Page 1

Measured growth, way to go


bu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council Resource efficiency is vital. has just announced the details of Plan Many new areas and districts will be deAbu Dhabi 2030. It is easily more veloped as the city grows and the intentions ambitious than anything that has ever and patterns of this Urban Structure Framebeen attempted in the country. And yet it would work Plan come about. The plan is meant to be in the most measured and orderly way, so as to be the guide to diagnose new developments to avoid the pitfalls of reckless expansion that was insure they will be consistent with the needs witnessed in Dubai’s boom phase. and wants of the people of Abu Dhabi and In Dubai’s case, too much was squeezed into will come together as a coherent, viable urban too little timeframe. Projects of unprecedented whole. By K Raveendran scale were announced one after the other even The Urban Structure Framework Plan, as before the market could digest the news. Each it is known, is targeted to the year 2030 and new announcement was more dramatic than the an expected population of over three million previous one and it was a mad scramble for attention. In people. It is conceived in such a way that it can continue sharp contrast, the Abu Dhabi plan is phased out over to grow in a compatible way to five million people or a long period – no less than 20 years – and balance and even more. It is not geographically contained by existing moderation are the watchwords. administrative boundaries but, instead, encompasses The plan, drawn up after intense deliberations lastthe whole urban region of the city of Abu Dhabi out to ing almost two years, emphasises that Abu Dhabi will the natural boundaries that can reasonably be expected continue its practice of measured growth reflecting a from growth at the scale envisioned. At the same time, sustainable economy, rather than uncontrolled growth. it does not aspire to cover all of the emirate, leaving It draws inspiration from the former general plan for separate planning initiatives for Al Ain and the Western the city, prepared in the late 1980s, which has served the Region in accordance with the needs of the communicity well during a time of measured growth. The new ties there. plan acknowledges that Abu Dhabi is now a gracious, The plan takes special care to guard against a loss comfortable and well-functioning city of over a halfof coherence in the overall urban form, specifically million people. It has its origin in the conviction that preventing too much commercial development, comthe conceptual limits of the existing plan have now been mercial nodes coming up at the wrong places, too much reached and it does not have the scope to further shape high-density housing, and new road systems based on the type and intensity of development that can benefit limited access configurations. Most importantly, it the city moving forward. recognises the need for more human scaled streets. The The plan keeps harping on the sustainability theme. plan stresses that all trips begin and end with a walk, so It is essential to accommodate major new population walking should be made as comfortable as possible all growth without over development, without unnecesyear round. sarily tearing buildings down, and by conserving and Another welcome principle is to ensure that there is respecting natural and cultural resources. Oil has no potential stagnation and neglect in the core of the brought considerable wealth to the city, but it is a finite city, unlike as it happened in Dubai’s breakneck expanresource. Abu Dhabi’s future lies in the ability to causionary mode. Also in contrast, Plan 2030 aims to make tiously use existing wealth, to actively explore renewable Abu Dhabi a contemporary expression of an Arab city, energy production, to reduce the consumption of nonwhich has ‘people living, doing, and thriving in healthy renewable resources and to educate future generations. supportive proximity to each other’.

UAE Digest, May 2009 1

May 2009

DH 5


Local getaways AUTOS

Car loans are back FOOD

Budget entertaining at home




A safe ride on the Metro REAL ESTATE

Rental guide index

K Raveendran


: Sankaranarayanan



Anandi Ramachandran



Linda Benbow

Deputy Editor


Manju Ramanan

Associate Editor


Vanit Sethi

Staff Writer


Ambily VijayKumar



harikumar P B Ujwala Ranade

General Manager (Sales & Marketing)


Product Manager


Radhika Natu Vijayan G

Senior Advertisement Executive


Sanjana Antony



Ibrahim hameed



Biju Varghese

Office Co-ordinator


Daisy C Orfrecio

Circulation Supervisor


Saleem K U


salEs anD MarkEting

2 UAE Digest, May 2009

Sterling Publications FZ LLC Loft Office 2, G 01, Dubai Media City P.O. Box 500595, Dubai, UAE. Tel. + 971 4 367 8061, Fax +971 4 367 8613 Website: Email: Delhi: Anand Vardhan, D II/89, Pandara Road INDIA:New Delhi 110003. Tel. 00911 26517981 BAhRAIN: Sunliz Publications W.L.L, PO BOX 2114, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Tel: 00973 17276682 Printing: Asiatic Printing Press L.L.C., PB 3522, Ajman, UAE. Tel. 06 743 4221 Fax: 06 743 4223; email: Distribution: UAE: Tawseel. PB No 500666. Tel. (+971 4) 342 1512 Sultanate of Oman: Al-Atta’a Distribution Est. Kuwait: The Kuwaiti Group for Publishing & Distribution Co. Bahrain: Al hilal Corporation Qatar: Dar Al-Thaqafah Saudi Arabia: Saudi Distribution Company


Won in a Million! Mashreq traditionally made millionaires every month with the Mashreq Millionaire draw happening on the 10th of each month. This offer has become much more exciting as of February 15th, 2009, as Mashreq Millionaire draws are now conducted every Thursday, thus increasing the probability of spreading smiles across many faces in these difficult times.


t was the 19th of April. Mohammad Javed, 29-year-old Bangladeshi gentleman, had no clue that he had been a millionaire for the past 10 days. The MashreqMillionaire team had been busy arranging a surprise visit to Javed’s shop, where he worked as a salesman. At six in the evening, the marketing team, along with the Regional head of Sharjah, branch staff and sales staff, assembled outside his shop to give him the big news. Javed was still unaware. he could hear the noises and see the people gathering outside the store, yet he knew nothing. Cameramen, press and radio representatives were all assembled outside, waiting to greet the new MashreqMillionaire. Within fifteen minutes, the word was out and there was a buzz on the whole street; there was a millionaire next door! But Javed was still oblivious… It was becoming hard to conceal a five-foot long cheque of a million dirhams on a street filled with people! Excitement was building up and it was time for disclosure. One of us walked into the store – Lubna Optics on the Sharjah Rolla, near the Zahra hospital, and called Mohammad Javed outside. he was confused. For some fun, he was asked if he really was Mr Mohammad and if he could prove it. he gave us a perplexed look. Cutting the suspense short, Adham Noor, Senior Regional Manager, handed Mohammad Javed the huge cheque of Dh1,000,000/- on the streets of Sharjah! Mohammad didn’t know what had hit him!! The gathered crowd screamed, hugged and clapped in joy as the cameras rolled! Mohammad was an instant star! Overjoyed, Mohammad then walked the street with his

We give you the opportunity to be a millionaire every week

friends and Mashreq staff for the victory lap, showing-off his good fortune that had earned him a million dirhams in just forty days from the day he had invested in MashreqMillionaire saving certificates. The curiosity of neighbours continued as the cheque was then displayed in the shop window. We called his mother in Bangladesh to give her the good news. “i have won 2 crore takkas mom,” he said in Bangla. “I have a dream,” he said, “to make a hospital back home, and of course marry a beautiful girl now!” For Muhammad, an ordinary day at the shop turned into a historical one. This is the magic of MashreqMillionaire!

MashreqMillionaire certificates may be purchased from • All mashreq branches • 65 + UAE Exchange outlets • 13 Al Ghurair Exchange outlets For more details call 04 424 4444 or visit

You lead a stress free life

8074-MM Banner-UAE Digest.indd 1

we do banking, you do life.

3/31/09 6:21:50 PM

UAE Digest, May 2009 3

Contents 10 Getting ready for the Metro The first phase of the Dubai Metro is set to begin in September. Will it run on time, how safe will it be both on the rails and inside the carriages – these and many other questions are answered by the Director of Rail Operations, RTA

54 Negotiating the urge to buy Will you buy the car you can afford or the one you dream of? Potential new car buyers have had to meet ever more stringent personal credit scoring and loan criteria in order to secure new car financing. Now, however, customers at some showrooms can opt for new finance deals put in place by friendly banks.

18 On the Cover Home entertaining – cook at home to save money Eating in is the new eating out. Folks are once again inviting each other to their homes for dinner parties, get-togethers, barbeques and ‘pot luck’ evenings. Get all your ingredients for both gourmet and easier recipes from your local shops, then cook up a party of fun.

4 UAE Digest, May 2009

58 Guide to rental prices A private real estate broker has published a rental price guide to guide tenants on approximately what they should be paying for rent in certain areas.

60 Short breaks – local holidays To some a ‘local destination’ lies within the boundaries of this country, to others the words mean a short flight to nearby countries such as Oman. Shorter breaks and getaways are now a normal topic of conversation.


Boardroom boxing for Dubai executives Company executives prepare to go toe-to-toe at ‘White Collar Fight Night’ created for contestants with no prior boxing experience who can take the mental discipline, determination and dedication they show in the build-up and event participation, back to their workplace. Among the contestants will also be four women, eager to show that multi-tasking is not the only aspect of a woman’s skill set. Each bout consists of three two-minute rounds, under the supervision of a professional referee. There are no losers; anyone who trains and then competes in White Collar is a winner.

Action from White Collar Boxing 2008

From Right to Left: Prof. Eng Sorin Dimitriu President of Bucharest Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Tahir Akhtar, Chairman, Dubai Business Advisors and Mr. Nicolae Saracu, Economic Counsellor & Head of the Mission, Consulate General of Romania


graphics designer, a financial advisor and a lawyer are among the fourteen company executives who will trade blows at the White Collar Fight Night which takes place on Friday May 15 at the Aldalous Ballroom, Habtoor Grand Hotel, Dubai. Now in its fourth year, the event which combines a black tie dinner with a programme of entertainment and fundraising, culminating in the White Collar boxing bouts, is a night that will certainly pack a punch. This year’s fight night has attracted company managers and office personnel, both male and female from a range of industry sectors. Age ranges and fitness levels may vary but the common denominator is that as novices they are all determined to master the noble art of boxing. White Collar Boxing was specifically 6 UAE Digest, May 2009

Taking charity to new heights

Sixth annual Vertical Marathon, in association with Médecins Sans Frontières and the Red Crescent Society All 1334 stairs of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers will spring into action this May as participants take part in the sixth annual Vertical Marathon. The event, to take place on May 29, is organised by The Big Apple gym in the Boulevard at Jumeirah Emirates Towers to benefit Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) with the support of the Red Crescent Society. Enthusiastic runners will epitomise the term ‘early risers’; kicking off at 8am, they will ascend the 52 floors and 265 metres of the Office Tower of Jumeirah Emirates Towers which stands at 350 metres tall. While raising their heartbeats and spirits, they will also be raising resources and awareness for charity. For the safety and comfort of all participants, the marathon will

commence at 30-second intervals for individuals and one-minute for group entries. Men, women and children of all fitness levels are encouraged to enter what promises to be a fun and energetic community event to support good health and goodwill. The Consulate General of Romania, in collaboration with Dubai Business Advisors, promoted mutual business opportunities between the two countries when Dr Tahir Akhtar, Chairman of Dubai Business Advisors and avid promoter of UAE business opportunities to the world, hosted a lunch in honour of the President of Bucharest Chamber of Commerce and his delegation of top Romanian business leaders recently. Over 25 leading businessmen came together to discuss and explore opportunities in various sectors of energy, oil, engineering and trading in UAE. His Excellency Mr Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), officially inaugurated DED’s new branch office in The Dubai Mall.The new office will provide several business registration and licensing services including issuance, renewal, amendment and cancellation of initial approvals; enquiries regarding licensing procedures; changes to existing licences; cancellation and establishment of civil works companies; issuance of “To Whom It May Concern” certificates; fees payment and licences delivery; and issuance, renewal, amendment and cancellation of ‘Intlaq’ licences and trade permits. The branch office will also receive complaints on consumer protection and trademarks and enquiries and fine payment. Located in the lower ground floor next to management offices in the Arabian Court, it is open to the public from 7.30am to 2.30pm.


A fanfare opening for Oasis Centre


aving previously been razed to the ground by a fire, a new Oasis Centre has risen from the ashes and bloomed into a walkable, four-storey mall with around 80 shops and eateries. It is located between the second and third interchange on the arterial Sheikh Zayed Road, offering the convenience of a neighbourhood shopping centre, with the variety that comes with big malls. The centre was officially inaugurated by His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, at an exclusive launch, featuring a display of aerial acrobatics, an energetic performance by Dubai Drums, indoor fireworks, and a rainfall of ticker-tape. After the entertainment, Sheikh Ahmed was shown around the mall where he cut the opening

ribbons on a number of shops on each floor. He officially cut the ribbon at Emax and then entered to inspect the vast premises. Speaking on the occasion, Micky Jagtiani, Chairman – Landmark Group, said, ”Dubai has made its mark on the international landscape as a key shopping destination, and the rebirth of Oasis Centre is a further affirmation of the vibrancy of our retail industry. I affirm that the core elements of value and convenience resonate through every aspect of the new Oasis Centre.” Built in 30 months, the architectural concept stems from a vision to create a traditional yet modern edifice that exudes warmth, harmony and

Vipen Sethi, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Micky Jagtiani

convenience for the entire family. On entering the centre, shoppers are immediately greeted by a dramatic glass dome – the largest suspended dome in the Middle East, which is designed to radiate light throughout the mall. The

UAE Digest, May 2009 7


Tokyo Street in Splash store

distinctive, inward-looking interior design of Oasis Centre provides customers with a panoramic view of all the stores, and has a unique vertical transportation system in place for convenient traffic movement. Suspended from the dome is a striking multi-coloured spiral feature which offsets the curved glass panels. Vipen Sethi - CEO, Landmark Group said “It has taken months of hard work and unwavering commitment to make this dream a reality. I do believe that this new Oasis Centre will carve a niche


UAE Digest, May 2009

in the retail industry and become the destination of choice for those seeking exceptional value in an easy shopping environment.” The mall spans a total area of 1.44 million square feet and retail space just under one million square feet, spread across four levels, with approximately 76 per cent of the stores open at the time of the launch. It will house 77 stores, including all of Landmark Group’s core businesses – Centrepoint including Babyshop, Shoe Mart, Splash, Lifestyle

& Beautybay, Max, Home Centre, Q Home Décor, E-max, Fun City, Gourmet Station, Spaces, Shoexpress and the Group operated international franchise businesses. It also provides a diverse shopping experience with a number of globally recognised brands, including Carrefour Express, the first Fitness First exclusively for women, Sun & Sand Sports, Nike Lifestyle, New Look, Koton, Ecco, Valencia, etc. Established brands have found the opportunity to reinvent themselves at the Oasis Centre and are launching several new store concepts such as Fun City with a focus on futuristic interactivity for children and teens. The mall will also house Splash’s second largest store in the UAE. The trendy fashion brand has introduced the ‘Tokyo Street’ within its store, which is a Japanese marketplace inspired area where customers can streetshop for accessories, T-shirts and denim. Located in the heart of the store is an art and retail area dedicated to the region’s burgeoning design talent. This space will provide a platform for UAE’s most promising designers to not only showcase but also retail their creations to Splash’s customers absolutely free. Speaking at the launch, Mr. Raza Beig, CEO, Splash said: “The Tokyo street which runs across this store is testimony to the innovation that our team of designers and buyers breathe into our business. It caters to an evolving breed of young customers who constantly look for novelty. With the new store launches, we will strive further to seek a perfect balance between being trendsavvy and offering value-for-money.”

New Landmark Group brands in Dubai at the Oasis Centre EMAX is Dubai’s largest electronic store. The 115,000 square feet store features over 20 departments and over 300 world class brands. It is every electronics lover’s dream-come-true, a two-storey jungle with over a million consumables on display. The store focuses on complete solutions for the customer which go beyond electronics and just selling products with the Experience Zones, PC clinic and Print Shop. Neelesh Bhatnagar, Chief Executive Officer, Max Electronics, said: “This flagship store is a significant stepping stone in our plans to expand Emax’s presence across the UAE and the region as a whole. The Emax store here has been designed to seamlessly enhance the shopping experience, and I extend a warm welcome to everyone to visit the store and experience the great ambience, helpful, friendly and insightful staff, and of course, the wide array of products and services we have to offer.” Established in June 2005, Emax has grown rapidly with 11 stores across the GCC countries. It has established itself as a leading consumer electronics retailer in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, has been at the forefront of developing some of the most unique retailing concepts, and pioneered the big box retail format in the Middle East. They offer a wide range of goods and services - consumer electronics as well as related merchandise, such as computers, computer software and peripherals, video games, music, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, mobile phones, digital cameras, car stereos and video cameras, as well as home appliances such as washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators. They also sell lighting solutions, outdoor and camping gear, babycare products, and furniture, and are positioning themselves as the one-stop shop for all sorts of consumer electronic goods and services. Q Home Décor – Luxury furnishings made affordable, the store is over 40,000 square feet – with the illusion of an even larger space. Influenced by the cosmopolitan lifestyle of global cities like New York, Paris and London, the store features solid wood case goods, stunning Carrera marble fireplaces, exquisite Italian

Neelesh Bhatnagar

design sofas, and fine home accessories, amongst others. A feast for the eyes and a delight to the senses, Gourmet Station stands apart in the Dubai shopping and dining market by offering specialised gourmet food products in a culinary theatre atmosphere. Here, the pleasure of eating, the art of preparation, and a true market shopping experience bring a tantalising fusion of retro glam and elegance to the modern farmer’s market.

With its mantra of ‘Go from plain to vain’, Spaces will open its flagship hypersalon here. A large space is devoted to a myriad of hair, face, nail, massage, waxing and other services for men, women and kids. Grooming at Spaces is mid-market priced, making the ‘plain to vain’ experience extremely affordable and accessible. Beautybay provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for salon, beauty products and accessories. Focusing on providing unique assortments of leading beauty brands, emerging brands and niche brands, this store combines product breadth, value and convenience of a complete beauty superstore. Shoexpress opens its very first store here, bringing a true ‘value’ footwear business to the region. This shoe and accessory store provides the most extensive range of fashionable products for the entire family at amazingly low prices. Catering to all age-groups with a mix of local and international brands, this mall offers a wide range of items from jewellery to watches, perfumes to cosmetics, gift items, rugs, and sporting goods to electronics. The new shopping centre comes with a food court, which features a delectable spread – from fast food to speciality restaurants and cafes. There is a parking facility with ample spaces to accommodate 1,550 vehicles across two basement levels.

May 2009, UAE Digest 9


An artist’s vision of the Metro on Sheikh Zayed Road

Getting ready for the Metro The first phase of the Dubai Metro – called the Red Line – is set to begin its inaugural run on September 9. Ramadan Abdullah Mohammed, Director of Rail Operations, Rail Agency, Dubai Metro, clears the picture in response to questions posed by UAE Digest


Will all the future routes and dates be adhered to, given the current climate of recession?

Yes, most definitely. The recession will not hamper the projected dates of the commencement of operations of the Metro.

10 UAE Digest, May 2009

Ramadan Abdullah Mohammed


Have payments been made to contractors working on the project?

Yes payments have been made to the contractors.


Metro via duct near Mall of the Emirates

“Yes, payments have been made to the contractors”


What model has Dubai borrowed from, and why?

There are two global benchmarks that Dubai Metro is based on - the Docklands Light Railway in London, and the Singapore Metro. They are both driverless systems and both have successfully reached target ridership as well as reduced traffic congestion in their respective cities.


Who is financing the Metro system?

The Dh15.5 billion project has been funded by the government. RTA has recently introduced the Dubai Metro Naming Rights project. It is the first programme of its kind to help improve transport infrastructure and services with

partnership funding, raised through a Naming Rights Initiative. Revenues generated by the sale of the Naming Rights will be reinvested in expanding the Metro network and for delivering better services. The Dubai Metro Naming Rights Project is a world-first revenue model for public transport infrastructure that will create unique opportunities for corporate partners, and long-term benefits for Dubai’s transport users. Currently, Dh1.8 billion has been raised by the deals through which 10 stations out of 23 have been bought, while there are nine other stations out of the remaining 14 that have been funded by private developers. RTA Metro representatives understand that Dubai Metro has an incredible value as a communication and promotional platform for increasing the awareness of national and international companies and reinforcing their positioning in Dubai, as well as

taking part in the development of the most advanced urban rail system. In the business of good government, this initiative makes sound business sense. It is a win-win situation, both for companies as well as transport users. By generating additional revenues, the RTA Metro will be able to reinvest in growing the Dubai Metro network faster (more lines, more stations, better trains) and in delivering even better services (better stations, better maintenance, better equipment, more comfort). Part of the money raised will be invested in a substantial corporate responsibility programme. The naming rights opportunity places companies on the fast track to building a successful long-term presence in Dubai. The other sources of finance on the projects include advertising on the Metro projects - which have contributed to Dh3 billion - and the leasing of retail outlets of the stations.

May 2009, UAE Digest 11


A Metro station

“Metro-Airport links are critical and provide seamless travel for tourists. The Dubai Metro will have two airport stations - Terminal 1 and Terminal 3”


Who is operating the Metro system?

Serco will be doing the operations and maintenance of the Metro project for the first 10 years.


What will be the price of tickets? Will there be season tickets for regular Metro users? The price of tickets is still under study by the fare committee and will be decided in consideration with other modes of transport.


What facilities can we expect at Metro stations - cafeterias, toilets, ATMs etc? What will be the facilities inside the trains? There will be restaurants and cafes, retail consumer items, real estate and banking services, as well as spaces for ATMs. The

12 UAE Digest, May 2009

trains will have wi-fi facility and will also enable the use of mobile phones.

for causing damage to trains and stations, and putting lives of passengers in danger.



The RTA and Dubai Police recently signed an MoU on the security services to be provided for Metro services. More than 600 police officers will be deployed for security, while there are more than 3,000 surveillance cameras in and around the stations. Two transportation police stations in Al Ittihad and BurJuman station have been established, in addition to eight police offices in the Metro stations, while a specialised operations room has been fully equipped, dedicated for Metro stations and transportation security department. Fines and penalties will also be announced later against those responsible


What about security at Metro stations and in the trains for people returning home late at nights, especially for women?

Will there be any ‘women-only’ carriages?

Each train will have five compartments, which can accommodate 897 passengers in peak hours, divided into three classes - Golden Class, Ladies & Children’s Class, and Silver Class. There is plenty of space for trolleys and bags to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for women and children travelling on the Metro. Have all the staff been recruited?

Recruitment for the operations of the Metro is being done by Serco, wherein their expert team of recruiters are currently scouring countries such as Thailand, Philippines, India, China, Pakistan, Kenya and Nepal, to name a few. They are in the process of recruiting

over 3,000 talented employees in the following roles: station masters, station agents, engineers, technicians, and a whole range of support services, including HR, finance and marketing. A comprehensive Emiratisation programme has been developed, whereby 30 per cent of UAE Nationals will operate the Metro. This programme will form long-lasting partnerships with the best universities, colleges and schools in Dubai, and build a sustainable pipeline of local talent. As a result of this recruitment approach, the Dubai Metro will have an international reputation of excellence, setting a global benchmark.


What is the status on advertising at the stations? Advertising on the Metro - which includes spaces in the stations as well as train carriages operating along the Red and Green Lines extending 75 kilometres, the footbridges, underpasses and pillars of Dubai Metro track, as well as emergency exits and mobile display monitors has been awarded to a consortium of three companies (SMRT Media, Singapore; Kassab Media; and Wellmark Communications) for 10 years. According to the contract, the consortium will plan the advertising space and attend to design, operation, and marketing of media services in Metro stations and on board carriages. RTA revenues of this project are in the order of Dh3 billion.

“Each train will have five compartments, which can accommodate 897 passengers in peak hours, divided into three classes - Golden Class, Ladies & Children’s Class, and Silver Class” The design of each station is based upon architectural ingredients of traditional buildings such as wind towers, alleyways, oriels and internal arches, while taking into consideration the aesthetic and technical values of those elements. As a result, the design of those stations will accordingly become a natural extension of old souks, Heritage & Diving Village, as well as old and contemporary control

towers in the area. RTA has kept in place a stringent mechanism for controlling participating brands to prevent any overuse or excessive commercial manipulation.


Why is Dubai Metro mostly overground? Is it because of less road obstruction? Will the new routes have more underground stations?

Facilities at the Red Concourse of Dubai Metro


Why are some stations being named after brands rather than their localities? Only 23 of the 47 stations on both the lines have been offered for the Naming Rights Project so as to encourage partnerships. In keeping with the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015, including the social development sector, particularly for protecting national identity and enhancing the social fabric, RTA has maintained the names of stations located at landmarks and historical locations such as Baniyas Station, without imposing commercial names. Similarly, a number of stations carry the names of districts. The heritage design of Al Ras Station and Al Ghubaiba Station under the Green Line of Dubai Metro is inspired from the past, matching Dubai’s rich heritage with the local history of the surrounding area.

Facilities at the Green Concourse of Dubai Metro

May 2009, UAE Digest 13


A Type 3 Metro Station

The Dubai Metro is designed to complement and be integrated with other modes of transport. The locations of the stations were planned on the anticipated needs of commuters around the area and the strategic importance of the location. Almost all the stations planned are located around strategic landmarks, residential and commercial areas. The Red Line has most of its stations overground, while the Green Line has most of its stations underground. The new routes are under study and information will be revealed shortly.


How will Dubai government encourage more people to use the Metro as a more cost-effective, ecofriendly mode of transport? The Dubai Metro is being designed in a manner to complement other modes of transport such as buses, taxis and abras. This ‘transport integration’ aims to incorporate strategic bus/boat feeder points with flexible and user-friendly Metro interchange stations. The Metro will serve as a key connector, linking it to Dubai International Airport. Provision for ‘park & ride’ facilities near the terminals and at strategic locations along the railway route will further promote the use of the Metro. It is certain that the modern train network will boost logistics and considerably reduce transportation time, as the trains will not be subjected to traffic jams experienced by car users. It will provide travel in a safe and comfortable environment. This convenient mode of transport will become the preferred method of travel, and in due course will

14 UAE Digest, May 2009

“RTA has maintained the names of stations located at landmarks and historical locations such as Baniyas Station, without imposing commercial names” invalidate the economic argument for using cars, as it will be more affordable and dependable. By having a safe, fast and convenient method of transport with effective coverage and reach of the city’s business, residential and commercial centres, the city becomes more accessible, thereby enhancing its competitiveness. This, in turn, means the city becomes attractive for holding international conventions, sporting events, exhibitions, conferences and other international events. Furthermore, ease of travel within the city encourages tourism across historical areas and sight-seeing. In this regard, Metro-Airport links are critical and provide seamless travel for tourists. The Dubai Metro will have two airport stations - Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. For airport lines, ‘remote-in-town’ checking facilities will be provided that will alter the way air travellers process their journey to the airports. Entering a remote-checking station will be equivalent to entering an airport lounge air passengers may check-in their luggage and go on about their business until their time of travel approaches when they will board the airport train and catch their flight.


What about connections to other modes of transport at stations and will there be enough parking space at all stations?

‘Park & Ride’ facilities will be provided at Rashidiya and Jumeirah Islands for 3,000 cars each on the Red Line, while provisions for 2,500 car parks will be available at Qusais Depot on the Green Line. Besides this, most of the stations will have provisions for car parking, although not on an extensive basis. Yes, the Rail Agency is in coordination with the Public Transport Agency and the Marine Agency to organise the transport around Metro stations. Every station caters for buses, taxis, private car dropoff/pick-up, bicycles and pedestrians, water transport, park-and-ride parking garages, the Al Sofouh Transit System, the Jebel Ali Monorail, and others.


Is the driverless system completely safe? What is the backup in case of automation failure? According to statistics, a driver, on an average, makes one mistake in eight working hours, while the probability of a computer making one mistake in eight hours is nine in a million. The recent accident that took place in a western country occurred because the driver was busy talking on a mobile phone, thus failing to see the red light, and hence not changing his route. On the other hand, the computer has no friends, relatives or children. A mistake, in that sense therefore, is not possible at all. No accidents have been recorded of trains

that operate by computers, since the train will not move and the doors will not close before giving audio and visual signals to passengers. The Rail Agency has appointed an Independent Safety Assessor, who ensures that system requirements are completely defined, the risks are eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level, and the system is operational in revenue service. The Dubai Metro has various features, which will contribute to its safety and reliability. These include a Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) system, bottom contact conductor rail with insulated covers as used on Metros in Singapore, Italy, Taipei and Oslo, a radio system that integrates the Metro with the emergency services, and continuously recording front and rear facing cameras on rolling stock for incident investigation. Other features include platform screen doors, derailment containment by means of concrete plinth upstand throughout Metro mainline, continuous fencing, and an Intruder Alarm System to prevent people from entering the guideway, track maintenance vehicles fitted with the CBTC. Besides these, provisions of concrete barriers, enhanced parapets on bridges, and a Wayside Obstacle Detection System will protect the guideway from intrusion by road vehicles and other objects. A walkway is provided along the entire alignment for access and emergency evacuation, and finally, the project is in compliance with various benchmark standards. Safety is an absolute prerequisite for RTA. Training and operating procedures will undergo extensive testing and trials over the next twelve months to ensure that the system is safe. We have proven and tested international security measures in place to ensure a safe ride for passengers. The RTA will monitor the Metro operations, although the contract for its operations and maintenance has been awarded to Serco Middle East for 10 years. The UK-based company is currently running operations for Docklands Light Railway, the Manchester Metro, the Northern Rail, the Mersey Rail in the UK, the Great Southern Railway in Australia, and the Copenhagen Metro in Denmark. Safety of passengers and the system

“All staff deputed at the trains and the stations will be trained as the First Response Team in order to provide first aid before the police and paramedics arrive in case of any untoward incident� is the top priority of the RTA. Train operation is protected by Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, which is a tested and proven technology used around the world. If any train breaks down on the track, all trains behind it stop automatically. So, no crashes. The ATP tells us about the movement of the train and other trains around. If there is any problem, it will immediately stop the train automatically. Through the system, we would know the locations of all trains in the control room. There will be cameras inside the cars of all the trains and at the stations to monitor passengers. The construction material used at the stations and the trains is fire-resistant with zero halogen and no toxics. It is also scratch-proof. In case of emergencies: The trains are run by computers at the Central Control Room. The computers have software backups as well for extra protection. Also, if there is any problem in the train and it cannot be operated from the Control Room, our staff in the train will drive it manually to the nearest station. There will be at least one staff member on every train to help passengers and to ensure safety. A comprehensive evacuation plan is in

place. The first priority will be to drive the train manually to the nearest station. If it is not possible, passengers will be allowed to disembark on the tracks. The tracks have walkways to help passengers walk up to the nearest evacuation point. There is one evacuation point at every 700 metres, according to the international standard. If the passengers are on the elevated track, they will be able to use stairs to come down, or they will be able to come out of the tunnels. Tunnels have ventilation fans and have a system of extracting any gases. All staff deputed at the trains and the stations will be trained as the First Response Team in order to provide first aid before the police and paramedics arrive in case of any untoward incident. There will be a dedicated security force not only to protect passengers but also trains, stations and tracks. The Metro Police is being developed by the Dubai Police. Also, there will be guards and attendants at all the stations.


Will the Metro be extended to other emirates?

As of now, we have no formal plans of extending the Metro to other emirates, as this has to be planned and approved by the federal authorities.

A Metro carriage being offloaded from a ship

May 2009, UAE Digest 15


The art of ageing


ge is no longer something to be concealed or denied. Today people confront issues of aging headon, taking a proactive approach to alleviate its symptoms and retard its advance. With an aging population worldwide, this has become a hot topic rather than a taboo. Clinique La Prairie (CLP) of Montreux, Switzerland, has long been the acknowledged leader in preventing and treating age-related conditions, restoring youthful energy and enhancing the quality of life. The people who go there have decided to make a major investment in their health. The fact that most of the patients come as the result of personal reference and 50-60 per cent are return patients attest to their complete trust and satisfaction. The clinic’s foremost strength in preventive medicine is Revitalisation Therapy, administered exclusively there, for which it has gained a worldwide reputation. Approximately 30 per cent of its clients undergo a week-long programme, which evolved from the original live-cell therapy. Advanced CLP Extract, which forms the basis of modern treatment has been shown, through laboratory experiments and clinical tests, to have a regenerative effect on aging

cells and to strengthen the immune system. The extract also slows down the propagation of cancer cells and metastases and has a beneficial effect on hormonal and metabolic functions that have been weakened as a result of aging. Within the wide range of medical services available, three specialised centres address specific aspects of aging: • The Centre for Aesthetic Medicine offers diagnostic consultations and treatments in aesthetic medicine, dermatology and plastic surgery. Among the most frequently administered treatments are Botox injections for wrinkle reduction, laser treatments of skin discolorations, injections of hyaluronic acid and fillers, Liposuction and liposculpting, breast reconstruction and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). • The Menopause Centre focuses on preventive approaches and effective treatments for women approaching or undergoing menopause, as well as men experiencing its male equivalent, andropause. • The Dental Clinic, which specialises in aesthetic dentistry, has developed procedures that have significantly reduced the time required for major dental work, normally

Dr. Paul Niehans was born on 21 November 1882, the nephew of FrederickWilliam III, King of Prussia. In 1931, he attempted the first injections of fresh animal cells at Clinique La Prairie. Since then, the clinic has become world renowned for its cellular revitalisation therapy, and also for its medical and health spa, beauty facilities and aesthetic surgery – in fact, it is now widely recognised to be amongst the most luxurious, sophisticated and advanced health and medical spas in the world. In the spring of 1953, Dr. Niehans was called by doctors at the Vatican to the bedside of His Holiness, who had fallen ill. At their request, he successfully administered cell therapy to Pope Pius XII.

16 UAE Digest, May 2009

Highly advanced skin products are the clinic’s other passion, having developed, first, the La Prairie range some 30 years ago. More recently, Swiss Perfection has been created with no alcohol nor perfume, and is now the exclusive in-house product. spread out over several weeks or months. A collection of the latest medical news and information on various approaches to weight management and its benefits on our health was presented by CLP recently, in Dubai. The theme of focus was weight control and reduction of obesity which not only prevents disease and increases self-esteem, but also adds quality years to our life. It teaches healthier eating habits and regular exercise regimens. Dr. Anne Laurent-Jaccard, MD Internal Medicine, Vice-President of the Swiss Association for the Study of Metabolism and Obesity, and Consultant at CLP has treated patients of different age groups for obesity and eating disorders for the past 25 years. She spoke comprehensively about the factors that lead to better weight control, especially those related to metabolism. “Metabolism is our body’s energy burn rate. If we don’t obtain enough energy when dieting, we destroy our muscles and eventually gain more weight than we first lost. Therefore, it is mandatory to respect our individual needs and sensations when eating and to engage in regular physical activity”, she stated.


Spa(ce) for sensations Sensasia Urban Spa on the Palm Jumeirah trunk is an ideal place to let the tension ease out of your system By Vanit Sethi


ensasia Urban Spa on the Palm Jumeirah, at Al Nafura Beach Club – an invititation beckoned enticingly for a trial of ‘The Gentleman’s Tonic’. Deciding to give it a try, I checked out further to find out what this so-called tonic was. And there it was mentioned – a value-packed combo to escape the stress of the economic downturn (Wow!). Now, what was this ‘value-packed combo’? A 60-minute Eve Lom facial and another 60-minute Balinese SensMassage at almost half the usual price. It was time for another decision – which day and what time to go. The beginning of the week means more work and less time to relax, while the end of the week is relaxing by itself. So, it has to be mid-week, I thought, to let off work pressures and come back rejuvenated the next day.

Stepping in the spa a little after 3pm, I am heralded inside treatment rooms with typically East Asian décor named after exotic destinations like Samui, Ubud, Langwaki, Awaji, Java, Nha Trang and Angkor. Soft Asian music is relayed in dimly lit rooms to help you completely unwind and relax. After being asked to inhale the fragrance of three different kinds of oils, I settle for the lavender perfumed one and lie down to let the hands of the masseuse do their job on my body. “Which areas would you like me to concentrate on?” she asks. “Back and shoulder,” I reply without batting an eyelid. After all, staring at a computer screen and tapping on the keyboard while sitting in a chair for eight hours can get a little tough on the shoulders. “And what kind of pressure would you like – soft, medium or

An urban Asian touch SensAsia Urban Spa first opened in The Village Mall in 2004 and is for women’s only. In February 2009, SensAsia Urban Spa The Palm Jumeirah opened for women, and for the first time, offers the modern men of Dubai a new sanctuary to relax and unwind away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Sensasia’s most popular treatment with both men and women is Blissfully Unaware, a hot stone massage followed by a 60-minute facial by Aromatherapy Associates. The spa has a monthly newsletter, which is sent to all their clients each month, telling them of the latest news and offerings at the spa. They have a loyalty programme which rewards clients by giving them points they can further exchange for treatments.

hard?” Being a middle path person, I instantly respond “Medium”. While dexterous fingers begin the treatment, I drift off into sweet slumber, ably assisted by subdued lighting and melodious music. For the next one hour, I felt tension being squeezed out of my nerves and joints. It was extremely difficult trying to keep awake, but there was no need to either. It seemed little more than ten minutes, but an hour was up, and it was time now for the facial. Luckily, I didn’t have to get up and sit upright for that. With a good deal of application, rubbing, scrubbing and cleansing, it felt like my face was cleared of all the toxins. A good one hour of special treatment on the forehead, eyes, nose, cheeks and lips completely refreshes and energises you. A look in the mirror confirms the effort of a job well done. Now, time to sit back and savour the experience with ginger-lemon tea and slices of cucumber and carrots. Stretching my limbs with satisfaction, I head for the shower room. Fiddling with the taps, a burst of water tingles my skin and I revel in the luxurious spray. After adequately shampooing and soaping myself, I scrub myself dry and the bathrobe provides me a warm feeling. As I head out of the spa, it’s nearing 6pm. Yet again, I have to battle the traffic going home to Sharjah. But this was another day. As the radio in my car blares out the sixties’ Carpenters hit Top of the World, I’m ready to take on the world.

UAE Digest, May 2009 17


Spicing it up! In the cool comfort of the tastefully designed Spice Island restaurant in Renaissance Dubai Hotel, mouth-watering Sri Lankan dishes line up the tables By Vanit Sethi


teardrop in the Indian Ocean.’ That’s the way many travel brochures describe the exotic island of Sri Lanka. In fact, that’s the way it looks in a world map. But this teardrop can bring tears to many eyes through its spicy, fiery food, as many mediapersons discovered at the inauguration of the Sri Lankan Food Festival at the Spice Island restaurant in Renaissance Dubai Hotel. With the sun blazing outside at the beginning of April, scribes were tucking in mouthfuls of spicy snacks from Serendip (as Sri Lanka was known earlier). In the cool comfort of the tastefully designed Spice Island, mouth-watering dishes lined up the tables. First, an array of salads and juices to calm the heat-exhausted nerves. With a wide variety that included fried eggplant salad, bitter gourd salad, egg mayonnaise, beetroot and onion salad, tuna tomato salad, spicy pineapple salad, coconut salad, fresh garden greens, tomato spring onions and Maldives fish, one had to remind oneself that these were just the appetisers. Along with Aloo Maas Soup (Potato Mutton Soup), the palates of the jaded journalists were truly tickled. But the main course was yet to follow. As conversations began, appetites too started building up. The spicy aroma of samba rice, yellow ghee rice, vegetable noodles, king fish coconut curry, and pepper roasted chicken curry started filling the nostrils, making it impossible not to savour the variegated spread. For the really hungry stomachs, there was also beef stew with onion and chilli, stir-fried squid, green beans coconut curry, devilled potatoes, tampered dal, and cashewnut curry. To add some more kick to the flavours, there were Sinhalese pickles like Katta Sambola, Seeni Sambola and lime pickle, along with fried pappadums. With a satiated tummy, sweet tooths start aching and looking out for desserts to complete the experience. So, vying for attention were fruit salad, Vatalappum, coconut toffee, Bibikkan (coconut cake), milk toffee, Riban cake, coconut pancake, and jelly with custard. Truly Yummy!

Taste and travel

The Sri Lankan Food Festival that ran from April 7 to 21 was organised in cooperation with the Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), SriLankan Airlines, the Renaissance Dubai Hotel and the Sri Lanka Business Council. Sous Chef Chandana Kathriarachchi’s award winning culinary team included Assistant Pastry Chef Achala Weerasinghe who was recently named Best Pastry Chef of the Year at the Salon Culinaire. Those having a meal at the restaurant were eligible to win two round trip tickets to Sri Lanka and other prizes via a raffle draw. Diners just needed to drop their business cards to participate in the raffle. The Middle East has outperformed all other regions of the world, by becoming the fastest growing tourism market for Sri Lanka.

18 UAE Digest, May 2009


Harbouring high thoughts By Linda Benbow


f you think that all of Dubai’s Friday brunches are much of a muchness, then listen to what The Observatory at The Harbour Hotel tells its customers before they deign to enter the premises: ‘Please note that we will hold your table for 15 minutes only. Our restaurant observes a Smart-Casual dress code: Long trousers, collared shirt, closed shoes, no torn jeans, no shorts, and no sleeveless tops for gentlemen. For ladies, no beachwear, no sportswear and no flip flops. We apologise in advance if any inconvenience is caused.’ Well that tells you! Actually, it makes you want to go there all the more so as to be sitting with decent folk who merely want to eat and drink and socialise on a Friday afternoon. The price for the pink bubbly brunch is not cheap, thus ensuring the ‘in’ crowd can enjoy themselves in the manner in which they are accustomed to. The Observatory is on the hotel’s 52nd floor, from where you can get magnificent views of Dubai Marina, the coastline, and gaze inland towards the hinterland and building sites stretching towards the Emirates Road and beyond. Once taken to your table and seated, the waiter disappears, and another one comes to explain the routine and show you around the 360 degree circular restaurant. A host of roasts waits for the chef to carve slices for you, accompanied by favourite choices such as Yorkshire pudding, small roast potatoes, hot vegetables and accompaniments cooked with herbs and spices to tempt. Or choose salad options and ask the chef to toss and mix them together in his own special way, creating your own version of classic favourites. Waldorf salad without the waldorfs (walnuts), anyone?

Middle Eastern breakfast choices of fattoush, beans, and other buffet delights lead on to salmon and prawns set out in small bowls and plates – waiting for you to add capers, onions, etc to the receptacles. The perennial favourite of prawn cocktail (lettuce topped with prawns in a seafood sauce) are already made up in sundae glasses for your ease. Look through the glass walls into the kitchens where chefs prepare your choice of hot food – to be delivered to your table within 15 minutes. This is where to order half a dozen large oysters served raw with half a lemon and/or cooked lobsters neatly cut in half for your convenience. Colourful dessert options catch the eye and tempt the palate. Sweets for the children, pistachio flavoured crème brulee having its sugary top blow-torched to a crisp toffee, and exotic fruits cleanse the palate, before finishing off with a good selection of fine cheeses and biscuits. It’s nice to see Stilton on offer. An English breakfast is available too, with all the usual items expected, and a few more. The Observatory’s brunch offers a limitless supply of food and serves dishes that are freshly prepared, made to order and, most importantly, inventive. The restaurant is well-known for its experimental flavour combinations, such as Fisherman’s Friend ice-cream and similarly, for its brunch menu, the chef has come up with some pretty exciting takes on old classics, including inverted sunny side-up egg with sautéed mushroom and truffle jelly, as well as false tagliatelle with clams and lobster. For entertainment, a mobile bar is wheeled around to each table where a hostess mixes your choice of vermouth cocktail.

UAE Digest, May 2009 19


The c-word By Helena Axelson Fisk


he c-word is everywhere; whispered when the news is good, like the traffic situation, or the softening rents; spluttered through clenched teeth when talking about the job situation and the cut wages. The Crisis: less money, more worries; few knowns, many unknowns. People go on going on; meeting, eating, drinking and having fun, because they have to. In times like these, networking can keep you safe and employed and family and friends can help tide you over the bad times. But entertaining costs money; money that might be needed for other things. UAE Digest wanted to know how people cope with the smaller, every-day-effects of the crisis. We asked for impressions and survival tips, both mental and practical, and this is what we got… Ashley Pakhare’s life hasn’t changed Ashley Pakhare

20 UAE Digest, May 2009

Bushra Khalid

Suja Thomas

much at all; he still hangs out with his cousins and goes to the malls, parks and beaches with his wife and daughter: “The traffic’s better though,” he says, “and even if people still shop at Carrefour, their carts are not as full as they used to be. Plus there are sales everywhere, places that never used to have sales!” Maria Petré can’t say she’s been adversely affected either; “All I’ve noticed on a personal level is that it’s easier to book a table and get to the restaurant than it used to be.” For Suja Thomas and her husband, the biggest difference is that they only shop for groceries nowadays. They will still order out if Suja is too tired to cook in the evenings, but less often than before; and not only for financial reasons: “It’s much healthier to eat home-cooked food. And I’ve learned to cook. When I first got married, I didn’t know how to.”  They never had time to socialise on weekdays earlier, and their weekends are still brimful, with church, family and friends: “We network a lot at church. One of our members lost his job and had to leave, but that’s it so far. Two weeks ago, we had my cousin over for dinner and we cooked together. It was fun. We never used to do that.” Bushra Khalid goes out more than ever.

She says: “We have a small baby who needs to go out all the time! And we don’t even think before we spend when it comes to the baby stuff; this crisis is not his!” Bushra and her husband have cut down on all luxury items for themselves lately, but their biggest hobby is inexpensive so they can indulge in it: “We go driving. Forever. Sometimes other families come with us, and we drive in a caravan. We get out at six in the morning and come back at six in the evening. We can go to Abu Dhabi, have a Burger King, and come back.” Others have been more affected. Guy, for instance, has had to put his event making on hold for a while: “I wasn’t selling tickets like I used to. People are Guy

looking for bargains and discounts.“ He still regards himself lucky: “Touch wood, I’m sitting in a café, having a slice of pizza, so things are ok.” Guy has friends who have been forced to leave Dubai, and some who can’t leave because of outstanding payments. Nevertheless, he sees the crisis as a blessing in disguise, a way to reconnect with normality: “You don’t have to spend hundreds of dirhams a day. Learn to enjoy what’s free; what you used to take for granted; the pool outside your house, the beaches, the weather!” The party scene is still happening, he says, but: “People are more cautious, even when they do go out. And beaches are much more popular. People who’d be doing brunch, playing at the Wild Wadi or staying at Jumeirah Beach Hotel for the day are coming to the public beaches now instead.” Not content with making the best of what’s free, Guy is busy positioning himself for the future: “Times like these is when you find the biggest opportunities. It’s the best time to start something new. When everything comes together again, we’ll already be established. “ Anna Ljungkvist and her husband used to eat out several times a week, often enjoying vintages with their food. Now, she says, they don’t, and they don’t buy stuff at the spur of the moment either: “It’s not that we have less money really, but this is a wakeup call. We started thinking more and we realised that it

Daniel Khayat

might be nicer to have a barbecue at home, rather than go to a pricey Friday brunch…I think it’s a good thing. We overspent so much before, as a society.” Daniel Khayat sees the crisis as a wakeup call too: “I’d thought about doing an MBA for a long time but didn’t. Now I finally am.” He describes the crisis as a means of improving resource management skills in other areas too: “It’s a question of getting what you want for less: You need a computer, you buy one, but maybe cheaper. We no longer make international calls and ask what people cooked for lunch, we use Skype. We use Airmiles for our travels. We do more outdoor activities, have more BBQs, and we actually use the club membership that we have, instead of going elsewhere. I think it’s positive that people learn to be better organized.”

Ali Gaffar thinks along the same lines: “If anything, I socialise more. I eat, drink and sleep the way I used to. Otherwise I can’t think properly. It’s really all about how you choose to deal with things. It won’t do you any good to be scared, or change your lifestyle too much. Spend now to get that money back later. Plan. Invest in yourself, don’t hold back. If you can afford to study, do. If you can get another income, do. I ask people if they’re ready for what comes after the crisis, because this won’t last for more than a year, and that’s when you will see the return on your efforts.” Anne Boberg and her family came to Dubai just when the crisis was about to hit. She quickly realised that living in Dubai is expensive, with or without a crisis, and though she and her family might frequent food courts for the occasional quick meal, they do quality entertainment at home: “We love having people over. Long, nice dinners is our treat to ourselves, but at home, where we can afford the very best ingredients.” Since they came, they have hosted a number of visitors, who don’t appreciate the Anne Boberg cost of living here: ”They take for granted that we pay for their stay; breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve had to learn to tell people that we must share the food bill.” When all is said and done, Anne is pretty spiritual about the whole financial meltdown, though: “It gives you an opportunity to think about what really matters in life. And that’s not status and stuff, it’s people.”

May 2009, UAE Digest 21


A gourmet night inhouse Eating in is the new eating out By Linda Benbow die hard. “Do you remember when we ate out almost every night?” is an unspoken thought in a lot of minds. “We used to book a table for 20 and laugh all evening.” Hotels and restaurants are now reporting that the number of nightly bookings have drastically fallen. There are still folks going out to enjoy the scrumptious offerings available, but they are going out once or twice a week only, instead of the three of four times they used to do before FC (financial crisis). So where are the socialites? The families and friends? They are going to TV chef James Martin gave cooking home parties. Eating lessons at Taste of Dubai 2009 in is the new eating out. Again. Just as it happened in the days hank goodness for Cubs before rapid modernisation and building, and Brownies, mothers folks are once again inviting each other and grannies, maids and to their homes for dinner parties, chefs, teachers at school and get-togethers, barbeques and ‘pot luck’ television cooking programmes – plus all evenings. Children play, overseen by others, including fathers, who taught us maids, while adults dine, laugh and chat how to barbeque, stew, bake, fry and the – without the blare of loud disco music. many other ways to cook food. Now it’s The cost of entertaining is shared with an payback time. old established rule of ‘you invite me to Difficult financial times are upon your party this week, and I’ll invite you us all, but the good times are only just to mine next week.’ Multiply that a few beginning to fade from our memories, times and that is a lot of dining out! they haven’t gone yet. And old habits Supermarket sales in the UAE are


22 UAE Digest, May 2009

forecast to increase more than 80 per cent by 2013, according to Business Monitor International (BMI), a research firm based in the UK. This forecast is driven partly by people cutting back on restaurant dining during the economic downturn, but it is mainly due to a switch to higher-value foods. So review your cooking skills and send out those invitations. Now. If you don’t want to cook, how about ordering something in from the many small restaurants that are looking for your custom. A home-delivery feast can look gracious and as inviting as a homecooked gourmet meal when decanted into china plates and bowls, accompanied by small bowls and containers of sauces, salad and pickles – as supplied by the delivery man. This service is also offered by some supermarkets, so ask if the baker will supply you with a gateaux or quiche served on your own plates. Or sushi, cooked prawns, hot meals, cooked chicken from the butcher. Buy the peeled, chopped and cut fruit and vegetables from the green grocery section to save time in your own home. Put them on decorative plates and provide a tasty dip from the salad selections in the refrigerator area, poured into decorative bowls, of course. Traditionally, men love to cook on barbeques. It must be the pyromaniac gene in them. Remember this when organising a barbeque party, and let them go ahead and take over. Yippee. Have a few pairs of tongs and spatulas available so that as many as want to can have a go at turning a burger or checking on the garlic bread. Outdoor cooking is an art, an easily learnt one, especially if you understand the basics of wrapping things in aluminium foil and letting them cook

themselves in their own heat and steam. Chopped onions, fish, prawns in butter, baked potatoes (having zapped them in the microwave oven for at least five minutes first) and all sorts of food that you aren’t sure of cooking ‘au naturel’ on top of the oil-brushed grill. Some people like to eat at a dining table, formally laid out with cutlery and glass. Others are more informal and lounge on a sofa or chairs. For some, the kitchen is more than just a room where food is prepared, it is a place in which to entertain and relax while showcasing status and personality through the latest ‘musthave’ appliances and design features. Chefs Chris Lester and Kelly Jackson at the Spinneys Cookery School during Make sure they are clean before letting Taste of Dubai 2009 guests into the home! Last month saw the Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha hosting a cookery demonstration at its authentic Arabic restaurant Xennya. Participants were treated to a live cooking session where they watched the outlet’s expert, Chef Sameh Awad, prepare a tasty menu including two starters of tabouleh and grilled eggplant with mincemeat, a main course of baked whole fish with vegetables and a dessert of dates drizzled with dark chocolate. The chef shared his unique recipes with diners and also gave out precious tips on picking the right ingredients that are essential for great tasting food. At the end of the demonstration, each participant received a recipe booklet. Last month also saw Rivington Grill, of Souk Al Bahar, Old Town, Burj Dubai, take part in the four-day The founders and chefs of L’Atelier Des Chefs Taste of Dubai 2009 event at which more than 2,000 culinary enthusiasts des Chefs (it’s always impressive to have brought their brand of easy haute sampled their offerings. Several guests slip in some French phrases, or any cuisine teaching to Dubai. had the opportunity to interact with the foreign phrases, into one’s dinner table Based on hands-on accessible and executive chefs Chris Lester and Kelly conversation). Le Méridien Hotels and friendly classes, L’atelier des Chefs’ Jackson who shared recipes and closely Resorts, in partnership with L’Atelier des concept helps people rediscover the guarded kitchen secrets with the audience Chefs, has opened their latest new cuisine pleasure of cooking, with classes offered at the Spinneys Cookery School event offering at Le Méridien Dubai where a to both public and corporate clients in held at the festival. While Chef Kelly glass-walled, purpose-built kitchen for a lengths of between half an hour and instructed the audience on how to prepare dozen students or so has been built in a three hours. Hotel guests as well as eggs, Benedict, Chef Chris demonstrated corner of the patio overlooking the pool. local community residents are invited to the right way to create the popular Eton Brothers Nicolas and François participate in a wide variety of different Mess. All sessions were over-booked. Bergerault founded the original school cuisine offerings from events, private If you want to learn to cook, go to in Paris, followed by an oversubscribed dining, wine-tastings and cocktailschool – a cooking school, or L’Atelier version in central London, and now they making, among others.

May 2009, UAE Digest 23

Gem heart with blue cheese dressing, pear and walnuts

Recipe courtesy of Rivington Grill, Souk Al Bahar & Chef Chris Lester & Kelly Jackson INGREDIENTS Dressing 75gm gorgonzola cheese 20ml dijon mustard 20ml honey 100ml olive oil Salad 60gm walnuts 4x100gm baby gem lettuce (separated) 80gm stilton cheese (grated) 200gm English pear (sliced) 10gm salt 10gm pepper

• •

METHOD Blue cheese dressing: - Blend the gorgonzola cheese,mustard and the honey until smooth, then pour the olive oil onto the blue cheese while the is blender is still running, until you have a smooth dressing. Roast the walnuts with seasoning until crispy. Toss the lettuce in the dressing with the pear and seasoning, place in a bowl topped with the grated stilton and roasted walnuts.

Foie gras de Canard Poêle sur un Coussinet de Pommes et aux Oignons Confits (Pan-fried duck liver on a ginger- apple compote and caramelised red onions) Recipe courtesy of Le Classique, Emirates Golf Club & Chef Francois Porte INGREDIENTS Serves 4 4 slices of foie gras, 60 to 70 g each 2tbsp of white wine 2 cooking apples 2 medium red onions 2tsp of sugar 1tbsp of sherry vinegar 1tbsp of red currant jelly 1tsp of ginger, finely chopped 65g of butter A bunch of mixed leaves Salt and pepper METHOD For the caramelised onions Peel the red onions and slice them thinly. Melt 40g butter in a saucepan and add onion and vinegar. Cover the pan and cook on low heat, stirring from time to time, until the onions are very soft. This will take about 45 minutes. Season to taste and keep aside.

24 UAE Digest, May 2009

For the apples Peel and dice the apples, melt the rest of butter in a saucepan, add the apples, sugar, chop the ginger and cook in a hot heat without colouring, stirring very often. This will take only few minutes. Add the white wine, stir well and set aside. For the foie gras Heat a thick-base frying pan over high heat until very hot, add the seasoned slices of duck liver and seared well for about 45 seconds on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside on a kitchen

towel. Keep warm For the sauce Reduce 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 3 cups of red wine, 1 tbsp of red currant jelly until the sauce coated the back of a spoon. To serve, Place 1 tbsp of apple on the middle of a warm plate and add a slice of foie gras on top. Then, place a tbsp of caramelised onion on the side of the plate and a bouquet of mixed lettuce on the other side. Drizzle the sauce over the foie gras.

Marbled chocolate samosa with chocolate and fresh berry rabid Recipe courtesy of Indego, Grosvenor • Melt the chocolate separately and House & Chef Vineet Bhatia Serves 10 portions INGREDIENTS 2ltr milk 400ml single cream 50ml vinegar 200g white chocolate 200g dark chocolate 100g roasted sliced almond Samosa skins to make samosa METHOD • Boil milk and cream and as the milk reaches boiling point, add vinegar and curdle it. • Drain the mixture through a sieve. • Divide the chenna into halves.

add to the chenna along with half the almonds in each mix. • Mix well and allow cooling before using it in the samosa skins. • Deep fry for two minutes and coat with chocolate filigree Fresh berry and chocolate rabid INGREDIENTS 200g white chocolate 5g green cardamom powder 300 ml coconut milk 100g mixed berries chopped (strawberry, raspberry, blue berry) METHOD Melt the chocolate, mix with rest of the ingredients.

Braised beef topside with sautéed celeriac and cepe veloute Recipe courtesy of Verre by Gordon Ramsay & Chef Matt Pickop INGREDIENTS 1 topside of beef 6 carrots 2 leeks 2 onions 1hd garlic 5med turnips 2bay leaves ½ bunch thyme 1tblsp. W. peppercorns 1tblsp coriander seeds ½ bunch rosemary 1tbsp Tomato paste 1lt red wine 2lt. water 2lt. white chicken stock METHOD • Chop all the vegetables roughly, and then using a hot deep pan, roast the vegetables until they begin to caremelise. • Add a spoon of tomato paste and continue to cook. • Deglaze the vegetables using the red wine • Add the stocks and bring the liquor to the boil • Add the trimmed topside, in large chunks • Bring to a slow simmer and cook for about 1½ hours. • Leave to cool in the liquor, then portion and vac pac in individual portions.

Sauted Celeriac INGREDIENTS • 750g celeriac shredded • 1 x onion • 2 x cooking apples • 1tbsp sugar • 1x bay leaf • 1tbsp caraway seeds • 3 x juniper berries • 10 x peppercorns • 250ml white wine • 250ml water • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD • Peel the onions and apple, finely slice. • Using a hot pan, sweat the onions and apple down until they start to soften, add the celeriac and the spices which should be wrapped in a muslin cloth • Add the white wine and the water, bring up to the boil and cook on a low heat for forty minutes. • Take off the heat and allow to cool. • To serve, heat gently using a small amount of butter in a hot pan.

May 2009, UAE Digest 25

Chilli fried squid with lime Recipe courtesy of Zuma, DIFC & Chef Colin Clague A Zuma classic, one of the biggest sellers, baby squid is seasoned with shichimi flour and deef fried till crisp and golden, garnished with lime, chilies and maldon sea salt. INGREDIENTS 400 gm Baby squid – cleaned 50 gm Potato starch ( Kata Koriko) 7 ½gm Shichimi pepper 2 gm Table salt ½ gm Freshly ground black pepper 1 ea Limes 1 ea Green chillies METHOD • Prepare the baby squid, using all the

• • • • • •

tentacles and bodies Make the shichimi coating flour by mixing the shichimi pepper with salt, pepper and potato flour Dust the squid in the coating flour, remove any excess. Deep fry till crisp and golden, drain on absorbant paper. Place in a bowl and zest over the lime, season with maldon sea salt and thinly sliced chillies Cut the zested limes into quarters, and place a wedge onto each dish Tip: Do not season into much shichimi flour as the shichimi tends to be left at the bottom and the subsequent squid portions tends to get spicier.

Maccheroncini con pomodorini, gorgonzola e asparagi Recipe courtesy of Certo, Radisson SAS & Chef Simon P Alloponio Serve 1 portion INGREDIENTS 100gm Fresh maccheroncini 20gm onion 50gm red tomato cherry 10gm garlic, chopped 40gm gorgonzola cheese, crumbled 10gm grated parmesan cheese 30gm green asparagus, sliced 2cl olive oil

26 UAE Digest, May 2009

• • • • •

Salt to taste 1dl vegetable stock METHOD Heat the pan, then pour in olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic in it, then add in cherry tomato and vegetable stock. Reduce and add in sliced asparagus, then continue cooking till all the asparagus is cooked properly. Then add in gorgonzola cheese. In the meantime, cook pasta in salted boiling water, note that fresh pasta

• • •

cooked in 3-4 minutes only. Take the pasta out from the boiling water and add in to the sauce mixture. Tossed with parmesan cheese and a dot of butter. Adjust seasoning, serve hot.

Tip Next time you make mashed potatoes, boil up 4 peeled garlic cloves with the potatoes and mash everything together. Add cheese for a touch of luxury.


Spice up your life By Sushama Shirodkar


resh organic spices and herbs transform a culinary experience, but that’s not all. They also invigorate, protect and nourish. The addition of any of them to a prepared dish, drink, or as a supplement not only enhances flavour and taste but also helps reduce damage from free radicals and combat the effects of ageing. For centuries, herbs and spices have been used to heal body, mind and spirit.

CINNAMON This warming spice is taken from the dried inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. It has health boosting compounds including eugenol, which is used to relieve pain, and cinnamaldehyde which has sedative properties. It is also useful for improving the circulation and has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties. Cinnamon is anti-microbial and can stop the growth of bacteria, fungi and yeast.

CARDAMOM The dried fruit member of the ginger family, is an ancient spice native to India. These aromatic seeds contain an essential oil that helps stimulate digestion and relieve flatulence. It is also used in traditional medicine for a number of conditions including sore throat and digestive problems, and helps in reducing heartburn and digest grains

CLOVES Cloves are the unopened buds of an aromatic Asian tropical evergreen tree. The oil is antiinflammatory and can help ease stiffness

28 UAE Digest, May 2009

and pain associated with arthritis. Cloves have always been used to mask bad breath. Other health uses are: to treat indigestion, diarrhoea, hernia, and ringworm, along with athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. It kills intestinal parasites. Research also shows that it has some antihistamine action. If you have hay fever, cloves will give additional relief. Can be used as a painkiller, and to alleviate diarrhoea and nausea. Dentists use clove oil as a dental anesthetic and to disinfect root canals.

CORIANDER Coriander is also known as cilantro in some countries. It has more antioxidants than Vitamin C and has been shown to have beneficial effects on both cholesterol and colon cancer. It is effective against swelling, high cholesterol levels, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, anemia, digestion, menstrual disorders, conjunctivitis and skin disorders. It exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and is known to prevent gas and alleviate cramps and gout. It is protective of the eye by preventing macular degeneration and soothing the eye against stress.

show that two cloves of garlic weekly provide cancer-protective benefits. It is anti-bacterial, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and is used to treat the common cold. It is also used to treat acne and can assist in managing high cholesterol levels.

GINGER The spice comes from the underground stems of the plant and is a staple ingredient in a lot of spicy dishes. A health study shows that it lowers the risk of stomach ulcers, while researchers have used it to reduce joint pain in arthritis. Gingerol, the active ingredient in ginger, has been shown to significantly help with nausea, vomiting and morning sickness. It is a common digestive aid and useful for people suffering the sideeffects of chemotherapy.

TURMERIC Turmeric, a bright yellow spice of Indian cuisine, is a member of the ginger family and its leaves are crushed into the deep yellow spice used to give curries their distinctive deep yellow colour. It has been used for centuries in India as an antiseptic for cuts. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and a natural liver detoxifier.

CUMIN Cumin is a member of the carrot family and looks and smells like caraway seed. It is a good source of iron and manganese. It has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also believed to act as a memory enhancer. It helps in digestion and reduces bloating.

GARLIC This wonder bulb destroys cancer cells and may disrupt the metabolism of tumour cells. Studies

A Quick Spice Guide Keep all spices in tightly covered containers, in a cool dark place. Spices lose their flavour after a year ‘on the shelf’, and will need to be replaced at that time. Spices turn bitter and lose their flavour if/when overheated. During lengthy cooking add the spice during the last half hour of cooking. In most cases, one teaspoon of dried spice equals one tablespoon of fresh.

From May 7th until May 20th 2009

At Dubai Festival City, Facing IKEA Telephone : 04 232 5997

The Tasty Option ad.indd 1

4/23/09 3:21:57 PM


HyperPanda has seen an increase of nine per cent in customer count this year compared to last year

Shifting Focus By Ambily Vijaykumar


nly three-years-old in Dubai and HyperPanda is right in the thick of action with the global economic crisis forcing retailers to think out of their box to keep ahead of competition. And that is the reason why the hypermarket located inside Festival City says it has only benefited from the crisis with customer flow growing as compared to last year. “We have seen our customer count grew this year as compared to the previous,” says Aly Salem, the store’s General Manager. These are positive signs for the store considering that not only is competition heating up, the declining population in Dubai too has made sure that retailers have to slug it out to get their share of the market pie. People are only spending cash on what they need. Even if they do have the money, they hold on to it and prefer to spend it more wisely. The customer preference is surely switching. Sensing the shift, Hyper-

30 UAE Digest, May 2009

Aly Salem

Panda too tweaked its marketing strategy to suit new demands. Another reason for shifting preference from non-food items is also the lacklustre tourism year that Dubai has faced. Earlier Dubai was a shopping destination for tourists who came to shop for affordable and trendy electronic items, but with the tourist count thinning, electronic items began facing the reality of recession. That is when the store began concentrating on

the food segment. The store says it does not want to alienate any customer and hence has opted to grow its range rather than scale things down. Has the impact of growing range begun reflecting in the price of items? “Food prices are definitely starting to decline. The non-food category takes a little bit more time though they have begun to show a downward trend. But the decline is slower than food items,” Salem says. The store however says that the drop in prices for them has been restricted only to items in which they are aggressively competing with other retail chains across the Emirate. While it is obvious that customers will take advantage of dropping prices that does not however reflect one fundamental shift in terms of spending habits. The store has sensed a hidden opportunity in this trend as well and has plans to introduce loyalty cards in collaboration with a leading credit card company.

The convenient convenience store By Linda Benbow


HyperPanda is also in talks for collaboration with some international banks that are “keen to capitalize on the store’s location and customer base.” Confidence in the store’s prospects is so strong that the management does not rule out any possibility of expansion this year within the UAE. They say that this is a good time to acquire as prices are low and they are open to any opportunity that comes their way. With their third anniversary this month, the store has some unique plans “yet unknown” to the UAE market in store. Recession however will not play a dampener in their plans to mark the occasion and promotional events will be “more aggressive” than last year. “As a retailer, we are in a better position to face the year than others because people will not stop eating and drinking. So we have about 50 per cent of our business secured, but we can’t sit back and say that people will eat and drink, we still have to be competitive. We have to constantly attempt to increase our customer count,” says Salem. Innovation, the store says will be the key to survival this year.

ow that there aren’t as many corner shops around, or small local grocery stores that cater to the day-to-day retail needs of the ordinary public, it is a small marvel that a new brand of convenience store has quietly been set up and is expanding into locations near you. Yes, there are now 14 of the ‘24 Seven’ chain of stores around Dubai, from Garhoud to Jebel Ali port, Media City to Academic City, Port Saeed to Emaar business hub. Fahmi Al Shawa Catering to local residents and The model has worked elsewhere in the business workers the small 24 Seven shops world, and is now being launched in other are packed full of quality sandwiches and parts of the region, i.e. Kuwait. There is meals ready to eat plus many everyday a need for this kind of retailing in both items for demanding and time-conscious residential areas and commercial areas. people on the go. They even have a Office workers need to eat and drink wide range of services such as 24-hour during the day; plus they do not always operations, home delivery service, faxes have the time to do shopping on the way and photocopying as well as phone scratch home so we provide coffee, tinned foods, cards and utility bill payments. simple medicines, etc to help them. The company was started in 2003 by All the items sold are of a high quality, a local consortium of shareholders, then especially the fresh food items. We have sold to current owners Elaph Investments, bananas in individual packets. Fresh fruit explained Fahmi Al Shawa, Director. by well known brands and local brands. “We have expanded the team to improve Individually wrapped sandwiches and financial and operations management. ready meals. Hot oven with pies and And in October 2008, just a few months pastries. Fresh juice and coffee machines. after taking over the operations, we There are plans to expand further with launched a new store at Dubai Waterfront both integrated and stand-alone stores development. We are now being in other parts of the country,” concluded approached by other developers and asked Fahim. to set up stores near their projects.

Every 24 Seven store offers more than 3,000 products and services such as: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Phone and Parking top-up cards Water, juices, energy drinks, carbonated soft drinks, etc. Newspapers, magazines, greeting cards, post cards and maps Coffee, tea, tinned food, bread, etc Tobacco and related products Dairy products Snacks, crisps and chocolate Confectionary Mobile phones and accessories Office stationary ATM Mini pharmacy

May 2009, UAE Digest 31


Bucking the trend Lulu plans to add four new hypermarkets to its chain By Ambily Vijaykumar


uLu, the leading retail chain, claims it is bucking the trend. Despite the financial crisis, the chain says it has registered brisk business so far this year and “things are quite normal in hypermarkets.” Comparative figures for the first quarter of this year and the previous “show positive trends” and the chain has not seen a significant upheaval so far. Suppliers who were hesitant to spend in the wake of the financial turmoil have shed their apprehensions and operations are running smooth, the chain claims. The recession, however, has meant that prices of certain commodities have come down. Lulu has benefitted from this with prices of electronic goods being slashed. “Because of the huge slump in sales in

the western markets, the electronic companies have slashed prices substantially. In the case of LCDs and cameras, it has come down by almost 50 per cent. This has spurred sales in this category,” says V. Nandakumar, Communications Manager at the EMKE Group. The chain is also noticing a shift in preferences in the non-durables segment. With shoppers looking for more value for money, the chain believes it is an appropriate time to consolidate its own brand. It is planning to market its private label ‘Lulu’ aggressively. “We see great potential for our private label. It is already doing very good business and it now covers almost all segments of food category from frozen food to fresh

LuLu Hypermarkets is the retail division of the multi-dimensional and multinational EMKE Group. It symbolises quality retailing with more than 70 stores and has been an instant hit with discerning shoppers across the Gulf region. The in-house bakery of the supermarket is immensely popular among UAE residents for its unique breads and pastries. The wide fresh fruit counters further enhance its self-sufficiency making it a one-stop shop for household shopping. With its pleasant and novel variation from the usual supermarkets, LuLu offers an ultra modern shopping ambience by integrating all conceivable needs of the consumers under one roof, renting out its floor space to household names supplying household items. LuLu Hypermarkets have extensively laid out counters, sprawling parking space, play areas for children, food court, money exchange and bank counters, besides a panoply of international and regional brands aptly justifying it’s tagline, “LuLu, where the world comes to shop”

32 UAE Digest, May 2009

food to ready-to-cook, and even tea and coffee. We plan to increase this and make it a much stronger brand offering best value for money,” Nandakumar adds. LuLu hasn’t had to shift focus entirely from one segment to the other. In fact it says there has not been any need for taking dramatic steps. In tune with customer sentiments, the retailer has also reduced prices on many of its items. With food prices coming down globally, LuLu says it is logical to reflect this in prices in the region as well. Moreover, the chain claims it does not see price reduction as a promotional step. “We were the first private company to enter into an agreement with the Ministry of Economy to reduce prices and we see this as part of our CSR activity and not commercial targets,” says Nandakumar. Apart from price reduction, the chain has also come up with some innovative promotional plans to spur sales. They have a series of events lined up for the summer. “A series of speciality promotions like the Food Festival, Mango Festival, Summer Sale and Digital Festival will offer much more than usual for our shoppers,” states Nandakumar. Confidence in the UAE economy has been such for the group that despite the initial scepticism in the market, the chain has plans to open four new hypermarkets in the UAE this year.



1:54 PM

Page 1


Behave yourself It has been deemed necessary by those in authority to remind folks in this country about codes of behaviour in public: what is acceptable, what is not, and what is the law. Dubai Executive Council issued a new Code of Conduct in March. Linda Benbow summarises.


his was followed by a notice by the Umm Al Quwaim Economic Department and Police force in April shutting down all nightclubs and discos from 1st May onwards. There is also a restriction on the working hours of restaurants that serve alcohol. Such establishments have to close by midnight on weekdays and 1am on the weekends. “The decision targets the nightclubs, discos and noisy parties organised in these places, which last until the morning,” said Colonel Sultan Al Showaikh, Director General of the Umm Al Quwain Police. Supervising the implementation of the ban is the responsibility of the emirate’s police and economic department, he added. Dubai is characterised by the interaction of a large number of cultures and nationalities. It is keen on protecting and promoting its traditions as conveyed by Islam, as well as its Arab identity and culture. In line with Islam’s tradition of tolerance and openness, freedom of faith and practice is a reality here. This has allowed other belief systems to flourish, a demonstration of Dubai’s respect for diversity. However, the culture, customs and traditions of the UAE shall be respected by adopting courtesy and moderation and avoiding all types of improper behaviour in the emirate. The Article of Public Moral Code stresses on the importance of respecting the UAE’s icons, including but not limited to its rulers, flag, national emblem, etc. According to the list, any insolence of

34 UAE Digest, May 2009

the aforementioned will be considered a crime. Visitors of all public places in the emirate including government buildings, shopping malls, restaurants and others are obliged to wear suitable clothes at all times. Shorts and skirts shall be of appropriate length. Clothing shall not indecently expose parts of the body, be transparent or display obscene or offensive pictures and slogans. Individuals wearing improper/indecent clothes will be banned of entry. Visitors of both genders must wear accepted swimming attires at beaches and swimming areas. Swimwear shall not be worn outside the beach as decent dress is the rule in the rest of the city, as stipulated by the General Dress Code applicable to the rest of the emirate (decent clothing). Nudity of all sorts and kinds is strictly prohibited and is penalised with imprisonment or deportation. Under the article ‘Behaviour Between

Sexes’, the list strictly prohibits several actions in public such as: any kind of kissing, cuddling, fondling, sexual harassing, harassment of women, hand holding or any other act that can be considered as abrasion of modesty. Any individual who conducts such acts will in violation to public decency which can be penalised with imprisonment or deportation. Only married couples are permitted to hold hands in decent ways that does not harass public civility. Dancing and disturbing loud music in public places such as beaches, parks and residential neighbourhoods is forbidden; it is only allowed in licensed venues. Drugs are strictly forbidden. Its position, consumption or trading is considered a crime. Any chemicals that affect the mind is prohibited, and consuming it is punishable by law. Alcohol is only allowed in its licensed places. Any breach will be punished with imprisonment and fine. Drivers caught under alcohol effects will be legally accountable for the consequences which may lead to deportation from the country. Drivers should use head sets or handsfree systems if they want to talk on the phone. All vehicle passengers including the driver are obliged to wear seat belts. Children must be seated in the back seats. The road must be made clear for Police, Ambulance and Fire department cars on emergency duties. Drivers are prohibited from stopping to watch accidents.


Wedding belles By Parinaaz Navdar


SYND winners

36 UAE Digest, May 2009

aute couture dresses designed by international fashion power houses, every beauty product and wellbeing service you could imagine, and an abundance of glitz and glamour, sparkle and shine can mean only one thing - the return of the Bride Show Dubai. The annual event held at The Dubai International Exhibition Centre offers the emirate’s most fashion-forward women an abundance of choices in wedding dresses, evening wear, abayas and shailas, fashion accessories, beauty products, jewellery, photography, flowers, honeymoon destinations, venues, cakes and much more. And the beauty of it is that you can you can see, touch, taste and try before you buy. This year, the show teamed up with local magazines to share its years of experience and knowledge within the wedding, fashion and beauty industry to provide a step-by-step guide for planning a wedding, tips and tricks on staying healthy, beauty advice, etc. With more than 200 industry experts and suppliers from around the world, there were products and services to meet every budget, whether you are a newly confirmed ‘recessionista’ in these globally uncertain economic times, or if the only credit you’re crunching is on your platinum visa card. Now in its 12th year, The Bride Show Dubai saw the return of the popular Crystallized™ Young Designers Awards, where 10 student and amateur fashion designers created unique wedding dresses, using

thousands of dirhams worth of Swarovski crystal elements to maximum effect. This year also saw the introduction of The Inspiration Zone, an area dedicated to giving visitors an insight into hair and makeup techniques, beauty makeovers, flower arranging ideas and jewellery making classes by Crystallized™ Swarovski Elements.  The Absolute Wedding Planner - the most comprehensive guide to planning and organising a wedding in the UAE was exclusively launched at the show with free distribution to all visitors. Compiled by Sangeeta Kumar, Managing Director of Absolute Weddings, a wedding planning business in the UAE, the spiral-bound book has a list of questions for couples to ask prospective venues and photographers; a guideline to ensuring that the reception is to their specifications and that no crucial moment will be missed on camera. The planner is an indispensable resource for any bride-to-be, as it also includes pages to keep track of guests’ details, notes on the formalities of getting married in the UAE, a guide to themed weddings, stationary comparison charts, a reception seating chart and a month-by-month checklist to highlight the major ‘to-do’s’ and time-frame of planning a wedding. Running alongside the event were Women’s Healthcare and Bride Home, broadening the appeal for visitors, as brides and young women take an active interest in their health and well-being, particularly in preparation for their wedding, and newly-wed couples start to decorate their marital homes.

Vista Rooftop Bar & Restaurant at Holiday Inn Express, Media City, is now available for private hire for wedding and engagement celebrations. The venue has a sophisticated design and can be easily decorated with accents of colour to compliment any bridal/ special event colour scheme. Set menus for three courses.

Women’s Healthcare boasted a diverse line-up of free classes and workout sessions; getting fit has never been so much fun. New to the show this year was a dedicated area for visitors to get active using the popular Nintendo Wii Fit and Nintendo Wii Sports games. Friends and family could participate in aerobics classes, re-enact their own version of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a rally on the court, sharpen up their golf skills or just throw some bowling balls down the alley. Dancing was a main feature this year, with free salsa classes being offered by

head to the gym,” said Sietske Meerloo, Marketing Manager of Women’s Healthcare, organised by IIR Middle East. “The fitness classes at Women’s Healthcare are designed to expose women to alternative workouts, so they can discover various ways to have fun and get fit. Dubai is full of different ways to get active and we want to explore as many of those opportunities as possible.” The event also offered free mammogram tests from Tawam Hospital, health checks, and blood sampling tests. Visitors could donate blood to the Sharjah Blood Bank, seek advice on alternative medicine, and receive healthy food product giveaways.  Get fit with Wii interactive computer sports games Women, who have a general interest in improving their overall health the Familia De La Salsa Group, teaching and lifestyle, found the event invaluable. moves to promote fitness.  Furthermore, From over the moon to the honeymoon, Latino Cardio and African dance classes from your dream dress to the world’s were offered daily by The Exhale Studio. most romantic resorts - there’s nothing “We know that women in the UAE quite like The Bride Show Dubai to help take an active interest in their physical you make your big day everything you’ve fitness, but with the daily demands of imagined. family and career, some find little time to

Top 5 ways to keep costs down.

• Call your friend or relative with the fancy car and ask them to be

your chauffer for the big day • Gown stalls at large events like the Bride Show often have designer gowns marked down at prices to suit your budget • Choose ‘in season’, local or regional flowers instead of importing exotic blooms from distant lands to slash your floral budget in half • Opt for fun DIY wedding favours like a CD with the couple’s favourite songs – it makes the token of appreciation more personal • Seasonal weddings are always in demand and they tend to be more expensive in the winter. Opt for a spring or summer wedding instead, and you’ll be surprised how cheap the venue rates are

Top 5 Colour Schemes for 2009

• Fuchsia and Navy • Brown and Champagne

• Bright Yellow • Purple • Black and White

May 2009, UAE Digest 37


Happy chic designs


ubai Fashion Week (DFW) Autumn/Winter 2009 came to a sensational end last month with Bodyamr, a label popular with celebrities such as Claudia Schiffer and Christina Aguilera, wrapping up an incredible four-day fashion extravaganza. Over the course of the week, guests were treated to an amazing display of local and regional talent, including the likes of Walid Atallah and Aly Fawaz, who presented sparkling, Swarovski-encrusted floor-length couture gowns; Amir Adnan who romanced the crowds with his creations; HSY, whose embroidery-heavy Rouge Royal collection caused raptures of appreciation, while Emirati sisters Reem and Hind Ali Beljafla had the audience jump to its feet when their Emirati flag-incorporated abaya emerged onto the catwalk. The ‘invitation only’ event saw designers setting a glamorous fashion agenda for the season, with sheer fabrics, flowing chiffons and heavy embellishments featuring in most of the collections. Black and red as well as

sunny yellows and pinks were prominent colours and most garments were adorned with Swarovski crystals, glittering beads or colourful stones. Sleeves were often sheer and cuffed at the wrist and asymmetrical cuts were also popular. Celebrity endorsement of Dubai Fashion Week added to the glamour of the event, with the likes of legendary Indian painter M.F. Hussain, Bollywood actress Mahima Chaudhary and actor Tusshar Kapoor taking to the catwalk. International model Daisy Lowe also added pizzazz to the model’s party as she celebrated with Dubai’s glamorous glitterati at the chic hotspot of the moment - Okku, The Monarch. In the label’s first show in the Middle East, Bodyamr’s Creative Director Amr Ali previewed select pieces designed exclusively for the event. Amr’s near obsession with the female form reflects in the mood of the modern, niche luxury brand that now attracts an international cult following. He infuses reference points from his Omani heritage and juxtaposes hard/

BODYAMR is liked by celebrities

38 UAE Digest, May 2009

Designed by Charu Parashar

soft, vintage/futuristic, bracing/draped to produce directional, dark and sophisticated collections for a confident, modern-day woman. The company’s impressive list of clients include Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Beyonce Knowles, Prince, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Shakira and Cindy Crawford. Moving away from the embellishment seen at the other shows, Mariam Al Mazro shifted the focus to prints. Flamboyancy mixed with a carefree attitude was represented in her collection of panelled ankle-length dresses. The show started with a billowing dress that was made of five different prints – a theme that continued with most of the range. Polka dots, stripes, geometrics, florals, paisleys and even psychedelic patterns appeared together in a patchwork of panels. Occasionally, these prints were contrasted against plain silks, while waistbands that tied at the back, helped shape the dresses. Billowing sleeves teamed with models wearing loose, long-flowing locks helping

emphasise the hippy-chic feel of the designs. HSY’s embroidery heavy collection was a big hit with the crowd. The label has a huge fan following in Pakistan and other countries in the Indian sub continent. “It has been a privilege to once again be involved in this incredible event,” commented designer, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin (HSY). “Dubai Fashion Week is now in its fifth season and I have been involved since the start, watching it grow step by step. Attendance and buyer interest has also increased year on year, making it an ideal networking opportunity. Finally, it is great to see Dubai taking the lead in the fashion arena, as the city is so diverse and cosmopolitan, making

Dubai Fashion Week Dubai Fashion Week (DFW) is a ‘by invitation only’ fashion trade event aimed at bringing together major advocates of the fashion industry by providing them a common platform. Overseen by an advisory board, DFW enables local and regional designers and fashion houses to present their collection to global and regional buyers, media, fashion professionals and the general public too. DFW was co-founded by Marc Robinson who is a well-known international fashion show producer.

Designed by Hateem Al Khaleel

it the perfect place for regional and subcontinental designers to come together.” Commenting on the outstanding wrap-up of DFW, Rohit C Sabikhi, Fashion Director, Concept Events, enthused, “Dubai Fashion Week 2009 has received exceptional praise and support from all stakeholders and participants, and we at Concept Events are extremely pleased with the feedback. We have seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of buyers and guests attending the shows, and as a result, the media interest has been phenomenal. The success of this season’s event has gone a long way to affirm Dubai’s position as the fashion capital for the region, and we have already received

requests from designers in Kuwait, KSA and India for participation next season.” “We are committed to growing Dubai Fashion Week to rival international fashion weeks. It is impressive that in spite of the region’s tough economic conditions and struggling fashion industries, DFW has received increased interest from a multitude of stakeholders,” said Jean Oosthuizen, Managing Director, Concept Events. “In future, there will be even greater opportunity for business development, and we look forward to taking the event from strength to strength.” The next season of DFW will take place on November 2009.

Dessange, Paris, leading hair and beauty designers of the fashion set for over 50 years, was the official product partner of Dubai Fashion Week 2009. It held an exclusive live hair workshop to showcase the latest trends and luxury Dessange signature products. It has been over 50 years since Jacques Dessange took the Paris fashion world by storm. His elegant and visionary hairdressing caught the eye of Chanel, Dior and legendary beauty Brigitte Bardot and more. A couture sensation, a byword for high-class luxury, the Dessange name is now the official partner to many internationally renowned events such as the Cannes and Berlin film festivals. H.H Sheikha Reem, the Middle East partner for Dessange Paris said; “It is with pleasure that we add Dubai Fashion Week to the roster of International events that Dessange Paris is associated with. We can share our vision with the cosmopolitan audience, as we all have the common goal of wishing to feel and look beautiful, using only the best products available.” In Dubai, Dessange Paris is represented by their exclusive salon situated within the fivestar Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates, & Burj Al Arab.

Mimi fashions by Mariam Al Mazro

It was an arc of colours from beautiful light pastels to vibrant tones of yellow, red and even metallic purple for Salma Khan’s ready-to-wear evening gowns. Sweeping floor-length dresses with detailed stone work were pleated around the body to give shape. One shoulder dresses dominated, as did cluster embellishment details at the hip. Soft satins were layered to add movement to the dresses, while 60s-styled psychedelic prints were seen on the Dubai-born designer’s maxi dresses.

May 2009, UAE Digest 39


Sheikha Fatima Awards to 30 GEMS students


is Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, recently awarded the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Award for Excellence to 30 girls from the GEMS network of schools across the Middle East. The fifth annual award includes a scholarship to cover a year’s tuition fee at a GEMS school plus a memento. The Awards were started by GEMS in 2005 to honour Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, wife of late President His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for her contributions to the empowerment of the UAE women, and her support for excellence in all areas. The event acknowledges Her Highness’ role as mother of the nation, and her vision to celebrate, and support women’s achievements and self determination. These winners were nominated by their schools and were chosen based on outstanding academic success, significant contribution to environmental concerns, their high level of commitment to the communities they live in and their demonstration of world citizenship: Alya Sultan Hasan Al Zaabi, Alyzae Feroze, Ammu Joshy, Ayesha Naseem, Besiana Sinanaj, Charu Jangid, Diya Kattukaran, Felicia Wetterlin, Geraldine Supriya Suresh, Hafsa Zia, Hasangi Imasha Karunamuni, Jasmine Stoltzfus, Jumanah W. Mohammed Al Ayoubi, Leanna Shuttleworth, Lisa Paravano, Megan Elizabeth Smit, Merlin Elizabath Thomas, Karishma Sabarigiri, Lekshmi Vijayamohanan, Olivia Tonner, Priyanka Basawaraj Hongal, Raghavi Naidu, Reem Mattar Khalifa Al Mazaina, Riya Susan Mathews, Safa Siddiqi, Sana Farooqui, Shalaka Laxman, Shreya Mary Kuruvilla, Sohier Mobin, Yara Hazem Hussein Mohamed. GEMS Founder and Chairman Sunny Varkey congratulated the students, parents and teachers, and urged the winners to pursue excellence in all their future endeavours.

40 UAE Digest, May 2009

Open day at Murdoch University The Murdoch University International Study Centre Dubai, established in the UAE since March 2008 and based in Dubai International Academic City, has announced scholarships for full tuition fees for undergraduate and Postgraduate Programme students to reward exemplary performance. The scholarships will be available for new entry-level students commencing their bachelors and Postgraduate Programmes degree studies in August. Graduating high school students with outstanding academic records or extra-curricular achievements can apply for the three scholarships available for degree courses in Bachelor of Commerce (with specialisations in Management, Marketing Management and Finance), Bachelor of Media (with specializations in Radio and Screen & Sound) and Bachelor of Mass Communication (with specialisations in Journalism and Public Relations). At the postgraduate level, the scholarship is available to students applying for the one-year Postgraduate Programme demonstrating excellence in their work, community activities or past studies. All applicants must also have satisfied the strict academic and English Language proficiency requirements. The deadline for submitting scholarship applications with complete supporting documentation is May 15, 2009. MUISCD campus open day will be

on 7th May at DIAC, Block 10, fourth floor. There will be campus tours, information on courses and presentations by the Academics. Experience real life studio conditions by trying out light-hearted media competitions such as the ‘-best news anchor’ and the ‘best radio presentation’ competitions. There will also be a Digital Fiesta Exhibition with the best works of students in the fields of photography, website design and videos as well as the best entrants of its high school camera phone competition for the best snaps depicting the theme of ‘Discoverers Welcome’.

The following clarification refers to an article in the March issue concerning University of Phoenix, Dubai: We are not recognised by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research as it does not recognise 100 per cent online degree programmes. The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, one of the six accrediting associations in the US. We recently entered a partnership with the American College of Dubai, which may not have happened if we had remained in Phoenix. They train up to an Associate level, and now their students can complete their Bachelors and Masters degrees with us.

TECHNO A post-paid plan for elite individuals • • • • • • • •

Choice of special number Monthly rewards comprising of 55 national calls, 55 national SMS and 5 MB of data usage International calling rewards: Up to 75% rewards on international calls *dial feature (star dial feature): The convenience of a prepaid account on a postpaid plan Attractive roaming rates and extensive footprint MyFamily: 50 per cent further discount on all national calls within MyFamily Pay by the second Free credit back: Pay Dh 125 and get back Dh 124 in credit

Offering significant innovation, personalisation and convenience to its customers, du telecom service provider - has launched its ‘Elite Plan’ for individual mobile users. With a motto of “Smart people’. Smart choices”, it is designed as the smart choice for high-end individuals by offering a choice of special numbers, the benefits of a prepaid account on a post-paid plan and monthly rewards, plus up to 75 per cent rewards on international calls depending on the monthly volume. Customers will need to present the following to subscribe to the Elite Plan: UAE Nationals: Passport/National ID/ UAE driving license. Residents: Passport with a valid residency visa (visa not required for GCC nationals) and one of the following: Utility bill with physical address, tenancy/ ownership documents, or a salary certificate outlining a minimum salary of Dh2,500.

Mini PC for on-the-go professionals

Building on its award-winning portfolio of Mini products, HP Middle East has a new HP Mini specifically designed for mobile professionals that require a rich computing experience in a small, portable package. The HP Mini 2140 features a refined, all-aluminum case for a sleek yet lightweight design. At 1.19 kg , the fully functional and durable Mini is an ideal companion PC for the on-the-go professional. It features a large 10.1 inch scratch-resistant HP Illumilite LED display available in standard or high-definition resolutions, a user-friendly 92 per cent full-size keyboard and a range of hard drive options. It keeps mobile professionals ultra-productive by including a small, low-power Intel® Atom processor to enable the unit to run cooler, use less power and improve battery life. It includes a suite of wireless technologies such as integrated Wi-Fi Certified WLAN and optional Bluetooth® 2.0, allowing a variety of ways to access the Internet for email, IM, chat and blogging. An integrated VGA webcam allows for easy still-image capture, web-conferencing or video-enhanced instant messaging with no additional hardware to buy or carry. The HP Mini 2140 is also a great tool for the classroom. The suite of wireless,(4) multimedia and security capabilities allows students to learn wherever they have Wi-Fi access – from the classroom, to the library, to their homes. The HP Mini 2140 starts at AED 1,899 and is available in the Middle East now.

Set the style crowd alive

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd has launched its elegant ‘UltraTOUCH’, a fully equipped full-touch slider phone. As you would expect from Samsung, the UltraTOUCH is alive with technology. Its embedded 8 mega pixel camera with dual power LED flash and smile shot mode means you can capture incredible photographs on your phone. Samsung UltraTOUCH also offers GPS navigation, providing detailed maps. Geo-tagging via the GPS chip enables the user to tag photos with geographic information, enabling ease of use for social networking and photo sites. The high quality 30fps@VGA video recording captures action smoothly, while the groovy music player means that you can listen to sounds as slick as your phone. Samsung UltraTOUCH is also powered with HSDPA 7.2 Mbps, offering speedy internet access.

UAE Digest, May 2009 41


Finalist selected for

global pearl design programme Infinity earrings


he Dubai Pearl Exchange (DPE), a subsidiary of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), has chosen ten student finalists of Pearl Essence, the world’s first-ever global pearl design initiative encompassing all different types of pearls. Submitted by jewellery design students from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lebanon, South Africa, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Turkey, the finalist outlines were evaluated for commercial design, wearability, usage of unconventional designs with non traditional material usage and themebased creativity with pearls as the main design feature. Fledgling designers will go on to win several prizes in the next round of selection that will determine the final three winners, including a month-long internship with Stephen Webster Ltd in London, a week’s visit to the pearling operations and pearl farms of Paspaley Pearling Co. in Western Australia, and a pearl course at the Gemmological Institute of America’s (GIA’s) New York

Dragonfly necklace

42 UAE Digest, May 2009

campus. In addition, all ten student finalists received online pearl courses sponsored by GIA. The programme is specifically focused on pearl-based jewellery designs, influenced by the rich pearling heritage of Arabia and represented in a modern and contemporary fashion. The shortlisted designs will be fabricated into finished jewellery by DMCC-nominated manufacturers and pearl sponsors. DPE received a total of 644 student entries encompassing 46 international jewellery design schools across 10 markets. Entries were judged by an international jury, chaired by Ahmed bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC and comprising trade experts, industry journalists and professional jewellery designers. Further to the ten winning designs, there is an additional Jury’s Choice Award that will be manufactured by Jorg Gellner. Highlighting the significance of the programme, the remaining designs will be produced by leading pearl manufacturers, including ARY Jewellers,

Damas, Dhamani, Hof & Co, Liali Jewellery, Mahallati Jewellery, Mikura Pearls, Pinctada, Taiba and Universal Pearls (Umi Pearls). Pearls for the pieces will be provided by the sponsors – Paspaley Pearling Co., Robert Wan Tahiti and Euro Pearls. Christie’s has lent its support as auctioneer and Brinks as Travelling Exhibition Partner for later milestones of the programme. The final pearl jewellery collection will form part of a six-month travelling exhibition.

Student Name



Pearl Category

Belinda Koopman Joanne Piper Yuki Shizuno Feng Feng Reinhardt Van Zyl Dao Ying Asako Oshima Yang Xing Ho Cheuk Fung Hong Wangke

Enmore Design Centre Tafe NSW Design Centre Enmore Hiko Mizund College of Jewellery Raffles Design Institute, Singapore Tshwane University of Technology School of Art and Design, Tsinghua University Japan Jewelry Craft School Vacation School in China Academy of Art Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education Vocational School in China Academy of Art

Australia Australia Japan Singapore South Africa China Japan China Hong Kong China

Combination Combination South Sea South Sea Fresh Water Fresh Water Akoya Akoya Tahitian Tahitian

PEARL ESSENCE – Jury’s Choice Award Winner Student Name Institute


Pearl Category

Catherine Buman



Enmore Design Centre Sydney Institute of Tafe


An enthralling journey Mikimoto, the legendary pearling pioneer and renowned jeweller continues to enthrall and capture the minds and hearts of all jewellery lovers across the world with its dazzling pearls. It was over a century ago that its founder Kokichi Mikimoto succeeded in culturing the first pearl in the history of mankind. His dream was to adorn the necks of all women in the world with pearls. With this vision, he founded Mikimoto, his Japanese empire hailed for its expertise in design and crafting techniques, while using only the best gems of incredible lustre and beauty. Today, Mikimoto is the first name when it comes to pearls. The history of the brand started in 1893 when Kokichi Mikimoto discovered the pearl cultivation process and was shortly after granted a patent by the Japanese government in 1896. He then sent artisans to Europe to master the techniques of jewellery production and design, to which he blended the superior Japanese aesthetics of form, line and workmanship to produce the distinctive originality of Mikimoto designs. In 1899, he opened the first Mikimoto Pearl Store, Japan’s first specialty pearl shop, in Tokyo’s Ginza district. In 1914, he cultured the world’s first black-lipped cultured pearl. The brand’s winsome product range now includes Akoya, South Sea (White and Golden) and Tahitian cultured pearls. Mikimoto’s discovery gains credence when it is seen that in times past, perfectly spherical pearls were so rare that they were almost as expensive as diamonds. Impeccable standards of excellence distinguish Mikimoto’s pearls, setting them apart. Its proprietary grading system is unique and based on four factors: lustre, colour, shape and surface perfection of each pearl. It utilises only the top five per cent of the annual harvest. Jewellers often refer to pearls as being of ‘Mikimoto quality’. Its pearl collections celebrate the timeless beauty of pearls in a choice selection of gold, diamonds and semiprecious stones, and its pearl strands are cherished works of art. Mikimoto’s latest collections include Infinity, Dragonfly, Lybra, Sandstorm and Midnight which are now available at Saks Fifth Avenue Burjuman, Wafi City,

Lybra earrings

and at Damas Les Exclusives Boutiques in Burj Al Arab, Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, and Mina A’ Salam.

Philippine South Sea pearls Damas unveils Jewelmer’s astonishing South Sea pearl jewellery collections featuring grand and sumptuous pearl strands, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. Highly expressive, these jewellery creations are a definite must-have in the stylish woman’s jewellery wardrobe and are perfect for both day and evening allure. Drop-gorgeous earrings featuring one white and one golden South Sea pearl are designed to swing with glamorous intent on the daring woman’s ear lobes. While sure to be a red carpet favourite is a glittering cuff bracelet showcasing an elaborate weave of pearls with yellow gold settings dazzling with diamonds, amidst which ‘pop’ lustrous gold and white South Sea pearls of various sizes.

Jewelmer’s interesting options include a pearl studded silk scarf that can be worn on the head like a bandana and open pearl strands that can be knotted around the neck casually and allowed to trail almost the entire length of the dress to instantly turn one’s look into glamour. Pearl strands can also be wound around one’s wrist with much élan

Jewelmer’s silvery white of its luxurious pearl strands naturally offsets a pure white bridal gown while the golden South Sea pearl jewellery provides a glamorous option.

Founded 30 years ago, Jewelmer pearls stand unique for their ‘Ultimate Orient’, a result of their thick nacre that is defined as the refraction of light as it penetrates through layers of aragonite crystals from the core to the surface. It uses the biggest pearl-bearing oyster, the Pinctada Maxima found naturally in the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia and Burma. This oyster can produce pearls ranging from 9mm to 37mm and prefers warm weather conditions and pristine waters which these countries are gifted with. Jewelmer’s South Sea pearls are from the clean, unspoiled waters of Palawan, Philippines. As an environmentally conscious organisation, Jewelmer has implemented several projects like seaweed farming and tree planting, besides building up awareness among pearl farming communities.

May 2009, UAE Digest 43


Three-in-one The DIT Group, the renowned Italian jewellery house made up of three celebrated jewellery brands - Io Si, Porrati and Nouvelle Bague-has recently opened the Damas Italia Boutique–DIT Group at Dubai Mall.


o Si: Modern architecture forms the inspiration for this brand whose designs unveil a paradise of jewels. Its popular collections include Baccarat, Dionea and Rosier which offer stylised versions of the most romantic blossom rose in riveting brooches. Its Afrodite line presents swirling patterns inspired by ancient Greek architecture in white gold and pave diamonds brooches and earrings. Porrati: Said to be one of the most favourite and much loved brands of the region, due to the distinct Middle East flavour of its designs; these jewels are delicate, charming and utterly feminine. Its captivating Caracol collection is for the youthful and celebrates freedom, blending white, yellow and red gold with diamonds and a rich assortment of semi-precious stones. Nouvelle Bague: This three-decade old brand’s designs convey dreams and emotions in a delectable mix of coloured enamels, universal symbols and decorative elements offering playful pieces asserting the famed skills of the Florentine goldsmith. Stylistic and colourful, its well known collections include Fiori del Mattino, blending white gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones.

44 UAE Digest, May 2009

A precious jewel with a perfumed tender heart Jean Paul Gaultier Classique - inspired by medals, JPG created a genuine piece of jewellery with its central medal containing a solid perfume. Rediscover the fragrance in a unique, powdered texture which has the surprising freshness of rose mingling with the delectable notes of orange blossom which explodes in a bottom note of sensual vanilla. Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male, a real tough guy with a tender heart, is a fragrance that brings out both the virile and sensitive sides of a man. Discover the perfumed military accessory with, inside, a unique masculine wax texture with the emblematic sailor’s stripes, reinterpreting the “fougere” note: ushered in by mint, its composition is rounded out with an amber trail and a hint of vanilla. Wear this fashion accessory all the time, as a pendant or attached to your jeans or sports bag, for quick, discreet and invisible fragrance touch-ups

Fruity fragrance Joyful and exuberant, Incanto Bliss is a sparkling fruity floral fragrance created

by Béatrice Piquet. A bright explosion of fruity Yuzu and fizzy Kumquat illuminate juicy Apple. A fresh, radiant Freesia melts into a salty, luminescent Water Lily, while wild, blooming Rose reveals crystalline facets. An irresistibile, intimate and soft veil of Musk indulges into smooth Sandalwood and an incandescent Cedarwood heart. An exceptional flacon décor, designed by renowned artist Sylvie de France, projects exotic sensations of freedom and joy. Inside the flacon, an underwater fantasy universe comes alive with bubbles, starfish, corals and dreamy shapes.

Barefeet fantasy

In-eyes gel eyeliner

This eyeliner is not an ordinary pencil but a gel-like substance that is applied with a mini eyeliner brush that is pointy but soft, thereby allowing precise but comfortable application. The Fit in Eyes gel eye liner is offered in blue, brown, grey, pink and black. It contains a double gelling system that helps create a clear line while lending a soft look. Other special ingredients that make it an exceptional product include the botanical oil that protects the skin around your eye to avoid irritation; and silicon resin that has waterproof properties and prevents your make-up from getting smudged.

A symphony of perfection In 2008, the Parure Pearly White Compact added dazzling new radiance to all complexions. With two new technologies specially formulated for Asian skin, Parure Pearly White offered a first: a powder formula capable of offering the complexion all the luminous perfection of nacre (mother of pearl) and the immaculate splendour of lily. Its shining success among women led Guerlain to create the ideal fluid alternative, accompanied by two luxurious embellishing beauty steps developed with the exclusive know-how of the House. The new, long-lasting Fluid Foundation has more than one advantage: preserves hydration on the face; tightens pores; and smoothes the skin texture, giving a pore minimiser effect. A make-up brush, is an artist’s secret to perfecting the complexion, as if by magic. It highlights curved areas as it is brushed onto the face. Météorites by Guerlain inaugurated a new art of beauty with its mixture of variously

coloured fine pearls. A limited-edition version of Météorites makes its debut in a delicate pastel harmony, carefully designed to beautify the luminosity of Asian complexions that adore refined paleness. A precious cocktail of five shades combines the correcting pearls:– anti-redness green, anti-dullness mauve, fresh-glow pink with pearls that enhance brightness and luminosity: white for a touch of light, and mother-of-pearl for radiance and translucency.

For beautiful feet or simply to feel good, the new Kenzo massage balm is the perfect answer that nourishes, relaxes and repairs feet from ankle to toes. Cupuacu butter to intensely moisturise tired feet, Shea butter to soothe busy dancing feet, and rice plant water,-naturally rich in trace elementsessential oils and mineral salts. Massage in yourself or let it be done to you. Forget everything. Surrender to the soft scent of rice steam. Close your eyes and renew the experience with the other foot.

Going beyond lightening

Total repairing hand treatment

La Prairie widens the perspective on skin whitening with two new treatment products that go beyond lightening. Swiss Cellular White Triple Action Concentrated Essence targets skin oxidation-a major cause of skin discoloration-three ways, and at the same time, treats symptoms of aging skin such as age spots and mottled pigmentation. Swiss Cellular White Protective Day Emulsion SPF 25 is a light, fast-penetrating cream formulated to provide the skin with a high level of protection again UV rays, in addition to decreasing pigmentation and dramatically enhancing the skin barrier function to improve hydration and reduce wrinkles. Both go to the heart of the pigmentation problem via proprietary Anti-Lipofuscin Complex, developed by La Prairie, which reduces the age-related formation of the lipofuscin pigment. Both address the skin-aging phenomenon with La Prairie’s exclusive Cellular Complex, which energises, nourishes and firms the skin, in addition to supporting the skin’s natural regenerative functions and reinforcing the barrier against moisture loss.

The Total repairing hand treatment is a new product from the Missha’s M range. It has a natural floral fruity oriental scent that leaves your hands feeling refreshed. This cream also has whitening and anti-ageing properties that make it so appealing. In addition, it is enriched with ingredients such as tea and white flower complex that protect your hands from harmful effects of the environment and keep your hands moisturized and smooth.

Strawberry yoghurt foam cleanser The new and improved range of Missha yoghurt foam cleansers are packed with fruity goodness for the skin, more than ever before, which gives a rich, thick lather, leaving your skin fresh and clean. The yoghurt helps to make rough skin soft and supple, and the strawberry extract vitalises and makes skin even more youthful. Choose from Kiwi, Peach and Strawberry.

May 2009, UAE Digest 45


Painted love letters


stunning selection of items that were created in the first flush of Europe’s love affair with Arabia, made by European artists who lost their hearts to the Orient, will return to Dubai on May 11 at Bonhams’ first sale of Oriental Art. The sale features pictures and other works of art that captivated Europe and created a mindset among Europeans who perceived the Arab world as a beautiful, romantic, exotic and dangerously unknown territory. These works now return to the world that inspired them, as Bonhams believes a newly mobile Arab clientele will find them fascinating time capsules - painted love letters to the Orient and Arabia. The market for Orientalist and Middle Eastern pictures and works of art has never been stronger. With its record breaking $12 million auction in Dubai earlier, Bonhams has established powerful credentials in this area. The ‘Arts of the Islamic World’ will be an

46 UAE Digest, May 2009

impressive showcase of Islamic and Middle Eastern inspired paintings and works of art of the highest quality. The sale will include paintings, sculpture, ceramics and glass, decorative arts, silver and antique arms and armour. Bonhams are delighted to be hosting the private view and pre-sale reception in conjunction with The Children’s Hope Foundation, the prominent UAE children’s charity and Dresdner Bank. Mashreq Gold, the banking service of Mashreq, showed its support to the local community by hosting an Emirati art exhibition by contemporary artists from The Flying House last month, concurring with the celebration of its second anniversary. The exhibition showcased a unique presentation of the history of contemporary art in the UAE since the 1970s, displaying the works of renowned local artists Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Hassan Sharif and Abdul Rahman Al Ma’aini.


Terminator Salvation


adio sensation Dr Emma Lloyd (Uma Thurman) and her publisher/fiancé Michael (Colin Firth) thought getting a licence to wed in New York would be easier than getting a driver’s licence. After all, there are no tests - written or blood – they were both over 18, and they weren’t related. All they needed to do was show up together at City Hall, hand over the fee, and be done with it. Right? Wrong – Emma’s already married! Oops. Can someone accidentally forget they have a husband? Certainly not the perfectly practical, never-makea-misstep Dr. Emma Lloyd, a.k.a. ‘The Love Doctor’. Certainly not New York’s very own guru of relationships, and author of the hot self-help book, R.E.A.L Love. But when Emma carelessly dispenses some of her ‘chicken soup for the heart’ over the Big Apple’s airwaves, and a faithful listener takes her advice, fireman Patrick Sullivan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) suddenly has his love life extinguished. Now Patrick wants to get even, and after reading about the good doctor’s impending nuptials in the newspaper, he puts together the perfect recipe for sweet revenge: Just take one know-it-all talk show host, one angry New York City fireman, one computer whiz who can hack into city hall, and presto! Emma can’t get married because she already is . . . to Patrick!

“Terminator Salvation” is set in post-apocalyptic 2018, where John Connor (Christian Bale) is the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future that Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. The highly anticipated new instalment of The Terminator

film franchise, Terminator Salvation is directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, We Are Marshall). The film stars Christian Bale (The Dark Knight), Sam Worthington (The Great Raid), Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog), Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3), Moon Bloodgood (What Just Happened?), Common (Wanted), Jane Alexander (The Unborn) and Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Opening nationwide on May 22, brought to you by Gulf Films.

Preview photos of up and coming films Crank 2


Star Trek – First Look

UAE Digest, May 2009 47

AUTOS Porsche Centre Abu Dhabi, Ali & Sons Co. LLC, introduced the latest generation Porsche Boxster and Cayman models to the public, in a ceremony at its Salam Street showroom recently. Both cars were launched together under the theme of black and white.

Negotiating the urge to buy


n the old days folks would buy a car they could afford while saving up for the car of their dreams. Or they would ask parents, or a friendly aunt/uncle, for financial assistance. Cars were handed down within a family, fixed and mended with parts renewed many times. The mysteries of tyres, spark plugs, hoses, filters and suchlike would be inspected regularly with younger children in tow all peering under the bonnet to learn where to grease the joint and how to test and then re-fill water and oil. No-one enjoyed getting their hands dirty, but there was a sense of satisfaction when the key was turned, the engine caught and the car was back in full working order. “I did that” they thought in satisfaction.

48 UAE Digest, May 2009

Then came part-repayments in the form of loans and credit cards which were relatively easy to obtain. Some say they were too easy to obtain, by people who couldn’t afford to keep repaying the monthly amounts. Since the economic slowdown and ensuing lack of liquidity that hit the region, potential new car buyers have had to meet ever more stringent personal credit scoring and loan criteria in order to secure new car financing. Now, however, customers at Arabian Automobiles can opt for two ground-breaking new finance deals put in place by Al Hilal Bank: typically a customer with a minimum salary of Dh6000 per month and above can opt for a zero per cent

down payment option and additionally get a competitive 4.5 per cent profit rate over a four year finance deal. For a longer contract term the profit rate rises slightly to 4.75 per cent. Arabian Automobiles and Al Hilal Bank staff can also deliver ‘on the spot’ finance approval, avoiding the typical 10-15 day wait. Potential customers with a minimum salary of Dh5000 per month will be required to make a minimum ten per cent down payment. Al-Futtaim Automotive too has partnered with leading banks to stimulate the country’s automobile market. It has entered into an exclusive arrangement with leading UAE banks to provide credit facilities to

retail buyers who are currently struggling to finance their purchase due to issues such as salary levels. Under this scheme auto loans will be possible to those customers earning a monthly salary of Dh4,000 and above. As well as this relaxed minimum salary level the scheme offers its customers the benefits of zero down payment and interest rates from a highly competitive 5.5 per cent. Loans will be available at all Al-Futtaim Motors and Trading Enterprises showrooms in the UAE. Car dealers admit that they have not been immune to the impact of the financial crisis. “The UAE has not been spared from the effects of the global economic slowdown; nor the impact that the slowdown has had on the auto sector. We expected growth to slow down and the economic situation has certainly brought that home - perhaps a bit sooner than we would have liked,”said Yolanda Delport, General Manager for Marketing at Trading Enterprises, which owns Honda, Volvo, and Chrysler dealerships throughout the UAE. “We’re still getting a healthy level of enquiries across our brands but people are slower in making the buying decision. What places the UAE in a slightly more favourable position is that we have a regular influx of new residents who require transportation, a number of cash buyers in our market and of course, a community that has a passion for cars.” Tom Pryor, Marketing Manager for Ali and Sons Audi dealership in Abu Dhabi, agrees that customers are focused on price, and he acknowledges that he is losing business because people have an expectation that prices will keep falling. But he is quick to point out that prices Audi Q5

cannot keep falling forever. “At the end of the day, we still have to be viable as a business. There is only a certain price point we can go to,” he stated. UAE-based Liberty Automobiles believes there already are signs of a turnaround in the sector. After four very slow months, sales improved slightly in February, especially among the dealers’ non-premium brands, said Abdul Malik, Group General Manager of Liberty Automobiles, a General Motors dealer with showrooms across the UAE. One factor that is helping sales is that a growing number of banks are starting to entertain car loan applications. Islamic banks in particular have proven to be the most keen to issue car loans, Malik said, because they tend to have more funds available for lending and are eager to grow their automobile financing business. One of the most awaited new models for Audi has now officially been launched in the UAE: the premium 5-seater SUV Audi Q5. Dealerships in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have already delivered the first cars to customers. The Audi Q5 is an important model for the company this year as it has had many customer inquiries ever since the car was shown first in design sketches a few years ago. The SUV combines the dynamism of a sports sedan with highly variable interior and versatile options for leisure-time and family use. Strong and efficient engines, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and agile running gear have been brought together to create a superior technology package for both on- and off-road driving. The Q5 offers countless clever features, many of them known from the luxury class only. These include a roof load sensor that allows the ESP (electronic

stabilisation programme) to adjust to the higher centre of gravity caused by roof loads, and innovative driver assistance and safety systems like the parking system advanced with rearview camera, the navigation system with three-dimensional maps and the high-beam assistant which automatically switches between high and low beams. Additionally the car features side assist, which monitors the vehicle blind spot, and the adaptive cruise control which maintains a constant distance from the vehicle in front. The triple-zone climate control system, the intelligent chip key with keyless entry and electromechanical parking brake guarantee highest levels of convenience for its owner. Among the multimedia options the car is available with MMI, Bluetooth telephone, a DVD drive and TV tuner, an iPod interface and MP3 capability as well as the top-of-the-line sound system from Danish specialists Bang & Olufsen. For many the art of driving would normally involve a physics lesson, the reaction times of Michael Schumacher and a lot of practice. For Robin Rhode, the South African urban artist, the art of driving has meant becoming the first person to use a high performance premium sports car as a paintbrush. For his piece ‘Expressions of Joy’ Rhode used the new BMW Z4 Roadster, the latest sports model to be revealed by the world’s leading premium automotive manufacturer, to paint a massive 100 by 200-foot canvas. To the naked eye the swirls of bold splattered tyre marks look spontaneous, but in reality Rhode and his team painstakingly created the artwork in a Los Angeles studio, where they were joined by director Jake Scott (son of Ridley Scott) to shoot the latest TV ad


May 2009, UAE Digest 49


Sven Roters, founder of foilacar

campaign for the launch of the new car. BMW is of course no stranger to the fine arts scene. For the past 32 years it has commissioned many of the world’s foremost artists to transform its production models to collection pieces for its BMW Art Car Series. But instead of being the canvas, this is the first time a BMW car has become the paintbrush. To watch behind the scenes footage of the making of ‘Expressions of Joy’ visit Bosch Automotive Aftermarket, one of the three divisions of global technology and services supplier Bosch Group, has recently achieved a new milestone with the production of its 50 millionth common-rail system for diesel engines. Common-rail systems enables cleaner and more economical diesel power in the MENA region as they offer 30 per cent less fuel consumption and 25 per cent less carbon dioxide emission compared to gasoline engines. They have become popular in countries such as the UAE which have adopted stricter sustainability laws and are preparing even more stringent emissions legislation. The term common rail describes a high-pressure accumulator, or rail, from which the fuel is injected into the cylinders via the injectors connected to it. The first customers, Alfa Romeo with the 156 JTD and Mercedes with the 220 CDI, began marketing models featuring Bosch common-rail systems at the end of 1997. All well-known international automakers currently rely on Bosch common-rail systems. As a result of the prevalent use of the technology, nitrogen oxide and particulate emission values for diesel will be around 95 per cent and 97 per cent lower, respectively, by the time the Euro 5 emissions standards takes effect in September of 2009. Presented as a concept at the 79th

50 UAE Digest, May 2009

International Motor Show of Geneva, Essence is a celebration of Nissan’s Infiniti and its 20 years history as a creator of performance cars. But equally it is an inspiring exploration into the brand’s future. The dramatic design, technology and performance statement is a 600PS, petrol/electric hybrid coupe with rear-wheel drive. Essence showcases many of the technologies, including hybrid, and design cues that will distinguish production cars of the coming years.


A front-engined, two-seat, 600PS luxury coupe concept, 4.7m long • First motor show preview of Infiniti’s petrol/electric hybrid drivetrain • Capable of vast speeds where conditions allow, zero emissions where they don’t • Rear-wheel drive for maximum driver involvement • Fresh design language to influence future production models • Previews new safety technology including Back-up Collision Prevention • Minimalist and intensely driverfocused interior • “New luxury” meets traditional Japanese craftsmanship • Bespoke Louis Vuitton fitted luggage to maximise trans-continental capability Great news for all auto enthusiasts in the United Arab Emirates: With foilacar Premium, the longanticipated new workshop of the German specialist for automotive foil wrapping technologies opened its gates in Dubai. With German staff, German products and German precision, only this company offers true German quality foilings in the region. It is the first

choice for everyone who seeks to convert his car into a unique piece of lifestyle. The first class of colour change, car design and car protection technologies is what you can expect of the Dubai’s new car customisation centre located in Industrial Area 1 of Al Quoz. Lead by a team of more than 15 specialists, staff deliver perfect car coating results that cannot be distinguished from conventional car paintwork. They have an astonishing selection of nearly 100,000 different colours including special effects foils like Swarovski crystal foils and 3D carbon fibre films. A flatbed tow truck service fetches and delivers your car with maximum security and the aftercare programme ensures a perfect customer support. The Chevrolet Spark made its world premiere at Geneva Auto Show recently. It’s a small car designed to make a big statement; it’s big on style, big on fuel efficiency and, like all products from Chevrolet, big on value. The Spark’s distinctive, edgy styling conveys energy and spirit. It’s as fun to own as it is economical to own. Equipped with 1. 0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine and a five-door hatchback body format offering surprising versatility, this car is set to light up the Middle East’s mini-car segment. This is the production version of the Beat concept car, the most popular of a trio of Chevrolet mini concepts that toured international motor shows in 2007. A clear majority among 1. 9 million internet voters said it was the car they wanted Chevrolet to build. At the front, the bold twin-port grille leads up to a hood that’s finely sculpted above the headlamps. Below the grille, the lines of the fog lamp housings and the ‘floating’ lower air intake extend the sense of forward movement. Muscular rear wheel-arches, well filled with a choice


Chevrolet Spark

of 13, 14 or 15-inch wheels, give the car a crouched, ready-to-go stance. Fun and easy to own, fun and easy to operate, the all-new Chevrolet Spark will hit Middle East showrooms June 2010. The future of the crossover has arrived with an all-new version of the model that created the popular crossover segment. The second generation Nissan Murano hit showrooms across the region last month. Even more generously equipped than its predecessor, the latest Murano has: • Extensive standard equipment list including new optional twin sunroof and powered tailgate • Increased model choice – three grade range of base, SL and LE models • Available electric folding rear seats • Luxuriously appointed interior with double stitched leather upholstery • ‘Super evolutionary’ styling – every body panel is new • Revised 3.5-litre V6 engine now delivers 256hp (net); 0-100Km/h in 8.0secs • Reduced CO2 and more efficient fuel economy • Stiffer all-wheel drive platform and revised suspension improves driving dynamics Murano will continue to appeal to customers who appreciate the fusion of the dynamic driving characteristics of a luxury sedan and the security, space and desirability of an SUV. But it is now quicker, more economical to run, sportier yet more refined to drive, and has a sumptuous, contemporary interior clad in a more

Nissan Murano

elegant, all-new exterior. All Murano customers will enjoy a specification that includes 18 inch alloys, rear privacy glass, bi-xenon headlamps, cruise control and an in-dash six-disc CD player with aux-in socket for MP3 players. There’s the convenience of Nissan’s Intelligent Key for easy keyless-access and once seated, front seat occupants can find the ideal position thanks to powered front seats and steering wheel complete with memory setting. ALL-MODE 4x4-i technology continues to provide sure-footed handling no matter how treacherous the conditions. This intelligent permanent 4WD system distributes torque on demand to where it’s needed – under normal driving conditions that means predominantly to the front wheels, but up to 50 per cent can be sent to the rear if required. The system is closely integrated with the standard

ESP stability control. It is fitting that Nissan vehicles filled six of the top eight places on the Nissansponsored Leg 3 ‘Nissan Stage’ of the 2009 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge off road rally recently. The 340 kilometre long Nissan leg 3 - which took place in the emirate’s Empty Quarter and formed the fourth competitive day of the Challenge - has traditionally been recognized as one of the most difficult stages for the event’s intrepid off road rally drivers, and this year proved no different. UAE driver Ahmed Bin Soughat and his UAE co-driver Wael Marjan brought their ‘T2’ showroom class Nissan Patrol home in second place overall on the Nissan Stage. Meanwhile UAE driver Yayha Al Helai and co-driver Khalid Al Kendi (UAE) brought their Nissan Patrol home in 5th place on the stage – maintaining their 2nd place overall in the rally.

May 2009, UAE Digest 51


Private guide to

Dubai rents Dubai real estate broker Landmark Properties has published a rental price index to better reflect the downtown in the market


he company said that changing market dynamics in the UAE’s real estate sector was allowing residents to negotiate cheaper rents with their landlords. The guide came weeks before real estate watchdog Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA)’s anticipated new rental index was due to be published in late April. RERA’s rental index published in January was criticised by industry experts for basing rental values at the top of the market in the middle of 2008. Landmark Advisory, the agent’s research and analysis division, said it had published leasing price maps in March to “guide tenants on approximately what they should be paying as rent in certain areas”. “What we are seeing now in Dubai is a shift benefiting and protecting the rights of tenants, who are having an easier time finding larger units for the same rate they currently pay, or choosing to move to more affluent areas. We’re also seeing many pay their same rent, but with an increased number of cheques,” said Charles Neil, CEO of Landmark Advisory.

52 UAE Digest, May 2009

Rental value of residential apartments - Per Thousands/ Annum(March 2009) # Areas Studio One B/R Two B/R Three B/R Four B/R 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Palm Jumeirah Dubai Marina The Greens The Views The Springs The Meadows Emirates Hills The Lakes Jumeirah Lakes Towers Jumeirah Beach Residence Jumeirah Islands Al Barsha Uptown Mirdiff Mirdiff International City Dubai Silicon Oasis Green Community The Gardens Discovery Gardens Arabian Ranches

- 52-90 55-75 70-85 - - - - 50-75 75-90 - 55-65 - - 38-50 50-65 45-80 - 45-50 -

100-150 75-100 80-90 80-125 - - - - 65-120 100-120 - 70-95 95-120 - 50-65 65-100 90-95 - 60-65 -

140-260 85-150 120-140 150-160 - - - - 80-150 130-160 - 100-135 130-140 - 75-80 90-130 110-125 - 85-110 -

185-350 140-250 170-190 175-210 - - - - 130-200 170-200 - 130-170 - - - 115-120 150-280 - - -

300-380 190-250 200-230 210-280 -

Rental value of residential villas - Per Thousands / Annum (March 2009) # Areas Two B/R Three B/R Four B/R Five B/R Six B/R 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Palm Jumeirah Dubai Marina The Greens The Views The Springs The Meadows Emirates Hills The Lakes Jumeirah Lakes Towers Jumeirah Beach Residence Jumeirah Islands Al Barsha Uptown Mirdiff Mirdiff International City Dubai Silicon Oasis Green Community The Gardens Discovery Gardens Arabian Ranches

- - - - 90-150 - - 220-230 - - - - - - - - - - - 120-140

250-350 - - - 140-250 230-260 - 230-250 - - - 240-250 - 110-200 - - 200-220 - - 160-170

350-450 - - - 210-280 250-320 - 285-300 - - 280-370 280-290 - 155-250 - - 200-240 - - 200-250

400-500 - - - - 325-350 200-380 370-390 - - 350-430 340-350 - 200-300 - - 230-290 - - 250-350

500-600 350-400 400-500 400-425 330-450


The Ajman Government has invested a total of USD 375 million in building roads and intersections, bridges, as well as maintenance and renovation of public facilities in 2008, according to recent reports. A review of past statistics also showed that this figure is almost triple the amount allocated for improving the infrastructure within the emirate in 2007, which was estimated at USD 136 million. Memon Investments reveals that it is currently eyeing high profile city developments in Ajman as locations for its upcoming projects. In addition to the sizeable investments into developing its public works, the Ajman Government has also unveiled plans for an international airport to be built in the emirate’s Al-Manama district. This effort is expected to have a significant effect on the tourism as well as business sectors in Ajman, which will in turn drive the need for built spaces to accommodate the influx of tourists and expatriates. In addition, the government has also recently introduced the Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Establishment (ARERA) to regulate the emirate’s property and construction sector. Memon Investments has identified the demand for relatively affordable but high quality residential properties among middle-income end-users, prompting it to explore plans to undertake several projects for this segment within Ajman. To date, Memon Investments has launched a total of seven projects in the UAE, including four towers under the ‘Champions Tower’ banner, and ‘Frankfurt Sports Tower I’ in Dubai Sports City, in addition to ‘Gardenia I & II’ in Jumeirah Village, and ‘Cambridge Business Centre’ in Dubai Silicon Oasis. Amidst the reported decline in the construction cost within the UAE since the onset of the economic crisis, the developer has also committed to further strengthening its partnership with leading construction companies, in line with its aims to hit

the delivery of two of its projects - the Dh75 million ‘Champions Tower I’ and the Dh80 million ‘Cambridge Business Centre’ - by the end of 2009. Rakeen, one of the region’s most dynamic property developers and master planners, and the real estate development arm of the Ras Al Khaimah Government has announced that it has completed piling, cut-off and pile testing works and started super structural works of the building projects within the Bab Al Bahr project, the centrepiece development of the Al Marjan Island, the first man-made island in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. Rakeen further revealed in its monthly status report that an impressive 5,000 cubic metres of concrete is being poured every week in various sections of the development, keeping the project well within schedule, particularly for its planned mid 2010 completion of the first residential units. For the Fayrouz, Kahraman and Yakout buildings, erection of the structural columns and shear walls of the basement has been almost completed. One further milestone in the super structural work of these buildings is the considerable progress of the basement ceiling. Rakeen has likewise completed piling and pile testing works of the Marmar, Amwaj and Zumourud buildings with slab on grade and water proofing works for footing in (For illustrative purposes only)

progress. As part of its efforts to provide timely information to investors and project stakeholders, Rakeen has issued monthly status reports that include pictures of the Bab Al Bahr development. Rakeen has encouraged all interested parties to visit the construction site by setting up an appointment. Hamptons International, one of the UK’s leading property agencies, has launched a ‘Best of British’ campaign – an innovative new initiative designed to bring the very best of British property directly to buyers across the UAE. It utilises the company’s global reach, enabling its customers to market their properties directly to an international audience actively looking to buy in the UK. The slowdown of the market there means that there are now fantastic opportunities for investors who are able to benefit not only from declining house prices, but also the weakness of the Pound against other currencies. The initiative launched in Dubai with an exclusive VIP gala event in aid of The Prince’s Trust, with HRH Prince Michael as the guest of honour. The glamourous event was held at The Address, Downtown Burj Dubai, to raise much needed funds for disadvantaged young people, as well as officially launch the ‘Best of British’. Following the launch, the participating properties were showcased at an exclusive property event in Dubai Marina attracting over 1,000 high net worth property investors. The showcase was followed by a second exhibition at real estate event Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which ran from April 19 to 22.

May 2009, UAE Digest 53


Local destinations


o some, a ‘local destination’ lies within the boundaries of this country, to others the words mean a short flight to nearby countries. Even though people are counting their loose change a bit more nowdays, tightening their belts and generally being more thrifty in all aspects of their life, there is an annoyance at having to do so. Long holidays are a thing of the past for many and shorter breaks and getaways are now a normal topic of conversation. It may be that out of this global turmoil will come a more peaceful group of people as stressed out businessmen and harassed women take more regular breaks from busy schedules to relax and chill out. A picnic in the desert with family and friends, camping on the beach with a club or group, hiking in the mountains with a local guide, visiting the local sites that overseas tourists pay a lot of money to fly here to see,-there are many choices. Go on, pretend to be a tourist for a

weekend and see how well you know the place you live in. Book a tour on the Big Red Bus in Dubai, join the sand skiers and camel riders at a desert camp, visit Fossil Rock at Sharjah, try out the hot and cold mountain springs in Ras Al Khaimah, climb Al Ain’s mountain, take the children to the zoo, stroll along Abu Dhabi’s Corniche eating an ice cream. Some of these cost a bit, some don’t. But you will feel good at having taken a break and feel relaxed after a peaceful time doing whatever interests you. Whether it is due to the global crisis or not, there has been an overflow of lowbudget airways in the region, either being launched or more actively advertised and encouraged. This is all for the good of the customer, who now has choices and more opportunities to take a holiday, visit relatives, or fit in a quick business trip. Dubai’s first low-cost airline, flydubai, has announced flights will start on June 1st 2009 with a daily service to Beirut, and from June 2nd daily to Amman.

Al Diar Siji Hotel (ADSH), a five-star business hotel in Fujairah will showcase its newly-opened luxury serviced apartments as it participates in the ATM (Arabian Travel Market) this May in Dubai. Each of the 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartment has generously-sized bedrooms, fully-equipped modern kitchens with all appliances, as well as living and dining areas, in-room entertainment which includes flat screen LCD satellite TVs, and broadband internet connection. Fujairah has many waterfalls, winding roads and unspoilt beaches lapped by the waters from the Indian Ocean. It is a divers’ paradise with a wide variety of coral, rock formations, and tropical fish aplenty.

Ajman Museum

54 UAE Digest, May 2009

Passengers will be able to book flights on the airline’s website, at their call centre - on 04 301 0800 - and with travel partners. Seat price will be from Dh250 one way on both routes from Dubai. This price is inclusive of all taxes and a generous hand baggage allowance of 10kg. Passengers only have to pay for the optional extras they choose, such as checked bags of up to 32kg each, seat selection, and any required food and beverages. The airline will issue each passenger with a boarding pass once the booking has been paid for, eliminating the need for e-tickets and paper tickets. The new airline will operate from an enhanced and modernised Terminal 2 on the north side of Dubai International Airport. Further destinations will be announced shortly, all of which will be within 4.5 hours flying time of Dubai. flydubai will operate Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft on both routes, each with 189 economy class seats.

. Three & four bedroom villas . Low-to-medium rise apartment buildings . Equestrian-themed boutique hotel . Covered riding arena . . Multi-purpose grass show arena . HoofbeatZ Centre . Equine spa & therapy centre . Equestrian centre for 200 horses . . State-of-the-art business, health, sport & leisure facility . Indoor sports complex .

Tel : +971 6 746 3335 , Fax : +971 6 746 3392 P.O.Box 6959 Ajman U.A.E.

Escape Ajman.indd 1

4/1/09 3:28:48‭ ‏PM


Smile Corniche Kalba Mangrove Forest

you are in Sharjah! The emirate has something different to offer from its more high-profile and prosperous neighbour Dubai By Vanit Sethi

I Students in AUS Campus

Al Qasba at night

n the UAE’s hall of fame, Abu Dhabi and Dubai get top billing, while Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah are the shining new stars, but the oldest emirate of them all gets the short shrift for reasons not entirely justified. I think you must’ve guessed I’m talking about Sharjah, my home for the last six years. And the home of numerous other expats working in Dubai. While Dubai has made them achieve their dreams, Sharjah has made it possible for them to even dream. Were it not for Sharjah, so many of them would not come to the UAE to pursue their dreams. Or they would have to live in shared accommodation in Dubai, all the time feeling lonely and homesick. However, when people come visiting to the UAE, it is Dubai that gets showcased with Sharjah becoming a night halt. It is time that perception is changed, since Sharjah has something different to offer from its more highprofile and prosperous neighbour. First is its obvious cost advantage – the hotels are cheaper, and cost of goods and everyday essentials is also cheaper in groceries and stores. Second is the locational advantage as Sharjah is towards the middle of the UAE and a good point to cover both the southern emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the northern emirates of Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Third, it is the only emirate with a coastline on both the Arabian Gulf in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the east. Fourth, being the oldest emirate, its architecture is distinctly Islamic unlike much of Dubai’s; it is the cultural capital of the UAE, and has educational institutions of good repute. So, what are Sharjah’s unique attractions? Its museums, heritage and arts areas, University City, Corniche and the lagoons, and Al Qasba.

Museums and Galleries: Sharjah abounds in museums and art galleries.

Outside the blue souq

In fact, it has dedicated heritage and arts areas where art exhibitions keep happening frequently, making it among the most cultured emirates in the UAE. There are a total of 16 museums in Sharjah, including Maritime Museum, Heritage Museum, Calligraphy Museum, Art Museum, Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Archaeology Museum, Science Museum, Discovery Centre, Natural History Museum & Botanical Museum. Most of the museums are open from Saturday through Thursday (8am to 8pm), except on Fridays (4pm to 8pm). There are two main areas devoted to the arts in Sharjah city – the Arts Area in Al Shuwaiheen, and the Arabic Calligraphy Square in Al Sheyoukh. Sharjah also hosts the International Art Biennial every two years.

University City: The emirate of Sharjah has been a frontrunner in education in the UAE, with some very reputable institutions housed in an area called the University City. Prominent among them are American University of Sharjah (AUS), The University of Sharjah, Higher Colleges of 56 UAE Digest, May 2009


Khorfakkan Beach

Technology (for boys and girls), Sharjah Institute of Technology, and the Police Academy. The University City is a spacious and sprawling location with tastefully designed buildings reflecting the essence of Islamic architecture amidst soothing greenery and an abundance of flowers. It is also one of the prime tourist attractions of the emirate.

The Lagoons: Sharjah city is crisscrossed by three lagoons – Mamzar Lagoon,

Al Khan Lagoon, and Khalid Lagoon. While the Mamzar Lagoon divides Sharjah from Dubai, Al Khan and Khalid Lagoons are in the heart of Sharjah. While the Al Jazeera Park is a prime attraction of Khalid Lagoon, Al Qasba recreation area is the main attraction of Al Khan Lagoon. The Corniche in both these areas along the lagoons is a favourite with walkers, joggers and picnickers.

Al Qasba: Fomerly Qanat Al Qasba, this area has been a phenomenal marketing

success. A water inlet from the Al Khan Lagoon cuts through Al Qasba, making it an excellent evening spot with restaurants along the canal giving a feel of Paris and boats floating in the canal giving it a Venetian look. Al Qasba is a unique array of entertainment and culture with many firsts. It has the highest observatory wheel in the region, called the Eye of the Emirates; the first and largest creative musical fountain in the region; and a bouquet of unique year-round activities. Apart from Sharjah City, the emirate has other unique destinations like Al Dhaid, Al Hajjar mountains, Kalba, Dibba and Khorfakkan. Al Dhaid is an oasis, Masafi has mountains nearby, Dibba is a cluster of seaside villages, Kalba is a fishing town and the site of the oldest mangrove forest in Arabia, and Khorfakkan -bordering Fujairah on the east coast – is a charming seaside resort.

Al Hajjar Mountains on the road to Masafi

Road Show in the Gulf As part of its efforts to encourage regional tourist activities and strengthen tourist ties among GCC countries, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) held a roadshow in the GCC countries. The roadshow -- intended to promote Sharjah’s unique tourist attractions and attract more GCC tourists to the emirate -- took place from April 7 to 17, and included five major GCC destinations -Doha, Kuwait, Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah. This roadshow preceded the imminent launch of the Sharjah Summer Promotion 2009, which included special discounts, prizes and offers to encourage shopping activity during the summer. SCTDA statistics show that European tourists accounted for 35 per cent of the total tourist influx into the emirate in 2008, with GCC tourists accounting for 27 per cent, other Arab countries accounting for 12 per cent, and Asian tourists making up 23 per cent.

Trip for foreign diplomats • The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry organised a tour for UAE-based senior foreign diplomats and consular officers in the first week of March. His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, met senior foreign diplomats and members of diplomatic missions assigned to the UAE at the headquarters of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI). • Attendees included ambassadors, consuls, commercial attachés and managers of offices and Arabic and foreign commercial centres representing 110 Arab and foreign countries. A luncheon was organised by the Government of Sharjah in honour of the guests at the conclusion of a tour of selected local sites overseen by Foriegn diplomats outside SCCI the chamber. His Highness welcomed the diplomats and commended their role in forging closer ties in various fields. • The programme began with the welcoming of the heads and members of diplomatic missions along with their spouses in the headquarters of the chamber. The tour began with a visit to the University City. The guests then proceeded to the Dr Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies, after which they visited the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation to view the artefacts, numbering more than 5,000. The tour concluded with a visit to the Sharjah Aquarium, which displays the activities of around 250 species of marine life in the local environment. The guests expressed their admiration of Sharjah’s attractions.

May 2009, UAE Digest 57




The smallest emirate in the UAE hides quaint spots in its various pockets. Here’s a run through. By Manju Ramanan


ocated near Dubai, with a virgin coastline that is still awaiting the building of large real estate projects, star hotels, holiday homes, beachfront villages, shopping arcades and waterfront leisure centers; tourism in Ajman still centres around family holidays - a quiet walk on the beach, a visit to the Ajman museum and a romp by its mangroves. Quaint, old world and enriching, here are some places to see in Ajman which are timeless and have a deep-rooted association with the emirate. The Ajman Museum - Located in the old fort, Dowar Al Hosn, that used to be the ruler’s residence until 1970, the museum showcases Arabic culture from its early days. The museum merits mention in the book Kings of Sands written by Remond Aushia, a British Airways agent who visited the fort after World War II. While the gravesite of the Umm Al Nar variety from nearby Mowaihat has been replicated at the entrance of the museum (including its burial jewellery, painted ceramic vessels, beads, copper tools and implements, plus the skeletal remains of the original inhabitants of the area), the museum, through its various mannequins depicts scenes and items of traditional life. Open from 9am-1pm and 4pm-7pm in winter, and 5pm-8pm in summer. Fridays 4pm-7pm, Saturdays 9am-1pm. Admission Dh4 for adults, Dh2 for children under seven. You can also call Ajman Museum

Ajman Museum

58 UAE Digest, May 2009

TRAVEL 04-74282222, 7423824. Photography is allowed and free of charge but outside food is not allowed in the museum precincts. Beach it up - If you walked along the Sharjah beach towards Ajman, you wouldn’t know when you stepped into the latter. It is not uncommon to see locals as well as expatriates taking a stroll on the beach at all times of the day. And when the weather is friendlier, you can find several picnic baskets too. Bang opposite the beach are several eateries where you can grab a bite. You could also hire a jet-ski, go quad-biking, and head out for a swim in the sea. Of course, you’ll look at instruction sign posts on various parts of the beach that forbid you from swimming in certain areas only. Mangrove watch - If you drive towards Al Hamriya on Sheikh Zayed Street, you can see birds such as flamingoes flock among the mangroves. You can drive your car along the water’s edge, and try spotting a variety of birds in this terrain that will soon see the Al Zorah project located alongside this scenic space. Dhow building - While Ajman houses one of the largest luxury boat manufacturers in the UAE – Gulf Craft - it also houses

the traditional dhow making industry. Ajman’s dhow yard, one of the most active in the region, uses traditional tools to craft the wooden boats. You can also fish off the coast of Ajman, Masfout and Manama - The two major regions in the emirate are Masfout, known for its colourful marble and agriculture located at a distance of 110 kilometres towards the south east; and Manama (sleeping place in Arabic) located 60 kilometres to the east, both of which are a ‘must see’. Manama is known for its stamps that were issued between 1966 and 1971, when it joined the UAE. Shopping Options - Ajman has a quaint blend of the traditional and the modern. The Iranian market near the Fewa office is a shopper’s delight. So are malls like Ajman City Centre, NK Mall, Lulu Hypermarket et al. But one of the most interesting shopping areas of Ajman is the Sanaya area that houses several factory outlets. You can indulge in a garment shopping experience of your lifetime here and still save a few dirhams. There are a few shops in the area that also sell household items and decorative knickknacks.

The Tourism Committee in Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry has held a meeting represented by Mr. Abdulla Al Marzouqi, the Director of Commercial Affairs and Mr. Mohammed Al Janahi, the Head Department of Industrial Development and a number of managers of tourism organisations in Ajman. The meeting discussed how to strengthen relations, solve the problems facing the industry here in order to develop tourism in Ajman, and new methods of marketing to highlight the important role of Ajman in the field of tourism.

Factory outlets at Sanaya

Fishing boats

Decorative knick-knacks at Sanaya

Ajman sea-side

May 2009, UAE Digest 59


Ravishing RAK Blot out those high-rises and revel in the expanse of nature. Drive down to Ras Al Khaimah for a whiff of fresh air and positive energy By Manju Ramanan Camel keepers


he expanse of the changing colours of the desert reveals itself as you hit the Emirates Road travelling towards Ras Al Khaimah. Bedouins, camel farms and desert safari zones catch your eye as you pass from Umm Ul Quwain to the red sands of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK). The emirate with an unbeatable combination of desert, seas, mountains and plains, RAK’s USP as a tourist destination lies in its variety. Where to stay Excellent five star beach resorts (The Hilton, The Cove Rotana, The New Hilton, and Al Hamra Beach Resort), traditional hotels like the Bin Majid Resort or the RAK Hotel make this an ideal spot to spend a weekend or two. Most hotels have private beach access and those that don’t have the beach in close vicinity.

Hilton Hotel

60 UAE Digest, May 2009

Bin Majid Resort

Nature tourism

National Museum of RAK

Dotted by the Al Hajjar mountains which offer opportunities for wadi bashing, visitors can also explore the nearby fiords of Musandam in Oman which also provide ample opportunity for dolphin spotting. And then, there are several local events and activities such as Awafi, camel racing et al. There are water sports such as a mid-sea swim and parasailing. Desert safaris, dune bashing and biking are some of the other added attractions. Hotels offer individual packages.

H.H. Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, ruler of Ras Al Khaimah and Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE has been extremely keen on recording and protecting the emirate’s history. From 1968 onwards, he roped in archaeologist Beatrice de Cardi to begin surveys in the emirate, and soon, the Ras Al Khaimah Museum was established in the old fortress and former palace of the Al Qasimi family. The museum, said to be one of the prettiest in the UAE, has several artefacts dating back to the seafaring times of Julphar (historic name for Ras Al Khaimah). It also has several remnants of burial sites from the archaeological area of Shimal, where prehistoric tombs were excavated.

Shopping Souks like the Souq Irani as well as modern shopping malls like Manar Mall or Al Hamra Mall, make RAK an ideal place to rewind and relax with a good dose of retail therapy. Heritage tourism Over ten years ago, the Department of Antiquities and Museums, Ras Al Khaimah established a division to manage the restoration of historical monuments and sites. These are selected according to their historical importance, like Dhayah Fort where the last battle with the British troops took place in 1819; or the summer residence of the ruling family in Falayah, where the peace treaty was signed in 1820. Furthermore, monuments of local and visual importance have been restored, like the watchtowers of the coastal towns Jazirat Al Hamra, Ma’arid and Rams. A further priority for the department is restoration work and the aspect of authenticity regarding the choice of materials and building techniques used during this process.

Personal museums Ras Al Khaimah has several personal museums. Some of them include: Zayed Heritage Village which is located along the mountains beyond the cement factories, and the Bin Majid Museum, which is on the way to the New Hilton. Both offer a rich glimpse of the UAE’s past, before oil was struck in the region. Eateries galore Ras Al Khaimah has several eateries catering to different palates. While the food courts at malls offer affordable options, for fine dining, there are several restaurants that offer a decent fare. There are several coffee shops too that serve snacks and bites you can nibble on.

• 2007 statistics reveal an annual footfall of over 500,000 visitors to RAK - a figure that is on the increase, and predicted to reach over 2.5 million visitors annually by 2012, largely as a result of the emirate’s continued heavy investments to harness its leisure, business and eco-tourism potential. • Hotels in Ras Al Khaimah have already benefited, collectively recording an average occupancy rate of up to 93 per cent, as tourists are taking advantage of the more competitive rates, which are up to 40 per cent lower than in other emirates. • “Tourism success is not easily won; it results from a combination of careful macroeconomic management, judicious investment of government and private funds, and a result-oriented partnership of public and private interests in developing and marketing the product”- Hilary Mac Cormack, Manager, RAK Tourism Date palms at RAK

Awafi festival

May 2009, UAE Digest 61


Weekend breaks in

Oman T he Wave, Muscat, in collaboration with Explorer Publishing, has launched a new book entitled ‘Weekend Breaks - Oman & UAE’ which gives upto-date information on where to go, where to stay and what to do within Oman and the UAE and was launched locally during a ceremony held at the Sales Centre of The Wave, Muscat recently. The book is elegantly designed and contains stunning photography of tourism spots in Oman such as Muscat, Musandam, Hajar, Salalah and East Coast. There is a destination for every weekend and it is guaranteed to inspire residents and holiday makers to really

Officials from The Wave, Muscat, Explorer Publishing, and Embassy of UAE in Muscat at a book launch

make the most of their time in the Sultanate. Each area of the book includes a map, introduction to the area, how to get there, suggested sightseeing and activities, as well as a section on recommended hotels. There is also an essential information section at the back, including travellers’ information, travel agents and tour companies. ‘A must-have’ for every bookcase. The Wave, Muscat is the first 100 per cent freehold development in Oman and a unique public-private partnership. A world-class mixed-use community spread along six kilometres of natural beach, it will comprise Oman’s First Links Golf

Sultan’s Palace, Muscat

Beachfront pool villa at Zighy Bay

Ajman Museum

62 UAE Digest, May 2009

Course, designed by Greg Norman; a 300-berth marina; modern and spacious apartments and townhouses; water, beach and garden-view villas; and three luxury hotels. The Wave, Muscat, is being developed through a joint venture comprising Oman’s Waterfront Investments (representing the Government of the Sultanate of Oman), National Investment Funds Company (representing Omani Pension Funds), and the UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Group. Until 10th May, Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay are offering two nights stay for the price of one for all GCC residents. Located on the


Entrance to Wadi Tiwi

beach-front in the Musandam peninsula and surrounded by mountains, Zighy Bay is indeed a hideaway. If you are in need of an escape from the hectic pace of city life, then this is the perfect place to come and recharge your spirits. Choose from a number of unique dining options and spa treatments, and a little more adventurous, opt for one of the many activities on offer. All accommodations at the resort include a full range of services, including a personal butler and private pool. Guests have full access to the spa, which offers a selection of treatments that focus on holistic and pampering therapies in an eco-friendly atmosphere. A two hour drive from Dubai, the resort can organise transportation for

Waterfall at Wadi Daqhah

you if necessary. Arriving by BMW 4X4 you will drive through the mountain ranges of northern Oman until you reach the Musandam Peninsula, taking in the wonderful views as you descend into Zighy Bay. For a more unique arrival option, stop at the clifftop and paraglide into the resort, soaring at heights of over 300 metres for an exhilarating experience. Once at the resort, choose to stay in your villa and be waited on hand and foot, opting for the in-villa dining option where a breakfast or dinner can be prepared before your very eyes. Alternatively, experience ‘Dining on the Edge’, where you can wine and dine while taking in the impressive views of the peninsula from a mountaintop. Of

course, if heights aren’t your thing, opt for ‘Dining on the Sand’ instead. Spa treatments may also be enjoyed in the comfort of your villa with a long list of treatments to choose from. The Six Senses Signature spa treatment ‘The Sensory Journey’ is a definite winner. You will be pampered by two therapists who will give you a body massage, facial, luxurious footbath and to top it off, a scalp massage. The more lively visitor can choose activities from snorkelling to diving, mountain trekking to paragliding and journeys into the desert or mountaintop villages. Watch falcon displays and belly dancers in the desert or explore the extensive sea life in the waters of the Gulf.

Hilltop restaurant at Zighy Bay

May 2009, UAE Digest 63


The pitfalls of success BY CON CLUDE


t is said nothing succeeds like success. But success spawns many enemies too. Dubai is in a somewhat similar situation today. Prior to the recession it was the object of envy in much of the Western press that is rife with articles today on the emirate’s ‘imminent collapse’. Three recent articles in the world’s most respected newspapers tried to pull apart Dubai with barely disguised relish. While Germaine Greer seemed content with taking a four-hour tourist bus ride along Dubai’s landmarks before damning the city’s architecture as ‘beyond crass’ in The Guardian, Robert Worth of the NYT deemed it worthwhile to write off Dubai as a ‘ghost town’ since many expats had lost their jobs and were abandoning their cars in thousands at the airport. On the other hand, Johann Hari (The Independent) did stalk the mean streets and shantytowns as well as the ‘opulent malls’ and ‘deserted restaurants’, but made his intention clear with the title The Dark Side of Dubai. Earlier, UK’s New Left Review published an article, Fear and Money in Dubai, by Mike Davis in the summer of 2006, much before the economic crisis impacted the world. Dubai also has a voluminous book to its credit, Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success by Christopher M. Davidson, published last September. While Greer’s article was a subjective indictment of the city’s new building projects, Robert Worth preferred to stick to ‘public opinion’, but there were neither ‘official opinions’ nor facts to back up his alarmist tale. In contrast, Hari’s exhaustive article had a semblance of balance on first glance, but once you’re through the wonderfully written piece, it becomes clear which side Hari is on – and he makes no bones about it either. Davis and Davidson are more in-depth and take the help of history to make their works look more scholarly. Both of them predicted the unsustainability of Dubai’s growth model. Davidson, having lived and worked in the UAE, has his arguments all right, but one wonders where he gets his facts from. Still, his book is a storehouse of information, which Dubai did well not to ban. Having gone through all of them, one cannot help wondering if they did not come with a preconceived idea of what they wanted to see, hear and write. For people who have lived here all their working lives and loved every moment of it, these outpourings seem terribly biased. Local editors made their anger obvious in their responses. Frank Kane (The

64 UAE Digest, May 2009

National) tells us to ‘ignore them, they’re jealous’; Aijaz Zaka Syed (Khaleej Times) laughs at the suggestion of writing off Dubai, Meher Murshed (Gulf News) wonders what prompts the attacks; and Aysha Taryam (The Gulf Today) pulls apart the writings, one by one. We can very well understand their pique, though one needs to guard against over-reaction. If Dubai isn’t just built on sand – as we all know – we must be confident about the city’s growth in the future. The more we protest, the more we hide our insecurities. To genuine criticism, we must be open. Not everything can be brushed under the carpet. After all, who says Dubai – or any other city – is perfect? We begin to improve when we admit our failings. The people of Dubai have always helped the ‘unfortunate’ in large numbers whenever their stories are highlighted in the media, no matter which nationality, race or religion they belong to. Proof that Dubai is not just skyscrapers and malls but a vibrant, multi-cultural workforce that powers this engine of growth in good times and bad. And rest assured, not everyone is going back – there are still people waiting to come …in thousands.

Future world Two snippets in the newspapers some days ago revealed a window to the future. One, the possibility of life in the vast universe besides earth, with the discovery of a planet that resembles ours in another solar system. Two, cloning of humans may not be far off with one American doctor claiming to have cloned 14 human embryos, transferring 11 of them into the wombs of four women. He says the first cloned baby could be just two years away. What will life be like 20 years from now? It could be very different, considering the breathtaking pace at which change is taking place. Technology is changing our lives daily. But biotechnology may revolutionise life, bringing with it ethical dilemmas. Space exploration could bring distant galaxies closer. If human life is discovered elsewhere, what are our chances of meeting them? Could our clones populate another planet and send us messages from there? Exciting and scary scenarios! Is it going to be Aldous Huxley’s ‘brave new world’ or Alvin Toffler’s ‘future shock’, or both combined? Worth pondering...

temp 1

3/12/09 11:19:20‭ ‬AM

UAE Digest May 09  

United Arab Emirates' first current affairs magazine

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you