Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Random Facts about the UAE

At the top of this U-Turn sign in Al Ain it says Alhamdo-lillah, 
which means "Praise to God". 

The UAE is unlike anywhere else. Some random facts.

  • The border between the UAE and Saudi Arabia has never been totally settled, to this day there is no official border recognised by both countries. The UAE claims they share a border with Qatar, while Saudi Arabia says, "Nah-uh".
  • Since record keeping began it has actually snowed twice in the UAE, in the high mountains in Ras Al Khaimah.
  • There are very few left turns in the UAE. Say you are driving along and you wish to make a left turn, you probably won't be able to because of the massive meridian blocking your way. This means you'll have to go to the next roundabout and come back, and now the left turn is a right turn. At Raha Beach Villas, Raha Beach Mall is only 200 meters away across the road, but residents have to drive over 10 km to get to it!
  • The work week runs from Sunday to Thursday. (In Oman the work week runs from Saturday to Wednesday.)
  • In 2010, the UAE's population was estimated at just over 8 million, of which just under 20% were local Emiratis. The majority of the population are expatriates, and the majority of them are Indian. Many Emirati believe Chicken Biryani is a local dish!

Check carefully! Which one are you? 

  • In Dubai, 1 out of 5 persons purchase 5 pieces of gold jewelry every year. In fact there are schemes run by banks to help people invest in gold, and in the Emirates Palace there's an ATM which dispenses gold bars and coins! 
  • Every night during the week at exactly 7:03 an 7:53 a helicopter flies low over our villa.
  • To answer Kate's question, (and I had to ask a lot of people this question, because people here don't pay attention to gas prices!) gas is 2.62 Dirhams a litre, which is about .71¢ Canadian.
  • Dubai's annual precipitation is only 13 cm.
  • Camel's milk is readily available in any market. 
  • As of January 2nd, the six month visa for Canadians will go up to $1000 CD. Guess no one is coming to visit me soon....

The 11 Million-Dollar Tree!


  1. Interesting info and pictures. I would like not having left hand turns... until it meant having to drive 10 km out of my way. $1000 for a visa! Are there shorter term ones? And what is the story on the 11 million $ tree?

    Last night we were watching an episode of House Hunters International in which a Canadian teacher goes hunting for a 2 bedroom apartment to rent in Abu Dhabi. The prices were in the range of $55,000-60,000 a year!

  2. Ah, I was wondering if the current spat between Canada and UAE was going to have an effect on your teaching job.

  3. That $1000 visa is only for a month long visa! I heard if you book a flight through Etihad or Emirates, the two national airlines here, they arrange the visa and you get a break. I guess they'd have to do that to keep the flights they do have from Toronto full!

    The tree was dripping with diamond jewelry. I'll be honest I never even noticed it. The tree is massive and it has all these oversized balls, a necklace or bracelet would just be lost.

    House prices are falling fast at the moment, as some of the larger housing projects finish up and more units come on the market.

    As for me and the visa situation, I have a resident visa, which the university arranged and paid for, so I can come and go as I like with no problems.