Wednesday, March 13, 2013

United Arab Emirates

I'm so over this bloody cold weather.  I need some sun.  So next month I'm off to the Middle East.  Specifically, to the U.A.E. and Oman for a few days.  I know that mom isn't exactly thrilled with my going there, especially with the whole gay thing being illegal, but I'll only be there for a few days so I'm sure that I'll be fine.  Besides, I'm not going there to organize a parade.  I'm off for the sun and to check out some of the country's phenomenal architecture.

The United Arab Emirates, دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة, is on the southeast Arabian Peninsula of the Persian Gulf.  It shares land borders with Oman and Saudi Arabia, and it is across the sea from Qatar and Iran.  The UAE is a little smaller than Maine and the capital is Abu Dhabi.  The largest city is Dubai.

The UAE is a pretty young country.  The emirates were under UK control until 1971 when six states joined to form the United Arab Emirates.  Then in 1972 another emirate joined the group.


Today the UAE is a federation of seven emirates:  Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain.  The emir of each emirate passes the title down to his son.  The emir of Abu Dhabi is the president and Dubai's emir is the country's prime minister.  Islam is the official religion and the legal system is a mix of Islamic law and civil law.

Oil was discovered in the 1950s.  This has helped transform the region in to a modern country.  The country's oil and natural gas resources are each ranked the 7th largest in the world.  It also has the world's 7th highest per capita income.

There are more than 8 million people in the UAE but less than 20% are citizens.  Around 80% of the people are expats who are there for work.

While the majority of expats are Indians and Pakistanis, more and more are from Western Europe. 
There is no naturalization process in the UAE.  The only way to become a citizen is to either be born one or after being married to an Emirati man for several years.

Here's a video I found out on YouTube which gives some more info about the UAE.

 

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