Friday, July 27, 2012

Reem Island / Maryah Island

I just thought I would take some photos to show how things are developing on these islands. Some are below, but there is also a full album linked below.

The towers of Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Al Hilal Bank. This was taken from Al Salam Street, Eastern Corniche.

The bridge across to Reem Island from Defense Road (11th Street)

Marina Square, Reem Island

Shams Abu Dhabi, including Sky And Sun Towers and the Gate Towers - which remind me of Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

The Paris Sorbonne University on Reem Island

The long awaited Salam Street tunnel!

This is Al Maryah Island (formally Al Sowwah Island - I don't think its sounds too good when you are pitching to global businesses! - it's pronounced Soo-wah). I thought I would label it so you can see what's what. There is also a video clip below from the same spot.

The clip pans from ADFC across to The Beach Rotana, Abu Dhabi Mall and Le Meridien Hotel beach.

...and here is the full photo album (sorry I should have exported larger files)

Around Abu Dhabi City

A Bridge to nowhere

Abu Dhabi’s 6-lane Hodariyat Bridge completed

Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), master developer of tourism, cultural and residential projects in Abu Dhabi, has completed the development of Hodariyat Bridge - the UAE's largest cable-stay bridge, which links the Abu Dhabi city's western coastline to the Hodariyat Island.
The impressive bridge was successfully completed six months ahead of schedule and has been handed over to Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi.
The 1.3 km-long bridge provides a 29m vertical clearance, and carries six lanes of traffic and two walk ways. The suspended bridge is the biggest of its kind in the UAE; its tall height means that ships are able to pass underneath it. More than 650 people and a total of 5 million man hours were dedicated to the timely completion of the bridge. Work began in October 2009 and was concluded in March 2012.
Nabil Al Kendi, Chief Development Officer at TDIC, said: "We are proud to have worked on this new addition to the beautiful collection of bridges in Abu Dhabi. The completion of Hodariyat Bridge marks an important milestone in the island's history as it will facilitate its future development. It also marks another milestone for TDIC, as we successfully completed the project ahead of schedule."
Faisal Ahmed Al Suwaidi, General Director of Main Roads in the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi, said: "The Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi is committed to work closely with different authorities, both government and private to provide the best solutions and added benefits to the residents of the Emirate. This is achieved by developing sustainable transport infrastructure and systems aimed at providing easier and safe transport solutions for the public in Abu Dhabi and adhering to world-class environmental standards."
The handover of Hodariyat Bridge to the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi follows on from the recent completion of the Al Bateen Beach project by TDIC, which is located in close proximity to the bridge. The Al Bateen Beach project, which consists of a beachside park that overlooks 800 metres of pristine coastline and a number of amenities for visitors, was completed in January and handed over to ADM; it was then officially opened in March. Al Bateen Beach features a beach that is open to the public, as well as extensive lawn and picnic areas, sports courts featuring soccer and volleyball grounds, a play area for children, event space, kiosk, and food and beverage outlets.

Well here is the bridge...

Looking across from Al Bateen Public Beach


Right now it seems like a bit of a white elephant, but Hodariyat Island is marked for development under the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan, initially for Emirati housing. But for now its a big bridge to nowhere...

Fresh dates

This is the time of the year when dates ripen on the palms and are harvested. There are literally millions of palm trees (last estimate I could find was in 1997 when a survey found 40 million). Many of them are in farms for the commercial production of dates, but lots are just lining roads or public parks etc. There are date palms lining many of the highways and at this time of year it is very common to see people pulled over onto the hard shoulder to climb the barrier and pick dates. Rather like at home where we might go picking blackberries, it is perfectly acceptable to pick enough for your own consumption - the only difference is that we would get fined if we stopped on the motorway to do so!

So, taking my "when in Rome..." stance, I stopped and picked some dates on my way home from Dubai the other day. It seems I have picked ones that are not ripe yet mind you, so I am hoping they will.

For a guide to date palms in UAE context - see here .

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Train Yas

We have been threatening to go to the free training evenings at Yas Marina Circuit for some time and last night was the night we actually did it! Basically you can run, walk or cycle round the F1 circuit for free on Tuesday evenings. You can hire bikes and helmets there for 25AED each (less than a fiver) which is what we did. It was great, apart from the heat which was 38C still at this time! So a very sweaty time was had by all! But it was quite nice to go around the circuit and I am sure it must have done us some good! I would definitely like to go back.

My pass for the circuit

Fresh out on the track! (doing Watford FC proud)

Riding past "Pole"

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lovely old Benz

Saw this today outside Le Meridien Hotel. Not really sure what model (maybe someone can tell me), but looks like something from the mid-30's.

...complete with original stereo :-)

Some random pictures...

This guy was driving on a completely flat tyre! Dunno how far he thought he was going to get!

On sale at LuLu's ...  Trim and "Shape" ...hmmm :-)

Necessary phone applications in this part of the world!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Al Bandar for lunch

...well more of a late breakfast really! One of the places nearby that we knew was serving in Ramadan was a cafe called Nolu's. It's got a nice funky interior and the food was really nicely presented, and fresh.

This was the accompaniment for my toast...

I had Eggs Benedict and Caz had Oatmeal served with fruit, honey and other goodies. We had coffee and their citrus water (shown in the pic) which was really nice and refreshing. 

Nolu's is in the Al Bandar development on Al Raha Beach. There are some really nice apartments next to a Marina. There is also another restaurant/bar/lounge there called Ornina. It looks really nice and we will definitely go back and explore one night. 

Al Bandar is a nice spot with attractive looking apartments looking out across the water to the Yas Marina Circuit and has it's own small marina. There are already good services there including a supermarket, alcohol store, doctor's surgery, nail bar and restaurants/cafes. 

Al Bandar apartments 

Ornina next to the marina

Looking out from Nolu's to Al Muneera (development next to Al Bandar)

Looking out from Al Bandar to Yas Marina Circuit

Friday, July 20, 2012

Waitrose arrives in Abu Dhabi!

Last night we paid a visit to the latest mall to open in Abu Dhabi, which is on Al Reem Island. Things have come on a lot in this area since my last post in 2009. I will go back and take some more pictures sometime so you can see what I mean, but the one tall tower stuck on it's own on the previous post is the one where the mall is. The development is call Sun and Sky Towers and has a mall called Boutik. Right now there are just a couple of coffee shops and... Waitrose! There are two Waitrose in Dubai, but this is the first in Abu Dhabi. The food is lovely, but like home, very expensive! 

Here's a few pictures for now.....

First day of Ramadan

So today was the first day of Ramadan here in the UAE. It is hard to believe this is our 5th Ramadan in Abu Dhabi! You can find all my previous posts about Ramadan here.

To recap though, it means no eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum even, in daylight hours. For fasting Muslims this is a particularly tough Ramadan as in the summer the sun rises early (about 4.15 here) and sets at around 7.15pm, although Muslims in the UK (and elsewhere) have even longer days to contend with. Fortunately we are not expected to fast, and there are always a few places you can go to eat and drink during the day. They are usually curtained off from view out of respect for those fasting.

Look out for more Ramadan postings during the next month.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More ridiculous stories

Stories from today's newspapers link from my headlines....

2.5 tonnes trucks banned for Ramadan

So trucks are not going to be permitted on the roads during the holy month to "ensure the smooth movement of traffic and prevent accidents". Well, I kind of get the timing between 1pm-3pm, because that is when most people will finish work during Ramadan, so the roads will be busy. But, between 7.30 and 9.00, I reckon the roads are going to be empty. No-one seems to pitch up until about 9.30-10am, so not going to be a problem I reckon! Anyway, if this is when trucks cause accidents - ban them all year at those times!

Man divorces three wives in one hour!

Hilarious - he was "fed up with his wives"! Talk about quirky divorces!

Richard Bentley Dubai 3.0

I posted one of Richard Bentley's time-lapse videos of Dubai before. This is the third of three. They are absolutely awesome.

There was a nice article about Richard in The National the other day. Read it here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Children dying left in hot cars

Why did it take two tragedies? A wake-up call on child safety - The National

There have been a number of incidents here where children or babies have been left by their parents or grandparents in their cars without the a/c on in temperatures over 40C. They have tragically "forgotten" about their child and left them in car. Idiots.

Studies have shown that the temperature inside the car can very quickly rise 20-30 degrees higher inside the car than the outside temperature. In a country where temperatures can rise to 50C outside, children will die within minutes. It seems this is not just a problem here in the Middle East. In Arizona, they have the same issue. Their population is similar to the UAE, but have a much higher rate of child deaths for the same reason.

Now, I am pretty forgetful (ask my Caz!) , but I fail to see how you can forget your own child and leave them cooking (for that is what it is) in your car.

There are moves to make this an offence in law here, but I don't see why they can't use Manslaughter, or whatever the equivalent is here in the UAE, to throw the book at them. These people don't deserve to have children and should have the full weight of the law used against them.