Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lost in translation...

Another classic from the Al Reef sales site...

...I think you'd be better off with a doctor honey...

(Sorry the pic is so small, something to do with the screenshot)

Friday, November 29, 2013

What's in a (street) name?

Further to my last post on the new street signage in Abu Dhabi , it has been announced that a number of major roads will be renamed in Abu Dhabi. It looks like they are doing away with the road numbering system too, which I think is a shame because it really is the easiest way to find your way around (even numbers East to West and odd numbers North to South). The numbers make a grid system similar to New York or Milton Keynes (H & V roads), so places can be easily referenced as e.g. on the corner of 4th and 19th (Muroor Rd and Saada St - aaghh, see below, now Sultant bin Zayed First Street and Shakhbout Bin Sultan Street....doesn't quite trip off the tongue quite the same does it!?)

Anyway, below are the changes and a short explanation courtesy of The National (full article here).

Fatima Bint Mubarak Street (6th Street, popularly known as Al Najda Street)

“The Mother of the Nation” and the wife of Sheikh Zayed, Sheikha Fatima is the chairman of the Family Development Foundation, head of the General Women’s Union and a sponsor of numerous organisations in the UAE and overseas

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Street (Al Salam Street, Street 9)

Ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1966 until 2004 and the first President of the UAE. The street named in his honour is the main highway into the capital and crosses the Sheikh Zayed Bridge

Khalifa Bin Zayed First Street (Khalifa Street, Street 3)

The eldest son of Zayed the First, often known as Zayed the Great, who died in 1909. Sheikh Khalifa refused to become Ruler of Abu Dhabi twice, in 1909 and 1912, but later assisted in the succession of Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan

Sultan bin Zayed First Street (4th Street or Muroor Road)

Father of Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Shakhbut and the fourth son of Sheikh Zayed the First. Ruler from 1922-1926

Shakhbout Bin Sultan Street (Al Saada Street, Street 19)

Became Ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1928, stepping down in favour of his younger brother, Sheikh Zayed in 1966. Under his rule, oil was discovered in Abu Dhabi in 1958, ensuring the country’s prosperity after the economic hardships of the previous three decades

Mubarak bin Mohammad Street (26th Street)

Father of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Culture Youth and Social Development. Sheikh Mubarak was the former Minister of the Interior and the grandson of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed the First. He died in 2010

Salama bint Butti Street (23rd Street)

The mother of Sheikh Zayed, of Al Hamed family and Al Qubaisi tribe. A major influence on her sons, Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Shakhbut

Al Bateen Street (32nd Street)

Now perhaps best known for the Intercontinental Hotel, Al Bateen was once a fishing village and boat building community distinct from Abu Dhabi. It was eventually swallowed by the city in the 1970s

Al Dhafra Street (25th Street)

The desert interior of Abu Dhabi, with Madinat Zayed, the home of Al Dhafra football club, as the main population centre. Each year, Al Dhafra Festival sees thousands of camels from the region compete for around Dh46 million in prizes. Al Dhafra is also home to an airbase and the Shams solar power station, the largest of its kind in the world

Dhafeer Street (31st Street)

Now on the outskirts of Liwa, Dhafeer Fort is one of a chain of fortifications in the Western Region and was built by the Bani Yas, one of the Emirate’s main tribes

Dihan Street (21st Street)

Another old name for Abu Dhabi. The name may also be descriptive, with another Dihan found in Ras Al Khaimah

Mawgab Street (27th Street)

Mawgab is a fort built on the orders of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed, the father of Sheikh Zayed and located in one of the villages in the Liwa known as Mahather. The area is low lying, circular in shape and had only one entrance, making it easier to defend

Rabdan Street (29th Street)

The celebrated mount of Sheikh Zayed the First, Rabdan was gift from the Sharif of Mecca, Abdullah bin Hashem, and said to be descended from the horse of the Prophet Muhammed. Rabdan was the subject of several poems, with his bloodline is still present in horses ridden by the Nahyan family.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Spot the difference...

My letter in The National today...

My email to the letters editor....

 Neil Roberts
Rainfall causing school closures


I have to say I am a bit bemused by the decision to close schools due to heavy rainfall. Why are children at risk at school just because it is raining? Surely it is more risky asking their parents to collect them and drive them home at the height of the storm. If in fact they went home at their normal time, the weather was actually a bit calmer and would have been safer. On another note, your reporting (UAE weather: Traffic chaos as strong winds and rain lash the Emirates, November 21, 2013) suggested that "Heavy downpours caused several accidents…" . No. People driving like idiots in heavy downpours cause accidents.


Neil Roberts
Abu Dhabi

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Random pics...

Just a few random pics from our recent visit to Thailand and Cambodia...

First of all this delicious sounding delicacy...

The banana fritters I ordered which for some reason came served with a side salad...

And, well.... what more could you ask for on a night out??

Friday, November 15, 2013


Well we went to the beach club today and this is what we found when we got there - its was sunny in Al Reef!

For those of you in the rainy/cold UK - I know your heart bleeds for me :-)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Eid Al Adha

The Eid Al Adha celebrations are just about here. Many public sector workers are now off until Oct 20th. Sadly, as a mere private sector worker, I only get three days, so I'll be off Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Having said that, I'm not too bothered as we leave for Thailand and Cambodia on Friday the 18th - yippee! It will be a much needed break from what has been a very stressful period at work.

During Eid many things go a bit mad - especially airports and shopping malls! Many of Dubai's malls will be opening for 24 hour shopping for a couple of days next week, just in case you need to buy that must have Gucci handbag at 3:45 in the morning.

Here's the press release announcing this essential initiative... 

Winter is on the way!

Well there has been a definite dip in the temperatures. It's actually bearable looking forward to days on the beach, BBQs and generally being able to go outside!....well for the next 5-6 months anyway til it all changes again...

A sure sign that the temperature is lower, is that the mosquitos are arriving back...I tried to photo them, not terribly successfully, but you get the idea...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Forgive me's been so long!

Well, so much water under the bridge! Unfortunately my blog has taken a back seat lately, especially as my new job is proving to be very demanding. But, I will try and pick up the pace :-)

Here is something you don't see very often on the Abu Dhabi highways!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

News story of the day

Gotta love this one!

Full story here...

ABU DHABI // Four men convicted of selling three prostitutes to undercover policemen for Dh135,000 could not have done so because the women "are not that attractive", a defence lawyer claimed today.

The men were arrested in a sting operation shortly after one of them met the undercover officers in a hotel room and received the payment, heard the Appeals Court. Prosecutors say the men sold each woman for Dh45,000 each and intended to give each of the prostitutes Dh5,000 from the proceeds.
But yesterday the lawyer for EF, the man accused of meeting the officers, said that he appeared to have been framed.

"Seems like CID tricked the men into the deal by tempting them with a lot of cash," said Fayza Moussa, adding: "Why would anyone pay Dh45,000 for each of these women, they are not even that attractive?"

Friday, August 9, 2013

Maqta Fort

There is an interesting little place next to Maqta Bridge known as Maqta Fort. Before the bridges were built this was the crossing point for those arriving by camel to cross to Abu Dhabi Island. They built a small lookout tower so that they could see who was coming from afar and to check the water depth for suitability for crossing. I believe it has been standing for some 200 years. On the mainland shore there is a small building which used to serve as a check point for people wishing to cross onto Abu Dhabi Island. It later became a police station and now it is a Tourist Information office.

It's not exactly worth a day trip, but if you are passing sometime, it's worth a little look. I took some pictures. The old look out contrasts nicely with the new Sheikh Zayed Bridge. Be aware that to the left side of Maqta bridge (facing the Island) there are some sensitive military areas, so don't photograph in that direction.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Puttin' on the Ritz ...

The other night we went for an Iftar buffet at the Ritz-Carlton in Abu Dhabi . It was our first visit to the hotel and I have to say it is a very impressive property. The hotel looks stunning and is in a great spot, with views to the Zayed Grand Mosque on one side.

However. The Iftar? Meh... The choice of food was ok, not outstanding and the service was actually quite poor. We had to chase every time for forgotten drinks orders and the service was generally just slow.

We won't be rushing back.

Here's a few pictures though, showing the nice views...

Grand entrance

The welcome mat

The lobby

Shisha galore

The Ramadan "Tent" 

The coffee man

Impressive date selection!

"Baby lamb"

"Baby camel" (which tasted great by the way)

Hotel views 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Jet skiing days over in Abu Dhabi?

The Abu Dhabi Government has now banned jet skis from being ridden in many areas of the Abu Dhabi coastline. It pretty much puts paid to the trade in jet ski hire. Jets skis are now banned in all the areas where you can hire them (e.g. Mina Port, Al Raha Beach, Al Bateen). Only if you own your own jet ski and can launch it yourself from an area not banned, will you now really be able to ride one.

As you can see from the the link below, I have enjoyed hiring jet skis from time to time and will miss the opportunity to do so again. There are clearly marked swimming areas along the Corniche beach, but still some jet ski riders (typically local I have to say) , do seem to enjoy annoying everyone else who is trying to enjoy the beach. So, I guess it is the actions of a few that has meant there is now one less thing to do in Abu Dhabi.

Friday, July 26, 2013

New street signage in Abu Dhabi

New street signage is beginning to appear in Abu Dhabi, which I am guessing is inline with the announcement of a new addressing system for properties in the Emirate earlier this year. Each property will have an number and street address with a post code, much like the UK. At the moment, finding a property can be very difficult and landmarks are usually the main pointers. It would not be unusual to be told for example 'we are behind Najda Street (no street signs will ever show this name), next to Nissan showroom, Starbucks down, same building' . This way of giving directions and the fact that only main roads are referred to by a name (even then, not always the name on the sign - examples below), I think it's going to take some time for people to get used to a new system. But it will be a complete bonus for postal and courier services. 

There is a current zone/sector system of mapping out the city, but it is confusing and complex. If you are interested I have a pdf that explains it in full detail! Mail me and I'll send it to you

In Abu Dhabi, there is a confusing system of street names. There are names used commonly, sometimes more than one, and then there are the official map and street sign names. Below is a table to try and help...

North South Abu Dhabi roads

Common name
Map name
Airport Road2nd StreetSheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum St  
Old Airport Rd2nd StreetShaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoom St  
Lulu Rd4th StreetLulu RdAl Markaziyah 
Al Sharqi St4th StreetAl Sharqi StMadinat Zayed 
New Airport Rd4th StreetEast Rd / Muroor Rd / New Airport Rd South
East Road4th StreetEast Rd / Muroor Rd / New Airport Rd South
Muroor Road4th StreetEast Rd / Muroor Rd / New Airport Rd  
Al Dhafra Rd   Al Dafra St
Najda St6th StreetUmm Al Nar St  
Najda St6th StreetBani Yas Rd (Baniyas Rd)  
East Coast Rd8th StreetAl Salam St (now Sheikh Zayed Street)  
Eastern Ring Rd8th StreetAl Salam St  
New Corniche Rd8th StreetAl Salam StMadinat Zayed 
10th St10th StreetLiwa St  
 22nd StreetKhalid Bin Al Waleed St  
 24th StreetAl Karamah St  
 26th StreetKing Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Saeed St North
 26th StreetAl Nahyan / Nahayan St South
 28th StreetKhalifa Bin Shakbut / Shakhbout St  
Arabian Gulf Rd30th StreetAl Khaleej Al Arabi St  
Mussafah Rd30th StreetAl Khaleej Al Arabi St  
Coast Rd30th StreetAl Khaleej Al Arabi St  
 32nd StreetKhalidiyah St North
 32nd StreetSultan Bin Zayed St South
 34th StreetBaynunah St (Baynounah Rd) to Emirates Palace

East West Abu Dhabi roads

Common name
Map name
Corniche1st Street   
Khalifa St3rd StreetSheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed St  
Khalifa St3rd StreetAl Istiqalal St  
Hamdan St5th StreetSheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed St East
Hamdan St5th StreetAl Nasr St West
 5th StreetAl Khubairah StAl Khubeirah 
Electra St7th StreetSheikh Zayed the First St East
Zayed the First St7th StreetSheikh Zayed the First St West
Khalidiyah St7th StreetSheikh Zayed the First StKhalidiya only? 
Old Passport Rd9th StreetAl Falah St West
Passport Road9th StreetAl Falah St  
Jawazat Rd9th StreetAl Falah St East
Defense Rd11th StreetHazza Bin Zayed St  
 11th StreetAl Sudan St  
Al Bateen St11th StreetHazza Bin Zayed the First St?  

Spaccanapoli, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi

Lately , we have gone to this restaurant. The food is great and the service pretty good too. One of their boasts is that it is the 'home of the one metre pizza'. So, when in Rome (or Hamdan Street)....

You can order them for take away or home delivery too. The have special long boxes to put them in, although I am a little concerned about how the moped rider manages?! I have to say, it was delicious and well worth a try. 

No, we didn't finish it!

A few random pics...

I like big butts and I just can't lie.... Toilet for big bottomed girls??

This is the roundabout as you enter our villa compound. Now when he was told "go straight over the roundabout" , he clearly needed a little more explanation....

Lat time I checked, Abela didn't have a licence to sell alcohol. 

Ferrari World again

We  decided last weekend to pay a visit to Ferrari World as it was something to do inside out of the heat, and we had 2-for-1 vouchers. Sadly, the best thing about FW, the Formula Rossa, was closed for maintenance. Well, at least it gets some maintenance I guess.

In the middle of Ramadan, on a Saturday morning, the place was deserted which at least meant we could walk right onto the rides we wanted to try.

There is a display of Ferrari's in one part of the place which was cool. There were some old ones, working up to some of the more recent models. A pretty penny's worth all on loan from the same guy, Mr Tariq Shaikh. Clearly he had driven at least one of them on the UAE's roads as it had the SALIK (toll) Tag still on the windshield. Here's a quick (but poor, sorry) video of the room.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Progress: UAE

There have been some interesting articles in The National lately outlining the progress that the UAE has made in a number of areas. See the link below for some of them....

Ramadan in full swing

I can't believe this is my 6th Ramadan here! How times flies when you are having fun :-)

Here's a video from CNN talking about the impact on retailing in Ramadan, featuring my mate Pete Lonsdale at LuLu's !

(it may just take a few seconds to load)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Facebook sale fails

I am one of the 4 people in the world that is not on Facebook. I am constantly ribbed because I am not part of the facebooksphere. But I do know there is stuff on theref for sale on a facebook page that is for people selling stuff here locally. There are some ridiculous things for sale or people asking ridiculous questions on a regular basis. Below I have just browsed a few days and found these....

10 Dhs is like £1.80 ... could you be arsed

Some conversion problems here methinks

How about just giving it an iron before you take the picture??

Just. Throw. Them. Away.

...and my kids had a fear of green vegetables and going to bed !

..if in doubt read the instructions..

Not selling the outside with it?

Look at the state of it! 1800 is over 300 quid! 

Short people?! Really?

Throw. Them. In. The. Bin.

You've got to be joking, right?