United Arab Emirates

One of the main focuses of tourist life other than shopping is the beach. The waters of the UAE, although definitely more cloudy in recent years due to heavy coastal construction, are still, for those from less torrid climes, remarkably warm, clean, and beautiful. There are long stretches of white-sand beaches, ranging from completely undeveloped to highly touristed even in cities like Dubai. The snorkeling and diving can be magnificent, especially along the eastern Indian Ocean coast. Vast swaths of desert stretch to the south of the major urban areas, offering dramatic views and terrifying rides in fast-driven safaris. The mountains are dramatic, steep rocky crags, and a visit to them for example, the town of Hatta is well rewarded with amazing views. Women wearing bathing suits will draw unwanted attention at the public beaches; it is advisable to pay for a one-day entry pass to a private beach at a hotel.

Ski Dubai in Dubai Emirates Mall opened in December 2005. It is the world's third largest indoor ski slope, measuring 400 metres and using 6000 tons of snow. Ski Dubai resort (http://www.skidubai.com/) is the first UAE indoor ski slope to open, and more are planned. All equipment, except for gloves and a hat, are provided--skis/snowboards, snowsuits, boots and socks are all included in the price the socks are disposable. The adjoining ski store sells equipment, including gloves.

The Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi is scheduled to open an indoor ski slope as well in 2007 - 2008. A ski slope in Ra's al Khaimah is also in the works.

'Desert Safari' trips can be a fun experience for tourists. They can be booked ahead, but can often be booked as late as the day before, and most hotel receptionists can arrange this for you. Trips normally start late afternoon and end late evening. You will be collected from your hotel and driven to the desert in a 4x4 vehicle. Most packages include a heart-pumping drive over the dunes, a short camel ride, an Arabic buffet and perhaps a belly dancer. Another option would be renting/buying a 4x4 and joining the many growing 4x4 clubs in the UAE, which are varied and each carry their own different flavour: ad4x4 (http://www.ad4x4.com), uaeoffroaders (http://www.uaeoffroaders.com), arabianoffroader (http://arabianoffroader.com), me4x4 (http://me4x4.com), emarat4x4 (http://emarat4x4.com), etc. They offer a free learning experience for all newcomers with scheduled weekly trips to suit all levels of driving skills, some of them have over 2,000 members from many nationalities.

Much of the work force in the UAE are foreign expatriates - hence the country's population makeup being so diverse, with Emirati citizens being a minority in their own country. All Emirati citizens receive profit sharing cheques from the government, and mostly do not work. Migrant workers from the Indian Subcontinent and the Philippines are mostly employed in the service and construction industries for low wages. Many mid-level jobs are filled by Arabs from other countries, and many high-skilled and management positions are worked by Westerners who typically enjoy a very good standard of living. If you're interested in working in the UAE there are opportunities in oil and gas, banking, engineering and education. The public school system in Abu Dhabi is hiring a large numbers of English-language teachers from Western countries. These teaching jobs in the UAE are accessible through official recruiters of the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

Be Aware: The U.A.E.'s legal system is known to be flawed for foreigners moving and working there. Many expats from various countries have had their passports taken away from them for crimes that they weren't involved in. And the legal system will keep them there for many years or for the rest of their life.