Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: January 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Count on the USA, Haiti

The USA is maligned sometimes but the world has to understand that my country is ready to come to the aid of innocent people caught up in natural disasters. Anywhere, anytime! We are usually the firstest with the mostest.

And us Americans are all for it.

We will open our hearts and wallets for you all.

You get hurt, we will help you as we have much and are generous.

We have made mistakes but the world is better for our influence overall

Haiti will survive because we are there to help . Many lives will be saved from the US efforts.

Americans are good folks and wish nothing but the best for our friends

On the flip-side, you mess with  us and you will live to regret it

How much aid is the Taliban sending to Haiti?

I am so proud of the humanitarian efforts my government and fellow citizens are making to help our neighbors in Haiti.

Count on us. we will do our best!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Lighter Look at the Dubai Debt Thing

This is an article a friend sent me from The Onion, an American online newspaper. It is an entertaining read and not too far from the mark!

Dubai Debt Crisis Halts Building Of World's Largest Indoor Mountain Range

Thanks Chuck!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Khalifa City

As mentioned in some previous posts, I live in a bedroom community about 25 kilometers (that is approximately 15 miles for my readers in the United States, Myanmar and Liberia, the only countries on Earth where the metric system is not recognized) Northeast of Abu Dhabi city proper. The suburb is named after the current president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, son of the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Sheikh Zayed is the photo with the red background.

I don't know that much about Sheikh Khalifa but he seems to be doing a good job running the Emirates. The late Sheikh Zayed is responsible for the creation of the UAE and is considered the father of his country. I have researched his history, he has my admiration and respect as a man who had nothing but the best interests of his countrymen in mind. He was a kind, charitable man who on occasion used to drive large Chryslers out on the sand dunes, my kind of guy! The US could use men like him in the government! Here is the Wikipedia site for Sheikh Zayed

Anyway, Khalifa City is divided between A and B and according to yet another Wikipedia Site there is a New Khalifa City planned. I live in KCA and I have joked about it being a desolate moonbase, but there is a lot of activity out here and soon it will be a cultural and social center for Abu Dhabi.

This is an actual photo I snapped from my back window today. Although I took liberties with some photo editing software, you can see what I mean when I say this area is in the "development" stage. The Moonbase tag is not too far off the mark!

Not that this area is without some beauty. I captured this amazing sunrise from my back window last December, it was truly breathtaking to see in person. The tall structure under the sun is the Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH, OMAA) control tower and in the foreground the large crane marks the spot of the ambitious Masdar City  project.

So things are happening out here. It's kind of quiet out here in the "sticks" for now and I am bored many times, but this area will be place to be in a few years!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Shameless Plugs

As many of you know, I scribble out a monthly piece for Abu Dhabi Tempo Magazine entitled " A Yank in Sand Land". I do it for fun because I like to write and express my warped view of the world. I suspect I notice things differently from most people as even a simple run to the grocery store gives me a treasure trove of ideas to write about. The blog you are reading now was created in the same spirit. This is an outlet for me to depressurize and keep on an even keel without the need for meds. Because I live in Khalifa City (a developing suburb of Abu Dhabi) I have plenty of time to indulge. You would have to reside here to understand, it is not called the "Moonbase" for nothing!

Ask for Abu Dhabi Tenpo at popular venues around the Emirate. It is a handy pocket size and sports a detailed map with all the hot spots listed. Trust me, you will need a map in Abu Dhabi! You may want to hang on to the copy you get as January marks only the fourth issue ever. In the future, a pristine copy may fetch enough on eBay to bankroll your retirement!

Also, a pleasant surprise greeted me yesterday when I was doing some catching up with my fellow bloggers.  I discovered this post from the erudite Neil of Neil and Caz in Abu Dhabi fame! It seems that both of our blogs were featured in the "Pick of the blogs" (mine's the one in the middle) feature in Time Out Abu Dhabi magazine this month.  I will have to go out and buy a copy of the magazine as the feature is not included on their website as of yet. My complete story that caught Time Out's attention is here.

I admit it is very satisfying that my blog is noticed although I would write it anyway even if I knew nobody was reading for the entire first year. If my brain farts happen to entertain, amuse or even anger some readers, so much the better, I've done my job!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Current Job Market in the U.A.E.

Many of you may be interested in employment opportunities in the Emirates as things may seem quite desperate where you currently live, which is just about everywhere nowadays. The lure of lucrative work in an exotic location, tax free income, mild Winters, palm trees and glamor/glitz can be overwhelming in these dark days.

A decade ago, this all would have been true. Fat expat salaries were made possible by demand exceeding the supply of professionals needed to build this country to what it is today. Westerners came here for a few years and made their retirement nest egg. For a country that just celebrated it's 38th anniversary last month, the transformation from a dusty trade crossroads to the modern nation it is now is nothing less than phenomenal.

But the fact is that the global economic downturn has infected the UAE too. There have been many layoffs in the last year especially in the financial and real estate sectors. Dubai has suffered the most because Abu Dhabi has revenue from its vast petroleum reserves to rely on...

I am not saying things are dire here. They just aren't this good:

And they aren't this bad:

They are somewhere in the middle.

Its a seller's market for jobs here lately so be careful if you are considering a position in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or any other of the Emirates. If you are dealing with a recruiter, be sure to read the fine print especially if you are paying a fee up front. Due Diligence is your friend! There are still some good positions to be found here, but they are scarcer and less lucrative than in the past.

Here is a link to a report from a company called Gulf Talent: Middle East Jobs Report I assume they are one of the recruitment companies in this area but I read the report and found it timely and factual. You have to sign in to get the report and I assure you I have no connection to this firm. If you want the .pdf file, email me and I will get it to you. It is somewhat a dry read but apparently they did their homework and presented an unbiased assessment of the employment situation in the region. It's worth your attention if you are considering the Big Move!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Double Down for Dubai

Dubai's financial woes have been in the news as of late. The city-state pinned its future on finance and real estate and we all know what happened to those two sectors on a worldwide scale. Unlike its dowdier but oil-rich sister to the South, Dubai has relatively few natural resources to fall back on as a safety net. Real estate values are plummeting and because of the global banking crisis, investment money is as scarce as hen's teeth.The bills are coming due and nothing short of a miracle and some charity from neighboring Emirates will ease the pain.

But wait....I have an idea!

What Dubai can do is what many financially beleaguered municipalities and governments around the world have done, legalize gaming! I realize that in this part of the planet, there might be more hurdles to jump than usual, but free-zones exempt from local laws already exist for other enterprises, why not a gaming free-zone? The World Islands would be perfect. They are offshore, currently empty and access could be easily controlled. Residents could be required to obtain a gaming license much like that for alcohol purchases. Visitors could be whisked from the airport to the casinos on the islands without ever having step foot in the city proper, their indulgences all but invisible to those that might take offense.

Dubai is a natural for becoming the Las Vegas of the Eastern Hemisphere. The original Las Vegas is also located in a barren desert bereft of natural resources, without gaming it would be little more than a desolate crossroad village where watching tumbleweeds blow across the dusty streets is the main form of entertainment. Dubai already has the infrastructure, glitz and attitude to easily cross the line. Additionally, Dubai's central geographic location between Europe and Asia and the beautiful waters of the Arabian Gulf are  advantages.

As we all know, the Las Vegas formula works. The city is a favorite destination of travelers from all over the world. These people happily drop their kid's college fund money in games that they know the casinos have the edge, but return time-and-time again because it is fun! All this activity also provides a fertile ground for support businesses such as food providers, cabbies, entertainers and such.

In fact, gaming is so profitable that the state of Nevada, where Las Vegas is located, sees no need to tax its residents' income, one of the few states in the US with this policy. Dubai seems to agree as at least two government owned businesses, Dubai World and Nakheel, are major partners in several new Las Vegas developments.

I am just free-associating here and I know it would be a hard sell to the powers that be, but allowing gaming has proven successful for curing financial woes in many other venues. Never underestimate what people will spend to satisfy their vices. I will be available for the position of Dubai Gaming Commissioner when the time comes.