Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dubai International tops Paris Charles de Gaulle

Note: Image courtesy of Dubai Airports
According to February’s Airports Council International monthly traffic report, Dubai has topped Paris Charles de Gaulle and is now the second busiest airport in the world, falling just behind London Heathrow.
Figures indicate that more and more people are choosing Dubai as their preferred hub. After all, besides the extensive global network, the ground facilities are truly incredible.
And, it appears that, the airport will continue to amaze us…
Dubai Airports has recently announced a US$ 7.8 billion airport and airspace expansion program which will boost capacity at Dubai International from 60 to 90 million passengers per year by 2018.
Look out London Heathrow!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The most expensive abaya in the world now in Dubai

British designer Debbie Wingham has done it again!
After presenting her US$ 5 million gala dress last year, she has now created what seems to be the most expensive ‘abaya’ in the world. Price tag? US$ 17 million.
In the hands of Wingham, the traditional long flowing black gown used by local women in the UAE was adorned with 2000 precious stones, including flawless white and black diamonds and the very rare and extremely exclusive red diamond; all set in platinum and hand-stitched into place with 14-carat white gold thread.
To take an up-close-and-personal-look at the super luxurious abaya, on show at Raffles Hotel Dubai from March 20 through March 25, you have to book a private viewing.
Here is a sneak preview for you...
Note: Picture from The National, courtesy of Debbie Wingham

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Moving to Abu Dhabi? Here are a few tips that might help you out…

I was recently contacted by friends asking for tips that might help some of their friends, who are currently in the process of moving to the UAE.
Since I have put this information together, I decided to share them here. After all, they might be useful to others going through the same thing right this instant.
Hope it helps!
There are many options both on the island and on the outskirts, especially in places like Reem Island, Al Raha and Khalifa City, where new buildings are coming up.
Price will depend a lot on the size of the apartment or villa you choose and its location.
If you are looking for a nice three bedroom apartment or villa, I’d say you will probably spend somewhere between AED 160,000 and AED 200,000 (USD 44,000 and USD 55,000) on your annual rent.
But then again, these numbers might drop or go up depending on location…
Here is the link to a series of articles on housing from Time Out Abu Dhabi. It should give you some additional information to think about:
If you have kids, there are several nurseries and schools in Abu Dhabi for you to choose from - English, American, Canadian, French, International...
I guess you will have to make a choice depending on the kind of curriculum you would like your children to follow, the price you are willing to pay and location.
I suggest you do an online search of the schools you might be interested in and also contact them ASAP because sometimes finding a place last minute can be quite a challenge. Here are some links to help start you off:
Jigsaw Nursery and Créche

Bright Beginnings
Stepping Stones
The British International School
American Community School
Canadian International School
Gems American Academy
Al Yasmina School
 It might help to take a look at the Expat Woman website for more info on this:
Maids and nannies
It is fairly easy to hire nannies from the Philippines, Indonesia and some other countries. You can do it through an agency of by talking to people who might know someone here willing to change jobs or something.
It is, however, a bureaucratic process since you will have to sponsor this person and she will have to live with you. You will have to bring her from her country and pay for all expenses: visa, medical, ticket, etc. The whole process will probably cost you around AED 8,000 (USD 2200). After she is here, you have to pay a monthly salary (starts at AED 1500 / USD 410) + her annual leave ticket + medical insurance + visa renewal.
Now, if all you want is someone to clean your house from time to time or a babysitter that will come in every now and then when you go out, there are local agencies that might be able to offer you these services. For example: or
Both in the supermarkets and in restaurants you will find basically everything you could possibly want.
In terms of price, I'd say that you will probably spend somewhere between AED 600 and AED 900 (USD 164 and AED 245) to fill in a shopping cart in the supermarket.
If you go to supermarkets like Abela or Spinney’s, you will spend a bit more, but there are options like Lulu Hypermarket and Carrefour where you might be able to save a few bucks.
The same thing goes for eating out. Prices will vary immensely depending on where you go, what you eat and the amount of alcohol you consume… To give you a rough idea, I’d say you should expect an average bill of AED 600 (dinner for two: main course, dessert and a bottle of wine) at a high end restaurant in one of the hotels. But, again, there are way cheaper options for sure!
Monthly Expenses
You should be able to run the house with AED 5,000 to AED 7,000 (USD 1,370 to USD 1910), including maid, cable, internet, phone, mobile, gas, water, supermarket, laundry, etc.).
But this is a wild guess based on my own experience. This is really a very subjective matter since the money you spend will depend on your monthly expenses and I have no idea what these might be...
Yes, I’d say Abu Dhabi is a safe place. Of course you will hear about some crime episodes from time to time and you should look after yourself as you would anywhere else in the world, but it is a safe place.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New nomads: wealthy Emirates, by Cristina Buarque

Today I’d like to share with you the link to an article written by Cristina Buarque, Associate Professor at the Political Science Department of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, who spent the fall semester of 2012 at the Social Sciences Department at New York University Abu Dhabi, as part of a sabbatical year.
An interesting, brief and objective analysis of key cultural and behavioral aspects of the United Arab Emirates. Enjoy!

Note: I apologize to all my followers who unfortunately do not understand Portuguese and who will be unable to read the article.