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Sheikh Mohammed was Spotted Admiring Dubai’s Love Lock Bridge

This is the best…

It looks like HH Sheikh Mohammed is as much of a romantic as we are.

The vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai recently toured The Yard, a new lakefront destination in Al Khawaneej.

As well as being home to a farmer’s market, and some pretty cool street art, The Yard also boasts Dubai’s first ‘Promise Bridge’ – where people can make symbolic pledges to their loved ones by attaching padlocks to the bridge (like the Ponts des Arts bridge in Paris).

The bridge has proved a big hit, filling up with more than 4000 locks in just one month.

It’s also apparently found a fan in Sheikh Mohammed, who was snapped inspecting the bridge last week:

Perhaps the ruler was considering adding a lock for his wife, HRH Princess Haya – how great would that be?

Currently, you can check out the first two phases of The Yard, which include a rustic courtyard, a bakery, air-conditioned and open-air restaurants, dining spaces, shops, a lake, shaded walking trails and expansive landscaped picnic areas.

The third phase will include cinemas, sports facilities, a shopping centre, a hypermarket and tracks for walking and jogging.

Sheikh Zayed memorial unveiled in Abu Dhabi

We can already tell it’s going to be stunning…

The Founder’s Memorial, a permanent tribute to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has been unveiled in a grand ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

An art installation called “The Constellation” forms the centrepiece of the memorial. The design by public artist Ralph Helmick comprises 1,300 geometric shapes and 1,000 cables, which create a three-dimensional portrait of the late leader.

At night, these shapes will shine like stars, evoking the timelessness of Sheikh Zayed’s vision as a guiding light for the UAE people.

Here’s what the art installation looks like:

The unveiling ceremony was attended by members of the UAE’s royal families, ministers, dignitaries, and VIPS.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, said: “Zayed’s legacy will have a never-ending source of wisdom from which future generations draw inspiration as well as lessons of patriotism and dedication.

“The Founder’s Memorial will continue to testify to the achievements of the founding leader and the sacrifices he made. His legacy is filled with stories of loyalty to the homeland, and it places a responsibility on us and on future generations to safeguard the gains, and build on the success stories so that our homeland remains a symbol of dignity and development.”

The Founder’s Memorial, located at the intersection of 1st and 2nd street along the Abu Dhabi Corniche, will officially open to the public in spring.

It has been described as a place of gathering for the UAE community to explore, contemplate and find moments of pause, while enabling international audiences to learn more about Sheikh Zayed; the man and the leader.

The site will consist of 3.3 hectares of public space for walking and quiet reflection.

Landscaped areas will be planted with trees and shrubs indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula, and there will be an elevated walkway offering views of The Constellation, the Corniche and the Abu Dhabi skyline.

New to Abu Dhabi? Here’s everything you need to know about Ramadan

The Holy Month is expected to begin on Thursday May 17, with Eid Al Fitr celebrations commencing most likely on Friday June 15. But are you new to the UAE and wondering what it all means? Here’s what you need to know about this special time of the year….

Ramadan Q&As

What is Ramadan?

The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking or smoking between sunrise and sunset.

Lasting about a month, it marks the time when the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Extra tarawih prayers are performed at the mosque throughout Ramadan and each evening 1/30th of the holy book is recited. By the end of Ramadan, many observers have read the entire Qur’an.

Why is Ramadan so important to Muslims?

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which are the foundation of the religion. The pillars are the framework by which Muslims everywhere live, and Ramadan is considered the holiest time in the Islamic calendar. It is a time for prayer, reflection and religious devotion, to cleanse past sins and to focus on Allah through good deeds.

Here are the five pillars of Islam…

Testimony of faith Religious devotion to Allah as the one God and Mohammad (PBUH) as the messenger

Prayer The promise to pray at the required five times every day

Zakat Muslims are taught to give a certain percentage of their wealth to charity

Fasting during Ramadan This is an annual commitment that Muslims follow

Pilgrimage to Mecca All Muslims are obliged to do the hajj, the trip to Mecca, at least once in a lifetime

Why do Muslims fast?

Fasting, or sawn, loosely translates as ‘to refrain’. So during Ramadan Muslims commit to not eating, drinking, smoking or even chewing gum during daylight hours. But sawn isn’t just about physical restraint, it also refers to bad thoughts, actions and words.

Many people assume that Ramadan is about deprivation, but in Islam it’s often a time to spend with family, breaking fast at sunset over iftar. The fast itself is intended to help Muslims learn about self-discipline and restraint, and enable them to empathise with those who have less.

Must everyone fast?

For Muslims, everyone is required to fast, but there are exceptions. Young children, pregnant women and the elderly and infirm are not required to fast due to possible health complications. Women on their monthly cycle do not fast, nor do people who are ill. If there is a temporary break in the fast, Muslims are required to make up the missing days after Ramadan. Non-Muslims are not required to fast. However, they should behave sensitively throughout Ramadan, which means no eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours.

Does everything close during the day?

Many cafés and restaurants remain open during Ramadan, but may have shorter or different opening times so it’s best to call before. The places that are open during the daytime are likely to have curtains or panels in place to conceal people eating and drinking from those fasting.

Everything tends to happen much later in the day during Ramadan. The malls close even later than usual, with many staying open well after midnight.

Do I need to do anything differently during the day?

It’s important for everyone to dress and behave appropriately during the holy month. Even those who aren’t fasting should make sure that their clothes are modest, covering shoulders, chest and knees. Keep music levels down to a minimum when you’re driving and, of course, no public displays of affection. 

Ramadan glossary

Iftar  The meal at sunset when Muslims break their daytime fast.

Suhoor Technically the meal before sunrise before Muslims start fasting. Much more laid back than iftar, suhoor often starts late at night and runs into the early hours of the morning

Hilal The thin crescent moon marking the beginning of a new month in the Islamic calendar, which is used to predict the start of Ramadan

Sunnah  The teachings and practices of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Eating dates to break fast, for example, is a sunnah

Ramadan Dos & Don’ts

DO make the most of the community spirit. Introduce yourself to your neighbours, get involved in and catch up with friends and family.

DO accept food and drink when offered during iftar – it is a sign of respect and friendliness.

DO remember that your office hours are likely to change, whether you’re Muslim or not. The general UAE labour law states that all workers’ hours are reduced during Ramadan to six hours a day. However, the DIFC labour law stipulates that the shorter working day is just for those fasting.

DO become a night owl. Everything happens later during Ramadan. Malls are open past midnight and suhoors go into the early hours. Embrace the late nights and discover a side to the UAE you may have not seen before.

DO your bit for a good cause. Ramadan is a good time to put your money where your mouth is. The UAE has a wide range of charitable and volunteering organisations that you can get involved
in. 

DO embrace the culture. Take your family to tents, play a set of backgammon or bring a deck of Uno cards, and relax with a Moroccan mint tea.

DO try fasting for a day. It’s a good way to understand what your Muslim friends and colleagues are experiencing.

DON’T forget the rules. Eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours is prohibited, even if you’re not Muslim.

DON’T dress inappropriately or wear tight fitting clothes – modesty is key.

DON’T leave dinner reservations until the last minute – restaurants across the UAE tend to get a lot busier as families and friends meet to break their fasts together.

DON’T play loud music or swear in public as it may offend those who are fasting.

DON’T count on happy hour. Most bars and clubs here will be closed during Ramadan and those that remain open will only serve alcohol once the sun has set.

DON’T get into arguments or fights. Ramadan is the month of peace and serenity.

DON’T miss it. Many expats tend to leave during Ramadan, but this is one of the most vibrant times in the UAE. It’s the perfect time to immerse yourself in the culture.

Useful phrases

Ramadan Kareem
Blessed Ramadan

Siyam Kareem
Blessed fasting

Eid Mubarak
Blessed Eid (only used during Eid Al Fitr, at the end of Ramadan)

The trick people have been using to find jobs in the UAE

Whether you want to work in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or any other Emirate in the UAE, applying for the job as a foreign candidate may seem almost impossible, and the truth is: it is, if you are applying externally. But there is a common “trick” or technique nowadays that most new UAE employees are using to find a job.

Hiring candidates from outside the UAE can be very cubersome for HR departments. Unless the job requires a specialized, hard to find talent or a high level role, then they will usually avoid the complications, and look for candidates internally.

The way you can benefit from this is by being inside the UAE while applying for a job. When HR agents read CVs, they will almost always short list applicants that are currently in the UAE and able to attend a face to face interview. The good news is, they don’t care wether you are on a visit visa or not. Even if you are, and you do get hired, they will facilitate everything for you so that you can change your visa from a visit visa to an employee visa. It’s cheaper and easier for them, and less risky. This allows them to test your performance for a few weeks and saves them the headaches of Skype interviews, arranging flight tickets/residence and processing visas for candidates.

Keep in mind that the type of jobs discussed here are average jobs that don’t need special talent and available in large quantities, otherwise this technique may not be appropriate.

The trick is to apply for a long term visit visa, a 3 month one. The 1 month one will not be long enough. Even the 3-month visa was not enough for some people. It takes time for your application to be received and for you to be offered an interview. Patience will be required.

When applying for the job, make sure your location says UAE, and that you are able to attend a physical interview. Here are some websites you can use to apply for jobs:

Of course you may be thinking, how the hell can you survive 3 months in such an expensive country? I can’t tell you how, but your biggest expense will probably be your accommodation, which I will tell you how you can get cheaper. The cheapest form of accommodation in the UAE is called a “bed space”, which costs somewhere around 600 AED per month. It is basically a room shared with around 6-10 people, and you get a “bed space” (literally) in in one of the bunker beds. You will also need money for transportation, to attend interviews and pass your CV around companies. It will be best to familiarize yourself with the public transportation that is available in the city you will search in, because taxis will be very expensive.

Is it worth the risk? That’s totally up to you to decide. But it’s a good shot.

Drop your questions in the comments section.

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