Monthly Archives: May 2010

Just When I’ve Seen It All…

Dubai now has an ATM machine for…gold bars!

Yes, you can put in cash, your credit card or debit card and buy bars up to 10 grams or stylized coins.

The ATMs themselves are a bright gold and called Gold To Go.

To be fair, they were not invented here, they are the brainchild of a German and were tested there first.

I will visit the one in Dubai and post a photo. Don't expect a gold bar!

Whats next? Ohhhh, my mind just cannot control itself on that subject. I would love to have you guys post ideas for ATM machines…

An ATM for Papal blessings in Rome??

For a can of beer in Bocas?

For a handgun in Alabama?

For a Green Card in Arizona?

A Goldman Sachs ATM for Mortgages?

How about a Pizza?

Not even with a raging case of the munchies...

Or how about Live Bait?

This has to be in Dixie somewhere

What do YOU think.

A Couple Weird Things

OK, the UAE is a Moslem country. Everyone should respect things like the dress code. I have mentioned this before. Women should not wear plunging necklines, nor bare shoulders and wear skirts below the knee. Men should not bare their shoulders nor wear shorts above the knee. I do not think there is anything against wearing a plunging neckline if you are a guy, but I digress.

This weekend, two things happened that made me shake my head.

Saturday, at the library where Mary Ann works (American University of Sharjah for those of you who just joined us on this blog) a security guard complained to someone on the library staff about a womanwho walked in wearing shorts. They wanted the staffer to talk to her, eject her, something like that. After further review it turned out the woman was the wife of a prof. Today, the library grand poobah had to put out a message that the library staff was not the dress code enforcement team. It begs the question, Who Is? I spent the day on campus today. There are hundreds of cuties walking around who are not “covered”. They wear modern college coed clothes, but no plunging necklines or shorts. This is not where I went to University.

Then, also in Sharjah, remember, Sharjah is the most conservative of the Emirates, closed all of their parks until 4 in the afternoon. Why? Because the park gardeners were oogling the women exercising (jogging etc) in the park. So their answer was to close the parks during the day. Mary Ann and I thought this was bizarre and the wrong solution. The Gulf News, which hardly ever criticizes the authorities, came out with an editorial saying the same thing. This is not the way to handle this.

What Other Big Cities Can Learn From Dubai

Dubai has the most interesting and exciting way to control pigeon shit on its iconic skyscrapers.

FALCONS!

Falconry is really big here. It is a sport. It is a national heritage thing. The falcon is on all the money. And now, a British expat  is making its own money off the Falcon.

He started  a company near the big buildings in the commercial district of Dubai that (under strict vigilance from the government) breeds falcons to keep pigeons away from the skyscrapers.  Big fat slow pigeons are terrified of trim fast falcons. (A peregrine falcon can reach 200km an hour in a dive.)

This company breeds and trains falcons solely for keeping Dubai’s skyscapers clean of pigeon shit.

This company releases it falcons at the same time every day. They circle up to a high altitude, spread out to their selected hunting ground which they have been trained to patrol. They do not attack the pigeons because they have been trained not to,  but  pigeons get the idea that the falcons live around these buildings, and move away. The buildings stay clean of pigeons and  the company gets paid. No shit.

I could really get into that business.

High tech in UAE

Mary Ann brought home an IPAD last night. I am using it right now. I feel like a caveman who discovered fire. Everything is different. However, maybe I like my mastodon raw.

What do I like about it? First, I am laying on my couch while typing this message. OK, I suppose you could do that with a laptop, or blackberry, but this contraption is really lightweight and has a big screen.
Second, while typing away, the interface does things like automatically capitalizing the next word after a period. That is cool.

I have explored quite a bit, but have hours more to discover stuff. I am supposed to be testing it for the library,after all Mary Ann is in charge of electronic gizmos there. I can test certain things, but I really have no idea what a middle eastern student who grew up texting would do with this thing.

However I did find one thing I think is terrific. I call it the etch-a-sketch feature. If you are drawing something, and you want to start over, you just shake the shit out of the unit and it erases everything! Kind of like moving to the other side of the coconut!

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