Category Archives: Blog

Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Dubai

There is so much to do in this wonderful city, however i have narrowed it down to the Top 10…

 

Personally, My number 1 spot would have to be …

https://i0.wp.com/haithemhammad.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Burj-Al-Arab-Sunset.jpg

1# BURJ AL ARAB

The famous ‘7*’ Hotel really is a must see. With its unique architecture, and beautiful location, Burj Al Arab has become a hot spot in Dubai. When I first saw it, I believe I took over 50 photos in 3 mins!  The inside decor is garish gold and very imaginative, but that just adds to the awe. The Hotel has some great restuarants, and recently has

 

2# Burj Khalifa

You can’t miss it. It’s the tall building. Taller than any other in the World. Get practising your photography skills as getting a full length photo is a difficult challenge. Definitely book yourself a trip to the 124th level, as the view from ‘At The Top’ is a really memorable experience. Book in advance to save money, and to secure a spot.

3# The Dubai Fountains

Located at the bottom of the World’s tallest Building are the World’s largest fountain display.

These dancing fountains set on the 300 acre Burj Khalifa Lake shoot water up to 500ft high ( 50 storey’s high). They are amazing, beautiful, and always a crowd pleaser. They play daily starting from 6pm at 30 minute intervals.  My favourite performance by the fountains is Andrea Bocelli, Con te partiro (Time to Say Goodbye), which has me in tears every time. 

4# Dubai Creek

History. Here you can discover the natural water way, the cuts through the centre of Dubai and is a historic focal point for life in Dubai. You can get on a Dhow cruise, or an Abra and explore the old trading ports, whilst having a breath-taking view of the city either side. Dinner cruises are also available at night, and having experienced one myself, I have to say it was well worth the money!

5# Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah is a truly beautiful place. Located near to Burj Al Arab this Arabian style complex offers you two 5*Star Hotels joined by Souk Madinat and much much more. Over 40 restaurants and bars to choose from, many with stunning views out to see and overlooking the Burj Al Arab. The facilities are interconnected by 3 kilometres of waterways, where you can climb aboard an abra to take a nosey around. I have never met anyone who has been to Madinat Jumeirah and left unsatisfied.

6# Palm Jumeirah

Home to the rich and famous, this man-made island shaped like a palm tree and stretching out into the Arabian Gulf is truly unique. Offering great views looking back to city it is a great place to visit and It has become a symbol of Dubai’s incredible innovation, luxury and ambition. The Palm offers a number of hotels in addition to the residences and i would definitely advise you to check it out!

7# The Desert

This is what the whole of Dubai used to be, SAND. Many years ago of course.  Taking a Desert Safari trip is a must. You will experience picture perfect sand dunes and ride camels into the sunset. With some packages you will have the chance to stay over night, experience Arabic Music, Food, and Henna Art. You can usually find some good deals for these tours, as there is a lot of competition on the market, have a shop around before you buy.

8# The Gold Souk

With its extensive collection of shops, its remarkable variety of goods and its exceptionally reasonable prices, the Dubai Gold Souk in Deira is a must see destination for jewellery lovers. Evening is the best time to stroll around the alleys, when the Souk is at its liveliest, and the gold shines picturesquely in the lights. 95% of all tourists in Dubai buy gold and the  Dubai government ensures gold quality through regular checks.

9# Dubai Marina

One of the more recent tourist attractions, Dubai Marina is set in ‘New’ Dubai. It’s popularity owing to the many restaurants and bars, stunning waterways, and great views. With the likes of Dubai Marina Yacht club in the area you have many options of touring the world’s largest man-made  Marina. Walking around, taking water taxis or hiring a boat for the day. I once went on a hired Yacht and would certainly do it again, the views from the Marina especially at night create perfect photo opportunities and memorable times. Busy throughout the day and night Dubai Marina is one to put in your schedule.

10# Dubai Museum

Located in the oldest building in Dubai, Al Fahidi Fort was built in 1787. The Museum was opened here in 1971 by the ruler of Dubai and shares great history of life in the Emirate before the advent of oil. It covers the archaeology and history of Dubai and is also a historic site by itself.  I would recommend visiting as this city wasnt always Gucci Bags, Ferrari’s and rich.

 

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Dubai EXPO 2020… What it really means….

The buzz of excitement around Dubai from the aftermath of securing a winning bid for Expo 2020 is fading.

A burning question floating around in the air; What does this really mean for us? This question is not bothering the high-flying real estate developers, or the hotel investors, it is coming from you and me. Average Joe, who is working hard, paying rents and trying to save.

To be completely honest, until I moved to Dubai 4 years ago, I had little knowledge of EXPO. It’s a really BIG fair, was my naive view.  Originally held in my home country the United Kingdom in 1851, The Great Expedition inaugurated World Expos as the hallmark events of a world aspiring to strengthen its connections, celebrate its cultural diversity and marvel at its technological wonders.- In reality, it’s a chance to show off.  World Expo’s can take credit for many inventions and unveilings, including the The Eiffel Tower, public telephones, the commercial type writer…. and wait for it… Heinz Tomato ketchup. Without Expo your chips would be lonely.Heinz

 

In December, Dubai won the Bid to hold the first Expo in the Middle East, fighting off Brazil, Thailand, Russia and Turkey with the theme:

Connecting Minds, Creating The Future

Of course a great theme, however I wonder how you can create a future with a lack of residents. Here is why the many Expats of Dubai may choose to move on…

Rent.

Since the crash of 2008, Dubai’s economy has got back on track. With ever-increasing real estate markets, already in recent years we propertyhave witnessed the rental prices maturing. Now many report that 277,000 more jobs will be made available, however the majority of these will be Hotel and Restaurant industry. From personal experience, these jobs do not pay that well. Rents go up, Salary does not.  Since the announcement that Dubai had won, many landlords have started to rake up the pricing. Even with the laws set in place regarding the percentage a landlord can increase his taking by, many Expats signed  non extendable contracts, never questioning that this would be a silly idea. Most Expats rent, not everyone has a timeframe set for how long they will live in UAE. Most are trying to earn some tax-free money for retirement, or are just exploring a new adventure.

Luckily, I moved house before all of this and made an agreement with the landlord in writing about increases.Sonthing I am very grateful for.

Some blame the lack of available accommodation in Dubai for the price increase and not just Expo. This I also agree with. When searching for a property you will find it very hard to find a 2- 3 bedroom Villa or apartment at a reasonable price. They are extremely high in demand and often snatched up very quickly. However if you are looking for a 5-8 bedroom ‘mansion’, you will be overwhelmed with the choice on offer. Their pricing does not correspond with their size. You will get a fantastic deal on these larger properties, should you have the cash. How can you pay 150, 000dhs a year for a 2 bedroom villa, and in some cases only 200, 000dhs for a 6 bed. Something doesn’t quite add up….

Prices.

DirhamThe Dirham will be less valuable in the coming 6 years that it is currently. How we love inflation. WE could argue that this is the case all over the world… life is getting more expensive…

Expo, however is a different story. With a stampede of 25millions visitors over the six month period, businesses in Dubai will most definitely take advantage. This is simple economics practised all over the world ; Charge tourists more since they don’t know any better. Have you ever bought Sunscreen in a Hotel shop, I guarantee you will pay at least 40-80% more than outside the complex. Cheeky eh?

The issue with this price rise is that Dubai will see traffic of roughly 15 times the population pass through during the fair. The residents, all 2million of us will be the minority, forgotten and fading away to be replaced by temporary population with free flowing cash.

Traffic.

The RTA (Road and Transport Authority) in Dubai has done some great work recently developing new roads. However we are all experiencing extremely bad traffic on a daily basis. Now, not everyone will be experience this. There are a few people who think traffic is above them, and will zoom down the hard shoulder and cut in right at the front. Causing all the law-abiding drivers to have an increased wait. I have become rather mischievous regarding this after being annoyed regularly. I place my car, whilst sitting in the queue, half in the hard shoulder and half in my lane. And as we are crawling along I ignore the flashes and beeps behind me from the traffic in dubaiimpatient, idiotic drivers. I get great satisfaction from this.

Traffic is only going to increase. More visitors, more vehicles on the road. Taxi numbers will  be doubled to accommodate these tourists. I realise how spoilt I was when I was living in London. Underground, how I miss you. . Yes, this used to bug me on numerous occasions, however it was certainly a better option that driving. Dubai granted, has the Metro. However the stations are prominently  in one long line parallel to the sea, restricting the amount of people who could use it on a daily basis. For me, my closest option would still take me 20 minutes to drive to, 20 mins trying to find parking, 20dhs on payment of the parking and then probably a 10 minutes walk to the metro as I have had to park my car far away. This really doesn’t help my morning commute, and would not be beneficial in any way. Better public transport will need to be considered for Expo, plans I hope are already being drawn up.

 

One thing that has been agreed apon, is that there will definitely be long term benefits.  Expo 2020 will have a positive impact on the likes of businesses and real estate , however in the short term the situation will need to be managed carefully.

When you look around Dubai, you are in awe at how much the city has developed in last decade. Residents who have been here for many years share fantastic stories on what used to be ‘there’ before ‘that’ skyscraper was built.  The problem is, Dubai has focused mainly on building up areas in line with coast, adding in few blocks further out but with no real flow from one area to another.  Therefore you never feel as though the place is finished. It is ongoing, and I am very pleased to see land and construction sites that had been left and abandoned for some years, starting to grow. This is a great news.

Considering Dubai just celebrated its 42nd Birthday, you have to congratulate the city for its progress. It is a great honour to have won Expo 2020 for a place that is still a ‘baby’ in comparison to the competitors.20131007_UAE-National-Day-2013

I am proud and thankful to live here, and I hope that a plan is put in place to stop the issues that are worrying us.

#MyDubai

 

This is extremely sad news….. Wayne Davies.

I have not written a piece like this before. I am scared I will not give something as tragic as this the justice.

My home County – Sussex- is in absolute shock. They are horrified, distraught and angry. And you can’t blame them….

 

Wayne Davies, a 22 year old apprentice plumber from East Grinstead Sussex went missing in the city of Leiden in Amsterdam on the 19th of April. He was last seen leaving a night club with a friend on Saturday.  Wayne was meant to fly home on the Monday, but never arrived. His family and friends raised the alarm and immediately set up a Facebook page called ‘HELP FIND WAYNE DAVIES’.

Wayne was described by so many people as being a loyal friend, a star, a great character. I am sad to say that i never knew Wayne, however friends of mine did have that privilege.

After extensive efforts from everyone in the community, they managed to get Wayne featured on Sky News, in the Mirror and the BBC. People Instagramming wonderful pictures of Wayne, and sharing information through other means of social media.  His families were overwhelmed by the support from friends, neighbours, strangers… all with one goal… to find Wayne.

I was looking through Facebook when I saw something that horrified me.

hello everybody, it breaks my heart to post this but I have been given a report from a contact in holland and have watched the video and you see Wayne’s head in the water. I’m so sorry.xx I’m broken. I will miss you forever.xx

WARNING : Graphic content ! http://sleutelstad.nl/nieuws/archief/2014/04/brandweer-haalt-lichaam-uit-nieuwe-rijn-vrijwel-zeker-vermiste-brit

This was posted to the site dedicated to finding Wayne , by his own Brother. What saddened me greater still was the fact that this was how his family found out about Wayne’s death. Not from Police in Holland, or Police in Uk, but from a news website who recorded the recovery of the body and posted it.

I later clicked on the link. I did it to read comments left on the site. The majority are in written in Dutch however Wayne’s brother posted;

Good Evening, My name is Dean Davies eldest brother of Wayne Davies. I don’t know how things work in the Netherlands but as previous comments say is it not necessary to show every video and picture. I will never forget the way I found out how my brother was found dead, through this site. The Dutch police never contacted my mother or anyone in my family. The way the Dutch police have dealt with this case is disgusting. I kindly ask you to please remove this video. I have a 13 year old brother who shouldn’t be able to access this footage of his brother dead in a canal. We are filing a lawsuit against this and your company.

I was very impressed by the way he kept things together. Writing to the point, without dropping any abusive language, I really don’t know how he did it. Keeping composure in such a horrific situation shows how strong a character Dean really is.

I read another comment;

Dear Dean, first please accept my condolances to you and your family. As citizen of the city of Leiden I was deeply shocked especially the way this local news was presented. Please do know it’s not the mentality of the majority of the Dutch people who do respect the deceased people, either race, background, nationality and death cause. This city which is proud to be called City of Inventions and Science really showed this weekend it’s very dark side. Please forgive us and bring those responsible in Court in order to prevent this happening again in this “civilised” country. I’m convinced Dutch lawyers are happy to assist you in any lawsuit to clear up this terrible case. But please again accept our regards in this difficult period for you and your family. I hope others will join me.

I thought this was a lovely comment and necessary.   It was not the citizens of Leiden who had been unhelpful or totally oblivious to Wayne’s family nightmare.

I did not share the link to the website with you earlier to promote it. I wanted to bring in to your attention to help. I did in support for the petition ‘To remove all the images and video footage of Wayne Davies in the canal from the website’  below:

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/chris-de-waard-sleutelstad-remove-all-images-and-videos-of-wayne-davies-deceased-body-from-their-website-and-youtube-accounts

As I mentioned before I never had the pleasure of meeting Wayne. The reason I am sharing this story with you all, is to try and gain awareness of the lack of support that the family of Wayne’s was given from authorities. They are facing ongoing struggles when all they should be doing right now is mourning. Mourning for their Brother, Mourning for their Son, Mourning for their Friend.

I will include one last link – Help bring Wayne’s Body Home.  They have already reached well above their goal, however if you would like to donate then please do. Every penny will be spent on Wayne’s memorial.

Thank you for reading this story.

In Memory of Wayne Davies, may you rest is peace.

WordPress, you have won me over…

You scroll through your Facebook feeds……

Did you really need to know what someone had to breakfast? How snotty their nose is? Why they love their boyfriend so much?

Facebook is a great way of communicating, this I cant deny? But are we sharing too much? When I meet with my freinds for a coffee, I feel I know exactly what has happened in their week before they have even told me in person.

I personally, stopped being a facebook addict around 2 years ago. Of course I still post the odd picture here and tfacebook-addiction-funhere, and comment on something I actually find interesting. I still feel I have to have a quick glance at least once a day to stay connected.

I started Blogging 6 days ago – I was nervous, but..

..EVERYONE IS SO NICE!

Being a newbie, my blog is not yet very entertaining for all of you out there. I am still learning the ropes and trying to find footing, however so far I can hardly fault my WordPress experience.

You are all interesting in a unique way. Be it your writing style, your humouros jokes or your intelligent ideas. I could spend hours reading on here.

When I have commented on people’s posts, they reply with such kindness and gratitude. Never would I have dreamed of getting this from strangers.

I am very glad to have become apart of what i can only describe as a comminuty. Thank you everybody.

Naked With Sharks: Is she crazy?!

In September I am heading to South Africa for my very close friend’s wedding. I am truly excited!

Our trip will begin in Johannesburg, then after the wedding we will head to Cape Town. I am reading the through the itinerary when I see..

‘Wednesday 8am: Shark Diving’

My reaction..

‘HELL YEAH!!!’

I have always been one for exciting experiences, and this really got my heart pumping. In England it’s not something you can do, neither is it in Dubai.

So for the past few weeks my excitment has been slowly turning to fear.

I told my Mum about it, she tried to ban me.

My mother in-law decided to show me a documentery on shark attacks.

My friend from Capetown said ‘ Good Luck’-with a slight hint of sarcasm. Actually i take that back, she was as sarcastic as can be!

So Today i was reading the news, and read an article on a lady called Lesley Rochat. Lesley Rochat She is known as the ‘Shark Warrior’- and she sure is one brave lady!

She is part of the campaign ‘Get Hooked on Conservation, Ban Drumlines’.

The aim is to prevent the culling of Sharks by use of drumlines in South Africa and Western Australia. She is the founder of te orginisation behind the campaign AfriOceans.

This lady really is an incredible inspiration, I dont know how she does it. She describes swimming with the dangerous creatures as her ‘Greatest Joy’.

Perhaps I shall stick to my intial excitment, and go ahead. If Lesley can do it in a bikini, surey I can manage it in a wet suit and a cage!

Have you been shark diving? Or would you go??

 

 

Day 2 : why did I start to blog?

 

I’m sitting in a hotel lobby, waiting for a business meeting, and a thought crept across my mind; why did it start to blog?

I haven’t quite worked out my answer to my brain’s question. What’s your reason?

I wonder why the 60million users started a WordPress account. To become the new Perez Hilton? To write for the love of it?

I started yesterday. My reason is probably because I recently decided that I’m not in the career path I would like. Yes, I enjoy my job, however I always wanted to write. With no experience or examples of my work to share with people, I felt silly to apply for any “dream” jobs. I started my blog to do something I love. Will i become popular and famous. To quote the Hunger Games;

May the odds forever be in my favor

I highly doubt it though. But that’s not my goal.

Write for the love of it.

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
– William Faulkner

Ciao for now..
LNC
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Popping the ‘cherry’ on blogging…

Should I have done some research on how you begin a blog? Maybe …

Instead I’ll start with Hello – Seems like a logically place to start.

Secondly, I guess that I should give a little information about myself.

-I live in Dubai, the fastest growing economy in the world. ( They definitely drive fast- but we shall get to that another day)
-I have an English bulldog. She is part of the family. My “baby”.
-I really dislike mushrooms & clowns.

I think that’s enough information for now. Hopefully if you continue to read my posts, you’ll learn more and more.

I look forward to writing to you all out there…

Until next time, caio.

LNC
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