living in the United Arab Emirates

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Things we love about UAE

  • Arabic language
  • All female beaches
  • Family friendly
  • Home comforts readily available
  • Hearing the adhaan
  • Halal food!
  • Sun, sun and sun!
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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Osteoporosis, the golden arches and the Blackberry outage...

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On the way back from Ikea this evening, I caught a tiny piece of a news report from a radio station in Dubai. It was talking about how 40% of Emirati women will develop Osteoporosis as they grow older. In fact, the reporter said (paraphrased of course) 'That although we live in the middle of the desert, a vast minority of Emirati women will be affected by Osteoporosis' which I thought was just... amazing. I mean, seriously? I realise that probably the majority of that 40% will be women who cover their faces when out in public (which is a normal sight in these parts) but while I was thinking this all through, I considered what I had been up to over the past week. It dawned on me that I had barely, barely been out in the sun. Preferring to leave the house as the sun is setting I can understand where these figures come from. If anybody is out during the day (unless they are builders, or are unable to use transport) they are indoors. My time so far has been spent in vast malls, shopping centres, office buildings or in a car... I just cannot bare the sun! Now, I do not cover my face, so I am having some sort of sun experience while in the car, but imagine if I did cover my face? I would barely have any sun-time AT ALL!

Speaking of sun... I'm due for a long afternoon at the beach methinks!!

When I was flying in to Doha (Qatar) last week I was shocked that one of the first things I saw was the 'Golden Arches' of McDonald's. The Arab world seems to have an interesting love affair with McDonald's and it is the norm to find one of their establishments just a few blocks from each other.

I have an aunt who lives in Rabat and every Saturday she would take her children to McDonald's for a treat. I found this quite odd. Not because I am a food snob but it highlighted that McDonald's has a much better reputation within the Arab world than it does in Britain. In Britain, McDonald's is just quick food. We do not rate the staff, we do not rate the restaurant, we do not rate the nutritional value and we certainly do not rate the taste. And even after all that, we still go to it, usually as a last option. It is cheap and cheerful and if we need to eat fast, we opt for McDonald's. In the Arab world, a meal from McDonald's is not cheap. In fact - it is something that families save up money to go to on special occasions. In Abu Dhabi, I've not passed a MaccyD's that isn't heaving. It is not just McDonald's that has such a special presence but most American food chains. Getting in to Fuddruckers in Marina Mall requires an hour waiting time, KFC is always busy, it sometime seems that it would be easier to meet the real King than to get in to Burger King. For expats, it is a little piece of home, but for the locals here it is something quite special. Hopefully I'll be watching and learning more during my time here. Maybe I'll really be able to dissect the Arab love affair with MaccyD's by the end of the two years.

As for the Blackberry outage. Blackberry seems to be Abu Dhabi's favourite phone (which of course I am quite bitter about as I'm a HTC-kinda-girl) and so after the three day outage some stats have been thrown out by the Director of Abu Dhabi Police Traffic Department. I kid you not; this is what has been said 'Accidents were reduced by 40% and the fact that Blackberry services were down definitely contributed to that,' he told the National, a government-owned English language paper 'People are slowly starting to realise the dangers of using their phone while driving. The roads became much safer when Blackberry stopped working.' 40%, holy moly, that is a significant statistic right there. Quite scary really as it is quite tempting to just pick up your phone and see what's going on while driving. Especially with crazy driving plus the fog and sandstorms... well, you'd think you'd know better hay! To read the full story, click here!

Oh - and here is a photograph of the fog this morning. Don't ask why I'm so obsessed ... (I just didn't realise that there would be fog here! Haha! So now, I'm obsessed!)

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