Dubai2 English Edition

nedjelja, 26.03.2006.

Dubai World Cup - female side of the story

Last autumn I bought very nice hat from our designer Mina Petra. Since then I am talking that I will go with this hat to horse race. Milivoj took that idea literally, so we were yesterday in crowd on horse race, where only few heads didn’t have cover, some of them came because of horses, but majority simple couldn’t resist to present themselves, have some fun and show urbi et orbi that they can combine hat with purse, dress and shoes. I couldn’t resist as well. Just day before I was running all over shopping center in order to find dress that will match hat. Then I was searching for scarf, if it will be cold, then earrings and after all I missed purse. Anyway, I made some combination in record time (87 minutes!). Here is the outcome:

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Two editions of hat in the same night…

After the first round around International Village we met our friends in Bubble Lounge, toasted with champagne and after while we started to observe hats. Everything is documented, unfortunately not everything with our camera. There was a lot of “masterpieces”, some of them were so big to enter the scope of camera…

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…and some were much smaller…

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…some of them very patriotic…

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…and some of them tired to keep dignity, although the chosen horse performed bad…

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Some of them kept tradition…

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And that is how the biggest social event passed. Races? Horses? Oh, yes, that is why we came to Nad Al Sheba. There were 7 races; we were watching 4 of them. Last, most important one was Dubai World Cup. I had interesting dialog with Milivoj prior to race:
He: Let’s make a bet, which one will win?
Me: Elecrocutionist!
He: Why?
Me: I like the name. What about yours favorite?
He: Hmmm, all of them are good, it is a tough competition, all of them can win…

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ELECTROCUTIONIST IS WINNING!

Other important notes from races, horses and race names will be provided by Milivoj, when he comes back from Beirut.

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Happy birthday, Mr.Blog!

I am the happy blog that celebrates my first birthday today!

It was born on March 26th 2005 at 02:01 and this determinates its future as majority of posts was written between 10pm and 7am. I am consisted of 127 posts, last one was written the day before yesterday. In last 30 days there were 8 posts, 7 since beginning of March. Lat April was the most frequent month with 25 posts. Usual percentage is 9.8 posts per month or 2.4 per week. The biggest inactive period was our summer vacation, where my parents didn’t post anything for whole 29 days.
In total, you can read 43168 words on me, or 340 per post. Your contribution is 753 comments or 5.9 per post. You were commenting my fog story 63 times, while 10 posts didn’t cause any reaction.
You can find me on cool list…

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petak, 24.03.2006.

Nuts of Muscat

Last week I was in Muscat. I know that you will associate word “Muscat” with famous vine that comes from Setubal in Portugal and now it is produced all over Mediterranean Sea, or with famous nuts of Muscat, but here we are talking about Omani capital.
In medieval and up to 18th century, Sultanate of Muscat was naval power and they were ruling this part of world. They were something like Venice, having sovereignty over territory of today’s Oman, Yemen, UAE and parts of Saudi Arabia that they shared with Turks. They also controlled southern Baluchistan, historical province today split between Iran and Pakistan. Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique also recognized power of Sultan as their sovereign.
However, Sultanate had one trouble that was bothering them for centuries: Imam of Oman, which was in that time separate state in interior part of what we call Oman today and his tribes never recognized full power of Sultan and peace between them was maintained by numerous agreements which were broken on regular basis. Seeing these controlled areas, it is easy to conclude that main business was trading with slaves.

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In the beginning of 19th century Muscat lost its premium position in Eastern Africa trade and withdraws in front of British expansion, which results with loss of major overseas territories. Coastal part within Persian Gulf was given to local emirs who controlled it in behalf of British “Imperium” according to several truces signed by English envoy and emirs. That is why UAE were called “Trucial Oman”.
In 1856 Sultan died without successor, and internal strle for power begins. Insurgency in interior was finished by compromise, and whole territory was united under name “Muscat and Oman” that was kept until 1970’s, and power was shared between Sultan of Muscat and Imam of Oman. However, after discovering oil in region British representatives backed Sultan as he was more cooperative, while Imam refused to give exploring license. Situation was again solved with war in which Sultanate of Muscat, supported by British army gain control over interior part, and new compromise brought new state on the map in 1957: Sultanate of Oman, in which Sultanate of Muscat gives its name in exchange for sovereignty over whole Muscat and Oman.

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Today, Oman is modern monarchy oriented toward western world. The same as Dubai, Oman is free trade zone, but Sultan Qaboos, loved and respected by Omanis, who is running the country for over 37 years is not keen to allow investment boom as in Dubai. He is more enthusiastic about modest development that will guarantee prosperity to whole nation, including every single Omani national, out of about 3 millions that live in Oman. As you can see, the population density is very low, as Oman has ľ of Croatian population although it is 5 times bigger.
Oman has two enclaves. Wadi al Madhah is small enclave surrounded by UAE, while Musandam is bigger region on top of Saudi peninsula and having it under control Oman controls traffic through Hormuz straits. You remember Musandam from last year, aren’t you?

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City of Muscat is formed around fortified port, and late it was extended toward west. For urbanism fans, it is something like our Dubrovnik, but much smaller and much less amazing than our “Pearl of Adria”. Contrary to Dubai, Muscat still have medieval and oriental stamp that can give you short impression that you are in traditional Orient. Again contrary to Dubai, Muscat doesn’t have business centre with high rising giants for concrete, steel and glass. Its buildings are rather oriental styled, low, all in white, decorated in rules of Islam and they are not “hostile” to surroundings. This is Sultan’s Palace…

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Despite the biggest mosque of Muscat is in front of his nose…

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…His Majesty has its own.

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Sultan Qaboos is beloved among people. He was given the poor, divided and razed country destroyed by wars between Sultan of Muscat and Imam of Oman. Today it is rich and prosper country with approx. 13000$ GDP per capita. It is 3 times less than Qatar or half of UAE, but it is double than Croatia. Interesting, Slovenia has higher GDP per capita than Oman, although there is no oil in Alps.Unfortunately, I was already in Oman with ticket booked for always-late airline, Emirates, when I realized that I can use road from Dubai and the trip is less than 4 hours. Besides the usual delay in Emirates Airlines (95 minutes delay for 38 minutes flight), the plane was full of old seniors that went to see annual phenomena of turtle nesting on Ras al Hadd island. It is really interesting that almost 13 thousands turtles from Gulf, Arabian Sea, read Sea an whole east African coast are coming here to leave their eggs. It will be especially interesting to Barbara and Elvira that didn’t believe that Goran and I saw turtles and that claimed that it was out after-beer-illusion (see post from January 14th). So, this 13 thousands should not be illusion, as it is obviously that lot of people go there to see that. As the audience was 70+, they were searching gate 23 much longer that Madagascar turtle swims to Oman, and that cause delay, so there were not photo cruise over Muscat, as we came exactly before meeting. Therefore, the photos are borrowed from the net.
Like any other Arabian city, Muscat have interesting souq

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…and they are especially proud with spice souq, where you can find nut of Muscat in 1001 form, and shape…

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…and as they were naval power, they have original fish market…

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Soon the Sun run from sky over Muscat into the ocean…

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…and the city was shining like a diamond from 1001 night.

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Unfortunately, I could enjoy magnificent Muscat night only from balcony of Radisson SAS. Tough day fixed me to the bed and next I can remember is breakfast on pool terrace. We had one more meeting, shorter than we expected, and we were running to the airport to catch early flight back. While our office Peugeot 607 was sliding toward airport I decided to spend one of following weekends in Muscat. Then we should see more. In one hour we were already in our office in Dubai and on the desk there was a plan for next trip…

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subota, 18.03.2006.

Women, kids, beginners and idiots

I could name this post as “68th trip to Fossil Rock” but this name should fit better as we brought several importan decisions to modify this trip. First, we decided to put steering into hands of female. Second, we decided to take with us four beginners. Third, we also decided to join baby in the team, and fourth, regarding idiots, that wasn’t our decision - nature made Gernot as he is.
I must admit that I was afraid of “female” dune riding, specially when I take into account trip to Shwaib (still not published) and pleasure that Barbara afford to us after few meters of driving…

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Luckily, this time was different. Much different. (OK, I wrote, can I get something to eat now?)
As I wrote, we had ladies drivers, and then we had drivers that never felt sand under wheels, like Volker…

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…and at the end, the youngest desert explorer in history of our desert trips.

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Very atypical for desert rally. Besides, eight cars out of which four are beginners, everything was telling me that this is going to be long session with shovel. The weather was awful: windy, sunny, hot…

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We queued in Al Aweer, this part of the road is familiar from previous trips.

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Valerie had some friends that are professionals in recording of fast attractive actions. Not any kind of recording, like those HRT employees that are recording slow Croatian football and even there they miss the best parts. Those can tape just growth of the flowers comparing to these people…

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I showed some interest for their equipment…

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…and it was peace while I was on technical details. As soon as I asked for price and availability, a rough command came from Blazer's bridge to “move from that thing and sit in the car”.

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Deflating was fast and soon we were in desert…

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First Gernot, as he was heading this time, than we, and after us the others. First break was after 25-30 minutes, and this first part passed without any problem. My captain drove perfectly.

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At the end of first section, new drivers exchanged their deep impressions. Some of them felt relief …

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…and some of them understood passing of first ten sandy kilometers as big life achievement…

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Wind was so strong that the track from previous car disappeared after several seconds, so drivers were forced to show great innovativeness…

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Then we move to more demanding area, with high dines and slopes…

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…that everybody solved without bigger problems…

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…except some that needed copilot and instructor for this action.

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Just one small incident happened, nothing serious, just to show that even Wrangler can get stuck.

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…and besides that there was nothing spectacular that we could offer to audience…

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…but we have several nice shoots: Volker’s first slope…

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or Gernot’s destroyed bumper. I told you that besides women, kids and beginners we had an idiot. At the same place where he was beaten and where he was eating sand (see post from January 6th) he climbed up the dune and fall into small bowl…

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…but I will not go into details, as you know he doesn’t like reporters (young lady is just collateral damage of his endless stupidity)

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…and at the end, he deserved this because he is a Werder fan.

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Then we continued through wadi, toward Fossil Rock…

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… and soon after we concluded that there is no sense to go further. It was late, the weather was bad, a lot of beginners… We turn our cars and went back to Dubai through combination of rain…

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…sandy walls…

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… and perfectly cleaned Emirate roads…

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We remember better trips, aren’t we?

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srijeda, 15.03.2006.

Menara


Petronas Tower are definitely “must see”, but if you want to have real skyview to KL you must climb up to Menara, also known as KL Tower. Although slightly lower than Towers, Menera have better view to town center because it is built on a hill, and under the tower is jungle. The tower is 421 meter high, which makes it 4th biggest world tower, after CN Tower in Canada (553m), Ostankino Tower in Russia (537m) and Shangai Tower (468m). Its width is from 13 to 25 meters, and fundaments are 17 meters deep in the ground. There are 4 elevators, and if you are interested in specific physical torture you can take the stairs, but don’t cry after 205th stair that you are tired, because you passed just 10%. On the top of the tower there is a 6-storey head with maximal diameter of 50 meters and it has 7700 square meters. Tower is built from 1991 till 1995, in time when we were busier with destroying things than building, and it ate 45000 cubic meters of concrete and over 6500 tons of steel.
In any case, it is hard to resist not to climb up to the tower-head that dominates Kuala Lumpur…

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This is look toward top over Shangri La Hotel. And this is how it looks like when you are looking down, again over Shangri La Hotel…

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As thy built the tower in the forest on the hill, walking to its entrance is enjoying like walking through English Garden in Munich in May, except here you feel like in boiling pot, as the humidity is very high. Don’t go there in suit. However, it is definitely interesting to enter this green world just few steps from business city centre…

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When you pass souvenir shop and restaurants in entering complex, fast elevators brings you to the top (top for visitors, there are several more storeys for antenna equipment), where you can get headphones and remote control, so you can go around the platform from 1st to 13th point, and listen on one of 13 languages (including Bulgarian) what is currently on your horizon. And closest you can is jungle under the tower, and little bit away park in front of Petronas Towers…

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…then you can extend you view higher to a business center…

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…and on the other side toward historical city centre. On this picture you can see Royal Selangor Club with big flag pole in the middle. In the background is National Mosque and big city park…

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This is center magnified, for perfectionist…

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For the end, this is big Parliament building…

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…which is situated in the forest, so that crowd cannot interrupt delegates while they are brining new decisions that should be later confirmed by king. And you cannot interrupt his peace, because he is also hidden deep in Istan Negara...

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King doesn’t have that title on lifetime basis. Malaysia have very specific compromise Constitution that divides state into nine regions that doesn’t have same status. Some of them, like Penang, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak) are pure region with governor set by king. Other five regions have status of sultanate, with ruler from their royal family. These five sultans are electing Malaysian king between themselves on 5-year term, and the elected becomes Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or simple, king. Once he is elected, he will appoint governors in 4 regions that are not sultanates. Currently Malaysia have 12th king since independence, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail, which is also Raja of Perlis.
However, his significance is purely ceremonial, as the true power is in hand of prime minister, which is elected by parliament.

So much about Malaysia, we are going back to the sand…


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petak, 10.03.2006.

Petronas Towers

Dispite the best wishes from 9th comment in previous post, I didn't try "waxed chicken". Searching for something more sophisticated I came to pride to malaysian success - Petronas Towers.

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Although the height of the building made it famous, and bridge between two towers...

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...is unavoidable attraction in KL (specially to Siemens employees that have offices just 3 levels above, so I couldn't resist)...

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...majority of visitors are not leaving first 3 floors of the building where Shopping Center Suria is located...

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Do I have to remind you that there is no brand that you can't find here, and I will leave story about prices for some other time. Besides shops, towers are home of Petronas Opera, banks, restaurants, bars... There is also a small museum about history of Petronas Towers, in which visitors wait for tower tour. Peaks of Petronas towers can produce electromagnetic induction that is expressed in way of storm flash between towers. One room in museum is dedicated to this, and on the enterance is memorabilia stating that this scientific phenomena is invented by "serbo-american" scientist Nikola Tesla.

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Both towers have annexes, until the level 40. On the top of eastern annex is Petroleum Club, the most exclusive place in Malaysia.

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And on the western tower workers were cleaning dust...

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...hoping that once they will be prometed, at least to position of lift-boy, although that job isn't simple at all.

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To be continued...


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srijeda, 08.03.2006.

Waxed Chicken

Ok, if we ignore bird flue, there was some interesting food. For example, as KL has a lot of rain, they don't have lack of tropical fruit...

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...I also recognized nuts and similar stuff, it is the same like in Europe...

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...but what the hell is this????

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Here I took small lecture, interrupted several times with boring CD dealers and fake alarms that police is coming. So, this things on the left are their dry-meat delicious, a thin sausage with several different tastes.

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I have to admit that those sausages didn't impress me, certified tester of meat products, approved reviewer of Dalmatinian smoked ham and arbiter between kulen from Posavina region and Podravina region. I tried this, just not to insult shopkeeper. It is dry meat, and it would be pitty not to try...
But this stuff on right side was much more shocking: chicken without internal organs with bones broken so it looks like pressed (that is why it looks rounded), with this two extensions that are in fact legs. In order to keep the form, shape and freshness, it is topped with wax. All meat there was covered with thin layer of wax...

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Besider Jalan Petaling, also neighbouring streets are markets usually with grouped similar activities. For example, very active Jalan Hang Lekir...

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...was very busy, as it is home of florists, and local custom is to decorate house enterance with this...

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Don't ask me for name, because I don't know it. A fruit very close to mandarine, but much smaller (approx. cherry size) and it is eaten with rind. KL was full of these, it is usual procedure to decorate home with this for Chinese New Year.
When I say New Year and mean about food, I still prefer sarma...

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ponedjeljak, 06.03.2006.

Jalan Petaling - Chinese Market


Some people make impression about particular city on city's market. Besides, Barosso came to see how Croatia is fulfiling EU requirements and he went to Dolac Market. So, I decided to see Jalan Petaling, street that, together with several branches, makes Chinese market in KL.

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As it was just few days before Chinese New Year, you can imagine what was the most wanted stuff...

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...but there were also a lot of other things, cheap clothes, fake watches, copies of perfumes and ladies bags, pirate CDs....

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...they even cook on the site. I must admit that this didn't fulfil my hygienic minimum...

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...however, tomorrow after lunch in luxury restaurant in business centre of KL I took a look in restaurant's backyard and I saw this...

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...and few meters away big fat cat was sleeping with full stomach after a good meal. And then we are asking ourselves how the bird flue came.

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srijeda, 01.03.2006.

Who reads this?


As The World of Blogs was growing and growing, we have finally some analysis of what happened with this phenomena in last year. I was also thinking a little bit: Who reads this (besedes my mother and mother-in-law)? Blog.hr portal made an analysis of access to Croatian blogs.
Data for February are for majority just a pile of useless numbers from which just some people can understand something, but deep analysis shown some interesting results. Majority of access to Croatian blogs are from (you will never guess) Croatia. Then goes Bosnia-Herzegovina, then USA... Next shock: Majority of access from Croatia are from Zagreb (who would say so?). Then comes some normal info that biggest provider is T-com (54%), that most of the hits are from www.blog.hr page, that 72% of users browse with Explorer, and 98% uses Windows as OS (poor people). And last and expected information that 60% of users have ASDL or cable connection!?! How? Well, they surf from offices. My small exercise with this useless information shows where from the people browse blogs:

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First places are reserved for hosting services, then come student dorms and then, champion between all Croatian companies, "Golden Kuna" for avoiding work and surfing in working time, on high 15th and 16th position with more than 300000 hits in February, Siemens.
Congratulations!

- 01:09 - Comment post (0) - Print - #

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Dubai again?

  • Image Hosted by ImageShack.us HRVATSKI

    This is new chapter in story about magnificent multinational metropolis in Middle East. Story started last autumn, but it was suddenly stopped when author of blog dubai.blog.hr decided to leave this interesting city. As we stay here, we will try to make Dubai closer to you.
    If you have to ask something that is not appropriate for post comments please mail it to blogdubai2@gmail.com

Links

What is in fact Dubai?

  • If you look at the encyclopedia of Croatian Lexicographic Section, you will have totally wrong picture of Dubai: even the frequently published maps of local publisher can not follow the incredible fast city development. Almost one skyscraper per day beat all the records and tributes we paid to Croatian high-way builders.
    Dubai doubles number of living units within 5 years, and in year 2010 10 out of 20 higher world buildings will be in one street only in Dubai.
    So, Dubai was small town that can thank for it establishing to long narrow bay called Khor (Creek) due to its river-shape that goes 15 km in the desert (or sometimes desert as area around creek is now inhabited). Owner of this part of the desert, sheik from family Maktoum of Bani Yas near to Abu Dhabi, built house on entrance to this strategic important bay in order to collect money for ship entrance. Soon the trade post and market place were developed, and discovery of oil, that participate in Dubai budget with just 8%, just accelerate the idea of sheikh successor, Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum, of turning a small trade town into regional center. Six out of ten independent emirates made union that we call UAE in December 1972, later followed by 7th emirate of Ras al Khaimah, while Bahrain and Qatar decided to become sovereign states. More than 7/8 of UAE area belongs to emirate of Abu Dhabi, formal capital of federation. Although it is consisted of emirates, small monarchies, UAE are federation lead by chosen President, so they are not monarchy. However, members of the Union are independent monarchies having common defense, foreign and monetary affairs, while all other aspects such as education, health system, police and social affairs are separated.
    As Abu Dhabi emirate is the biggest and it have more than 90% of oil reserves, president of Federation was Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, noble and generous man with vision. From his ancestors he get small oasis of Al Ain, in 1940’s, having just few camels and Bedouins. Al Ain is today big and developed quarter-million people city.
    Vice president of UAE and prime minister was Sheikh Rashid Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, and other sheiks shared ministry functions, leading the country toward fulfillment of right to decent life for local population, social and health protection, high education and global prosperity of the nation.
    Today their ideal in continued in work of their successor, mostly in great achievements of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 3rd son of Sheikh Rashid, that have a vision of turning Dubai into city of future. Besides first seven-star hotel, Burj-Al-Arab, and incredible conventional development Dubai builds several project that can be compared with world biggest building achievements. Miles of islands in shape of palms, islad archipelago in shape of world map, underwater hotels, new Disneyland and residential compounds with highest constructions on the world makes Dubai one of the most interested and exciting world destinations.
    Although the visitor can not see this in his first look to the city, because it is just a little bit larger than Munich, longitudinally stretched through the coast of the Gulf, with the same traffic jams like Munich due to disproportion in city growth and infrastructure reshaping.
    Dubai has approx. 1.4 million of inhabitants, of which just 16% are “locals”. Others are immigrated “working power” mostly from India and Pakistan what decrease the level of services provided in Dubai. Details will be (or were) published in posts on blog. From the other side, Dubai has other interesting characteristics: It is one of the safest cities on the world. It is not point of interest of two sides involved in conflict between Islamic fundamentalists and some western countries. Crime rate is extraordinary low, and the city is open only to rich tourists and immigrant with secured job, both after comprehensive checking and documenting.
    Dubai is tax free zone.
    Dubai is shopping center for both rich local and western tourists (including extremely rich Russians) and low class societies from southern Asia.
    Dubai is in the desert, but it has thousands of square meters under grass that is regularly watered. Dubai consumes large quantities of water, artificially produced in desalinization process. Although each water drop must be produced, in Dubai the water bill is not accompanied with additional taxes and additional costs like in Europe, and there is not VAT, so the water bill is comparable to European.
    In Dubai one liter of petrol is approx. 0.30 euro. The difference between this low price and normal European petrol portion in family budget is covered with high consimprion: distances are huge, and everyone drives 4x4 cars…
    In any case, it is all very interesting, but also very unnatural and artificial (except the surrounding environment), and the opinion about Dubai is left to your personal impression.

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