Now in its 16th year, the Dubai Summer Surprises shopping festival promises bargains across malls, spas, restaurants and beyond, with this year’s month-long event starting on Thursday June 14. But because it happens every year, DSS has become tradition, rather than ‘surprise’. We therefore decided it was high time to celebrate the festival with some more summer surprises – 16 of them, in fact, one for every year of DSS – all interesting enough for you to blow the minds of your friends and colleagues (and mostly about summer).
1 Dubai has never been better off
Well, in terms of tourism it hasn’t – last year, combined hotel revenues reached an all-time high of Dhs16 billion, and the city is expecting nine million visitors this year (compared with eight million in 2011).
2 Carrot juice is a secret tanning agent
According to Dubai-based Muscovite make-up artist Dmitry Kaprilyants, the city’s Russian contingent believe that if you drink a glass of carrot juice mixed with cream or olive oil 20 minutes before you go outside, you’ll get a better tan (something to do with the beta-carotene, we think).
3 Dubai’s restaurant scene continues to grow in summer
It’s a revelation that so many new eateries are scheduled to open over the next few months: JLT alone can expect the launch of Chinese restaurant Homey’s in Gold Crest Views and Brazilian patisserie Sweet Brasil in Al Seef Tower 2. There are also several impending openings in the new Claren Tower in Downtown, including Japanese spot Toki and another Burgerfuel outlet. No dates are confirmed, so watch this space.
4 The city is home to some secret architectural art
If you look up into the glass ceiling in the hall of the Meydan grandstand in Nad Al Sheba, you’ll see the shape of a horse. Also, there is an Etisalat building in all seven of the emirates, each with a golf ball on top.
Just under 50 years ago, there were reportedly less than 20 cars in the entire city. The first major influx of privately owned automobiles came in 1955 when Al-Futtaim Automotive introduced Toyota cars to Dubai. At last count, the RTA revealed that the number of light vehicles (primarily cars) registered in Dubai sits at just over 1.05 million.
Japan’s most famous feline now has her own beauty spa in Dubai. Yes, it’s for adults – and it’s every bit as kitsch as you might imagine. Treatments on offer include mani-pedis, haircuts and event make-up, and there’s an organic, non-toxic range for youngsters (not to mention great cupcakes). Clever cat.
Mani-pedi from Dhs140. Open Sat-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri noon-8pm. Town Centre, Jumeirah (04 344 9598).
7 Humidity? What humidity?
Humidity levels in Dubai are actually lower in June – sometimes as low as 17 percent – than they are in December and January, which are among the UAE’s most humid months, with recorded highs of 80 percent. September is the most humid of the summer months, with humidity levels peaking at around 85 percent.
8 Public transport in Dubai is alive and kicking
Last year, Dubai’s network of buses ferried 107.4 million passengers from A to B. If you spread that number across the city’s total population, it would mean that we each caught the bus
50 times during the past year.
9 Tea tasting is a respected career in Dubai
Tea maker Lipton employs a Dubai-based ‘tea taster’, who is responsible for tasting the tea produced by the company and making sure it tastes exactly as it should.
10 Some people will go a long way for a show
Dubai-based Indian journalist Sundeep Gajjar is currently riding a Ducati motorbike from Dubai to Italy via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovenia to get to World Ducati
Week 2012. He is expected to arrive on Friday June 22 after covering nearly 9,000km.
11 The UAE needs to import sand
Despite our emirates containing more than 100 different types of sand (according to the International Centre for Biosaline), the UAE has to import sand from Saudi to make cement. D’oh!
12 There is one Emirati taxi driver in Dubai
According to the RTA, there is one UAE national working as a driver for Dubai Taxi (the red-topped taxis). Interestingly enough, the same company employs one Russian and five Jamaicans. And, while we’re on the subject of taxi drivers, at last count there were 17,278 of them in Dubai, working across six companies.
13 There’s a lot going on under the Empty Quarter
Next time you’re admiring the desolate beauty of the Empty Quarter desert, spare a thought for what’s going on under your feet. The UAE has started work on the world’s biggest underground reservoir, which will eventually hold 26 million cubic metres of water.
14 There’s more incentive than ever to drive carefully
Crash your car into a palm tree and you could receive a Dhs10,000 fine; knock over a camel, however, and you’re facing a Dhs100,000 fine. And driving without your glasses or contact lenses will cost you another Dhs100. See the Dubai Police website for a list of 147 traffic fines and violations, some of them more surprising than others.
15 We’re record-breaking record breakers
Dubai boasts five times more world records than Abu Dhabi. Everything from ‘most cans crushed in three minutes’ to ‘most desserts on display’ (2,232, in case you were wondering), ‘most shoelaces tied in one minute’ and ‘most CDs flipped and caught in one minute’ contribute to the city’s 61 official records to date (the capital has 12).
16 You can eat a Christmas lunch in Dubai this summer
Tuck into a midsummer lunch with roast turkey, Christmas pudding, mince pies, high-end bubbly and cheesy Christmas tunes at Yalumba on Friday June 22.
Dhs499. 12.30pm-3.30pm. Yalumba, Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud (04 702 2455).