Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dubai: Insiders' looks

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Check out what others have to say about Dubai.

Meeka says the booming city of dubai can seem like a land of opposites. Thanks Meeka for sharing your opinion on Dubai. Be sure to check out her blog, but beware, it will make you hungry!

Seabee gives a shout out to old dubai for its charm. Thanks Seabee. It gives us a better understanding of where Dubai started.

AND Sophie rounds us out with some fantastic pictures of dubai. I took the opportunity to pet a camel once. I do think they are adorable!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dubai: More great opportunities!

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According to travelandleisure.com, since 1988, the Finest Surprise raffle (tickets $139) has offered up an ever-changing selection of cars and motorbikes as prizes. Odds are one in 1,000 for the car series and one in 2,000 for the “special” car series. Recent cars include an Aston Martin DB9, Mercedes-Benz S500, and Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, all shipped to the winner free of charge. If you’re willing to part with $274 for a ticket, you can win $1 million in the newest raffle, Millennium Millionaire; odds are one in 5,000. These fancy raffles are located nowhere other than the International Airport in Dubai!

Or how about taking a slide down the immense Ziggurat and through a shark-infested lagoon, take a river ride of over two kilometres, ride the water rapids and white water chargers? For a gentler experience, younger visitors can plunge into Splashers, a water playground for kids. It all adds up to a unique water adventure, with something new discovered at every turn. Enjoy this and more at the Atlantis Aquaventure in Dubai!

What will they think of next?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dubai: the Burj Dubai, Tallest Building in the WORLD!

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The new World's tallest building, The Burj Dubai, is in Dubai. Check out this video. It's pretty impressive!



What do you think? Is it necessary to have a building that high? Given the chance would YOU climb to the top?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dubai: Don't miss this!

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1. Desert Safari- Also known as “Dune Bashing”, this is one activity raved about by many travelers. Take a 4X4 around the sandy dunes of Dubai’s deserts. “Camping” packages are offered after the activity which can include food, drinks, belly dancing lessens, dress up in traditional garb, shisha smoking and camel rides.

2. Shisha smoking- Shisha is essentially a water pipe used for smoking purposes, originating about 500 years ago. The tobacco is heated by coals and the flavored smoke is purified and cooled through the water after which it emerges through the suction tube, from where it is smoked.

3. The Gold Souk- Dubai isn’t known as the land of gold for nothing. Visit some of the old Souk Markets and bargain a price for some gold jewelry. It can be a great souvenir or present.

4. Mall of the Emirates- This mall is a must see, even for just a few hours. Spend time shopping, watch a movie in its luxury movie theater, eat in some of its magnificent cafes and restaurants, enjoy Magic Planet- the largest indoor amusement park in the region or ski!

5. Indoor Skiing- An incredible indoor skiing mountain inside the Mall of the Emirates. The Ski Dubai mountain has fresh snow with 5 different runs of all difficulties and a freestyle zone to practice tricks.

6. Burj-al-Arab- Get out your best dress and head over to the Burj-Al-Arab. This hotel is the only 7 star hotel in the world! Even if you can’t afford to stay here or even eat at one of its restaurants, it is worth walking around and saying you’ve been in a 7 star hotel!

7. Wild Wadi- This is a famous water park in Dubai. It has the tallest and fastest free fall outside of North America. It can get you up to speeds of 80kph!

Whatever you are planning on doing in Dubai, these are some great activities that will surely impress and can easily fit in your travel plans!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dubai: Top 10 Reasons to Visit

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  1. Dubai is Upbeat and Exciting

  2. Superb Shopping

  3. Spectacular Modern Architecture

  4. It has Sun Galore

  5. Great Beaches

  6. Dubai is Friendly

  7. The Premier Sports Capital of the Middle East

  8. Luxurious Hotels and Resorts

  9. Dubai is Safe for Travelers

  10. Multi-cultural

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dubai: Etiquette

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Dubai- Unwritten rules/guidelines to etiquette

• Unless you are sure that they drink alcohol, do not offer alcoholic drinks to an Arab.

• Keep your feet firmly placed on the ground and do not cross your legs.

• Always use your right hand for eating and drinking. In this part of the world, the left hand is considered to be unclean.

• Do not show the soles of your feet or shoes. People here consider this gesture as implying that you take the other person as equivalent to ‘dirt’.

• Do not walk in front of a person at prayer.

• Do not step on a prayer mat.

• Do not stare at a praying person.

• Do not enter a mosque without prior permission.

• Do not summon people with a finger. This is considered impolite.

• Do not eat, drink or smoke in public during Ramadan (especially important for holiday makers).

• Do not engage in public displays of affection.

• Avoid aggressive behavior at all times.

• Avoid any recourse to blasphemy, especially in the presence of Muslims.

For more etiquette suggestions for Dubai, check this out. It is also important to remember that even though Dubai is located in the Middle East, and it is, of course, important not to offend anyone of that culture, it's population is also made up of a variety of different people from a variety of different cultures. Some view Dubai as a strictly Muslim state while others view it as one of the most liberal states in the world with a mixing bowl of other nations.


A special thanks to the Dubai travelogue.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dubai: Stay healthy on your trip

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Getting ready for any trip takes months and weeks of research, planning and packing. While preparing all the activities, transportation, documentation and securing loose ends while you’re are away, don’t forget to prepare your health for the visit too! It is important to make the most of your trip by participating in all pre-planned activities rather than experiencing Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates from the hotel bathroom or a local medical center; so be safe, vaccinate!

Planning to stay healthy while you travel is the MOST important part of planning for your trip.

The best ways to ensure a safe and healthy trip are to be educated about the health risks in Dubai and get vaccinated.

For travel to Dubai, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends the following vaccinations:
Hepatitis A and B
Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis
Rabies
Influenza
Measles/Mumps/Rubella
Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Typhoid
Polio
Pneumococcal
• PPD (Tuberculosis) Test

Please make sure you get properly vaccinated as there are many diseases throughout Dubai that can seriously affect your health.

Also, take precautions against drinking the water and make sure your food is thoroughly cooked. Being properly vaccinated before you go can only protect you to an extent, knowing the diseases and how to prevent them when you are there is another way to stay safe.

Most of these vaccinations are routine for citizens of the USA and you have more than likely been adequately vaccinated for some, but it is important to see a travel medicine specialist to be sure you are prepared with the proper vaccinations and information to stay healthy in Dubai.

Now that you know about all the diseases and viruses that have preventive vaccines, you are free to take other preventive measures for the rest of the "icky" things that can affect your trip.
  • Travelers' Diarrhea: use antibiotics and re hydration powders (diarrhea kit available at Passport Health)
  • Intestinal Infections: Swim only in properly chlorinated or salt water, wear shoes at all times (even on the beach), follow food and water precautions given by an expert.
  • Jet-Lag, Motion sickness, Altitude sickness: several different medications available
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis: Remain properly hydrated during flight, get up frequently to stretch your legs to maintain circulation, consider wearing pressure gradient Travel Socks
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation: Obtain appropriate Travel and Evacuation Insurance

Don't let the possibility of getting sick in Dubai deter you from going. The best way to ensure safety and good health is to know the risks and take the right precautions against them.

Thank you to the CDC and our Travel Medicine Specialists for their contribution to this post.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dubai: When to go and what to do

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Dubai is in line with any travel destination in the fact that more people travel there when the weather is more favorable. Lets not forget that Dubai is in the Middle East so in the summer it gets HOT! That being said, every building in Dubai is air conditioned, so a successful vacation can be planned around staying indoors.

And there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy! How about hitting the slopes at the largest indoor ski resort in the Middle East? Ski Dubai offers an amazing snow setting to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing, or just playing in the snow. Young or old, there is something for everyone, from the beginner to the snow sport enthusiast. Ski Dubai is a unique mountain-themed attraction that offers you the opportunity to enjoy real snow in Dubai all year round. The video below is a little lengthy but I think it gives you a good idea of what Ski Dubai is all about.


If swooshing down the slopes is not your idea of a good indoor activity, there is always shopping!! Check out the Mall of the Emirates (known as "Moe's" to UAE residents). The mall covers 223,000 square meters & is home to over 400 retailers, a 14-screen movie theater and 65 restaurants and coffee shops with everything from fast food to themed restaurants & exclusive dining alternatives. Be sure to wear your comfortable walking shoes, but even if you forget I'm sure you can buy a pair there!

You can also spend an air conditioned day at the Dubai Museum learning about the t
raditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dubai: Architecture

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So, Dubai is a pretty up-and-coming state. Their architecture is some of the most innovative and amazing that I have ever seen.

Examine, for instance, The Burj al-Arab hotel in Dubai. It is said to be the world's ONLY 7 star hotel in existence. The unique and luxurious Burj Al Arab offers the finest in facilities, location, services, and design. It dominates the Dubai coastline with its recognizable shape of a billowing sail.


The Palm Islands in Dubai, pictured right. New Dutch dredging technology was used to create these massive man made islands. They are the largest artificial islands in the world and can be seen from space. Three of these Palms will be made with the last one being the largest of them all. Wow!

And last, but certainly NOT least is this amazing piece of architecture that is due to be completed by 2011.


What are your thoughts on a "moving skyscraper?"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Country of the Month: Dubai

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Dubai is one of the fastest growing states in the Middle East. This video below was taken in 2006, but it gives a good commentary of how cities are forming and how this state is striving to change by shaking hands and building relationships without the mention of guns and war.



What an amazing way to start November and I hope you are as excited as I am to take a forward-thinking journey through this remarkable state!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Today is World Pneumonia Day!

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Today, November 2, 2009 marks the FIRST WORLD PNEUMONIA DAY!!

Passport Health wants to do their part in spreading the word about Pneumonia. All Passport Health locations carry the Pneumonia vaccine on a regular basis.

Every 15 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child dies from pneumonia. That’s 5,500 child deaths every day, and a staggering 2 million child deaths every year from a preventable, treatable disease. Many of these deaths are preventable through vaccination and appropriate treatment. Now is the time to put knowledge into action to deliver these solutions to all children around the world.






Pneumococcal disease (Pneumonia) is generally caused by the Bacterium Streptococcus Pneumoniae and it is the most common complication of the flu. Infection is acquired by direct person-to-person contact via respiratory droplets. Those at risk to contract Pneumonia include children under 5; adults older than 55; those with sickle cell disease and other blood diseases, diabetes, HIV, chronic renal (kidney) failure, cerebrospinal leaks and people with compromised immune systems.

Vaccines are a safe and effective tool for preventing pneumonia before it occurs. Vaccines against two of the main causes of life-threatening pneumonia– pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) and Hib (Haemophilus influenzae b) – are used throughout the developed world. However, millions of children in developing countries still lack access to them. Measles and Pertussis (ie. whooping cough) vaccines can prevent infections that can lead to pneumonia as a complication.

Thanks to worldpneumoniaday.org and cdc.gov for the info for this post.