10 February, 2008

You know you lived in the UAElong enough when

I had a lot of positive feedback about this post and I thought by reposting on the UAE Community blog I might be able to put a smile on a few more faces. :-)

You know you have been here for a while:-

  1. You remember playing games at Sindbad
  2. Dixie Cola was a rival to Pepsi. In fact coke wasn't around when I was a kid.
  3. You remember Al Ghurari Centre and how it was the only shopping mall around
  4. You remember the opening of the first McDonalds at Al Ghurari Centre and the crowds that flocked to it
  5. You remember Naif as a residential area and not a 'Meat Market'
  6. Trade Centre was a TAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL building and could be seen from miles around
  7. Chicago Beach!! And there was a stretch of open beach right next to it. Now its Jumierah Beach Hotel and the Madinat Jumeirah complex
  8. The Shindagha Tunnel would often leak and they would regularly close it down for repairs
  9. When you'd travel abroad NO ONE knew where Dubai was and you would always have to say things like: " Its next to Saudi or Iran"
  10. Sharjah was the happening city and families would go there for their parks
  11. Sharjah had that flyover right at the beginning of the city onto wahda street which would make me and my friends 'stomachs tickle' every time you would cross it. We nicknamed it 'tickle bridge'.
  12. Dubai Sharjah highway had a very famous and popular site now dwarfed by all the construction. The KFC and Hardees restaurants which became a family hangout spot.
  13. You know you are a kid from Dubai if you remember the biggest toy store back then: Dhadabai ( dunno if i got the spelling right) . There was a huge store located opposite present day Hamarain Centre/ JW Marriott.
  14. Channel 33 used to air an Indian movie at 10:30 on Thursday nights
  15. There was a falcon roundabout just as you came out of Shindagha tunnel and a flame roundabout near present Danata
  16. The expo centre in Sharjah was the most happening place in the late 70's and 80's. Everyone would come from all over to watch the circus, shop, eat the ice creams etc
  17. All the local TV channels would have "prayer intermission". A notice which would appear for a few minutes on the screen before the daily prayers.
  18. The cartoons, remember Grundaizer & Jungar and Captain Majid
  19. Sharjah fish and vegetable market pretty much remains unchanged through the decades.
  20. Al Ain fun city was Disney land! Al Nasr Leisureland ( and you could ice skate) was next, followed by Al Jazeera Park in SHJ.
  21. Gulf News back in late 70's was in the format of today's tabloid section.
  22. Junior news and Young times? I used to love Young times!
  23. Hardrock cafe was the first and ONLY 'sky scraper' on SZR you saw when coming from Abu Dhabi
  24. The road to Abu Dhabi was two-lane and had speed humps
  25. Desert Springs Village was in the desert and had a licensed bar
  26. It took 15mins. from Deira to Safestway via Shindaga
  27. Safestway was originally called Safeway but had to change its name
  28. You remember Dubai as just Bur Dubai and Deira
  29. you remember the old Emirates petrol pumps( not Emarat) and that they did not sell anything other than car oil and petrol (no drinks/snacks etc)
  30. You remember Al Nasr cinema, the first cinema to show English movies. It was then followed by Galleria Cinema in Hyatt Regency
  31. The first escalators, in the Al Ghurair Centre, being an attraction to people who'd never seen a moving staircase.
  32. Lamcy was originally just simple department story before it got burned to the ground.
  33. Hyatt Regency was the only place for Ice skating (waaay before Lesiureland)
  34. You remembern SunTop Juice!! and used to collect it stickers
  35. Safa Park looked so big and on the way to Safa Park the Big Chinese Villa could be seen.
  36. When camels were a hazard on the highway.
  37. You remember a time when there were only taxis in dubai when dubai buses were launched
  38. Cabs did not have a meter in then until the mid 90's. Prior to that you would stop a cab, tell them your destination and bargain over the price before you got in. The first Dubai Tranport cabs were Merc e-class
  39. The police used to place radars on the road with a policeman standing close by it. If you exceeded the speed limit the policeman would radio in your plate number to a patrol car a few kilometres down the road who would pull you over and issue you a fine on the spot
  40. You've seen the etisalat building being built and always wondered why on earth they placed a massive golf ball on the top
  41. The Bank of Baroda building in bur dubai as the biggest building in that area..
  42. You could buy ice cream from those ice cream trucks near the Khalid lagoon (yuummmm!!!)
  43. The Galadari roundabout being one of the most beautiful and biggest one of them all..
  44. Trade centre roundabout as just a roundabout with fountains

Continue the list people... i will add them from the comments


CG said...

why do you people do this to us?

where is ROSH?

I am drowning.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

I can vaguely remember reading this somewhere else, but I don't know where exactly...

localexpat said...

Dubai Jazz,

you probably read it from my blog. That is where I had initially posted it and thought that I would get a chance to share it among more people by reposting it here

rosh said...

*rosh has drowned in nostalgia, this Sunday morning* - again!

It's all your fault Mr LE. Though I must confess, drowning in nostalgia sure feels good :)

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Oh yes local expat, I do remember now. Thank you for sharing again. Always an interesting read.

Stained said...

apart from the leaking Shindagha tunnel I relate to all of them...

some more....in my opinion atleast..

- You remember Dubai as just Bur Dubai and Deira

- when you could go fishing near the Jebel Ali port...now the Free zone...

- if you knew about the colony near the airport towards mushrif park...

- if you remember the two huge dunes on the way to hatta as just dunes and not a tourism/buggy riding/restaurant thing..

-if you remember the water flowing in the wadis....like a river

- if you've caught frogs near the dams..

- if you've heard stories of people drowning in the wadi/dam water [a bad thing but still....]

- if you remember the old eppco and emirates petrol pumps...

- if you visited city centre on the first day of its opening...

- if you playing cricket/football in the empty parking lots of Dubai

- if you remember the air show over the city and not over the airport only..

- if you remember Hyatt regency/Sheraton [creek] being the coolest hotels in town...

- if you remember the old non fancy police stations

- if you remember staring at the the fountain in sharjah khalid lagoon in amazement as someone would tell you its the second highest...

- if you remember Nasr cinema as the busy cinema for english films...

many more I suppose..maybe later...

Seabee said...

Even further back: you remember...

...the floating hotel (converted liner) on the Creek. And the Safari Club

...'Reuters', later 'Recorder', as the only English-language 'newspaper' - it was just A4 sheets stapled together, copied from Reuters wires).

...the first ecalators, in the Sheraton on the Creek, being an attraction to people who'd never seen a moving staircase.

...the opening of Dixie and Unikai factories. (Unikai's still with us).

..the first Dubai Motor Show (at Dubai Metropolitan, then way out in the desert on Abu Dhabi Road.

Spectrum said...

where is the Rent ??

ali900 said...

lol classic, i think thats on facebook too...

the real nick said...

and Hardrock cafe was the only building between Jumeirah and Jebel Ali (only eight, nine years ago...)

Mansur said...

I remember a very very old Lamcy that was burnt down!

D said...

@ mansur ... yeah I remember that too. It was just a departmental store and then ... it became a mall!

I remember quite a few of these things...not all... but it brings back SO many memories... :):)

The 'tickle bridge' is my favourite!!!

Keefieboy said...

I remember when the Hard Rock was built. I remember thinking 'somebody's been sold a lemon: there's no market here.' So a few years later, I was wrong, not only working nearby (at Media City), but living 10 minutes away (at The Gardens).
@Stained, Seabee - how old are you guys?! The first English-lanuage movie I saw in Dubai was 'Speed' at Al-Nasr. Shortly thereafter the cinemas at the Hyatt Regency opened.

rosh said...

It's amazing actually, 'cause the hard rock cafe, then, was out in boonie land.

Whatever happened to dadabhai toy store? Al Nasr was quite happening, then sorts fizzled and vanished.

Indian Sports Club and Dubai Country Club was quite happening with a strong sense of community those days.

In SHJ - Al Wahda street, was the coolest place to hang out.

Anyone remember "Nancy" (the cartoon) from Junior News? and who here, has been a memeber of the Otto Fan club with Young Times? :)

Peripatetic Engineer said...

When McDermott was on the creek.

If you ever stayed at the McDermott Guest House.

When camels were a hazard on the highway.

SNAZ said...

Galleria was the place to go for movies...

Hyatt Regency was the only place for Ice skating (waaay before Lesiureland)

You could get Fish "only" at Shindagha

Safa Park looked so big and on the way to Safa Park the Big Chinese Villa could be seen.

Having Suntop Stickers was super cool

Al Ghurair was a super big mall, and the only one.

localexpat said...

keep it coming guys.

BTW this not something copied off facebook. I came up with the list, posted it on my blog and had readers add to the list ;-)

localexpat said...

Otto Fan club with Young Times!!!!

Man does that bring back memories :-)

MD said...

Ahhh! I used to write for Young Times :$ And also 'U Magazine'! And hey...I was a member of the Safari Club too...lol. You know, collecting those '1/2 point' on 50fils chips and the 2 points from the 'expensive chips' and sending them to Safari Uncle.

And there was Aunt Alice in Young Times, who is now replaced by Marisa or someone.

I remember the ice-rink at Hyatt and going for Batman at Galleria. It was such a big deal. And Majaz Park didn't have a name for so long. We just used to call it 'Garden' and only much later did they put a signboard saying 'Majaz Park'.

There used to be a big rotating KFC in the centre of Majaz Park, which is now replaced by the mosque that has split the park into two. Damn, I used to fit into those little play houses once-upon-a-time :)

The rides in Jazeera Park were much more different. Oh the classic 'water crash' ride!

And Chilli chip Oman with Laban up...anyone? :D

Harsha said...

I saw Suntop recently!! the firstthing I checked was stickers.. but none :(

and is it smaller now or it just seemed bigger when I was smaller? :p

The tickle bridge!! I dint know I shared that with ppl :D

and yessss I remember Nancy!!

I always thought Junior news was cooler and then went on to U Mag.. which wasnt all THAT great..although I collected 300 posters from them

Stained said...

hahaha...I remember that chinese villa....

@ Keefieboy... I'm 21...almost 22..

- if you remember when the dubai buses were launched

- if you remember the firsts cabs in dubai to be Merc e-class

- if you remember ajman as a bunch of villas and tiny buildings that just blended into sharjah

- if you remember the days without radars...

- if you remember when the only big supermarket was union corp...

- if you've seen the etisalat building being built (I call it the ball building :D )

- if you remember the phone booths that took coins and listening to stories to how people used to make a hole in coins, put thread through it and re use the same coin over and over again...

- If you remember the Bank of Baroda building in bur dubai as the biggest building in that area..

- If you remember the villas out in the middle of no where that had to be demolished for the marina..

- If you remember the Ras al khor sanctuary as a small area of green...with a few flamingos

- If you remember the small market on the way to fujeirah in Masafi as being small...

- If you remember buying ice cream from those ice cream trucks near the Khalid lagoon (yuummmm!!!)

- If you remember the Galadari roundabout being one of the most beautiful and biggest one of them all..

- If you remember trade centre roundabout as just a roundabout with fountains....(it was designed by my uncle :| )

hmm....cant think of anymore..maybe later...

Seabee said...

Ahh, the Chinese villa - I posted a photo of that on one of my 'old Dubai' series.

Keefieboy, I'm feeling 122 today - a bad night's sleep.

rosh said...

"And Majaz Park didn't have a name for so long."

hahahaa! it's true, the Majaz park had no name for the longest time - some referred to it as "The" park ha! I think KFC is still there, isn't it?

The Buheira Corniche was quite isolated 20 years ago - parts of it was "almost" boonie land like. I remember the only standing structure were those twin (brown/beige) buildings (Today, it is perhaps the Marina of SHJ)

Al Jazeera park, was the best! Had the best rides in the entire UAE :) SHJ was quite different back in the day.

Do they sell SunTop and Oman chips these days? Was Oman chips actually from Oman :)?

Aunt Alice extended a good advice or two - and yes, I 've won a few of those Otto ball pens amongst a few other tiny prizes from Young Times as well as Junior News :)

B.D. said...

Does anyone know in what year the Hard Rock Cafe opened? Despite Dubai's expansion, it is still amazing when you go behind the first line of development on many roads you still find a lot of wide open empty areas in all parts of the city except Deira. Even when Dubai eventually reaches its borders, there will still be a lot of space to fill in in between.

Seabee said...

Hard Rock opened at the end of 1997.

Kiwi Boy said...

Ahh, thank you so much for that post. Was in Dubai between the ages of 6 and 19 and it's an absolutely amazing place. Not one day goes by that I look out at the gray English skies and feel that sweet aching for home, for Dubai. This post brought back so many memories - especially that Dadabhai thing, where did you dig THAT one up from?!

Who here remembers Abu Shagara before it turned into a temple of used cars? I do!

MD said...

My dad used to take us to Dadabhai when we received our annual grades...lol. We had a rule back then--only if we got more than 90% (Indian system), we deserved to pick any toy. For some weird reason, I always picked violins that had plastic strings engraved and only played 'Twinkle Twinkle' when you hit a button on it...lol. And Dadabhai was so special! Usually, I'd get my toys from Rolla area or Shop-n-Save :)

I can still recall the Dadabhai signboard!

I remember those ice-cream vans near Majaz! Oh I miss those ice-creams. And I remember, shawarmas used to cost Dhs1.50 and 2.00 for the mutton one.

rosh said...

Kiwiboy: Abu Shagara, used to be an isolated, quite neighbourhood - prior to the used car mafia "occupation" and SHJ municipality (yet again) failed to protect that once quite neighbourhood.

MD: it's not just the shwarmah prices that's changed - the ones we had back then, was much MUCH tastier :) Shwarmah outlets at SHJ clock tower, used to sell the best stuff in town - man, I could use a couple right now :)

MD said...


hahaha yeah seriously! What's up with that 'Mexican' shawarma, seriously?! It's so rare to find the real shawarmas. Everybody has made their own version with cabbage chunks, stale french fries and so on. Should I send you some from Green Valley? :)

The Lady said...


...you couldn't live without your monthly issue of Smash Hits.

...NKOTB posters and badges adorned your wall, your school folder, your school bag, etc...

...you know who the Baba Papas are...and you could probably name them all, given a little memory jog.

...you'd win Cindy dolls from Dadabhai, thanks to Junior News.

...Emirates Golf Club seemed so far away.

...after every weekend, your 'rich' classmates would tell you what a great time they had at the "DPC" or the Country Club.

...4pm was cartoon time on Channel 33.

..."Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company..." - 'nuff said.

rosh said...

haha MD: how'd you guess, am a dedicated customer at the Green vallley? man it's freaky :) And yes, please, do FedEx a few, ha :)
What's the deal with Mexi Shwarmahs, it's just a lot of paste or something? Saaooo not (UAE) authentic.

Mr LE's probably thinking - what's with all the shwarmah talk :)

Dark AngeL said...

ok so true u made me laugh my head of and reminded me of the good old days .. Enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

anyone remember King of Toys in AlGhurair Center ???

Kaz Kirmani said...

Oh my God! The ice-creams at Buheira Corniche.. The 'tickle bridge' (hahaha!).. The 'water crash' rides at Jazeera Park.. memories memories memories!

Check out my list of Dubai memories at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=27860506199

We have over 100 photos of old Dubai, and over 70 videos of Channel 33 clippings and old-school cartoons.

All Hail Dubai!

Anonymous said...

tickle bridge, yes right beside my favorite shop wonderworld, is it still there( oh we helped open dadabai, and supplied them until they went bump;

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