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Arab Emirates

 

Official name: the United Arab Emirates

Population: 9 400 000

Area: 83 600 km²

Introduction, tourist attractions of Arab Emirates, Emirates – the present times, history of Arab Emirates.

Introduction

During my travel career, It happened to me to “drop in for a while” to some countries, on my way to or from another country. It was this way for example in case of Bhutan and Indonesia, but each time it happened it was a good adventure and new experience. This time I flew to South Korea and I was changing flights in Dubai. I wanted to stay there a few days but I could`t stand the extreme heat, and was exhausted by it so much, that I left after nearly two days. I thought it would be just like in Thailand or Singapore in summer, but the heat of the Arabian Peninsula was unbearable even in August. Despite this, I would like to describe my experiences in this very hot country. I’ve been to UAE on other occasions too, but shortly and I really want to explore it better. Once at Dubai airport I took a shower in a toilet by using a water hose for washing down Arab asses. I couldn’t stand the heat. Maybe that part of my travel experience I should have left just for myself?

Tourist attractions of Arab Emirates

In the UAE, you can fulfill all your desires. In a country where skiing resort was built in a desert, even though temperatures are around 50oC, nothing is possible. The rich can live in hotels build beyond their wildest fantasies, but for poor people like me the Emirates are also very interesting. There is some interesting architecture and very warm, turquoise water of the Gulf (I recommend however, only in the evening due to the high temperature). To me it was also very interesting how different Dubai is in the imagination of tourists, and how it is in reality. I am referring here to the immigration from poor Islamic countries, small stalls and great food at low prices in the old part of Dubai. To me Old Dubai was much more interesting because it was realistic, and the New Dubai was like a theme park for rich tourists. For those who have a bit more cash I recommend a camel safari and ballooning. Very popular are desert safaris from Abu Dhabi, camels, oasis and falconry. Ambitious tourists can also try sandboarding down the dunes. I think that food is also a big attraction of the Emirates, because food in the Middle East is very good. I think that even those who don`t like Arabs on daily basis quietly eat kebabs, shawarma, well-seasoned sauces and pita bread. All of that can be completed with a dessert based on sugar and nuts. Dates are also very popular. In the UAE you can also buy carpets, interesting sculptures and paintings, you can take part in a cruise through the canal of Dubai and takes photos of Arabian architecture. I also find certain old and historical mosques quite interesting, and I think that as long as they are not built in Europe they deserve our good attention. There are many beautiful things and wonderful sights in the UAE and MONEY is the only limit.

Emirates – the present times

Water more precious than oil

United Arab Emirates are located in the Arabian Peninsula, in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Most of the country, as much as 97% is covered by a desert. The climate is dry tropical continental, and in certain parts even extremely dry. This means that summer temperatures in some places reaches up to 50oC. The UAE sees very little rainfall and surface waters do not exist. Life is possible only in oasis because of usage of artesian waters. Water deficits are also recompensated by seawater desalination.

Economy

Until the end of the 50s the Arab Emirates was one of the poorest countries in the world but the situation changed radically when this small Arab state discovered oil and gas. This caused a very rapid economic growth, and today the country is in the forefront of obtaining crude oil, copper, chromium and manganese. Agriculture is of minor importance as you can guess by the weather, although animal husbandry and fisheries, which provide many tons of fish (tuna, mackerel, shrimp) and industry (especially shipbuilding) is under development. In addition to the above, construction industry also plays a big role in the UAE economy. Increasingly, however, the Arab state enjoys a successful incomes from tourism for the rich, and particularly Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Umm Al-Qaywayn. It is a world of a beautiful sea, casinos, luxury hotels and good food. However in my point of view the prices are crazy, and they grow in direct proportion to the price of an oil barrel. The United Arab government realized that in order to achieve financial success and prosperity in their country they needed to invest in other sectors of economy, rater than only in the extractive industry. Emirates also serve as an interchange hub of the Middle East in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the Emirates and Etihad airlines are positive boosts to the economy and a good way of advertising the Arab Emirates. In addition the Emirates have good business relations with many wealthy countries, and the biggest partner is India. The Arab government also relaxed their real estate market, what means that now also non-citizens can buy homes and land. It turned out to be a great financial success which helped to boost the luxury construction industry, and at the same time created the International Finance Centre of Dubai. However the Emirati government has more brains than the left-wing European parties, because in many Western European countries there is a White Apartheid policy, which allegedly aims to stimulate the economy. The Emirati government prefers to secure majority of goods in the hands of the natives, and wants them to be in the management, what works very well. This situation is not a secret and even if someone lives in the UAE 40 years, they would still not get the citizenship. Because of such politics the Emirati government wants to ensure the dignity of its own people who live in wealth, while employing people from poor Islamic countries to do the dirty work, and they sell real estate to rich Europeans and other Arabs. They all seem to be happy and there is enough work for everyone. UAE economy weakened during the crisis, but in 2012 its GDP grew by almost 21% to $360bn, what makes the Emirates one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Also the strategically located Emirati Port plays an important role , because it is a major point of trade between Iran, India, and East Africa.

In front of Burj al-Arab hotel in Dubai.

Education

Emirati education is compulsory and free from primary school to university, but only for the Emirati citizens. Non citizens can be enrolled into government schools but for a fee. On the other hand despite the fact that schools are compulsory, the Arab government does not require 100% attendance. This means that the primary enrollment stands only st 80% -90%, and secondary school enrollment at only 60% -70%. In addition, the UAE has the biggest ratio of teachers to students (approximately 15:1). The overall Arab literacy level stands at only 91% due to immigration from poor and badly educated Muslim countries, although literacy level in the age group 15-24 is 98% for men and 96% for women. The Emirates are also a leader of Arab countries in women`s education and women’s rights, although it is not equal with Europe.

Health

Health care in the UAE is at a high level because of large investments in the years of  good economy. Health care is free for UAE nationals and paid for non-citizens. The main cause of death in the UAE are cardiovascular disease, but there are also accidents and birth defects. It is also interesting that diabetes in the Emirates is a very big problem as this disease affects about 25% of citizens and 20% of the residents. United Arab Emirates are also a popular destination for medical tourism within the region. When it comes to HIV/AIDS the Arab Emirates is a low risk country because only about 1000 people live with the disease.

Kultura/Religia:

The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country and 96% of the population is faithfull to Islam, and the rules are strictly adhered to Koran, although they are not imposed on tourists from the West. Art, culture, music, food and architecture are based on the Arab Muslim Bedouin tradition. Despite the fact that in Dubai there are many schools, restaurants and centres  of Western culture, and also several churches and Hindu temples, the Arab culture is still based on Islam. Throughout the country there are many mosques and prayers 5 times a day. However there are no synagogues in the UAE, what means that  religious freedom has its limits. The Emirates is a very conserative country, although it is not as ultra-conservative as Saudi Arabia. In the UAE there is no obligation of wear clothes covering a whole body, but many women still dress this way. I think that men have greater fashion freedom, while women under pressure of the Arab society prefer to dress conservatively. Tourists can dress in a more relaxed way but respectfully to the muslim culture. Some tourists have been arrested for too skimpy outfits on the beach or swimming naked, while others have had sex on the beach after dark. Sex outside marriage in the UAE is prohibited, but prostitution is allowed. This explains sex turism to the Emirates from Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, whilst in the Emirates I had a look at the local women. They had clothes covering their entire bodies although tailored in such a way to emphasize their shapes. They were also loded with gold and precious bags, they smiled to me and were blinking their eyes when they saw me. Arab women love White men, but certainly not the Arab men.

Apart from that poor people move around by buses, go to the mosques and read Koran, and the rich Arabs drive cars that Germans or Japanese have not even dreamt of, they go to brothels and read Playboy. In my opinion the whole Arab culture and religion depends primarily on their wallets.

Only 30% of the population have nationality of the federation. The rest are migrant workers from poor Islamic countries.

The main sports include camel racing and falconry, but also football which was brought here fairly recently from the West.

Media

Freedom of speech and publication is guaranteed by the Emirati government only in theory. Journalists are imprisoned and fined, and all internal and foreign publications are censored before release. In addition it is forbidden to write in a bad way about the rulers and their families, and about the friendly Arab countries, and it is also forbidden to criticize the government. It is illegal to criticize Islam because Emirates are very sensitive when it comes to its politics and culture. There are huge penalties for publishing materials described as “misleading”, as articles of that kind can destroy the good image of the government and its economy and culture. Many websites which are seen as contrary to Islam or they promote religion other than Islam are blocked, and are regarded perverse. These include for example dating sites, and of course gay and Israeli sites. All TV and radio stations and all newspapers are controlled by the government. On the press freedom index the United Arab Emirates takes 112th place and the situation is getting worse every single year. Press in the Emirates is not free.

Environmental problems

Rapid economic growth has its price. The biggest problem of the Emirates is the lack of water, and therefore desalination is the only option. Unfortunately during desalination process too much energy is consumed, what causes massive air pollution and carbon dioxide emitions, and the dirt is pumped into the sea. Also power plants burning fossil fuel pollute the atmosphere, and the coast is polluted wit oil spills. The Arab Emirates is one of the largest carbon dioxide emitter per citizen. Other problems of the Emirates are air and water pollution,bad garbage utilization and toxic waste. Fortunately the Arab government sponsored huge forestation action to stop further desertification, protect soil from erosion, beautify the cities and protect its farmlands from wind. Many animals have been hunted almost to extinction, but thanks to the conservation efforts they have been brought back. In addition, the Arab state is the biggest centre of illegal trade of animals and reptile skins.

In my opinion the problem is that business is always on the first place and if the Arabs do not wake up their oil will not matter anymore because they will eventually get poisoned with their own greed. I also think that Arabs have very bad location, because all the green cities built on a desert need a lot of water to survive. Whilst in the UAE I saw that lawns and trees are watered non-stop, and there are rubber hoses underneath the lawns for watering them from the bottom. When water desalination will become a huge environmental problem, and when they run out of oil, the Arabs will have to import water for which they will not be able to pay and this might create “a knife on the throat situation”.

History of Arab Emirates

The history of the entire Gulf region is very long because it goes back thousands of years. The southern part of the bay has been inhabited by Arab tribes since always, and in the seventh century they adopted Islam. In the fifteenth century, this territory was conquered by the Turks, who ruled it for hundred years.

In the sixteenth century the Portuguese conquered this region, and built their ports and mastered the trade. Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries this territory was called the Pirate Coast, because of Arab pirates who plundered European ships sailing in waters of the Gulf. They also sailed in the Indian Ocean where they attacked the British fleet, but after many battles they suffered a final defeat, and the Persian Gulf and all its waters became a British property.

In 1820 a treaty was signed between the British Government and sheikhs living in the Persian Gulf, with regard to the slave trade, fight against piracy and weapons smuggling. In 1853, all arms were fully suspended and the whole area became the scene of the Trust of Great Britain. From 1892 the whole area was known as Oman and it was under British protectorate until 1968. They also started extracting oil from the emirate of Abu Dhabi which contributed to the expansion of military bases. In the same year the Arab Emirates Federation was formed, and it consisted of seven emirates of Oman plus Qatar and Bahrain, and in 1971 joined another emirate called Ras Al-Khaimah. In those times the Emirates had considerable autonomy and they had different political systems, from an absolute monarchy to a parliamentary system. Then Qatar and Bahrain separated from the federation and established separate states. Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah also separated, but returned to the federation in 1972. Other small kingdoms of Oman joined together and formed  the United Arab Emirates. In 1974 a dispute with Saudi Arabia over the oasis of Al-Burajmi finally ended, what led to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The other major events include: the end of diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1979 because of  establishment of military cooperation with Israel, but it renewed in 1987, support for the intervention in Iraq in 1990 and allowing deployment of French and British troops in the UAE, worse relations with Iran in 1992 over annexation by Iran two strategically important islands of Tunb and Abu-Mass, signing a defense treaty with U.S.A. in 1994.

In 1981, the United Arab Emirates became part of the Cooperation Council of Arab States of the Gulf, aimed at solving social problems, economic and political issues.

Travel reports

Trip to Dubai 2006

Map

Location

Practical information

Tourist Visa: Poles and most European citizens do not need a visa to enter Arab Emirates. At the airport in Dubai Europeans get a free 90-day multiple entry visa. It is valid for 180 days from the date of issue, of which 90 days can be spent in the United Arab Emirates.

Safety: A safe country for sensible tourists. The problems are mainly theft in bazaars and crazy drivers, but it is also worth pointing out that single White women who go out to drink in the evenings are in danger. In an Arab country this is an invitation to rape, that’s why I advice single White women to go to the Emirates only in the company of a husband or a father and remember about the conservative behavioral standards. Then the Emirates should be safe. I also believe that another great danger in the Emirates is the weather itself because it is hot like in hell.

Moving around the country: In UAE there is a well-developed network of intercity buses whereas in cities there are cheap taxis and even cheaper buses. Hitchhiking is also possible although I have to warn to not to go alone to the desert and wait for a miracle. Desert can kill whilst waiting for a bus.

Prices: Emirates is a playground for the rich but budget travellers can also see this country at relatively low prices. Living in cheap hotels, eating street food and moving around by public transport can cost around 30 euros a day, though I would rather call it survival. For 50 euros a day one can sometimes take a taxi, go to the aquapark in Dubai or take a camel trip to the desert. When I was in Dubai I slept on the beach and I always take a tent with me what saves me a lot of money. That way a trip to the most expensive Gulf countries can cost just 10 euros a day. By the way, I do not advise the go to the casino because then one could not even afford a toilet paper.

Climate: The United Arab Emirates has a very uncomfortable climate which is unbearable for a white man. In that desert country the sun is ruthless and the wind stands in one place, what gives an impression of being fried on a pan. In summer the temperatures reach 45°C although I personally do not believe it because I think that it is even hotter. Even the water temperature in Dubai reaches 40°C, what means that it is so hot that people are too tired to swim. Because of the fierce sun it is necessary to dress in long linen trousers and long sleeved shirts and always wear hats and sunglasses. Officially the United Arab Emirates has a sub-tropical climate with high humidity but I only felt the heat. The lowest temperature ever recorded was 12°C but I don’t advice to just look at the air temperature because the rainfall in the Emirates is only about 23mm to 36mm. I advise to visit the Emirates only in the winter months because otherwise it would be a climatic agony. If however somebody visits the Emirates in the summer, then most likely, just like many tourists do, one would avoid the sun during a day and go to the beach at night. White people should treat the Arab weather very seriously.

17 October 2014

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