Dubai Lifestyle – The History of the City and Day to Day Life in Dubai

Background Information to the United Arab Emirates and Dubai: –

Dubai is one of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE); it is located in the Middle East. The UAE borders the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf and is situated between Oman and Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates was formed in 1971 by the then ‘Trucial States’ after their independence from Britain.

The UAE is governed by a Supreme Council of Rulers, the council is made up of the seven emirs and they appoint the prime minister and the cabinet for the country. Despite being ultimately ruled by the Supreme Council, as with the other six states, Dubai maintains a large degree of autonomy from the UAE when it comes to general decision making for the city’s development.

Oil was first discovered in the United Arab Emirates in the 1950s, before that the country’s economy was built on fishing and pearling, since 1962, when Abu Dhabi became the first of the emirates to begin exporting the oil, the country’s economy has been completely transformed.

Sheikh Zayed, who has been the president of the UAE since its inception, quickly understood the economic potential for the country from the oil industry. He has continued to ensure that each of the emirates benefits from the oil generated wealth, he has insisted on the reinvestment of oil revenues into the healthcare system, the education system and the general national infrastructure.

The development of the oil industry has led to a large influx of foreign workers to the UAE, in fact Dubai’s population is the fastest growing in the world and the foreign population makes up about three quarters of the entire UAE population! As a direct result of this fact the UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, with other cultures and beliefs tolerated. Dubai has also been quick to understand the need for diversification. Oil in the region is only projected to last for about 30 years and so Dubai has successfully embarked upon a major diversification program aimed to at developing industries and commercial enterprises to take the place of oil as the predominate commodity of the state’s economy.

The climate in Dubai is sub-tropical and arid or desert like. The city enjoys almost year round sunny blue skies. Rain is infrequent and if it does fall, it falls in the winter.

Temperatures range from lows of 10°C to extreme summer highs of 48°C. The average maximum daily temperature in January is 24°C and the average maximum daily temperature in July is 41°C when humidity is very high.

About the city of Dubai

Dubai is recognised as the commercial and tourism capital of the UAE and is globally regarded as one of the most sophisticated, futuristic and cosmopolitan cities in the world, in fact Dubai is something of a phenomenon! It is an Arab Muslim society with the fastest growing foreign population in the world, and it has successfully developed harmony through ethnic diversity. It is a city with unrivalled levels of economic energy and architectural ambition, a unique city of contrasts where the most modern and architecturally stunning skyscrapers stand alongside traditional beautiful Arabic structures.

The experiences and attractions available in Dubai are many and varied. From the miles of immaculate beautiful white sandy beaches to the richly exotic Arabian heritage, from the awe inspiring majesty of the desert to the lively international bars, restaurants and nightclubs – a visitor to Dubai is guaranteed an incredible, never to be forgotten experience.
In 2003 Dubai was voted safest holiday destination in the world by Conde Nast Traveller magazine, and in fact Dubai is recognised globally as one of the safest cities in the world. Living in Dubai you will find that it is virtually crime-free with the Dubai police ensuring personal safety and security. Anyone found guilty of committing a serious crime will be severely punished. Alcohol and drug related offences are considered serious.

The economy of the city of Dubai is a mainly service-driven economy, with every business amenity from banking to telecommunications offered. International trading and industrialisation are actively encouraged through the provision of favourable taxation advantages, offshore status, specialist free trade zones etc. Recent innovative projects in the city include the foundation of Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City, bringing 21st century technology to Dubai in the world’s very first ‘Free Zone’ wholly dedicated to e-business.

Day to Day Life in Dubai

Accommodation

If you are considering moving to Dubai one of your first thoughts will no doubt be finding somewhere to live. This is not something you’ll find too tricky, there are many companies advertising rental accommodation in the classified sections of local newspapers and they offer everything from private villas to luxury apartments or even shared accommodation. Whatever your budgetary and lifestyle requirements are, the specialist relocation and housing companies will be sure to have something to assist you. If you prefer to find your accommodation privately and avoid any agency costs, many people use supermarkets notice boards to advertise or request accommodation.

In terms of which areas of the city offer the type of accommodation you are after, Jumeirah, Umm Sequiem and the Safa Park area are upmarket and offer villa-type accommodation. Satwa and Garhoud also offer villas but are slightly cheaper. Rashidiya, Mirdif and Al Quoz are mainly Arabic areas and they actually attract a lot of expats.

If you are after an apartment the most popular areas are around Bur Dubai, the Sheikh Zayed Road with cheaper flats are available in Deira, Satwa and Karama. Some of the more exclusive apartment developments offer shared gym and pool facilities together with garaged car parking and the like.

Education

If you are considering moving to Dubai with family and are interested in finding out about the education system and the availability and quality of schools, one of the best ways is to ask around! Because of the numbers of expats in Dubai there is actually a large number of primary and secondary schools from which you can to choose. Most schools are private fee paying schools and really the best way to get an idea of the reputation of a school is to ask friends, colleagues and other expats who live in Dubai. Many of the schools also have their own websites where you can learn about the curriculum they follow, after school programs etc.

When it comes to enrolling your child in the UAE there are a few restrictions you should be aware of. For example you are not allowed to change your child’s school during the academic year…unless approval is given by the Ministry of Education and the circumstances are ‘special’. This means that you have to make sure the school you choose for your child will definitely suit them. Another restriction you should be aware of is that is you move to Dubai on or after the 1st May each year you can’t enrol your child into the schooling system for that year. Instead you’ll have to enrol for the beginning of the new school year which is usually the beginning of September.

Health

Another consideration you may have if thinking about relocation to Dubai may be the state of the health care system available there. It is fair to say that Dubai has many very well equipped hospitals and surgeries. Dubai’s Department of Health and Medical Services runs Dubai, Rashid, Maktoum and Al Wasl hospitals, with Dubai Hospital one of the best medical centres in the entire Middle East. Al Wasl is a maternity and gynaecology hospital.

The Department of Health also run out patient clinics or surgeries and in addition there are a number of quality private hospitals in Dubai offering in and out patient facilities – e.g., The American and Welcare Hospitals. Overall both the private and publicly offered health care services in Dubai are first class.

Working

Working in Dubai you will enjoy a tax free salary and all shop goods can be bought at tax free prices, making it an incredibly attractive city to international workers and international companies. Job opportunities in Dubai and diverse and plentiful, particularly since the additions of the Media and Internet cities…Dubai is a city expanding its horizons at an unrivalled rate.

It is important to mention that some countries worldwide have tax laws enabling them to tax their nationals on their worldwide income. It is important to check your status with an international accountant before taking up employment in the city.

Lifestyle

Dubai has a thriving expat population who make the most of their tax free lifestyle in this amazing city of opportunity. The nightlife in the city is excellent, with cocktail bars, wine bars, themed bars and typical British or Irish pubs available, many of which offer food and entertainment as well.

High standard international cuisine is available in the city’s many restaurants and if you are looking for lively evening entertainment there are numerous night clubs around the city. Some of the clubs attract international DJs; there are also Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian nightclubs offering entertainment with singers and dancers. Dubai also welcomes international touring singing and entertainment acts which cater to all tastes and ages…from traditional theatre groups to ballet, from opera to international rock and pop bands – all are regular visitors to the United Arab Emirates.

False Bay Beaches ‘have never been safer’

A comprehensive strategy has been launched to keep the Cape’s False Bay beaches safe this summer – including shark-warning sirens, professional paid spotters, flags, radio communication and signboards.

Emotions are still running high after Tyna Webb, 77, was killed by a shark off Fish Hoek beach but the authorities say False Bay beaches have never been safer.

The City of Cape Town this week formed a working group that will include a wide network of people to work on shark-related issues.

Desire Galant, director of community facilities, said the group would be a city-wide initiative that would work closely with shark researchers to plan more effectively and be pro-active about what could be done.

Felicity Purchase, ward councillor for the Fish Hoek area who also heads a shark management committee, said warning systems were working extremely well and people needed to calm down because the beaches were safer than they had ever been.

A trust fund had been set up to pay fishermen to keep an eye out for sharks at Fish Hoek and Muizenberg from 7am-7pm. Purchase said it was hoped enough money would be raised to include Glencairn, Long, Sunrise and Monwabisi beaches.

“If a fisherman sees a shark he will radio law enforcement and the lifesavers, the siren will sound and the flag will go up.”

Lifesavers and law enforcement offices would then get everybody out the water and a rubber duck would be used, if necessary, to fetch people further out. There were also spotters on Boyes Drive.

Internationally recognised shark-alert flags were being made. Lifesavers and law enforcement officers would also receive first-aid training, shark attack kits and lectures on how to use them.

Lesley Rochat of the AfriOceans Conservation Alliance is producing shark awareness boards to go up at strategic beaches as part of the Save Our Seas Foundation M-Sea Programme, a shark conservation project.

The boards will contain information about sharks likely to be seen in the area, educational content and information on what to do to avoid being bitten – and what to do if you are.

Experts say the likelihood of a shark attack is minuscule. Annual South African statistics show:

– 15 people are killed by poisonous snakes.

– 200 are killed by lightning.

– 408 drown.

– 871 burn to death.

– 10 000 are killed in road accidents.

– 20 000 are murdered.

– 29 000 succumb to smoking-related diseases.

– 370 000 died from Aids-related diseases in 2003 (UNAids/WHO).

Only eight have been killed by sharks in South African waters in the last 43 years.

Dive South Africa

Alberta’s David Thomson Explorer’s Trail and the Aurum Lodge- A Golden Nugget

AN ELECTRIFYING DRIVE

When someone mentions Alberta Canada, I automatically think of Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper.

I am not going to argue with you that the above three are not gorgeous, however, if you are looking for Alberta’s best kept secret, take a drive along the David Thompson Explorer’s Trail (Highway 11 on maps). You won’t be sorry, particularly if you are searching for that perfect and peaceful romantic venue.

Who was David Thompson anyways? He just happens to be one of Canada’s most important geographers, and it was he, who between the years 1806-08 traveled up the North Saskatchewan River and discovered the Athabasca Pass through the Continental Divide.

After experiencing the spectacular drive, we understood how appropriate it was to name the highway after this great Canadian. Incidentally, the route extends from Stettler to the Saskatchewan River Crossing at the junction of highway 93, within the boundaries of the Banff National Park.

The most electrifying part of the drive for my wife and myself was the one and a half hours from the town of Rocky Mountain House to our destination, the Aurum Lodge.

The sheer beauty and mystery of Crescent Falls, Bighorn Canyon, Abraham Lake and the surrounding dense forests was comparable to the reading of a brilliant piece of poetry. Our spirits were lifted to heights we could never have imagined!

If you have the time don’t forget to check out The Rocky Mountain Historic Site Of Canada.

A UNIQUE LOCATION IN NATURE AND WILDERNESS

The signature scene, and one I can still clearly visualize, is when we approached the Aurum Lodge nestled along Highway 11 overlooking the stunning beauty of Abraham Lake.

As an artist, my wife could not help herself from uttering every adjective in her English and French vocabularies in describing these majestic views! Adding to our excitement was that we were checking into a lodge whose location and surroundings possessed the perfect ingredients to enhance the aura of romance.

From the moment we walked into the lodge and settled into our spacious room, my wife and I were swept away with the matchless view of the turquoise color of Abraham Lake and the mountain surroundings of Mount Stelfox, Elliot Peak, and Mount. Michener.

Swiss born innkeepers Alan and Madeleine Ernst first made their way to Canada from Singapore in 1989, after having traveled and worked in over 40 countries. In 1999 they decided to make their home in Alberta in a location that is a half hour drive away from the nearest hamlet, Nordegg and adjacent to Banff National Park. In 2000′ their doors were opened to welcome the lodge’s first guests.

What is most unique and desirable about the all-season Aurum Lodge is that it is located in nature and wilderness that is readily accessible, as well as being rich in history and native culture.

The principal philosophy of its owners is that their actions are driven by environmental acceptability as much as profitability. As a result, they have taken into consideration the impact of the lodge on its surroundings, aesthetics, material choice, waste reduction, efficient lay-out, sound control, heat retention, climate control, passive solar, energy use, electricity production, pollution, waste management, transportation, and water supply and management.

Alan, a former Swiss banker and not, as I had imagined, an architect or engineer, did an amazing amount of research, and it was he who designed this eco-sensitive lodge.

Are the rooms romantic? You bet they are, when you consider their privacy, spaciousness, brightness, comfort, ambience, and yes, there is even a room with a Jacuzzi for that special occasion.

For comfort, all of the lodge’s scrupulously cozy clean six rooms come with orthopedic health mattresses, down duvets and pillows (synthetic bedding is available on request), private baths with tub/shower.

There are also two housekeeping cottages as well as a two- bedroom apartment that comes complete with fridge/freezer, stove, microwave, and bathroom with shower. These units are separate from the lodge and have no access to the facilities of the lodge (e.g. common areas or meals and no maid service).

We could not help but feel the spirit of the Rockies carrying through all of the rooms as well as the lodge’s surroundings. By the way, if you are wondering what the name Aurum means, Alan reminded me that it is the Latin term for gold. The lodge’s owners firmly believe that there are values in life, which cannot be measured in monetary terms but are equally precious.
One of the nicest compliments the owners received was from a middle aged couple who came here to unwind and left with the comment that their stay had been special because it was the first time in years, they had a chance to sit, relax and talk, without being disturbed by phones, kids, friends or TV. That just about sums up what the Aurum Lodge is all about!

DINING

Any doubts we may have had pertaining to breakfast or the evening “table d’hôte” were quickly dispelled when we devoured every morsel of Madeleine’s deliciously prepared meals. Both were hearty, tasty and wholesome. In addition, the hosts were generous in offering at dinner complimentary wine and beer-something not too common among inns of a similar nature.
Breakfast is included with the lodge rooms only and dinner is available by advance notice for guests in the lodge.
The dining ritual included meeting with guests from all corners of the globe resulting in some very animated discussions-one more reason why our stay was so delightful.

Undeniably the Aurum Lodge is a golden nugget find!

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Contacting Aurum Lodge

Box 76, Nordegg, AB, T0M 2H0, Canada
Telephone: 1-403-721 2117
Fax: 1-403-7212118

Location: 40km E of Banff National Park.

Information About The Area’s Activities

The Lodge’s Variety of Four Season Activities
Activities Hiking, biking, riding, canoeing, climbing, x-country ski, snow -shoeing, winter-hiking, ice-climbing, dog sledding, tours into the National Parks and to historic sites.

The lodge is located in close proximity to: Banff National Park Boundary and Mistaya Canyon, Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve, native sites and pioneer cabins, Bighorn Dam and visitor information centre, Nordegg historic town-site, mine tours and an historic golf course, Crescent Falls on Bighorn River, numerous trailheads, Jasper National Park Boundary, Columbia Icefield, Bow Summit and Peyto Lake in Banff National Park, Ram River Falls and sites along forestry trunk roads.
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