Saturday, January 29, 2011

A touch of gold

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I last posted. Sorry about that, but I’ve been trying to make the most out of the time I have with my folks who are currently here for a visit. I guess I lost track of time…

So, yes, I haven’t posted in ten days, but the good news is I’ve been out and about and now have even more to share with you!

Write this down. If you ever come to Abu Dhabi and decide to visit Emirates Palace, the most luxurious hotel in the city, you simply must stop for a cup of coffee.

What’s the big deal over a cup of coffee? Well, this one comes with gold flakes! Yes, that’s right. For only AED 50 (US$ 14) you can bring the world to a halt, even if only for a few seconds, and pretend you are rich and can actually afford to take your coffee with gold flakes.

And if you still need more gold in your life after this, you can always stop at the gold ATM on your way out and take a few grams home with you. The smallest bar, with approximately 2.5 grams, will set you back in approximately AED 455 (US$ 123).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How much are you willing to pay to be No. 1?

Well, for some Emiratis, it seems the answer is: a lot!!!

Back in 2008, a local businessman bought the No. 1 Abu Dhabi license plate number for 52.2 million dirhams (equivalent to US$ 14 million) through an auction held at the lavish Emirates Palace Hotel.  

Crazy, huh? Maybe where you are from, but not around here…

Look at the price tags on the image below to see how much people are willing to pay for an unique license plate in the UAE:

Actually, that businessman, who is now the proud owner of license plate No. 1, broke the previous record, held by one of his relatives, who purchased No. 5 for 25.2 million dirhams (approximately US$ 7 million) the year before.

As I have previously mentioned, Emiratis do take status seriously. So, I guess it is not a surprise that they would be after prestigious license plate numbers to accessorize their luxurious and expensive cars...

What about you? I just heard 500 distinguished number plates will be offered by the Licensing Agency of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai through an online auction starting January 21. Up for it? For more info:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No pictures, please

I got a new camera for Christmas and was trying it out yesterday when I remembered an important piece of information I haven’t yet shared with you: whenever you take pictures of locals in the United Arab Emirates, be extremely careful.
Emiratis are usually very friendly and warm, but some of them – especially women – may consider it inappropriate or offensive to have their picture taken by a stranger.
It is actually kind of weird. Think about it. Would you like to have a crazy tourist take your picture out of the blue while you are minding your own business? Probably not…
I am not saying you can’t do it. I am just saying you should be very tactful. Do it from a distance, without too much close-up on the faces, or respectfully approach the locals and ask if it’s ok for you to take their picture. In most cases they will be ok with it. I bet they will even say 'Jaben' (cheese) just for fun if you ask for it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The UAE rocks - literally!

We are only a few days into 2011 and the list of great performers scheduled to play in the UAE is already impressive.
While Abu Dhabi will welcome Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Thirty Seconds to Mars and Tiesto, Dubai has confirmed appearances by Amy Winehouse, Usher and Roxette. In addition, the Dubai International Jazz Festival will bring together artists like Macy Gray, Joshua Rodin and Alison Moyet, among many others.

Making plans to come for a visit between January and May? Take a look at the below dates and remember to constantly check the following websites for more information and updates:

Dubai International Jazz Festival
January 20 – February 18
Various locations in Dubai

Eric Clapton
February 11
Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi

Amy Winehouse
February 11
Dubai Festival City

February 17
Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi

March 10
Dubai Media City

Thirty Seconds to Mars
March 11
Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi

Stevie Wonder
March 18
Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi

May 20
Dubai World Trade Center

Maybe I don’t need a fireplace or a heater to face the winter in the UAE - this place will be on fire!!!!
Off to buy my tickets now!! See you later!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

Remember a few months back when I posted a picture showing the unbearable heat we folks need to endure in this part of the world? It was 49 degrees Celsius that day!
Well, yes, it can get hot around here. But did you know it can actually get cold too?
That's right. It’s winter time and the temperatures are going down. Over the past few weeks some places in the UAE recorded lows of 4 degrees Celsius. Can you imagine that?!
Yesterday when I got home I was so cold that I actually brought down the suitcases hidden way up in the closet and filled with clothes that I used to parade around in Boston so I can put them to good use around here.
No, I am not crazy. I am not saying I'll walk around in snow boots or with earmuffs. But it is cold dude! What can I do?
What you need to understand is that the UAE is definitely prepared to handle the hot temperatures, with air conditioners installed everywhere and houses built in ways that will help keep temperatures down. But the cold is an entirely different ball game for them. No heaters, no carpets, no fireplace - nothing that will allow you to feel cozy and warm. You are cold both out on the streets and inside your own home.
So, allow me to bring down the jackets, gloves, scarves and other winter gear and apparel I might find – plus a few bottles of wine (of course) to help keep myself warm in the UAE winter.