City Presentation
If you are planning to move to the wonderful Island of Abu Dhabi, then you need to
know the history of your new home to be.

Originally, this city’s main source of income was in the world pearl market. Then when
that industry collapsed so did the economy for Abu Dhabi. It left the city in devastating

In 1939 realizing that some drastic measures needed to be taken so the ruler at that time
which was Sheikh Shakhbut, allowed some oil deals to take place. This took a long time
but eventually in 1958 oil was struck in the emirate. This was a gold mine because the
population of about 15,000 which was to be found in Abu Dhabi at that time were finally
about to prosper handsomely.

It was not long before the poverty-stricken city evolved into a sparkling city. In 1971, the
UAE was formed and Abu Dhabi became its capital.

Currently Abu Dhabi is the second most populated city and also the capital of UAE.
There are about 850,000 residents here according to 2008 statistics. This city is one of the
largest world oil producers, but they want to open up other financial avenues as well. To
do this they are becoming more involved in investments by way of financial services, and
are actively involved in the growth of tourism.

The president of the UAE is Kahlifa bin and he is the ruler of Abu Dhabi. Incidentally,
UAE stands for United Arab Emirates.

It should be remembered that with the oil industry being their mainstream naturally there
are many oil companies located there. Being as there as so many expatriates of course
there would be several embassies as well. In theory it is believed that each emirate has a
net worth in excess of $17.million. It’s no wonder why some media is dubbing Abu
Dhabi as being the richest city in the world.

Although we have depicted this city as being a sprawling metropolis, it should not be
forgotten that are large parks with beautiful gardens and along the lines of the streets
exquisite greenery. Currently it is expected that by 2011 the Saadivat Island should be
completed. This is a $28. Billion dollar investment into a very viable cultural area with
the emphasis being placed on Louvre Museum and Guggenheim Museums.

The landscape of this beautiful city is picturesque. Towards the south it sprawls out to
where you can some of the largest sand dunes in existence. This is the famous Liwa oasis.
Throughout the city you will see many wonderful fountains.

It is the location of Abu Dhabi that affords it such a glorious landscape. Along the coast
line you will be able to see almost 200 islands. There are actually three areas to the
Emirate of Abu Dhabi. These consist of the capital city which of course is Abu Dhabi, the
Western regions and the green city this is actually the eastern oasis of Al Ain.

The joining of the UAE’s was not without problems, naturally there was internal
bickering just like in any other country. The biggest dispute centered on the borders.
Then when the crown prince of Dubai married the daughter of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign
that brought some rest.

The UAE strengthened their ties with the West by supplying troops to the anti-Iraq
coalition. They had no involvement in the Iraqi invasion on 2003. This did not hurt
relations between the West and the British though.

Abu Dhabi is one of the most modern cities in the world and in recent years it has
become the major area for tourism as well as investments. The city is fully equipped with
green boulevards lining all the streets and roads, large gardens, parks, high-rise buildings,
good transport services, international Luxury hotels, big shopping malls, Cultural centers
providing events all the year round.


Abu Dhabi city is actually on an island that is about 250 meters from the mainland.
Access to the mainland is by way of Mussafah Bridges and Maqta. Although most of the
city is located on the island, there are suburbs of the city located on the mainland these
are Mussafah residential, Khalifa Cities, and Between Two Bridges.

Abu Dhabi borders to the South to Saudi Arabia, to the east it lies along side of Sultanate
of Oman. North it is the Persian Gulf.

The need has arisen for more bridges, so there is a third bridge currently under
construction. In addition, there are two other bridges being built to connect to Reem
Island and Saadiyat Island.

Once your visa is all in place, the next thing you need to consider is the climate. After all
you are going to want to know what you need to take with you. No doubt, you will do a
great deal of clothes shopping once you are settled in. Therefore, you really just need to
plan for the first little while.

What you first experience by way of weather will depend on the time of year you will be
moving there. If it’s between April to September then you are going to be arriving at the
peak of the heat. It is usually very hot and humid. Temperatures can soar to 104F.
Another experience you will be in for during this time is sand storms, which are quite
frequent during the summer months. They can get so bad that you can only see a few feet
in front of you. One reprieve from the daytime heat is the cool nights. You will feel a
major and relieving contrast.

November to March is the most comfortable period weather wise. During these months,
you will be exposed on many occasions to dense fog.

Population: 8, 50,000 (as per 2008 Statistics)

Area :        26,000.1 sq. miles (67,340 km2)

Density:      761.3 per sq miles (293.94 per km2)

Time Zone:    GMT/UTC +4 hours

Currency:     1 Emirian Dirham (Dhs) = 100 fils
              Dirham or AED

Language:     Main national Language of UAE is Arabic, although English, Hindi
              and Urdu are also spoken widely in the city.

Natural Resources: Petroleum and Natural Gas exports play a vital role.

Events & Festival:   1)      Middle East International Film Festival

                     2)      Abu Dhabi International Fair

                     3)      Abu Dhabi Salsa and Jazz Festival

                     4)      Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

                     5)      Emirates Photography Competition

                     6)      Camel Racing

                     7)      The Emirates Films Competition

                     8)      International Art & Antiques Fair

                     9)      Red Bull Air Race World Series
                    ****VISA REQUIREMENTS****

Once you have decided that you are finally going to move to Abu Dhabi, and then you
need to get things into motion. First, you are going to need a residency visa. Do not get
confused with the various types of visas that are issued, for example a business, or a
tourist visa. You actually need the residency visa.


In order to become a resident of Abu Dhabi someone has to be willing to be responsible
for you, in other words a sponsor. Normally this all taken care of by the company you or
your spouse works for. If you are going to be bringing family members to live with you
then are sure to apply for a family visa. This way you will be able to bring your parents or
spouse and children. The children must be under the age of 18 to be accepted under a
family visa. In order to successfully obtain a family visa you must be earning a minimum
of $1,100 month US. Residency visas are not permanent and are only good for 3 years
after which type you must renew your status.

In order to validate your residency status when you apply you are going to need your
passport. In addition, you will need to pass a medical test as well as be required to obtain
a health card. Abu Dhabi is very strict about not allowing communicable diseases into
their country. This is the purpose of the medical. Individuals affected with aids will not
be given residency status.

To get your health card it will cost your approx. $82. In addition, you simply apply for it
at the ministry of health or a qualified and recognized hospital.

Do not neglect to get exact details. If a company is sponsoring you, they will be well
aware of what is required and will most likely fill out all the necessary paper works, but
ensure yourself that these are done correctly. No matter whom fills out your paper work
there will be certain documents they will need from you such as your passport for

Visa Updates

July 29, 2008
New visa regulations were brought into play. It has been stemming mixed emotions
because for some individuals it is making it easier to bring their loved ones here, then for
others it is now not possible.

The government took these steps because they felt the system was being abused. So what
they did was increase the cost of the visas, and has made the application process much
Some businessmen that are trying to bring in workers are finding it much more difficult
and the deposits are becoming very expensive.

Visa requirements for entering the city Abu Dhabi vary greatly between different
nationalities. And it’s always suggesting that to check the rules & regulations before
traveling to the city. At present, every nationality entering the UAE needs a visa except
citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council like Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi
Arabia. The following citizens of Europe also receive visas on arrival citizens of:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy,
Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, and the Vatican. The country like Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan,
Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea in Asia, as well as those from the
USA and Canada also now receive Visas on arrival.

Gulf Cooperation Council country can stay more or less as long they like. But British
Citizens can stay for one month then they will apply for a visa for further two months,
European, American, South African and Australian Citizens may obtain a visit visa from
the UAE Embassy in their respective countries before departure.

Note: Israelis and travelers who’s Passports bears Israeli Stamps will be denied a visa.
Other Countries Visa
For all other countries, a visa must be applied for before the visitor enters the country
either through their respective embassy, a local UAE sponsor or a local hotel.

Visas issue by Hotels

Tourist can get a visa from Tourist Company or a hotel by first making a reservation for a
least one night. They must fax or courier the hotel a copy of their passport along with the
reason for their visit (tourism is an acceptable reason) and their arrival date. You must
also make sure that the hotel faxes you a copy of the visa when it is ready.

Airlines may require confirmation (preferably a fax copy of the document) that a visa is
held before check-in at the airport. The original is held at Abu Dhabi Airport for
collection before passport control.


This visa is issued through tourist companies and it is valid for 30 days. It cannot be
renew or extend it. If the Visa holder of the tourist visa stays more than the 30 days, that
person has to pay a fine per day plus several charges which are applicable for an out pass.


Visa is issued through DNRD. It is stamped for 30 days validity but it is valid for 60 days
and can be extended for 30 more days by paying some amount. The extension needs to be
done before the 60 day. If the visitor stays more than 60 days or more than 90 days (after
the extension) they will have to pay a fine per day plus several charges which are
applicable for an out pass.

Certain passport holders can enter the UAE without obtaining a visit visa prior to arrival
and stay up to 30 days.
Documents required:
1. Photocopy of the visitor's passport
2. Visit Visa Application form, completed and signed by the sponsoring company.
3. Photocopy of the trade license of the company
4. A Guarantee letter from the company stating its responsibility of the visitor during his


These visas are issued for people want whether to work or do business in UAE. It is valid
for 60 days only, during this the work residence visa has to be processed. If the person
delays in stamping the residence he will pay 25 AED fine for each day.

There are different types of Work visas:
Private companies or Establishments employees (Issued from labour Office)

1.   Servants
2.   Partners
3.   Investors
4.   Governmental institutions and Ministries (Issued from DNRD) and the person can
     only work in governmental institutions

Any move is exciting and nerve wracking, but when it is a move to a strange new
country, it may be even more so strenuous. Mostly because it is not just a move you have
to be concerned about, but it is the new way of life that you will be exposed to as well.

No doubt, you will have hopefully had a visit to Abu Dhabi, prior to your plans to move
there. If so then you may have got an idea of some of the areas that you would like to live

If you don’t have your accommodations in place then you may have to stay at a Hotel for
a bit until you get things into place. There are many beautiful Hotels to choose from here
but it would be wise to go for one that is central so you can do all you’re errands

The Hotels will probably range from somewhere between $145. - $250 Daily. It’s
probably not something that you will want to make long term, unless of course, the
company is paying for it, and they may have discount or corporate rates. Another option
you may want to consider trying to find is a long stay Hotel. This is very similar to


If you have determined that your overall plan is to purchase a residence then you don’t
want to rush into it. You may want to think about finding an apartment first until you
really find what you want to buy in a house. This way you won’t just grab the first thing
that comes along. Apartment rental agreements may not be what you expect in
comparison to what you found in your home country.

It’s an absolute certainty that you are going to have to sign a lease. The big question will
be for how long? Most of the apartment owners want a 12 month lease, but in addition to
this, they want the whole amount paid up front. Some properties will rent for 6 months.
The Kahlifa committee may consider renting to you for a shorter term such as 4 months,
but you will still have to pay up front.

Along with this, you really need to use the services of a property agent. Fees for their
services will vary but the usual charge is 5% of the total rental fee for the year.

There are actually a few expatriates working in this field, and in fact two of them have
been there for many years, and this is Home style Property Agents and Hyatt Real Estate.
It would be a smart move to do your apartment dealings through one of these individuals,
as they know the market well.

Then over the past, few years there have been a couple of new ones such as Colliers
International and Asteco. These are service providers who are going to be well utilized
in the real estate area of renting.

Be sure to ask around about any apartment rentals. For example, let the Hotel staff know
you are looking. On the other hand, post a note in one of the grocery stores.

Apartment rental prices will vary somewhat, and a lot of this will depend on your needs
or wants. There are a various amounts of bedrooms, mostly between 1- 4. Apartments in
or close to the city are pricier, because they are more in demand.

If you prefer to rent the upper floors, it has its advantages. It is not as noisy and you can
get some beautiful views, but you will pay extra for these amenities. The same for
underground parking.

The more luxurious you go the more costly it will be. That is no different from apartment
renting in the western world. Here is Abu Dhabi you will find a few apartment buildings
that have a swimming pool or gym, or both.

Be sure to check out what the area is like. Is it an area that you want to raise your
children in? You can ask the locals or the hotel staff their feeling about the area you are
considering. You may also need to consider ease of mobility, and what Hospitals and
Schools are in the vicinity.

Another very important aspect is also taking a good look at what the maintenance of the
building is like. If it looks dirty or run down, then you are better to avoid that particular
one. Don’t forget you will be paying all of your rent up front.

Don’t restrict yourself just to apartment complexes when you are considering renting.
There are some very nice older villas on the market to rent. The prices for these depend a
great deal on their location and how old they are. Naturally, you can obtain one of the
older types a little more reasonable than the new modernized villas.

In addition if you are willing to move away from Corniche or even off the Island for that
matter, they are much more affordable. In addition, you may find some that have some
exquisite gardens surround them.

You may be attracted at first to the new residential areas that have been built in the recent
past. Such as Khalifa “A” or “B”. These are indeed beautiful but they are somewhat out
of the way, and you would need to have a way to commute.

Apartments are in very high demand so naturally this is a great situation for apartment
owners. They can pretty well set the price they want, no matter how high and they are
likely to get it. The day is coming though, where the apartment demands will decrease
because of the ongoing residential building that will take place.


After you have given some serious thought to renting, you may determine that you just
want to go ahead and buy a house, once and for all, and just get settled in.

Being as Abu Dhabi has only flourished and grown over the past few years, so have the
distinction of the neighborhoods. The shoreline of Abu Dhabi is known as the
Corniche. Most of the concentration has been put on high-rise buildings averaging 20
stories along here. The trend is now becoming for the various localities to separate
themselves culturally.

Then there are other areas that are putting their emphasis on becoming resorts in order to
attract tourism. There is a long way to go yet before these various areas will be
established, as many of them are still only in the planning stage.

Something to watch for the future in regards to investment is the inland city of Al Ain.
This is a beautiful Oasis city, which enjoys a pleasant climate as well. They have chosen
to remain low rise with no buildings over six stories. Their goal is to preserve the
greenness of the cities.

Abu Dhabi may face some growth problems in the future. They are constructing far too
many buildings and traffic is really getting out of hand. The excess heat conditions during
the summers month demand attractive surrounding to make living there pleasant.

About a ½ mile from the center of the city, you can find Saadiyat, which is quite pleasant
and is probably going to be the choice of place to live in the coming years. Another area
of real concern is transportation. There is no mass public transit system in place;
therefore public travel is quite difficult.

There are specific designated investment areas which up until recently had very tight
restrictions. This is beginning to ease a bit. Al Reem, Saadiyat and Al Raha Beach are
currently the three major investment areas. It has grown as yet so the majority of
purchases are carried out by developers.

There really isn’t a primary market for foreigners. If it is future residential investment
property, you are considering then you really need to find a Real Estate Agency that has
good developer connections.

Generally, a 10% down payment to secure the property is required, but the service
charges are paid in advance on an annual basis.

It is hopeful that Abu Dhabi will follow the ways of Dubai when it comes to real estate
matters. At present, there does not seem much to offer the expatriates by way of property
here in Abu Dhabi. It may well be worthwhile at present to consider Buraimi.

One big benefit is the absence of property taxes. There is a 2% registration fee based on
the sale price of the residence, and a 1% on lease agreements.

So at the current time, it is probably the most feasible to find an apartment to your liking
in the area of your choice and settle in there until the housing market begins to open up.

You utility needs are handled in Abu Dhabi by ADWEA meaning Abu Dhabi water
and Electricity Authority.

There is an increasing strain being put on the utilities here but the government is taking
firm action to address the problems.

Recently a new customer care and billing services department was put into play, this is
called Oracle’s Utilities. The concept of this department was so business applications and
revenue collections could be handled far more efficiently then they were under the old
process. This means bill is done much quicker and effectively which in turn means fast
revenue collections.

When within the city surroundings of Abu Dhabi, it is often forgotten, that just outside
the city limit is nothing but desert. Oil may be plentiful, but water is not. There are no
rivers and lakes and rainfall is minimal consisting of about 33mm a year.
The ground water that was there originally has been used up because of the staggering
growing demands. When you are looking at countries with the highest drinking water
consumption, then Abu Dhabi comes in third. To address the problem they are
implementing ways to desalt (desalination) the seawater.

To further compound the problems electrical supply isn’t much better. With the demands
placed on the current system from increased industrial activity and the enormous draw
that air conditioning requires there is a serious shortage in the electrical supply.

The Utilities shortages are being actively addressed with the implementation of new
infrastructures. In fact, good amounts of the oil revenues are being geared towards these
projects. In addition, a new privatization program has been launched to address the needs
of the residents and lift the burden from the government.

Once you have settled in to where you are going to be residing, you need to start thinking
about the types of foods you will be able to obtain in comparison to what you have been
used to in the past. At first, it will seem very strange to you, but make the transition
slowly in your cooking habits and it will be easier for you. Also once, you adjust new
using new foods and ways of cooking you will find that you can be quite frugal in your
grocery shopping expenses.

You will find many of the major grocery stores stocked with lots of Western foods. Just
don’t expect it to be a cheap as it was perhaps in your home country. Do not forget it has
to be imported so naturally it will cost more. You will find the local foods very
inexpensive though. No doubt, it will take you time to get used to the different types of
foods you may not be familiar with. It will come in time and before you know it, you will
be serving delicious meals made with these new ingredients.

When you are buying your fruits and vegetables check them over well to insure you are
getting good quality fresh foods. If you are planning to buy pork, you will be taken into a
separate room, as the nationals are not allowed in this section of the store. Some of the
common food stores are the Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society, Spinney’s and Carrefour’s.
There are many smaller and specialty shops around as well.

Fruit and Vegetable Souk

Souk means market and the one we are referring to here is absolutely wonderful. All you
can buy here though is your fruit and vegetables. You will not find any meat or food
staples here. If you think it must be a drag to go to one location just for fruit and
vegetables you are mistaken. What you will find here is the best produce at fantastic
For westerners it’s a real experience compared to what they are used to. You will be
greeted with undivided attention when you arrive. This will be directed to you by
attendants neatly dressed in jumpsuits. Their job is to get you to pick them so they can
help you with your shopping. You don’t even have to carry your purchases. Your
personal attendant will do it for you, and then put them in your car. He will appreciate a
small tip though.

It’s a pleasant place to shop as it is covered with very high roofs, and it spans about three
city blocks. When it is very hot the smell can become a bit unpleasant. There is no
shortage of exotic fruits and vegetables to choose. If you are new to eastern foods you are
going to have a great time experimenting with all your finds here.

Although as we said they only sell fruit and vegetables here there is one exception. You
can find a kiosk that serves cold drinks and ice-cream. A well accepted treat anytime in
Abu Dhabi.

Hotels, Bar & Restaurants

Sayad, Emirates Palace Hotel
Address: Emirates Place, Abu Dhabi Corniche
Phone# +971-2-6907033

Address: Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road
Phone# +971-2-6924567

Indian Palace, Abu Dhabi
Address: Salam Street, Opp. ADNOC-FOD Headquarter, Abu Dhabi,
Phone# +971-2-6448777

49er’s The Gold Rush
Address: Al Dar Dana Hotel, Abu Dhabi
Phone# +971-2-6458000

Royal Orchid
Address: Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road,
Phone# +971-2-6444400

Al Fanar, Le Royal Meriden

Abu Shakara
Abu Taf


Prego Beach Rotana Hotel

The word for communications is Etisalat. The sole provider for this service is currently
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation. This entity is responsible for landline and
mobile telephones, and has a sister company that looks after the internet services called
Emirates Internet & Multimedia. Both of these services are of excellent quality.

There are specialized telecommunication shops run by the Etisalat where you can buy
your mobile telephone, or you can go to any of the electronic shops. Be sure to check out
that the spec requirements are up to date, or you will end up buying a useless phone.

As a resident, you can apply for a standard connection for you mobile. You will be billed
monthly for your services.

                ****TRANSPORTATION MODES****
The first thing you should take note of is the street names. These are no doubt going to be
a source of confusion and frustration for you. The problem is that first off the traditional
names don’t match up with the official names. Therefore, you basically end up getting
one street with two different names depending on the person’s preference when referring
to it.

Recently though it has been regulated that all roads must be split into zones with sectors.
Now within each sector the streets will be numbered. Another intriguing thing you will
notice is odd numbers expand out across the island, while even numbers run adjacent to
it. You will be able to distinguish between the types of streets as all main streets are on
blue signs, while the green ones are designated for locale streets.

Being as there is so much confusion, you will find that most people will define a specific
place by the landmarks around it rather than by address.

So now, you have a good idea of how the streets work here and getting from point “A’ to
point “B”, lets look at some of the modes of transportation.


Obviously if you are already here in Abu Dhabi and are an expatriate from a western
company, then you arrived by Plane. Having said that then you also landed at the UAE’s
second business airport. You might have been taken back a bit by the décor of the airport.
Naturally, I am referring to the mushroom canopy that was waiting for you. It couldn’t’
be missed with those vibrant colors of blue and lime. The airport is not one of the most
up to date in décor but they are very well organized.

In 2010 the Airport will be completed and much larger up to date facilities will await
those who land here. There aren’t a lot of baggage turn styles here, so you may find you
luggage amongst a stack of other passengers, other than that it is very easy to pick it up.
You will find a regular taxi company waiting for you to take you into the city for a flat
rate. If you prefer you could take the public bus route that travels to the city about every
45 minutes.

If you have arrived by Etihad, then you will find a complementary shuttle bus available
for your travel into the city


The Government recently implemented to the Volvo Bus services. To act as an incentive
it was free to use up until December 2008. Although it is a step in the right direction it is
still slow moving through the city. The rides are comfortable though because of the air
conditioning however the one drawback is they are not wheelchair accessible.

Along the bus routes, a person will see department of transport bus poles specifically
marked as such. Currently though some of the regular stops along the route are not in use,
so make sure it is marked DOT temporary stop. There are four main lines that this bus
service covers.


It’s about an hour journey between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This journey takes place on the
countries heavily traveled road. It’s a 5 lane high way that the average speed hovers about
160 km/h. often there are those that abuse this limit. This unfortunately results in about
20 accidents per month. The safest way to travel on this road is do not use the furthest left
lane and stay alert. If you can avoid traveling it at night, it would be much better.

It is most common for expatriates not to want to do their own driving for a good period of
time. At least until they get used to the driving patterns and conditions. If you are
adventuresome and happen to get into an accident there is one thing for sure to
remember. Under absolutely no circumstances should you move the vehicle unless

(a) You are instructed by phone via the police

(b) The police arrive at the scene and instruct you to do so.

To move it otherwise could lead to serious circumstances.
If you do happen to be driving and get into an accident, then you as the expatriate will
most likely to be found at fault. At least if the other party is a local. If it is a visitor
driving a rental car, then that’s different, both parties are treated equally.

The Police can conduct an alcohol test at any time they wish. Even if you have only had a
small glass of wine it could show in the readings, and then you will be to be detained for
a month. So if you are still determined to drive then is aware that U-turns are very
common and are allowed at most intersections. Don’t be surprised to see when the left
turn light turns greens cars whipping around and heading back in the same direction. One
thing you will not witness is drivers running red lights. The fines for this are extremely
high. As soon as the light turns yellow, the driver will automatically slam on his breaks.
You will need to get into this habit as well, if you want to stay out of trouble.

Most intersections are camera monitored. Stay aware though, the second the light turns
green you are expected to move on otherwise you will hear several horn blasts behind

You are going to see lots of white and gold cars with green signs on their roofs. This is
the taxi system of Abu Dhabi. They are not very expensive to use, and this makes them
probably the most popular mode of travel. Now there are some luxury cab companies that
do charge more, but their taxis are a little bigger and somewhat more comfortable. These
particular companies are more apt to target the visitors as opposed to the locals or

There is no expectation of tips by the cabbies, but they really do appreciate receiving one.
Many of the cab drivers are far away from their families, and really have no one here.
Often they will show you pictures of their families back in their homelands.

Car Rentals

You may want to consider renting a care here in Abu Dhabi as it is very inexpensive.
There are lots of International car rental agencies available to choose from. There are also
some very good local ones as well.

You will find several to choose from at the airports, as they anticipate the business from
the arrivals. Like most any other countries where you are going to rent a car you must
have a valid credit card, and this must be photocopied. There are some agencies that will
take your passport as a deposit. Most of them now depend on credit card payments. You
will be still required to give them a copy of your international driver’s license and
passport as well.

In most cases they will want you to be over the age of 21 and be in possession of a valid
license in excess of one year. There are some agencies that will charge any driver under
the age of 25 more money. It is very advisable to take out damage and personal insurance
to cover the rental car.
The Collision Damage Waiver Insurance that we are referring to here will drop any
damage costs that may occur as a result of an accident if the driver is at fault. The second
part of the insurance being Personal Accident Insurance provides compensation for
injuries and deaths.

You must be sure not to allow anyone else to drive other than the insured. If you do and
there is an accident all coverage is void. If you want to have another driver, then simply
add them to the rental and insurance agreement for a small fee.

Be sure to follow the rules of the city regarding automobile accidents.


Abu Dhabi is widely spread out so it is not easily traveled by walking. Plus the heat
factors make this an unhealthy choice except at night. The boulevards are huge here and
there are not too many places available for the pedestrian to cross, so in fact it makes it
quite unsafe.

Now that you are all settled in your new home and you have a good understanding of
getting around, its time to do some shopping. This is going to be a wonderful breakaway
from all of the formal things you have had to look after. First, there are all types of
shopping that you may be in store for. Perhaps it will be for furnishings, carpets,
electrical components or a real favorite being apparel.

You are going to find the shops and malls are ultra modern. You may not find them to be
as numerous as those in Dubai, but make no mistake they are every bit as good. They are
very high on offering a huge selection of designer fashions. Designer clothing that you
never dreamed that you would be able to afford, will be available to you here at amazing
prices. Naturally they are going to be higher priced then the local manufactured items, but
still very cheap in comparison to the western world.

There are so many varieties of shops at the Malls, you never get sick of seeing the same
old thing, and this is one of the attributes to shopping in Abu Dhabi. There are roughly
about 18 notable shopping malls in the capital, with an extra three in Al Ain.

If you are seeking out the biggest, so you can do your entire one stop shopping in one
area then go to Marina Mall or Abu Dhabi Mall. The Abu Dhabi Mall is made of over
160 stores. Some are unique while others are international. In addition, for a quick break
there are lots of restaurants and coffee shops to be found here.

You won’t need to worry about the malls closing early on you either. Normal hours are
10am-10pm, from Saturday to Wednesday. Thursday is open a bit later, but shops don’t
open on Fridays until later in the afternoons. You will also notice that some of the shops
will actually close for a lunch period from 2-4pm.

Shopping Malls are wonderful and certainly have become the way of the world. There is
an old world charm to the traditional souks scattered throughout Abu Dhabi. They
deserve the attention and business of both residents and visitors alike, for their wares are

Souk is the word for market, and they are very much like the markets in the western
world. Probably once of the most popular Souks here in Abu Dhabi is the Iranian souk,
here is pure authenticity. When you are ready to purchase your carpets don’t miss out
seeing what Al Meena Souk has to offer.

If you enjoy bartering on the price of items, then do this at the souks as it is not common
practice to do so at the Malls, as their prices are fixed. In addition, if you are hunting for
bargains then you are better off to go to the Souks. They don’t have the same overhead
costs as the big mall stores have so you are likely to get a better price.

You may find your shopping adventure a bit frustrating at first until you get used to a few
things. You will find in most stores the sales representatives will follow you around
making suggestions. Part of this is they want to make a sale, and the other part is they
want to curb the chances of shoplifting. Try to stay relaxed, smile politely and thank them
and eventually they will leave you to your own means.

Other Shopping Mall

Iranian Souk

Al Wahda Mall

Madinat Zayed Shopping and Gold Centre

Liwa Centre

Al Ain Mall


You are probably getting to the point now that you are pretty much settled that you would
like to go out and enjoy yourself a bit. You have already experienced the wonderful
shopping excursions that are available to you here, now its time to join in some other

The nightclub scenes mostly take place at the Hotels. Almost every hotel will have a bar.
As far as drinking alcohol in your residence, you will need to check the specific rules
about this at least as to what they are currently. You may find that you have to buy a
yearly license to be able to purchase alcohol to drink within your home.

Consuming alcohol is probably not going to be your favorite pastime anyways because it
is so expensive. Alcoholic beverages are far from being cheap.

Be sure to wear the proper attire at these nightclubs, as there is usually some form of
dress code in place. Many of the bars stay open until very late. As an incentive to draw
the crowds many of the bars will serve free drinks to non-Muslim women before
midnight. This takes place on the weekends only though. The atmosphere found in the
majority of the nightclubs is relaxed and friendly.

Regular club facilities can be found at most of the major Hotels. These are quite
enjoyable and the facilities are state of the art. They vary in payments, in that you can pay
on a per use basis, or for memberships of 6 to 12 months.

If you don’t want to pay out a lot of money for club services then check out “The Club”.
This was originally the British Club. There are several community activities going on
here and covers all of the age groups. They did host an Easter and a summer camp as
well. It is a wonderful place to meet other people.

You don’t have to become a member. There are many activities for the adults as well. It
is a great all round location for the entire family.

If you enjoy the water or fitness, activities there are many clubs to join within these

Activity Clubs

Then the little ones won’t be bored through the day either if you take them to one of the
many moms and tots clubs that you will find here. You will also find the majority activity
groups that you would find in your homeland. For example, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.


Anyone enjoys a good movie, and that is no different here in Abu Dhabi. There are many
cinemas to be found throughout the city.

For those that enjoy like theatre then you will be pleased to note that the Middle East
International Film Festival is located here. There is a major festival held here one a year,
which is attended by international stars. It is a five day event.
Cinestar Cinemas
Address: Marina Hall, Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Phone# +971-2-6818484

Al Raha Cinema
Address: Al Raha Shopping Mall, Abu Dhabi-Dubai Highway, UAE
Phone# +971-2-5562008

Grand Al Mariah
Address: Umm Al Nasr street, Near Bank of Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Phone# +971-2-6785000

Grand Abu Dhabi
Address: Hamden Bin Mohd. Street, Hamdan Centre, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Phone# +971-2-6333000

Grand Abu Dhabi Mall
Address: Abu Dhabi Mall, Tourist Club Area 2, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Music Festival

Take the time to enjoy the Abu Dhabi Classic Music Festival when it is on. Always keep
aware of current events within this entertainment sector, as it is very popular and very
much well worth seeing. Then there is a wonderful comedy show The Laughter Factory
held at the Crown Plaza. This is where stand up comedians perform.


If you enjoy the theatre and would like to become part of it then you can actually join the
drama club. Here you can participate in murder mysteries, stage pantomimes and much

Parks and Playgrounds

There are many parks and playgrounds available for the children to take advantage of but
there is much excitement about a new theme park that is being built here. This is Ferrari
Park, and it is the home of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix. There will be many attractions
to be found here and no doubt, it will become one of the finest amusement parks in the

Desert Safaris

You really won’t want to miss the Desert Safaris. If you have never been on a camel then
you just can’t pass up the experience. You will be taken on an intriguing tour through the
actual desert. Then you can always opt for transportation by dune driving. That’s bound
to be quite the experience. This is such an exciting and demanded event that there are
tours guides that set up these safaris. Not only that you can get to choose the one you
would like to experience. You can choose between a half day or full day or even an
overnight safari.

It is a wonderful opportunity to see what the desert is really like at night. Don’t expect to
starve though because the tour companies will provide some exquisite cuisine by way of
barbecues with your choice of continental or oriental. Then you can sit back and enjoy
some Arabian coffee while be entertained by some exotic belly dancers. How about this
for an escape from normal routines.

There is something heart stopping when comes to traveling in a four wheel dune buggy
over the desert terrain. Dune driving is called Wadi Bashing and is one of the most
favored sports and recreational event in the city. You will be exposed to a trip across the
dry river beds now comprised of sand dunes. Then you will end up at the Bedouin
campsite. Here you will exchange you mode of transportation to camels.

If you want to be a little more daring and take back a souvenir of your safari, then you
may want to enjoy having a henna tattoo put on your shoulder. When you have arrived at
the highest dune you are going to be exposed to a spectacular sunset that you will really
want to photograph.

Roller Balding

An activity that seems to be enjoyed by young and old alike in all parts of the world is
Roller Balding. It is no different here is Abu Dhabi. Mind you though you will have to
stick to the smooth terrain. Favorite spots found here for this is the roads, skates parks
and of course various fences.

The most favored spots which gathers the most avid enthusiasts in the famous road
Corniche. Not only does it have a great roller balding surface, it has a beautiful
atmosphere of parks and fountains put this along side the seashore and you have the
perfect setting for some great enjoyment.

Wadi Bashing

You surely cannot live in Abu Dhabi and pass up the opportunity to do some Wadi
Bashing. It will give you the thrill of a lifetime racing across dry and rocky riverbed.
Wadi refers to the rocks that are scattered through the once wet rivers that resulted from
the flood waters. They are many to choose from.

You conduct this excursion in a four wheel drive, but not before being given some
explicit instructions from the local experts. They will give you a complete list of do’s and
don’ts. Best you read and understand these thoroughly so you don’t end up becoming lost
in the desert.

The ideal time to try out this adventuresome sport in during the cooler months of October
to April. Be sure to wear very light clothes along with a cap and sunglasses. If you are
going to be spending the night out have a sweater and camping gear with you as well.

Power boating

If you love water and you love boats, then put it together with some speed, and you have
the exciting trill of Power boat racing. This is a very exciting event that you will find here
at Abu Dhabi. This has fast become a well known sport throughout the world. Abu Dhabi
is very proud of being the first Middle East city to put together the UIM Formula One
Powerboat Race.

It has become a very competitive sport, and there are now several National teams that
exist throughout the UAE. The UIM Formula One Powerboat Race is held in May of
each year. There are participants from all parts of world. This is such a big event, that it a
family outing where there are other various entertainments going on as well. During the
course of the event there are special performances. To signal the closing of the race, there
is a spectacular fireworks display.

This sporting event has become one of the most favored in Abu Dhabi.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is a favored and exciting hobby found all over the world, and of course it
would be logical to find it here at Abu Dhabi as well. The conditions are prime and the
selection of sea life is magnificent.

The waters are so clear, that it is a scuba diver’s dream to be able to dive here. Once
under the sea, you are going to greet such fish as sailfish, rays, eels, seahorses and small
sharks, just to name a few.

If you or the kids have never tried it before but really would like to become involved in
the event then there are many diving schools and clubs throughout Abu Dhabi. You can
rent equipment here as well. Abu Dhabi really is a paradise for scuba divers, because the
conditions are so perfect and enjoyable. It can be enjoyed throughout the entire year
because of the warmth of the see.

There are many dive sites for the avid diver. There are reefs and wrecks to explore as
well. If you are interested in participating in a scuba diving tour, then there are several
clubs that offer this.
You can find more than what will satisfy your diving needs within the city area but if you
really want to go exploring then you can go to the Gulf of Oman or to Mussandam
Peninsula for some diving.

There are many companies that will organize your outing for you. You just need to tell
them what you are interested in. There is also excellent training for those who are new to
scuba diving. For those more serious you can actually learn to become an instructor.
It is such a favored past time that some Hotels keep equipment on hand for rental.


Exploring some of the wildlife that is found in Abu Dhabi is interesting and educational
for newcomers. It is essential to learn on new surrounds and its habitats.


The Arabian Oryx
The Oryx became extinct in the early 1960’s. Thankfully there were some in captivity
that were bred and as a result there are now several herds throughout various areas in Abu

These are the largest species to be found amongst the Arabian antelopes. They live in the
open deserts and can manage quite nicely without trees or water. They get their liquid
from the moisture in their foods. They are able to store water in their kidneys.

They are not hard to identify as their bodies are white and the legs are dark brown. The
latter part of the hoofs is white. They have a black tip on their tail. Their faces are very
distinct as they have a marking that descends down to the lower part of the neck.

The white on their body comes in useful as a sunlight deflector. They almost look like a
unicorn with their one single horn. This is their weapon for holding off their enemies. It
can grow up to 90cms. The female is called the cow, and produces one baby at a time, but
she has babies all year around.

It’s interesting to note that the babies are born brown which helps them to be
camouflaged by their surroundings.

Sand Gazelle

This is the second largest antelope. It has pretty well become extinct in the wild. They
have very long gracefully curved hors. The older ones have white heads, but usually they
are light brown colors. The Gazelle often gives birth to twin usually in the spring and fall.

Arabian Mountain Gazelle

This animal is only found in the sand deserts and mountain. They will not go anywhere
near the very soft sands such as those found in the area of the Liwa. It is a delicate animal
that can travel at high speeds. These gazelles have no problem re populating as they give
birth to a new fawn every month. They rest during the hottest parts of the day. They are
very territorial. The dominant male marks out the territory with a waxy substance that
comes from glands below his eyes. He will rub this on a bush or stone for example. They
also picked a designated spot as their toilet. They do not need drink water unless there is
some available.
Arabian Tahr

The tahr is an excellent climber and lives on the mountains, feeding off the patches of
grass that grows between the rocks. They do require water, which they find amongst the
wadis. It was thought that this animal had become extinct, but there have been sightings
of them.

They have long hair that is a reddish brown color. They have stubby horns much like a
goat. You can tell which the old ones are because they have a beard. When the babies are
born, they are gray and change to a shade of brown one their horns start growing. They
are probably becoming extinct because of the feral goats over running their territory and
poaching as well.


The Arabian hare is a lot smaller than those found in the western world. It is sometime
mistaken as being a rabbit. It will spend its day absolutely still. The babies are born with
full fur and their eyes open. They can live without their mother from about 7 days old.
Each baby is left in a different location and she goes back and feed them during the night.
This way if a fox comes along the whole litter will not be destroyed. The hare does not
need to drink water either.

Arabian Red Fox

This animal is not endangered and it will adapt to any environment. It lives in the cities
and the coast as well as the desert and mountains. It likes most foods from fish to small
mammals and birds. It hunts at night.

Usually the litter will consist of up to six cubs. They are fully furred when born and their
eyes open after about 10 days.

                        ****International School****

If you have moved to Abu Dhabi with young children then naturally the school system is
going to be of great importance to you. The educational sector of the government takes
the responsibilities of costs of education for the citizens covering kindergarten right up to

The educational system welcomes both males and females on an equal basis. There are
programs in place where eligible students can obtain higher educational levels in other
countries at the expense of the UAE.

The educational system is being actively pursued by Abu Dhabi Education counsel for its
betterment. T o achieve this privatization of the educational system is being encouraged.
It’s interesting to note that more females will pursue a higher education the males when
leaving secondary schools, although the ratio is very high in both genders. The nationals
can enjoy higher educations at the third level institutions at no cost. Not only is there this
choice but there are many private institutions that have international accreditation courses
that can be taken.

Probably the most prominent educational institute is the United Arab Emirate University
located in Al Ain. In 1998 there were some newer institutions introduced like the Zayed
University. They have campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This was established by the
federal government to prepare the national women in matters when they could participate
in society as a whole.

The education system here has not forgotten about the technology needs that the country
will need to call upon in the future. There are 12 state of the art colleges found
throughout the UAE. These are the Higher Colleges of Technology. This is in
combination with their counterparts the Center of Excellence for Applied Research and

There are several impressive private institutes as well.

A little bit of information that you may want to pass onto your curious students is that the
school system here in Abu Dhabi spans a 14 year period. Kindergarten starts at age 4,
then the primary level totals six years. Students finish this segment at the age of 12.

They then move onto the preparatory level, which is three years in duration, putting out
graduates at the age of 15. It’s not finished yet. On they go to the three year secondary
level, which is completed at age 18. Here is where the certificate/diplomas are issued as
the secondary school leaving certificate.

Now if the students prefer to go into a technical program there is a 6 year program, which
they enter at age 12 and graduate at 19 with a technical secondary diploma.

It should be noted that primary education is not an option it is mandatory for all UAE
citizens. Student teacher ratios are very good and remain constant.

In 2006, the weekly time schedule was changed for the country that Friday and Saturday
would be the official weekends, so students did not have to attend school on those days.

It is a wonderful system that is offered to the expatriates children. They can attend private
schools that are geared towards curriculums that are the same as their homeland. Actually
over 40% of the students are in private schools. Expatriate students can now attend
government schools but there are fees attached.

The Abu Dhabi Education council works very close with the government in the overall
seeing of the education system. There are always ongoing challenges to increase the
effectiveness of the educational system. There is actually a pilot program called the
Public-Private Partnership for Public School Management.

If your children are going to be going to one of the school’s included in this project then
you gather more information about it.

IT education is very important to the government; they want all of their graduates to meet
the world standards. They are striving towards implementing enough computers to meet
the needs of the students as they grow within the school system. It is determined that
there should be one computer for every ten children at the kindergarten level, increasing
up to university where every student will have their own.

Therefore, as you can see the educational system in Abu Dhabi is excellent and is not
becoming mundane or outdated in any sense of the word. International standards are a
priority. There is no doubt that your children are going to receive a high standard of
education during their time here.

              ****CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS****
There are many different types of clubs to be found here which really does make for
enjoyable entertainment. There is the Ladies Club where you can go and just socialize or
enjoy some wonderful aesthetic treatments. Then there is Abu Dhabi Moms. This is for
moms and children age 6 and under to get together and participate in a variety of events.

If you enjoy active involvement in charitable organizations then you will have a good
choice here. There are many societies that put on charity raising events.

There are organizations that are dedicated to the needs of the environment, which you can
become involved with.

If you are animal lovers then you may want to join Feline Friends, which is a non-profit
organization to help cats. Then there is K9 friends for the dogs.

These are just a few examples of what is waiting for you in Abu Dhabi to participate in.
You just need to choose what is of the most interest to you.

If you are a sports enthusiast then you will not be disappointed in this area either. In fact,
Abu Dhabi has a very wide assortment of sports clubs. This is due to the many cultures
that live here and they have each brought their homeland sports interest with them.
Naturally, you will find the world sports such as golf and football, but you will find many
new ones as well. This is no doubt going to be a very pleasant adventure for you.

                       ****TAXATION SYSTEM****
In Abu Dhabi, the emirates is basically a ‘no tax’ Zone, no property tax, no capital gains
tax. Those who purchase property in Abu Dhabi with a view to generate rental income.
There is no rental tax charged on property owner in Abu Dhabi. However there is a
registration fee of 1% for leases and 2% for Sales.

In commercial Area, There is neither income tax nor corporation taxes are levied and
there is no restrictions on the repatriation of capital.


Do not think that because you have moved to an eastern country that you will be deprived
of excellent medical care. If this was a concern for you or your family then it need not be.
There are two basic types of Hospitals being ones that are government run and the others
are private. Both generally have emergency facilities.

It should be remembered that the Public Hospitals will only treat Nationals and resident
expatriates at low fees. Visitors really should have private insurance. Although the cost
for health care has risen considerably for expatriates so, you may want to consider private
health care insurance for the future.

There are no real health issues to be concerned about here in Abu Dhabi. The biggest
concern will be heat exhaustion. If you drink plenty of water and energy drinks, you
should have no problems.

Sheikh Khalifa Medical City houses Central Hospital, Al Jazeera Hospital and the
Corniche Maternity Hospital. These are all run by the Department of Health and Medical
Services. It should be noted that Al Jazeera Hospital would only service Nationals. The
Al Jimi and Tawam Hospitals are located in Al Ain. In addition to these there are many
Private hospitals and clinics found throughout the city.

For non emergency situations you just need to book an appointment at your clinic of
choice. If you need to be seen, right away then you can go directly there and the doctor
on duty will see you. Most often, you will be sent to a specialist and a series of tests will
be conducted. You may be referred to the Gulf Diagnostic Center. You will be given a
Bill for their services, which you must pay right away.

It is always best if you can ask someone which is the best Hospital to choose. If you don’t
know anyone then try the Dr. McCulloch Clinic, or Al Noor Hospital. The expatriates
mostly use these. Some of the Hospitals will have direct agreements with your health
insurance providers. You may want to check out which ones do for convenience sake.

There will be at least one 24 hours Drugstore within the city then there are others that are
attached directly to the clinics or Hospitals.

Be very careful as to what you bring into the country with you by way of medications.
For example, any product that contains codeine is strictly prohibited. Check the
ingredients of any medicine that you must bring with you, and also have a valid doctor’s
letter with you stating that you must take the medications.

There is zero tolerance for drug trafficking in Abu Dhabi and carries some very stiff jail
terms. Even if the drug is only found in your blood stream, it is classed as possession.

It cannot be emphasized enough that you make sure that you are prescriptive drugs and
even some over the counter drugs are not on the controlled list. Check this out with your
embassy before even traveling. If such medications are absolutely needed then you can
apply for permission from the director of medicine and pharmacy control. He assesses
Each case individually.


Dental care in this country is excellent and compares well with any of the western

                         ****DOMESTIC HELP****

If you were used to having domestic help back in the western countries you will most
likely want to have the same services here. There are many different choices according to
your requirements. The usual nationalities that are involved in this type of work are
Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan or Filipino. Their skill levels vary but if you are detailed in
your requirements then you should experience no problems in finding exactly what you
are looking for. Many of them offer the services of cleaning, ironing, looking after the
children as well as preparing meals.

The next thing you are going to have to decide is do you want to have your domestic help
live in. Remember they must be treated the same as any employee working in a public
business would. They are given the time off for public holidays and are to be paid for
these days as well. You must also ensure that they get four weeks paid vacations within
the year.

If you are going to employ the individual as full time domestic help, then you are the
sponsor. This means you are going to be responsible for the repatriation costs if these are
necessary. It must be remembered that if you leave the Emirates then you must formally
cancel their services as well. This is not something that you want to play around with or
take lightly. If you don’t follow the rules then you could face very hefty fines, and the
domestic worker could end up serving prison time.
If you determine that you do not require full time domestic help then you can look at
those who offer part time services. These individuals are usually paid on a monthly rate
or you can pay them hourly if you don’t have a set schedule for them. If you are going
with part time services then sponsorship is not required.
If you are interested in just cleaning services then you can hire companies that only
perform this of service. You should remember though just like any other country you are
only going to get what you pay for. So if you want good cleaning services then be
prepared to pay for it.
You will often see ads in the supermarkets offering maid services. These are usually
individuals who had been working for expatriates that are now leaving. Unfortunately
maid services are not allowed to be transferred. In other words if you know expatriates
that are leaving and you have just arrived, you cannot just simply take over their maid
services. You will also be required to pay the airfare home for them every two years.

If those offering maid services are here under sponsorship of their husband then you do
not have to re sponsor them. Usually though these types of maids will only work on a part
time basis and do not live in.

You will have to renew your maid’s visa and there are certain documents you will require
such as…
-the passport of the maid

-his or her labor card

-4 passport photos

-a residence form

Now this must be completely filled out in Arabic. With the exception of your name. Here
you must put your name in both languages. English and Arabic

-you will need a letter of no objection from your sponsor.

-your passport

-you maid must have a medical certificate, and up to date one, with her photo on it. This
usually takes about three days to get.

-you will need some money to pay for the services about 5200 Dhs.

-You must both attend the immigration department and you will both be required to sign
a contract here.

There may come a time that you will have to cancel your housemaid services which
means canceling her visa.

To do so…
Get a typist to fill out the visa cancellation form
The sponsor’s visa must be photocopied

You must obtain a non returnable passenger ticket for the maid to return home.

Actually you can cancel the visa at Dubai airport as well.

There are a few things that you may want to bear in mind when you are determining on
full or part time domestic services. It may be the ideal situation if you can sponsor a maid
that has already been working for an expatriate’s family. Then you can at least get a good
background on her work ethics. Sometimes it is better for the children to have a full time
maid so they can form a bond with her especially if the parents are away from home a
great deal.

It is a tendency for the part time maids to move around a lot. So the family just gets used
to them then they are up a gone. It does take some adjustments to having someone living
in your house on a full time basis though.

View your maids as nannies if children are involved. The tendency here is to see them as
slaves which are certainly what they are not.

There is quite a difference in the pay scales depending on the various nationalities.
Indonesians and Indians receive the least amount, followed by Sir Lankans. The highest
paid is the Philippines maids.

When you are in search of your domestic help do not advertise in the local papers if you
can help it. You will be bombarded with calls. When you do start your interviews you
must be absolutely sure of their legal status.
Ask questions such as…
Who is your sponsor?
Are your current sponsors willing to give you a release letter?

You will find a few short questions like this will narrow down your interview choices by
about 95%. So you will end up with a small handful to choose from. Now once you have
reached that point and you are satisfied with legal status, determine how compatible she
will be with your family.

Don’t put a lot of emphasis on her skills as you can teach her as to the way you like
things done. You will no doubt want her to have good command of the English language.

You will also need to make it clear as to what her duties will be. Is it going to be
primarily housekeeping duties, or is it going to be looking after the children. This is
something you both need to agree upon and be sure each of your full understand what is

You may want to ensure that she has had basic first aid training. If she hasn’t then there
are some excellent private programs available, when she could be educated.
Make sure you keep all paperwork regarding your maid in a very safe place, even after
they have left your services.

When children are involved you must use the same common sense when hiring a nanny
as you would any other country. Here are a few guidelines to ensure the safety and good
care of the children.

1. Hide a small tape recorder in the house. Just to see the type of audible conversations
are going on with the kids.

2. Come home at unexpected times.

3. Ask neighbors or co workers to pop in once in awhile to access the situation.

If your maid is from out of the country, then don’t forget she will be very lonely. Think
about how you felt when you first arrived here. Make an effort to get her to places where
she can make friends. Perhaps introduce her to any of your friends that have maids.
Ideally of the same nationality.

There are many services that provide occasional babysitting services. You will be
required to pay their set fee and their taxis to and from your home. You should always be
sure that your sitter knows at least basic first aid. This is not a requirement of babysitters,
so don’t just assume they know it.

One of the newer concepts is that big employers are considering starting in house
childcare services, to be provided for their employees families.

There is a general consensus that they are many excellent nursery schools to be found
throughout Abu Dhabi. You best bet would be for someone you trust to recommend some
to you. The government does not stipulate that nursery or pre school teachers need any
type of formal training.

There are many schools though that does have well trained teachers and staff members. If
you find one that you may like, you might even be able to find a casual babysitter
amongst them.

The city is primarily made of expatriates so needless to say there are many varieties of
languages being spoken here. It is an extremely diversified city.

Most of the expatriate workers come from the following countries:

Sir Lanka





United Kingdom.

From this group most of the languages spoken are English, Tigrinva, Tagalog, Amharic,
Urdu and Bengali.

Malayalam is found to be spoken in Kerala and also makes up part of the cultural

Naturally the native born residents are Arabic speaking Persian Gulf Arabs. This is a clan
based society. The Bani Yas clan is the dominate ruler of the emirate moving down into
its branch off of the al-Falah which takes in Al Nahyan as part of its family.

Past Traditions


Fishing during these times was not quite, like what it is in the western world. There
would be stake fence constructed. Then the fish would automatically follow along this
line where they would end up caught in hadra type traps. Then they were another option
to use the garghour traps. These traps were hand woven and then rocks were used to hold
them down. A small hole would be present and this is where the fish would enter to
retrieve the fish bait that had been placed there.

Fish wasn’t the only source of seafood that was enjoyed, the diet included dugongs, and
turtles as well. One had to be somewhat talented to catch these ones though. They would
quietly proceed through the shallows until they came across the dugongs. Once they
found them, they would dive into the water and catch them by hand. Turtle eggs were
well received as part of the catch.

The residents utilized every possible resource they could for a source of food. The
residents being the Bani Yas tribes there are many available tidal shallows found along
this coast, which made for ideal trap fishing. In many cases in one form of fishing, it
required two to three individuals. They would construct a fence in the shape of a V. Then
the fish would get caught in here when the tide went down. Then another way was to pull
a net that had been attached to a central pole.

If one had to fish alone there were methods for that as well. He could walk along the
shallow water until he can across a school of small fish. One he did he would throw a
weighted net over them.

It was not the custom to eat fresh fish. They would either be hung up to dry out or treated
with salt. If some of the fish were too small to eat, they would still keep them. They could
be dried out and used for the camels or as garden fertilizer.

The art of fishing was certainly a way they could feed themselves but it couldn’t be
turned into a money making venture. The fishermen here were too far from the markets
to be able to take their fish to so they could sell it.

There is historical evidence that the tribesmen from the islands would bring their camels
over by boat and they would do some winter fishing. There could be no permanent
settlements or growth along the coast because of there being no water supply for drinking


The choice of sailing vessel for the Arabs is the Dhow. It truly is a remarkable boat.
These were designed in such a way that the residents could use them as working
platforms. They would use as places to live temporarily. They were used sometimes by
the pearling industry but not that much. Centuries ago, Alexander the Great would travel
the Arabian Gulf in a very long distinct looking boat. These would entail the services of
many oarsmen. Today on ceremonial occasions, you will see this type of boat here at the


This may strike you as being a little unusual but it is quite an important part of the
Arabian heritage. It came about because of the flight pattern of the Houbara bustard.
Once autumn come this bird travel from the Northern Hemisphere to Africa and the
UAE. Here it will remain for the winter months. Prior to their arrival though is the trip
south of the peregrine and saker falcons.

The falconers trap one of these magnificent creatures as they are passing through. It must
then be trained within a few weeks before the Houbara’s arrived. This was achievable
though because a bond was formed between the bird and the trainer, which instituted an
element of trust.
Now the whole purpose of this was the trainer would use his falcon to flush out the
bustards so they could be hunted.

The Date Palm
Is and was a very important part of the bedu history. These beautiful palms were put to
much good use. The trunks were the favored commodity to support the castles and
towers. The tough ribs of the leaves from the palms were not wasted either. They were
used to cover the inside of the huts. This was accomplished by weaving the leaves
together. Aside from this, the leaves served the purpose of being used to construct fishing
traps. To provide shade or roof coverage the leaved would be dried then tied together to
form the structure.

The tree trunk fiber didn’t go to waste either. It was perfect for making ropes and baskets
by being intricately woven.


It is said that the Arabs have over 500 names for the date. An astute bedu homemaker
was able to concoct a different date dish for every day.


The Bedouin are very thankful for what God has given them concerning the date palm
and their beloved animal the camel. Ironically a desert animal that provides for the
majority of the needs of the people. The owner is able to travel on him, and the animal is
his beast of burden as well. He can even ride him in the famous camel races if he so

Their were times years ago when the Bedouins had no other protein except that which
came from the milk of the camel. On the rare occasion such as a wedding a camel would
be slaughtered and the meat used for the celebration. Nothing would be wasted from the
slain beast. The hides would be used for bags, utensils and the hair was woven to make
outer clothing for the men.


The Arabs have not always had the vast oil fields as their provision of wealth. Prior to
this, it was the pearl oyster that was their mainstream. They would find these oysters
along the shallow banks of the gulf. Eventually there ended up being approx. 1200 boats
along the truicial coast. This industry put to work about 22,000 men. Eventually this is
what caused the growth of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The pearl dive took place during the
four summer months.

The Bani Yas sub tribes formed co ops where they worked as a group from one boat and
shared the proceeds. The biggest share would go to the capital. Then the divers would
receive a little larger share than those that hauled them in. They would keep some back to
prepare for the next year. Over the years, the various tribes became involved in their own
activities for livelihood based on their locations.

The biggest luxury the Bedouin had been their beloved date garden. They would water
this from a stream that flowed near by. Once a family had more than enough, wealthy to
survive they would move on to the villages in the nearest Oasis.


It’s not unnatural to think about the bdu having a medicinal understanding of the various
native plants. Even today, those medicinal traditions are utilized. The sienna plant seeds
are used for any type of stomach cramps and as a laxative as well.

For diabetes, they insist on using the seeds of the desert squash. Teeth that had become
decayed were filled with dried milkweed sap. Then the woody part of the plant made
great charcoal and even added to the making of gun powder. The leaves were a welcome
poultice to those that suffered with rheumatism. Then if a palm tree were becoming
sickly, they would dig the leaves into the roots around the tree to help cure it. Then other
plants were used as snuff for sinus problems.

They didn’t just use their plants for medicinal purposes they even found a use for the
Henna plant as a cosmetic aid. They would use it to exquisitely paint the hands and feet
of bride or for the celebration of Eid. There is quite an art to making the famous henna
paste. They would add crushed dried berries as well as the leaves mixed in with
medicinal herbs. These were important to the mixture particularly one that contained blue

For headaches, the Henna leaves would be turned into a poultice and applied to the head.
There were herbs for gastric upsets and ones for fevers. For severe second degree burns,
they would grind the seeds of garat.

These are not long forgotten treatments. In fact, the UAE University is conducting
experiments and research regarding these plants and their biochemical properties.

The Horse of the Arabs - The Arabian

One gets so caught up with the camel it is easy to forget about the majestic Arabian
horse. This is a most magnificent breed that is held in high esteem in the UAE. The
yearly Arabian horse show is one that really should not be missed.

Dance and Music

Music was and still is used in an interesting way here in the UAE. Songs were made up to
suit the task of the composer. For example if they were hauling water from the well then
there would be a song referring to this, or pear diving is another example. It was
considered to be very important. A professional song leader would be hired for the dhows
in order to spur the workers on through the music and songs. He would start the song then
the workers would join in. There were different rhythms for different tasks. Thus, it
provoked excellent team work.

The major source of entertainment way back when was taken place around the desert
camp fires. The men would meet here to exchange news, tell a few stories and even recite
their favorite poetry. Songs have been handed down through generations to generations.
They are sung at celebrations and accompanied with some fine dancing. The men would
love to re enact famous battles or successful hunting expeditions.


The people of Abu Dhabi are a lot more conservative when compared to those living in
Dubai or Sharjah. This does not mean that they are not friendly because they go out of
their way to make you feel welcome. The majority of the women wear the black robes,
which are called Abaya. There most certainly will not talk to strange men. The men will
also avoid talking to the women.

You should never take any photos without permission, particularly of the women or girls.
Even in the mosques always ask the guard if it is permitted to take photos. (These are
very religious settings.)

                     ****Cost of Living Summary****

An Arab will commonly make a polite enquiry about yours or your family’s health. The
proper reply is that all is well, thanks be to God. You may address an individual by their
first name but it should be preceded with Mr. or Mrs.

It is a strong custom of the Bedouins when offering food or shelter to strangers to induce
the coffee ceremony. It will start off with a coffee with the flavor of cardamom being
poured from the metal pot into a tiny cup. When you have had your fill, you must wiggle
the cup side to side as a sign of this.

Religion Culture

The official language is Islam. It must be accepted that Islam in the only way of life for
the Muslim, so there is no such thing as sacred and secular. The call for prayer is a short
song that is sung from the mosque starting with God is the greatest. It is repeated five
times a day. Each time the Muslims will stop what they are doing, wash themselves and
face Mecca to pray.


The judicial law is carried out between three courts. These consist of the civil court, the
criminal court and the Sharjah.

The Sharjah law is decided by way of a public prosecutor who makes the ultimate
decision what court the crime should be heard in. The Sharjah law is based on the sayings
of the Prophet Mohamed, and the writings of the Quran.

Usually Muslims in trouble with the law will be sent to the Sharjah courts and the
expatriates will end up in the Criminal courts, unless the crime is of a civil nature.

The civil courts usually hand issues regarding unpaid rents, nsf checks and similar
crimes, although there is, nothing to say these cases cannot go before the Sharjah court.


You will find a bit of a double standard here. You must not be late for a business
appointment but the other party will quite often be. Many times, in fact while you are
waiting you will be told the meeting is being postponed. It is just the way of business
here. To them it’s the act of getting together that is important, not the event itself.

Be sure to accept whatever refreshments are being offered. Otherwise, you will offend
your host. Even if you just take a sip, and leave the rest that is acceptable.

Always be sure you wear clean socks over clean feet. If you are invited into a personal
home, you will be expected to remove your shoes as soon as you enter.

Often meals are eaten at floor level. Be sure that the souls of your feet do not face anyone
and only accept the food with your right hand.

Do not openly admire anything that belongs to your host. If you do then the host has to
by custom make it a gift to you, and then in return you would be expected to give a return
gift of the same value.

When it comes time for casual discussion do not get onto topics of religion, women in
general of the Middle East politics.

You will find on the whole that the residents are very hospitable and courteous.

There are several public holidays that are observed throughout the year. These go
according to moon so often it is on short notice that the event will be taking place,
sometimes only a few days before.

New Years Day

The celebrations of this holiday are very much the same as those found in the western
Eid Al Fitr

This is a holiday of much celebration. It is designated as such to commemorate the end of
Ramadan. The word Eid means festivity. It symbolized the end of the fasting period. It
begins with the sighting of the new moon.

It is a time where Muslims go out of their way to give money to the poor and they dress
in their best attire. There are actually two Eid’s

Eid ul-Fitr

This last three days and is referred to as the smaller Eid

Eid ul-Adha

Is called the greater Eid because it lasts for four days.

To start off the celebrations The Muslim family arises very early and conducts the first
daily prayer. They must eat a small amount symbolizing the finish of Ramadan.

Next, they are required to go to special prayers where other Muslims congregate as well.
This may be in the Mosque, larger open areas and stadiums or arenas. Prayer time is
short, and there is a sermon conducted.

Those in attendance embrace each other as a symbol of love within the spirit of peace.
One the services are finished, they move on to celebrations and festivities. This is often
carried out at the homes of friends and relatives. This a time of thanking God for all his

Some of the other major holidays are Lailat Al Qadar, Islamic New Year, the Prophet’s
birthday and National day.

UAE Government:


Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Abu Dhabi Customs Dept:


Zayed Foundation:


UAE State Audit Institution:


General Information Authority:


Gen. Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police:


Abu Dhabi University


UAE- From Law Library of Congress


Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH)
Zayed 1st Street
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 2380
+971 2 621 5300

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI)
Chamber Tower, Corniche Road
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 662
+971 2 621 4000

Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED)
Next to UAE Academy building, Al Bateen Area
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 44484
+971 2 691 3300
Abu Dhabi Educational Zone (ADEZ)
Zayed 1st Street
Al Khalidya District P.O. Box 70713
+971 2 665 3000

Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA)
Delma Street
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 52150
+971 2 495 4000
Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD)
Musaffah Street near Zayed Sports City
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 84
+971 2 444 8300

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company
Musaffah Road
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 5546
+971 2 444 6900

Abu Dhabi Naturalization & Residence Directorate (ADNRD)
Al Mushref, Al Saada Road
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 4333
+971 2 446 2244 - 6005 22222

Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions & Benefits Fund (ADRPBF)
Behind Carrefour & the Mercedes showroom, Airport Road
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 3122
+971 2 414 0000

Abu Dhabi Sport Council (ADSC)
Al Hana Tower, 18th Floor, Al Khalidiyah
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 127722
+971 2 681 4343

Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Committee (ADSIC)
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Building (ADCB), 7th floor, Al Salam Street
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 3133
+971 2 671 7000

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)
End of Al-Salam Street
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 94000
+971 2 444 0444
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC)
Old Public Works Department Building, Second Floor, Airport Road and Delma Street
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 62221
+971 2 409 6000

Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA)
Jawazat Street, opposite the Ministry of Finance
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 6120

Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA)
Jawazat Street, opposite the Ministry of Finance
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 6120
+971 2 694 3333; ADDC: 800-2332; AADC: 800-9008

Civil Service Council (CSC)
ADCB Building, Al Salam Street
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 371
+971 2 611 9999

Department of Finance (DOF)
Al Khalidiah Street
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 246
+971 2 665 1500

Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA)
Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 3
+971 2 6785555

Department of Municipal Affairs - Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM)
Al Salam Street
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 678 8888

Department of Municipal Affairs - Al Ain Municipality (AAM)
Al Baladiyya Street
Al Ain P.O. Box 1003
+971 3 763 5111

Department of Transport (DOT)
Department of Transport Building, Abu
Important Helpline Numbers

Police: 999

Ambulance: 998/999

Fire: 997

Electricity and Water: 991

General Information: 101

Telephone Directory: 180 / 181

Emergency (Abu Dhabi): 344 663

Abu Dhabi
Central Hospital 02-6214666

Mafraq Hospital 02-5823100

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