in the UAE, in line with the growth of the domestic economy, and the UAE’s place among countries that attract investment. “The FDI data will help economic decision makers issue the right policies, and attract more FDI,” he said commenting on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) remarks on multiplicity of economic data in the UAE.
Exclusive – Dubai Transport drivers on strike
To all Dubai based bloggers.
If you are planning to catch a cab today, I suggest you think of alternatives – there isn’t a single DT cab in sight. After almost 1 hour waiting for one, a Metro Taxi driver told me that all Dubai Transport drivers are on strike since the morning in protest for extremely low wages and bad work conditions..
I will post more details on today’s taxi-less experience on my
later this evening …
Pinter prattles :: Mahalanobis Game theorists rea…
Pinter prattles :: Mahalanobis
Game theorists reason. I guess they have a reputation to uphold.
An officer and a gentleman
What is it about Moroccan secretaries? In the latest extra-marital escapade, a senior government dishdash has been arrested for stabbing his Baluchi military friend:”The national, a senior government official in the UAE, is believed to have employed a Moroccan woman as his personal secretary, but told her not to work in his office. He rented a flat for her where he would go regularly to meet her and pay her the salary there, sources disclosed.””The official had made an appointment to meet her today at the flat but changed his mind to make a surprise visit yesterday. He found his friend there and, in a fit of rage, stabbed the Baluchi national, who is a military officer, with a small knife on his face and shoulders.”Lest anyone be concerned about this local gentleman’s fitness for office, given his dubious morals and violent temper, the article is quick to reassure:”The UAE national is highly educated and holds a masters degree in business management.”That’s all right then. Just so long as he has a degree, we’ll overlook the whoring and stabbing.
January 1, 2006
Banking Blues – Part 2
My requirements for a bank account are very simple. An account that would keep my money safe, doesn’t pay my any interest, gives me a check book at no extra cost and not have any hidden charges would keep me happy for years to come. And honestly speaking, these requirements are not so difficult to […]
Al Ain Taxi
Mirror.co.uk – News – THE NEW CHIC OF ARABY:”And it is here you get a glimpse of an Arabia that would have been familiar to Thesiger.”Al Ain: so behind the times that Wilfred Thesiger would recognise it. Really? I know we’re a little old fashioned compared with Dubai but…In response to Secret Dubai’s posting of UK tabloid newspaper The Mirror’s recent article/advert on Dubai, here’s what they have to say on Al Ain in an article about Abu Dhabi Emirate.
First post of 2006
Well well, new year’s craze is over, Happy 2006 to everyone.
Now, moving on; here is my first question of the day.
To all professional, semi-professional, enthusiast, amateur and even wannabe bloggers: It has been very quiet lately in UAE’s blog-o-sphere… Any ideas why? and how can we inject some life into it?
Feel free to drop any thoughts, ideas or suggestions – everything works here, no idea is a bad idea.
Take a look at Dubai Marina Communities. The mind …
Take a look at Dubai Marina Communities. The mind boggles.
New Year’s Resolutions?
What are UAE bloggers and others resolving to do in Y2K6? Anyone care to share? I’ll start:
- A new blog post everyday!
Not here but on my site Dubai Marina Communities. This is not a plug, it’s just what I like to do. The mission of this site is to introduce every single tower and building coming up (and already up) in the Dubai Marina, and as anyone who has ever been to Dubai would know, there are A LOT. So, one building per day should get me there by year’s end!
Al Ain Taxi
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Have a great 2006, the best year you’ve ever had. My posts will have a little more meat on them in the coming year, I promise.
Who went to Luce’s last night to celebrate? Or did you stay in the HnJ? Any reviews?And did Luce’s look anything like this?:
Mirror image of Dubai
A happy new year throughout the sandlands and beyond, as the UK Mirror encourages yet more hordes of Brits to enjoy the delights of Dubai:
“Ask any long-haul air crew about their favourite layover destination and they’ll tell you that top of their list is Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.”
Is it really? Any air crews reading this, do feel free to check in with your comments. But what a fascinating range of alternately obscure, overpriced or seedy venues the Mirror suggests:
“The atmospheric Night Souk features stores selling fashion, accessories, electronic gadgets, cosmetics, jewellery, watches and a range of exotic goods such as Persian carpets and spices.
“Open from 8pm to 3am, this is the hottest place to shop in the coolest part of the day, while the newly-revamped Global Village next door brings together music, dance, arts, handicrafts, theatre and cuisine and is a much sought-after destination.”
Are there Persian carpets at the Night Souq? From memory, it offers discounted, outdated consumer electronics and factory clearance jeans. And “next door” to the Global Village? Yes, if you live on a remote ice station in Antarctica and your nearest neighbours are 30 miles away.
“Lots of tour firms offer 4×4 desert safaris, visiting bedouin camps” – bedouin camps, yes, with plumbed toilets, alcohol, resident henna ladies and belly-dancers, and only two ancient, over-decorated camels per tribe. “Golf vies with horse racing as Dubai’s second religion – Islam, of course, being the first.” – a statement of both questionable taste and accuracy: money is Dubai’s second religion. “Falling off your windsurfer is like plunging into a warm bath” – not in winter, unless you’re the Antarctica family again, and your water heater is broken. “And despite all the offshore building work – they are currently constructing the Palm, a huge offshore island – the sea is surprisingly clear” – is it? Certainly compared to the pristine turquoise glass of four years ago, before the dredging started, it isn’t.
But for the average Mirror-reader-coming-to-Dubai, there are at least a couple of pieces of useful advice:
“If you’re after something more basic, there are three McDonald’s in Dubai as well as Burger Kings, KFCs and a couple of Pizza Huts.”
“Cyclone The Club, in downtown Dubai, is one of the biggest venues in the Middle East.”
Mirror readers will be delighted to find out precisely what it is “big” for.