Moments You Can Only Find In DubaiBy Jennifer Snow
It was in 1966 when sweet, sweet oil was first discovered in Dubai — but before this economic revolution, things weren’t quite as luxurious! This simple desert port in the UAE traded pearls and spices, but it was totally old world. Suddenly, Dubai was one of the richest places on earth! What are the people up to, these days?
Cheetah Riding Shotgun
Why, what’s this right here? A Savannah beast, chilling in the passenger seat? Yes, that’s exactly right. Pet ownership is a completely different game over in Dubai. The more dangerous, the better!
Allegedly, this is less common now than decades ago. Residents might not want to flaunt their big cats in public due to the risk of a large fine. But in private? Still a secret thing! For awhile, seeing a cheetah in traffic in the Emirati city really was an everyday sight. Wild, much?
Next: Discover the secrets of what gives Dubai its unique, exotic reputation!
Mercedes > Camel
While it might seem like a stereotype, camels really are used today throughout the Middle East. And that includes Dubai! An important part of the cultural heritage, they were used for centuries as ships of the desert. Emiratis still love them, humps and all!
Camels are loyal companions, and they provide a few other emergency benefits in harsh environments. Locals believe their milk is a health elixir, and people ate them if times got tough. Today, Dubai has plenty of other dining and transportation options. But the strong cultural connection means tourists will see plenty of chances to ride one on vacation. It’s bumpy, but quite charming!
Instagram is filled with images of Dubai residents hanging out with their big cats. Lions, tigers, and cheetahs seem to be the most popular. This has resulted in injury and death more than once, unsurprisingly! In 2016, a new law demanded that they be restricted to zoos and other professional facilities. Did locals listen?
It used to be common to take a stroll with a tiger in the public park and on the beach, but the fines discouraged it. Status symbols for the wealthy are hard to take away: Even Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, recently posted selfies with a lion cub on social media! Getting rid of the fad hasn’t been easy, it seems.
Good as Gold
Every modern country has ATM machines, nowadays. No big deal, right? Well, Dubai has taken that amenity to a whole new level. It’s obvious that gold dispensers were missing from the market! Aptly titled “Gold to Go”, these machines can be seen around the UAE.
Just in case customers doubted the authenticity, even the outside of the machine is covered in a thin layer of the good stuff. Using the service means choosing from more than 320 products from gold bars to special coins. Prices of the 24-carat currency are updated every ten minutes for current exchange rates. Super convenient, isn’t it?
The World’s Only 7-Star Hotel
The Burj Al Arab is a luxury hotel located in Dubai. It’s the third tallest hotel in the world, and stands on an artificial island near Jumeirah Beach. In Arabic, it means “Tower of the Arabs”, and is shaped like a ship. It claims to be the most luxurious on earth, built with $1 billion!
Does it live up to the hype? Adorned everywhere in gold and marble, guests can enjoy the amenities of a billionaire or royal. With a Rolls-Royce or helicopter chauffeur, personal butlers, and Hermès toiletries, it’s easy to settle in. At $1,500 a night to start, there are three aquariums, pools of every kind, Michelin-star chefs, and more. It might be worth a try, just once!
A Many Horse Town
Owning a pony is every little girl’s dream. But it’s just a normal part of life for many in Dubai! These days, it’s a major industry as a hobby for the rich and for spectators watching high stakes racing. Dubai’s annual World Cup offers the world’s largest prize: $10 million.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai’s deputy ruler, explained: “We are used in the Emirates to picking the best horses in the world.” Well, he would know, He has around 1,000 horses around the world! Without a doubt, horses of good stock are an important part of local tourism and culture.
Need A Lift?
When owning a fleet of luxury vehicles is as common as owning a car, standing out from the crowd is no easy task! Why not fly high for a change, above the packed traffic? In Dubai, the UberCHOPPER is landing. Get ready, for a reasonable fee: AED 530 per person, with a group of six!
The exclusive UberChopper service started for UAE National Day and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend. It was so successful that Uber decided invest more in the area. With plans to put down $250 million in the Middle East and North Africa, it’s a serious bid. Flying carpets, these are not!
Those Beach Laws Though
Dubai is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Its crystal waters, golden sand, and city skyline provide a beautiful backdrop for photos. But for tourists popping in, it’s important to know the rules of the road. Or in this case, the sand!
It’s not uncommon to find family beaches that exclude men, just for women and kids. But where they do swim, men are asked to wear swimming trunks for modesty. No tight, itty-bitty bottoms, sorry! Women are told that bikinis are allowed on the beach, but not on the way to the beach in public. Indecency is not tolerated, and it only takes one person to complain for a real problem with police!
Cold, Breezy Bus Stops
While it seems like everyone in the kingdom has a collection of luxury cars, there is another side of things. The UAE has the fifth-largest migrant worker population in the world. How do 7.8 million of them actually get around in the sweltering heat?
When the city wanted to encourage the use of public buses, they built something very practical. They created these air-conditioned Passenger Bus Shelters, or bus stops. The $20 million project has already been implemented, and there are plans to install WiFi. Shockingly, the highest temperature in Dubai reaches 119 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s crazy out there!
All that Glitters is Gold, Really
Just a quick look around reveals that many of Dubai’s residents have more money than they know what to do with it. Gold plated cars? Perhaps even a fleet to play with? It’s not even uncommon. There really are no limits for auto lovers, when that oil flows!
Auto shows are always exciting in the kingdom, and there’s a lot of precious metal novelty. One dazzling gold-plated car that premeried at Automechanika Dubai in 2016 was worth $1 million! The sparking, customized Nissan R35 GT-R was named the Godzilla. Pretty intimidating? Not for Emiratis!
Stuntman Strikes Again
Skiing usually involves snow. But in the desert, there’s not too much to go around. Dubai residents have figured out a way to slide and glide in the heat, using only and SUV. Leaning to one side while doing a sharp turn is a pretty neat street trick, it turns out.
But are the police in on the fun, at all? According to Director of the General Traffic Department at Dubai Police, Brigadier Saif Muheir Al Mazrouei, no way! The authorities have been arresting young drivers left and right, in a real effort to crack down. Viral YouTube videos have encouraged the trend, unfortunately!
Super Sweet Fifteen
The ultra wealthy in the West have been featured on numerous reality shows. The public often laughs at their strange purchases for kids, which seem extravagant. But in the UAE, spoiled has a completely different flavor. This 15-year-old received a $250,000 yellow Ferrari. What happened next?
Obviously, Dubai residents don’t want to be caught dead with the same old luxury car. This case was no different. Quickly, the stock color was replaced with a red Louis Vuitton and Supreme collaboration print. Thanks to dad, the car is now one-of-a-kind!
Captain Jack Lion
With all the UAE smuggling of illegal Simbas, outsiders must wonder what really motivates the trend. Most of the time, they’re not sailing the sea. They are tied up, chained in cages, or even abandoned! What’s the fascination with big cats all about, really?
Activist Jasim Ali works at government wildlife park. She explains: “If someone buys a very expensive animal, he is boasting that he has enough money to get anything he wants…If he has a tamed wild animal like a lion, he is trying to show off that he is brave. But this is not courage; this is animal rights abuse.” Will local attitudes change with more discussion? Only time will tell, in Dubai.
It’s hard to imagine a sign like this being put up anywhere else in the world. No fish? At all? Well, on the Dubai metro, no way. The rule applies to all fish, dead or alive! What led to this stinky prohibition at the train entrance?
Looks like there was just too much stench for the fancy city. It wasn’t only fish — pets were prohibited, too. Only guide dogs are allowed, for now! Inspectors currently give a fine of Dh100 (1 Dhirams = $0.25-$0.30 USD) to those guilty of breaching the rules. Shoppers at the market will have to find another method to get their fish home. Sad times!
Ambulances seem like a universal concept. But in Dubai, nothing is basic! The city actually has the fastest ambulance fleet in the world. Cars can hit a top speed of 300 km per hour. And some are actually limousines!
The city has introduced a service called “Awnak”, where limos are turned into ambulances for those in mild distress situations. Though not available for everyday use, They are also used to routinely travel back and forth to medical facilities for patients receiving treatment. Many insurance policies in the UAE include this perk!
Coffee for Kings
All around the world, Starbucks has a unique look, feel, and design. It’s shockingly standardized, for such a big, international chain. But in Dubai, things look a little different. Who exactly would feel relaxed and at home, here? The Emiratis, that’s who!
This regally decorated café is not like any other location, visually. But it does offer all the classic frappacinos and matcha tea lattes. It might be interesting to try coffee the Emirati way, though: Traditionally, ground Arabic coffee beans are combined with crushed cardamom, whole cloves, a pinch of saffron, and rosewater. How did Starbucks even succeed?
Valentines Day, 2020: Vince Reffet took off in front of the world, headed to Jumeirah Beach Residence. In only 8 seconds, he reached an impressive 100 meters in the sky! And that was just the beginning. How high did he fly, and why?
After 12 seconds he reached 200 meters, and went steadily upwards. At the end of his 3 minute flight, he reached an astonishing 1800 meters! What was the record reached in this stunt? As it turns out, it was the first time that flying aerobatics and hovering were both performed safely at this high altitude. And the audience loved the loop-de-loops, as a bonus!
The Miracle Garden
Yes, the Dubai Miracle Garden is definitely worth a visit. The extravagant grounds cover over 72,000 square meters, which makes it the largest natural flower garden in the world. Guests can admire over 109 million of them, to be exact!
The flowers are maintained by reusing treated wastewater through drip irrigation. Very clever, Emiratis! Some say it looks like a fairy tale in real life. To maintain the magic, there are a few rules. There always are! Protecting the surrounding flowers means no outside food, grass sitting, or bike riding. No picnics for Instagram, sorry.
It may come as a surprise, but of the 2,789,000 population in the city, only about 15% of the population are UAE nationals. The remaining 85% is made up of expatriates! Some have actually been in the country for generations, and were even born there. What type of cultures hang out there, today?
Stats show that 71% of the foreign residents are Asian. A large number of people in the country trace their origins to nearby Iran. And then, there’s the Brits. Around 100,00 UK expatriates live in the city, the biggest Western group there. Sound tricky, for non Arabic speakers to get by? Never fear, English is used as a second language all over!
Climate-Controlled, Domed City Future
Dubai has announced plans to build the world’s first-ever climate-controlled city. Is Elon Musk involved, somehow? No, it seems not. The royals there just have a futuristic vision of their own, and it’s super-duper high tech! Besides the retractable roof, what is their concept all about?
Under a luxurious, large glass dome, Dubai will host the world’s largest shopping center. Plus, over 100 hotels and a district for medical tourism will be installed. With out of control summers on a regular basis, this one is pretty cool! Literally, cool and comfortable.
The residents of Dubai are relatively young. Records show that the median age is about 27 years old, at the moment. To break that down further, 58% of the population is between the ages of 25 and 44, and just 15% is over 45. What do all these youthful residents do, for fun?
Sometimes, the answer is a lot of exercise! Water sports, football, kayaking, and horse riding are all popular choices for leisure. Sand skiing is another option. Who knew that existed? Well, it’s Dubai — a whole lot is available, no doubt!
Alcohol is Half Banned
In Dubai, just like the rest of the UAE, only adult non-Muslims can consume alcohol. Some might be surprised to find out that this is even allowed! But at licensed venues such as hotels, or at home with possession of an alcohol license, it is possible these days.
The UAE surpasses other countries in the Middle East when it comes to booze. The capita alcohol consumption is 1 gallon per person each year, according to the WHO. Alcohol is big business for Dubai, with each bottle bringing in a 50 percent import tax. Plus, the liquor store tacks on an extra additional 30 percent! Not a bad margin. Not bad, at all.
In Dubai, being a police officer seems to have a few extra perks. Driving one of these bad boys every day doesn’t sound like a burden! In a city ride where residents zoom around in some of the world’s fastest sports cars, the cops need to compete. Why not the new Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S?
The city is wealthy, and it’s easy-peasy to provide officers with vehicles more than capable of catching any speeding offender. The fleet of luxury cars patrol tourist areas a lot, though. Authorities in the bustling city tried to increase a security presence at popular spots in recent years. And they’re available to answer questions, in style!
No Empty Stomachs
In Dubai, it’s easy to get distracted by all the glitz and glamour — and the gold, everywhere! But a closer look will reveal something deeper about life there. Visitors may come across “Kindness Fridges” all around the city. What are these installations all about?
As it turns out, it’s pretty sweet. The idea to offer laborers and the unemployed healthy food after a hard day’s work. For those without a lot of money, it’s a Godsend — and convenient. The fridges are usually placed outside restaurants, which restock the fridge with freshly prepared meal boxes, fruit, protein drinks, and water. Very nice, Dubai!
Cost To Get Married
Getting married? Better have a good nest egg saved up! Or, there’s always the option to come from a wealthy clan. The cost for a couple to have their wedding in Dubai is estimated to be between Dh300,000 and Dh500,000. How much is that, in American bucks?
Why that’s $81,000 to start! Weddings even go up to $136,000 just in the average range. Maybe that’s because the events are full of big families: The average couple invites approximately 250 guests to their reception. But from there, a reasonable level of luxury is just expected in this city. No parties like Dubai parties, that’s for sure!
Aquarium Inside A Mall
No, this isn’t a picture that has been photoshopped. What you’re looking at is one of the city’s biggest attractions, The Dubai Aquarium which features over 300 species of marine animals including sharks and rays which all live together in this giant in a live fish tank.
Did we mention this is built within a mall?
Riding A Lion?
Fortunately, images like this are a thing of the past due to Dubai’s ban on private citizens owning exotic animals.
Lions are known as the kings of the jungle, yet this man has somehow been able to tame this wild beast – although his methods will most likely raise controversy.
When you have enough money in Dubai (i.e., a very rich person in western standards) you don’t even need a driving license since you can just get around with your personal limo.
You can still, however, keep a massive collection of expensive sports cars in your driveway, because, why not?
With construction in the Emirati city showing no signs of slowing down, seeing cranes building an increasing number of skyscrapers and high rise apartments continuous to be a constant fixture in Dubai.
With an evergrowing population of both residents and tourists, the demand for accommodation has never been higher. Due to the limited space, the only direction is up.
In 2006, it was reported that a quarter of the world’s cranes were working in Dubai building site. However, after the 2008 global financial crisis, things have slowed down.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Dubai has a hot desert climate with summers being hot, windy and humid. Temperatures average a high of 41°C (106 °F), and overnight lows of 30 °C (86 °F) in the warmest month which is August.
Fortunately, the city is home to several beautiful beaches the locals have access to. A popular sport in the UAE is Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) as these two gentlemen demonstrate.
Dripping In White Gold
In Dubai, you’re not rich unless you can flaunt your wealth. When your designer label clothes, million-dollar apartments, and yacht are not enough, just rock up to any event in your platinum covered vehicle.
We wonder if it also doubles as stopping cops and speeding cameras from seeing the license plate. Now, that would really impress us.
Expensive Phone Call
You can tell this photo was taken some time ago as based on the type of phones on display. Still, some things are still the same, such as Dubai’s love of all things glittery.
Decked out in diamonds are these vintage Nokia phones. If you don’t have diamond-encrusted phones around here, you must be a tourist.
Yes, when we said people in this city love to coat everything in gold, we really didn’t lie. Many foosball tables feature a specific team or a unique design, but have you ever seen one coated in gold and silver and smothered in Swarovski crystals?
Yeah, neither have we. It almost makes you feel guilty for playing with it.
The World’s Tallest Building
Built in 2010, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, also known as the Burj Dubai, with “Burj” meaning “Tower” in Arabic, is currently the world’s tallest building.
The building rises to 2,717 feet (828 meters) and was named in honor of the ruler of Abu Dhabi, and president of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi and the UAE had previously lent the Emirate money to cover its debts.
The Gold Standard
In other places, people may opt for custom paint jobs to make their vehicle stand out. In Dubai, however, gold is the color (and material) of choice. That’s certainly one way to easily spot your ride at a car park.
In terms of functionality and consideration to other driver’s however, with Dubai’s year-round sunshine, glaring and staring will be part and parcel of owning this Jeep Cherokee.
The Dubai Fountain
Outside the Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Fountain, the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. Set on the 30-acre (12-hectare) manmade Burj Khalifa Lake in the middle Downtown Dubai, it is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors.
The fountain is 902 feet (275 meters) long and shoots water as high as 500 feet (152.4 meters), that’s equivalent to two football fields.
Cat Got Your Torque?
What is it with Dubai’s citizens and their love for Big Cats? While most people around the world get excited to own a dog, cat, fish, or other traditionally domestic pet, Dubaians seem to have a love for all things feline and not the pussycat kind.
How the lion ended up on top of a Mercedes-Benz is one question, what this guy’s doing next to the lion is another thing entirely.
Male Dominated Population
Out of Dubai’s 2,500,000 population, 1,700,000 are male and 800,000 females according to the Emirate’s official census statistics. This means out every 100 people, 68 are male, and 32 are female.
The higher proportion of men can be attributed to the fact many of the city’s expats are males who have left their families back in their home countries to come work in Dubai.
Plans With Money
Only in Dubai can you plan a highrise hotel with a rainforest in the middle of it.
And no, it’s not some “crazy imaginary” idea. It’s an actual plan that is on its way to be constructed.
The Meaning Of “Dubai”
Many theories exist as to the origin of the word “Dubai”. One theory suggests that the word was previously used to describe the souq (marketplace). Meanwhile, an Arabic proverb says “Daba Dubai” meaning “They came with a lot of money”.
Alternatively, Fedel Handhal, a scholar on UAE’s history and culture says the word “Dubai” may have originated from the word “daba”, which is a past tense of “yadub” which means “to creep”, a reference to the slow inflow of Dubai Creek.
Poet and scholar, Ahmad Mohammad Obaid meanwhile traced the name “Dubai” to the alternative meaning of the word “daba” which means “baby locust” due to the abundance of locusts in the area prior to settlement.
The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago on the Jumeirah coastal area of Dubai in the Persian Gulf. A 5.4 kilometer (3.4 miles) monorail connects the Atlantis Hotel to the Gateway Towers at the foot of the island and links the Palm Jumeirah to the mainland.
The Palm Jumeirah has a number of hotels, resorts, and hotel residences as well as retail and dining destinations.
0% Income Tax
Dubai does not tax individuals on their personal income.
This means if you’re considered a resident of the Emirate, then you won’t pay any tax to the Dubai authorities from your earnings or other income streams.
The World Was Not Their Oyster
Before the discovery of oil, Dubai was an important port of call for trading, particularly from Iran. Until the 1930s, Dubai was known for its pearl exports.
However, when the pearl trade was damaged by the Great Depression in the 1930s, as well as the invention of cultured pearls (through oyster farming), Dubai fell into a state of depression with many residents moving elsewhere.
For the next three decades, Dubai survived thanks to the patronage of its ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. When oil was discovered in 1966, the city’s fortunes were set to change for the better, and Dubai would never be the same again.
If you have a fear of public restrooms, well, you’re not alone. There are many of us who prefer using our thrones at home, instead of ones built for, well, everyone. In Dubai, however, some of the restrooms are not only spick and span but nicer than most homes.
At the Burj Al Arab for example, attendants are there to clean up after every person and on hand to offer a real towel to wipe your hands. However, before you get too ahead of yourselves, note that not all public toilets are as spectacular as this one.
Many are like ones you’ll see in most western countries with the addition of a hose for a better cleaning experience if you catch our drift.
With restaurants catering to every taste, it’s easy to find Indian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, Italian restaurants, Turkish restaurants, and in Dubai, even Caucasian restaurants!
Since Caucasian covers literally most of the western world, we’d love to see what’s on the menu at this restaurant. There really is something for everyone in this sunny city.
Stack Shelves Not Shells!
While we commend his achievement, we must also criticize the callousness of this act. We can’t think of any scenario where stacking live animals on top of each other is an okay thing to do.
Let’s hope the poor tortoises were gently placed back on the ground where they belong. Animals and jewelry seem like what people like to spend their loose change in Dubai.
Getting Picked Up In Style
Getting picked up by a cab in Dubai means you have the option of opting for a Ferrari, Bugatti, etc. – if you have the money.
There are five taxi operators in Dubai: Metro Taxis (orange roofs); Network Taxis (yellow roofs); Cars Taxis (blue roofs); Arabia Taxis (green roofs); and City Taxis (purple roof), as well as a Ladies Taxi service with pink roofs for female passengers driven by female drivers.
Snow In Dubai?
How is it possible to go skiing in Dubai? This is thanks to an indoor ski resort called Ski Dubai which measures 22,500 square meters. Located in the Mall of the Emirates, it features an 85-meter tall mountain with 5 slopes of varying steepness and difficulty and other various features.
Adjoining the slopes is a 3,000-square-metre Snow Park play area comprising of other attractions.
Ski Dubai also houses a number of penguins. These are let out of their enclosures several times a day. Visitors can book penguin encounters which allows them to interact directly with the penguins. All equipment at the resort is provided with the ticket, with the option to buy equipment in nearby stores.
The Eye Of The Driver
Many drivers tend to look over at their neighbor at traffic lights. However, your neighbor isn’t typically an apex predator who stares you down with its claws out the window.
Something tells us the people in this city drive with their windows up for more than just the heat.
Not Your Average Pussy Cat
Until recently, wealthy locals would keep wild and exotic animals as status symbols. However, a 2017 law targeting the possession, trading, and breeding of exotic pets was passed in the UAE.
The penalty for owning a now illegal pet ranges from 10,000 dirhams (US $2,723) to 700,000, (US $190,574). These “only in Dubai” pet photos will now be a thing of the past.
Up, Up, And Away
With an increasing demand for housing and due to the high appeal of living close to the city, building contractors are building higher and higher. The tallest residential building in Dubai is the Princess Tower which stands at 414 meters (1,358 feet).
Furthermore, construction is currently underway to create the world’s “moving skyscraper” in 2020 called the Dynamic Tower.
Many types of sports venues exist in Dubai such as golf, tennis, hockey, cricket, horse racing, rugby, motorsports, swimming, scuba diving, and ice rinks. Traditional sports in the Emirati city include falconry, traditional boat racing, and camel racing.
However, there’s a twist in the latter – instead of human jockeys, robots are used instead to comply with human rights laws.
Two types of camels exist the Omani and Sudania which differ in color – the Omani being very light and the Sudania more of a tan color. The sport is extremely popular in the Emirates and was originally staged in informal settings such as weddings or special festivals.
However, nowadays customized tracks exist throughout the UAE with an annual camel race festival to boot.
Bring Nature To You
Dubai has so much money that it can do with nature as it wills.
If the city has no river rapids, then they build one – but they do it close to home so people won’t need to drive too far in their expensive cars.
Because Dubai is actually a desert city, it has many sandstorms around the year, so even the city is full of sand. The reason you don’t see sand in pictures of Dubai is because of its massive cleaning department.
And to make it easy on the eyes of the rich, the cleaning crew are all well dressed and have automated tools.
There are several underwater hotel experiences around the world, but none come close to what you can get in Dubai.
The Atlantis Hotel has an underwater suite that will cut a hole in your pocket in the form of US$ 8,200 per night.
Too Much Money
Log onto Instagram and follow ‘Rich Kids Of Dubai’. You really don’t have to, but you will see how kids (and their parents) that have no value for money.
These kids love to show off their (parents’) wealth, and they do it in many ways.
I Left My Wallet At Home
With many wealthy residents, a night out can mean splashing money in the tens, or in this case hundreds, of thousands of cash.
With 1 Dhiram equalling between 25-30 cents in USD, this bill easily exceeds $100,000 USD! We don’t know about you, but we’ll pass on whatever they’re having.
Driving On Water
Take a look at this photo more closely and you’ll see that this isn’t so much a car on water but a WaterCar.
The Crown Prince of Dubai, Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, loves these amphibious vehicles so much he owns six of these. Even James Bond would be jealous!
Why someone would want to cover their rubbish bin with a Louis Vuitton cover is anyone’s guess but we’d have thought it wouldn’t make the trash any more valuable.
Trash is trash everywhere, but in Dubai not the trash bins it seems.
As we said, gold is a huge industry. This obsession doesn’t just end with gold plated sports cars and gold vending machines, there is now a Gold Souk. There is even a market for consuming old, literally. The Burj Al Arab uses up to 700 gram of gold year for its food and beverages.
These take the form of a gold leaf, flakes or dust, as opposed solid gold used in jewelry. Gold itself is biologically inert and safe to consume, even though it is tasteless.
Items on the menu include chocolate mixed with gold, a specially crafted pepper mill to grind “gold snow” on top of food or cocktails, gold sugar cubes for tea-inspired mocktails and a pure gold decorative spray.
A Traffic Jam Unlike Any Other
Nobody likes traffic jams. The constant tooting, the loud noises, people cutting in, moving an inch at a time. It makes one wonder why self-driving cars aren’t a thing yet.
In Dubai, getting stuck in traffic gives people a chance to snap an Instagram worthy photo, because well, every car is an exotic sports car. Case in point, this photo. At least they’re sitting in luxury because a jam is still a jam.
Covered In Gold
All Emiratis love gold. So in a city where the price is nothing but a number on a piece of paper, the locals need jewelry to match their high status.
Many decide to showcase their wealth by covering everything in gold, and we mean everything. Emiratis consume 25% of all gold trade globally. An unbelievable number no matter how you look at it.
Internet Access Is Regulated
In Dubai, all internet access is routed through a local proxy which prevents access to certain websites. The list of banned websites includes topics such as pornography, LGBT, critical of Islam or the UAE’s leaders, dating, gambling, drug-related, and all Israeli domains.
All internet content is thus regulated including sites which provide information on how to bypass the proxy. Some have gotten around this by setting up a virtual private network (VPN) outside the UAE to access blocked content.
So Rich They Leave Behind Bundles Of Cash
Dubai’s residents are so rich that in 2015 a passenger left AED 146,000 in cash in a Dubai Airport toilet cubicle (it was evidently returned to her). In the first four months of 2016 alone a staggering 42,171 AED worth of cash was left in the airport’s lost property.
Dubai Police also report that two diamond rings worth 150,000 AED were handed to the airport authorities, while in October 2016 a taxi driver handed in a gold ingot which was left behind in his cab. The item was worth 3.5 million AED and later reunited with the owner.
Game, Set, Match
At the Burj Al Arab, the world’s only 7-star hotel lies the world’s highest tennis court. The circle shaped tennis court also doubles as a helipad and hovers 211 meters above the Arabian Gulf.
In 2005 Tennis legends Andre Agassi and Roger Federer had a friendly promotional match here. The court covers a surface area of 415 square meters.
Camel Park Here?
Even though Ferraris and gold plated Lamborghinis are a common sight in the Emirati city, seeing a camel near a park is still the preferred photo for tourists from around the world.
Fortunately, this camel could easily be spotted thanks to its man-made ornaments. Many camels hide using, “camelflauge“. Okay, okay, moving on…
Dubai’s Crown Prince Is An Action Man
The crown prince of Dubai, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, or Fazza as he is known to his friends, is a handsome, media-savvy poster boy for the royal family. He’s respected by expats and locals alike.
He counts skydiving, falconry, fishing, and diving among his hobbies and also publishes poetry in the regions traditional vernacular Nabati style from centuries past.
His Instagram feed isn’t the bling show you would expect from an Emirati royal, however, he enjoys flying helicopters, traveling in private jets, and playing sports. He also pets ponies and cuddles babies. This man can seemingly do it all.
No Address, Zipcode, Or Area Code Until Recently
Due to how quickly Dubai has grown, it never developed a standard address system. Instead of an address line, there was space where residents could draw a map or write out specific instructions like.
Only in 2015 did Dubai begin assigning a postcode which they call Makani numbers which is a unique 10-digit code to all buildings to help identify them.
Cover Up Or Get Locked Up
Emirati attire is typical of areas in the Arabian Peninsula, with women usually wearing the “abaya“, a long black robe with a hijab (the head-scarf which covers the neck and part of the head). Some women instead add a niqab which covers the mouth and nose and only leaves the eyes exposed.
Men wear the “kandurah” also referred to as “dishdasha” or even “thawb” (long white robe) and the headscarf (ghotrah). The UAE’s traditional ghotrah is white and held in place by an accessory called “egal” which looks like a black cord. Younger Emiratis commonly wear a red and white ghotrah and tie it like a turban instead.
Although, there is no compulsory dress code, as many people wear western and other eastern clothing, prohibitions do exist in regard to “indecent clothing” or revealing too much skin. These are aspects visitors to the city are expected to conform to, and are part of the city’s criminal law. The law is enforced in most public places aside from waterparks, beaches, clubs, and bars.
Swimwear Is All About Location
As we said, exceptions to the city’s dress code do exist in certain circumstances and locations such as private beaches. Recently, women/family only beaches in Dubai launched modest dress code rules with women asked to cover up bikinis with dresses, or shorts, and tops.
Generally, on public beaches, it is better to dress more modestly than at private beaches in Dubai.
In all beaches, nude or topless sunbathing is prohibited. Most of the more liberal beaches are operated by hotels and apartments open to residents or visitors who are required to pay a fee.
Interestingly, wearing swimwear at or near restaurants and shops even close to the beach is considered disrespectful to the local culture.
Even The Cops Drive Ferraris
When many of the city’s residents drive some of the world’s fastest cars, the police need up their game to keep up with any would-be lawbreakers.
The Dubai Police Force has acquired several luxury and high-performance vehicles from brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Chevrolet, Dodge Viper, Ferrari, Hummer, Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche, and more.
Pimp My Ride 2.0
With many swimming in cash (sometimes literally), many of the city’s rich men and women splash their cash on vehicles. Some purchase cars from famous films, such as James Bon. Others copy their favorite celebrities. There are even those who deck out their expensive cars with diamonds.
Pictured is the Mercedes-Benz SL600 with 300,000 diamonds and furnished with ink. It is valued at $4.8 million and was unveiled at a Dubai auto show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz SL550 in 2007.
Dubai wants it all. It wants its own vineyard but being a desert city, it can’t so – let’s make a Dubai wine! And it’s Dubai – put some gold in it.
This is a $150 bottle of ‘halal’ (non-alcoholic) sparkling white wine, with, and listen to this, flecks of 24-carat edible gold leaves!
First Class, As Usual
Living in Dubai, you can’t be caught flying coach. Even Business class can hurt your image.
First class is standard in Dubai, and people have a hard time booking due to First Class getting full quite fast.
Grab Your Horse
If we asked you which you would prefer between horses or motorcycles, you would happily pick either one.
This man in Dubai though decided he wanted his motorbike to look like his horse, probably a white stallion. We’re just glad to finally see a vehicle covered in neither gold nor diamonds, just saying.
Noah’s (Modern) Ark
Dubai has an annual rainfall accumulation of 110.7mm (4.36 inches) per year, which makes you wonder why someone is building a giant ark?
Perhaps this is how Noah felt when he was instructed to build his famous Ark. The question is will this ark be decked out in gold or diamonds? Why not both?!
When you’ve had enough of the heat and are actually beginning to miss winter, step into the city’s ice lounge, the Middle East’s first.
Featuring ice sculptures, ice seating and tables and a uniquely illuminated interior, all at subzero temperatures, this spellbinding chillout will take help you cool down even in the midst of a heat wave.
World’s Longest Driverless Metro Line?
The Dubai Metro is a rapid transit rail network spanning the city. Up until 2016, the Dubai Metro was the world’s longest driverless metro network with a route length of 75 kilometers (47 mi), as recognized by Guinness World Records in 2012.
Nevertheless, the Redline on the network remains the world’s longest driverless single metro line.
In Dubai, where many residents are considered rich, it’s not as easy to stick out and be unique. In the US or Europe, you can just get a crazy supercar or an amazing Rolls Royce, and you instantly stand out on every street you drive on.
However, you can’t do the same in Dubai. So what you do is get a “regular” expensive car, and give it a unique twist. Take this chrome blue wrapped Aventador for example. The owner flew it with him to London, to show off over there.
Simba Vs Jaws
When several of the city’s residents lions, tigers, and cheetah’s as pets, whether openly or secretly, it means feeding them enough meat can be a tricky proposition.
However, instead of throwing them a steak, this person decided to treat them with an entire shark instead. The hunter just became the hunted.
Pizza Delivery Via Ferrari
Dubai is home to some of the finest restaurants in the world but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a home-delivered pizza.
Seriously, who doesn’t like pizza? When you order a pizza in Dubai expect the delivery guy to rock up in a Ferrari. Jerry must be cheery!
King Of The Road
With almost every resident trying their luck in customizing their cars to stand out from their peers, some have resorted to more unconventional means in order to be different.
This monster of Jeep would make for a great way to cruise through the city, but driving it will take another skill altogether. Good luck parking.