The U.A.E. or United Arab Emirates have only been united and a country since 1971, prior to that they were tribal lands, governed by Sheiks, not especially unified, kinda tied to Great Britain, lumped together (along with Bahrain and Qatar) as The Trucial States...
|The UAE is the dark pink crescent just inside the mouth of the gulf- a little hat for Oman!|
Dubai- which is both the name of one of the 7 united Emirates and also the name of the city (like New York, New York)- was big in pearls until the Japanese learned to culture them which, along with some general economic depression, was a major blow to their one-export economy.
Enter some really visionary leaders in the 60s, 70s and 80s and bam! The seven emirates are united, oil helps make Abu Dhabi rich, tourism and transportation industry development gambles pay off for Dubai and now the UAE (and especially Dubai) is home to a bunch of superlatives: the world's tallest building, the world's biggest man made island, the world's first 7 star hotel, largest mall, richest horse race... the list goes on.
It's super safe, "lose your wallet in a cab and have it returned to you untouched" kind of safe.
The official language is Arabic but English is spoken widely as are Farsi, Hindi and a bunch of other languages.
Yup, indoor skiing at the mall.
No, I don't have to wear a burqa. Modest clothing at work, covered to below the elbow and below the knee with a little more leeway outside of work.
The Sex in the City movie was supposedly set in Abu Dhabi but I hear it was filmed in Morocco.
I can and will get a driver's license and buy a car and drive there. They drive on the same side of the road we do in the US.
I'm only taking a couple of loaded suitcases with me. I'm storing some things but have also been selling and giving away a lot. I get a furniture allowance a day or so after I get there and then it's off shopping to fill my apartment. There is a shipping allowance for when I return to the US with all of my Middle eastern loot!
I'll have to get back to you on the police cars, I've heard conflicting reports!