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Worth Knowing

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

Worth Knowing

- The world's tallest sky-scraper Burj Dubai is yet under construction and its precise final height, estimated at 900 m, is still kept a secret. It appears, however, that this record will not last for long. Another Dubai developing company, Najheel, has set up to surpass it by building an even higher tower. They say that Al Burj will reach 1200 meters up, an Australian architect Woods Bagot has already been commissioned for this project.

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- The Lighthouse Tower is another of Dubai future projects, planned to house the Dubai International Finance Centre. 66-floor and 400-meters tall building will be characterized by its own external lighting system that will instantly single it out among other skyscrapers of the city.

- A daring and dynamic idea is Rotating Tower by architect David Fisher, planned to adorn the future Dubai, too. It is claimed that each of its 68 floors will rotate individually for 360 degrees, constantly changing the building's visual shape. The ambitious project is planned to house a hotel and offices, as well as private apartments. Separate units of this futuristic wonder will be fabricated at especially for this purpose erected factory. It is envisaged that later on they will be exported to other cities of the world - New York, Moscow, Milan, Tokyo, and perhaps many more.

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- Dubai metro is to be opened in September 2009, construction works being almost finished. Its 2 lines with 55 stations will cover a total of 70 km; it will run 100 trains and carry1.2 million passengers every day. It boasts to become the longest fully automated railway system in the world.

- A construction of 75 km long Arabian Canal will start in 2009 as well. It is designed to be 150 meters wide and 6 meters deep, and its construction works will take 15 years.

- The third terminal of the Dubai International Airport was launch in 2008. It has increased the airport's capacity from 36 to 60 million passengers annually. It's intended exclusively for Emirates Airlines that has recently placed the largest-ever aircraft order in the history of aviation - 58 brand new double deck Airbuses A380. Also the new Al Maktoum International Airport is under construction now, and is expected to be finished in 2009. It's estimated that it will be able to handle 120 - 150 million people passenger traffic every year. Potentially, a capacity of the new hub will be 10 times over the existing one. It will have six parallel runways, one of them 4.5 km long CAT III, already positioned to be the world's largest.

- Disneyland in the dessert or Dubailand is among the projects to be launched in the nearest future too. Obviously, it will aim to outmatch the veterans of American entertainment industry, covering 13.9 million square meters large territory. The first stage of the project is planned to be completed by 2010. The complex will comprise also Mall of Arabia with 15-screen cinema and more than 1000 shops.

- Most of Dubai shopping centers are opened from 10.00 to 22.00, seven days a week. On Fridays, which is Islamic equivalent of Sunday, and during Ramadan most of the shops are closed till 16.00, however, then they are open till late at night. State institutions are closed on Fridays and Saturdays, while private companies on Fridays. Banks have a reduced working day on Thursdays - till 13.00.

- Dubai emirate has an arid, subtopic climate and clear, blue sky almost all year round. Occasional rainfalls are typical mostly to winter season (from November to February). In January, temperature may drop to +15ºC, but in July reach up to +48ºC and even more. Dubai emirate is located on the Arabian Gulf, with its territory totaling of 3900 km². The best time for visiting Dubai is from October to May, if only you do not intend to test your heat-resistance.

- Dubai taxi service is the most popular and handy mode of transportation in the city that, in no way, can be named pedestrian-friendly (with even no side-walks in many places). If you call an operator for a taxi to pick you up (phone: (04) 208 08080), a starting fare is 6 AED (dirham) plus 1.80 AED per km. Stopping a taxi on a street, starting fare is 3 AED. Or else, you can hire it for a whole day - 12 hours costs average 500 AED. Since 2007, so called "Ladies taxi" with female drivers are available. These charming pink-color cabs are meant for those Muslim women who do not drive and feel more comfortable if another woman is driving. A starting fare for a "Lady Taxi", however, is higher - 6 AED.

- City buses in Dubai run every half hour during the day, providing an opportunity to travel prom point A to point B in a colorful international crowd for 3 AED. By the way, air conditioners are installed also in Dubai bus stops.

- Where a service charge is not included in restaurant or bar bill, it is customarily to give a tip of 10 % of the bill.

- The federal water conservation law is expected to be introduced in the United Arab Emirates. Water in this desert area has always been as valuable as gold, the attitude towards water resources during the last few decades, however, has been increasingly careless. The reason is also large-scale construction works and rapid population growth. Currently, the UAE is the world's 2nd largest tap water consumer per person and the world's 2nd largest consumer of drinking bottled water as well.

- Alcohol in Dubai is available only in hotel bars and restaurants (yet there are so called "dry hotels" as well), and skyrocketing prices can easily compete with those in Moscow, for example. Another option for purchasing alcohol is Duty Free shops at Dubai airport - and that's it...

- Local inhabitants of Dubai are famous for their warmth and hospitality. Yet, being just a guest of the city, you will hardly meet any of them, as Arabs from other counties, Asians and ex-Soviet citizens prevail in the United Arab Emirates service sector.

- Arriving at the Dubai International Airport, do not be surprised that, apart from passport control, you will have to undergo iris-scanning too, and it may considerably extend time passengers spend in a queue. Security, however, seems to be one of the main attractions of this 21st century capital with very low, almost non-existent criminality. In a multinational country with sharply different levels of income, it requires strict measures to maintain this order. Foreigners, living and working in the UAE must regularly prolong their visas. Even a light offence may result in an outlawry, while iris-scanning ensures that an offender will never be able to return in this country.

- There is virtually no yellow press in Dubai, as private life is highly respected and sacred. It is inappropriate even to take photos of local women in their traditional costumes, without asking permission.

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