Making Life Easy

UAE Driving license

Even besides ever more popular metro, the driving in Dubai remains the most convenient means of transportation.

While tourists and people on visit visas can drive with International Driving License from their original country, the UAE residents have to have a valid UAE driving license.

UAE-driving-licence_0For some lucky people coming from the below countries, getting UAE driving license is relatively easy. They take their (home country) driving license, passport and a letter from their sponsor (employer), go to the Police station and a hour or so later and 300 dhs poorer they come out with the driving license. These lucky guys (and girls) come from one of the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg , Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

 The rest of the world has to go through the painful process of additional driving classes and passing a UAE driving test in one of the driving schools to authenticate their home country’s driving license. The process can take few months and costs couple of thousands of dirhams.

 To us who need to do these extra steps this might not sound fair, however those measures are part of initiative that UAE government came up in their attempts to increase road safety. I guess we can just bear it and hope this helps them reach that goal!

Drive safely!

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20th century

I have this theory that Dubai in its development skipped few important achievements of 20th century. We sure have all the glitz and glamour of 21st century – wireless in cafes, internet banking, ski dome, tallest building in the world, artificial islands, blackberries… all the mambo jumbo. But in the rush to catch up with rest of the Very Developed World, there were few things that we Dubaians don’t have and the rest of the world have had for quite some time.

old-bicycleOne of those things is proper public transportation. The reason I emphasize proper as some sort of public transportation exists for a while back. Those were mostly buses with irregular service and most importantly very limited and short lines. So to get from Media City (where loads of people work) to Al Qusais (where loads of people live, mostly because of affordable rents) you had to take minimum 3 buses!!! Needless to say, most people choose other methods of transporting themselves from home to work and back (their own cars or taxis if they could afford or alternatively private buses (that drive you directly directly to work in the morning and back home after work ) or car pooling with friends or even strangers ).

Luckily, this had began to change.  Road and Transport Authority started some new (long enough) bus lines, the bus stops are now all air-conditioned (trust me, not a whim, but a necessity in this climate), there are talks of more bus lines, water buses, trams…

But the most thrilling of all is  the Dubai Metro. Opening in Sept 9th, 2009, it is the talk of the town and had been for a while. And for all the rights reasons I think.

Construction of Dubai Metro

I love metros! The speed and the fact that their speed is not influenced by the heavy traffic on the roads above (or below)!! I am so looking forward next time I go to Burjuman (or anywhere in Deira or Bur Dubai for that matter) and instead of an hour that takes me now, I get there within 20 minutes! Talk about making your life easier! Not to mention what metro will mean to the tourists (or your visitors) who will not have to pay hefty taxi fares or try to figure out complicated public bus system.

OK, you got it  – I am all pro metro! Does it mean I will give up my car? Not in a million years and not in any city of this world!! What I am trying to say here is I LOVE choice – and Dubai metro is giving me exactly that – one more realistic option how to get from point A to point B. What is there not to love?!

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Blessed free delivery

There is a sticky note next to my phone that is all important to my life. It has 2 phone numbers on it  – the local supermarket (AKA the grocery) and the laundry.  And why are they so important – they both deliver for free!

UAE businesses have mastered free delivery. Everything here can get to your door with no extra charge. All the restaurants deliver here, sticky notepharmacies, laundry, not to mention expected things like flowers and fast food places. And if they happen not to deliver directly, they will courier things to you (e.g. credit cards, cheque books, insurance papers). One of the best examples is that Indian embassy actually delivers your passport back to you once your visa had been issued so you do not have to go there to collect the passport!

On the more every day level, I find especially convenient the local supermarket  and the laundry delivery. Supermarket for the fact that they will deliver the smallest things to you (like a half douzen of eggs) or very heavy things (like bottles of water) within 30 minutes or less (if you are lucky and tip (2-3 dhs) the delivery guy regularely).  Needless to say they are small shops with limited choice, so for your favourite brand of brie cheese you still have to go to one of the big supermarkets (like Spinney’s or Carrefour), but your bare essentials like water, juice, eggs, milk, toilet paper, mobile phone credit they are conveniently just a phone call away!

The laundry sends someone to collect your clothes AND delivers it back to you washed, ironed, drycleaned (whatever you requested). No extra charge, just  very reasonable rate (the ironing of a shirt (by my standards THE most hated activity in the universe) is 2-4 dhs depending on the laundry).  Heaven!

Am I getting spoiled? Of course I am  – that’s why I am in Dubai!

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