Friday, September 26, 2008

2nd Month in Abu Dhabi

Playing badminton in one of the courts at Abu Dhabi

Emirates Driving Company where all driving lesson and test are conducted

Have spent more than 2 months now in Abu Dhabi and still haven’t seen any rain yet.However the weather has improved greatly and it is now 38 degree, about Malaysian weather. Not only rain I have yet to see any dogs running around, very unusual in Malaysia.

Managed to play badminton here with my colleague and a group of Malaysian at one of the badminton hall at an international school at AD. Played on Wednesday and Sunday night same day as I played in KL.The hall is fully air-conditioned with 4 courts and is also equipped with free water dispenser.

To obtain a local driving license in UAE is not as simple as in Malaysia. It is not only costly but time consuming. Registered for my license early this month at the Emirates Driving Company at Mussafah which is about 20 minutes ride from AD. You need to get your Malaysian license translated first and get endorsement from the Malaysian embassy here. Then you need to pass your eye test before you are allowed to open a file. After this process you will have to attend for the theory class lesson which is spread over 4 days of 2 hours per day.

When you have attended all the 4 days lessons you have to pass the theory test before you are allowed to go for the road test. For all these you have to pay AED20 for the eyes test, AED100 for opening the file and AED780 for the theory class. I have passed the theory test and will be going for the road test next month. Then you need to pay for the license which is about AED250 but is valid for 10 years.Surprising road drivers in UAE drive faster than KL drivers, maybe due to the wider roads over here.Ocassionally you can witness emergency brake at the traffic lights junctions. They like to speed and then suddenly apply their brake; very uncommon in KL.Parking is another problem in the Emirates due to limited parking space. Most of the cars parked haphazardly like in KL.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ramadhan in Abu Dhabi

It is the first week of the holy month of Ramadan and I have spent almost 2 months in Abu Dhabi. The heat of the summer is gradually dropping to 41 degree. Observing the Ramadan month in the Emirates is different from Malaysia. All the food outlets are closed during this holy month. Non Muslims are strictly not allowed to eat in the public. We took our lunch at a designated room in the office.

Working hour at the construction site also change to observe the Ramadan month. There are 2 shifts. Morning shift is from 7am to 1pm and night shift from 8pm to 2pm.There is no site activity from 1pm to 8pm.Muslim staff at our office goes off at 3pm.There are so many free things in Abu Dhabi. Water and electricity supply to the Emiratis are free. Bus service and parking is also free to the public and there is no Income Tax over here. It is really shameful to know that with so much oil in Malaysia, we are still struggling with budget deficit ever year and nothing is free in Malaysia.

Last weekend ( Weekend over here is Friday ) went to Marina Mall with Yong.Took the free bus service from my place to the shopping mall which is located about 5km away. The French hypermarket Carrefour and Ikea are located at the mall. Only Carrefour is open during the Ramadan, Ikea will open only at 8pm.There is also a Cineplex at the mall and cinema ticket is priced at 30 dirham each which is about RM27.