The Fastest Roller Coaster at Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi

PffTTHhhhhhhoooooooooo… and we are off at the fastest speeds of all the roller coasters in the World! This crazy acceleration lasts only for a few seconds but its crazy! I was prepped to scream like crazy but no sound came. It was difficult to understand that it was me being hurtled at such a terrific speed! Only after the speed slowed a bit and there were ups and dips and turns that I found my voice. Ohhhh.. I can till remember the turns – they were so sharp that I thought I was a yoyo being swung around erratically! Next few days while traveling from Dubai to Bahrain and then to Mumbai every time the plane gained speed for lift off I thought I was back in the fastest roller coaster in Ferrari World!

Acceleration: 0-240km/h in 4.9sec, 0 -100km/h in 2sec

More about it on the Ferrari World website!

This roller coaster called Formula Rossa ride was the most memorable from the place!

Picture Flickr Credit: WBUR

Apart from Formula Rossa there are many other rides – simulations, watery, kids zone .. over all it is a good place to spend a day for people who are into Ferrari or Ride/Amusement Parks. One of the rides was a journey through the cars machine – it is actually funny than thrilling. Lot of us sat in it numerous times just for fun! 🙂

Costs start at about 200 AED = 3000 INR.

Premium tickets are worth it because you can cut queues entirely. Since Ferrari World is on outskirts of Abu Dhabi and a few hours from Dubai we didn’t get much time in the park itself as we reached around 1pm and then had to leave by 6pm to get back on time. We stood in a 1 hour queue for Formula Rossa. We wanted to go on it again but hardly had the time! We didn’t get to do quite a few things after spending 200 AED, it may be better to spend 300 AED and take premium tickets!

Food

The food places are pricey but all kinds of foods are available. Different cuisines, Different ambiances! We could get pure vegetarian stuff and they even agreed to make us burgers without any onion n garlic! This burger is one of the best I have had.

Ride Thrill Scale

The rides are scaled according to their thrill from 1 to 3. I found the scale very misleading….The Indian roads would qualify to be a scale 2 roller coaster if these signs were to be believed! 🙂

Good fun! And they have awesome free wi-fi…

Dubai for the Vegetarians!

Aah big topic for the vegetarians- What food will I get there? Well, short answer its quite manageable! Better than some other countries like aforementioned Kuala Lumpur (wink)

Generally what we vegetarian folks do is identify a heavy, filling and wholesome drink. In Dubai we fixed on Hot Chocolate. In Kuala Lumpur it was Milo cause there was a major Milo culture going on there. So a big Milo would easily do at meal times! In fact takeaway Milo is so easy to consume for a traveler! No time wasted sitting and eating… just roam around with your Milo glass!

Hot Chocolate

I tried various Hot Chocolates, I would have to say the Dunkin Donuts one totally stood out! It was almost like a kids-only version because it was oh so chocolatey and yummmm… I dread to even try the Indian Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate now because I don’t want to tarnish that memory! 🙂 At par with this would be the hot chocolate we had at Ski Dubai. Oooh after all the tobogganing and playing around in the snow… yummy! No. 1 hot chocolate!

Starbucks hot chocolate was quite non-descript. Nothing much to say about it. 🙁

Costa Coffee hot chocolate was quite good. I would rate this 2nd!

Lastly, Hot Chocolate from Cinnabon was also quite good. Would share 2nd place with costa! 🙂

Beware: There are three options with this drink. Whipped cream, fresh cream and marshmallows. Marshmallows sounds very good but these marshmallows probably have fish stuff in them! Its true! Just stick to fresh cream…

Yummy hot chocolate but Marshmallows mostly had fish stuff in them 🙁 realised only later!

Bread

All the bread here at least in the cafes have egg in them so that includes croissants, quiche and practically all bakery items. I ate some of it because of sheer hunger pangs but some of my stricter vegetarian companions had a problem!

Sandwiches

There are some veg sandwich options in Cinnabon, Costa Coffee, Nestle Total House… but I think the bread contains egg. Hehe I think I stopped asking about it after a few days! 🙂 These sandwiches however are very tasty!

Just Falafels

What a life saver this outlet is! They serve various falafel versions found across the world in Egypt, Lebanon, Arab etc.. and humus too! Its all vegetarian – ya allah! It was very tasty too! They have a drink called mint lemonade – quite perfect for the tired shopper in the big malls of Dubai!

Chocolates

BEWARE, Constant Vigilance! Lot of chocolates esp.marshmallows have beef lard or Fish stuff in them! This came as a shock to me! A lot of brands which sell veg chocolates here in India have egg in them there! Aaarrggghh all ingredients needs to be checked at all times… all times!

Meena Bazaar

This area is so Indian-ized that the restaurants there might even be more ‘Indian’ than over here! 😀 Not only vegetarian food is easily available here but even Jain foods which do not contain onions, garlic and other foodstuff! All the food here would of course be Indian version of all cuisines!

Since I was staying in Meena Bazar, I did not need to experiment more with finding vegetarian cuisine but I think it is manageable with some difficulty.

Almost all fast food joints like Burger King, Pizza Hut have vegetarian options, but its one in twenty – which are odds that grossed me out! Its very difficult to see all that non-veg stuff being made and then having the one rare veg item probably being made on the same stoves, grills in the kitchen as the non-veg items! So the best I think is to just stick to above mentioned options. There maybe a few other joints that I may have forgotten to mention but only a few!

Let me know if you would like to add some more food options for vegetarians in Dubai!

Infrequent International Travel – Logistic Planning

This Dubai- Bahrain trip I found myself woefully unprepared. Firstly there wasn’t much time before the trip what with work and usual life activities… Secondly, I didn’t appreciate the many factors that would crop up in international trips, because I am well prepared for domestic ones. So decided to make this list for readers and also for myself to keep in mind for next such trips!

Currency
Understand currency conversion well! Keep a bit of paper with conversion values like,
10AED = xx INR
30AED = xx INR
50AED = xx INR
so its easy to understand pricing with a quick look. Shopping tags will usually have very odd numbers like 186AED which is just very confusing to do mentally and on spur of moment as is needed!
It would be good to carry a calculator or use mobile calculator if possible! This leads to the next problem…

Socket Converters
Completely unprepared for the different socket type in Dubai. As a result my mobile ended up being off most of the times. This turned out to be a major pain point also because even my camera was discharged often! So do the research and carry couple of socket converters!!

Local Sim / Phone Connectivity
For about 800 INR we used to get a local Dubai Sim but I thought it was not necessary. A mistake. Its not just about actually making calls but just about feeling connected which makes a lot of difference! Don’t under estimate how addicted we are to connectivity! Also research how to use local payphones and have the necessary card or change with you at all times!
By the end of trip I started using my India SIM with international roaming!! It probably cost me 800 INR or more….

Time Difference
This didn’t affect me that much, just left me mildly confused. There is a difference of only couple of hours in Dubai – Bahrain – Mumbai. Bahrain 7pm was like 11pm here… So its not about just the actual time but also how the time looks. In India there is twilight at a particular time but conditions are very different in other zones in the world at that time! I believe the time zones would play greater havoc when the conditions are more dissimilar!

Public Transport
Research this! Ideally if we can know the ticketing system and routes beforehand, much better! For eg: in Dubai we need to buy a card before boarding the bus, unlike the system in India. so people in my group actually boarded planning to pay onboard with cash and then had to get down. Thankfully they weren’t fined…
Dubai has great public transport but Bahrain doesn’t! I had no idea about Bahrain… So the fact that I couldn’t just stand on a street and catch some transport left me feeling even more confused and helpless like!

Internet Connectivity – A big puzzle!
All the above I could have researched on the spur if only I had good internet connectivity. International internet connectivity is however, a puzzle to crack! Few solutions I have in mind,
1. Buy local Sim with internet connectivity. Hopefully it costs reasonable!
2. Free wi-fi zones. I had counted on these but was disappointed in Dubai! Paid were too expensive so I didn’t buy, probably another mistake!

What could be other solutions to these problems? And have you faced other problems… When you go on that rare international trip?

Flickr credit: Crosset Library Bennington College

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Dubai Metro – Simple and Refreshing

When I first travel to a place there are a myriad topics in my mind that I could write about. It is difficult to choose and sometimes it leads to a writer’s block of a sort. I have decided to start off writing about my recent short trip to the Middle East with the very interesting Dubai Metro Line.

I have been to Kuala Lumpur. They have a pretty good metro line, but there are some interesting differences in the Dubai Line.

Ambiance n Design

Generally these metro stations fully AC, automated ticket systems, escalators and voice elevators are pretty good for an Indian! The Dubai ones however were unexpectedly extravagant! A lot of the metro stations were better than Indian five star hotels in terms of ambiance!

Khalid Bin Al Waleed Metro Line Junction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They could make it simple plain tiles etc.. but instead it very well designed!

 

 

 

So it was very cool to all of a sudden step out into a brilliantly well designed platform! It would be good for people’s morale I am sure!

Station Names

This was another interesting fact and it makes transport a lot easier for a tourist. Consider that a tourist wishes to go to the Dubai Mall – the largest mall in the world by metro. So generally he would have to find out which station he needs to go to and then go to the mall from that station. In Dubai the station itself is called Dubai Mall!

All station names are names of the famous buildings there! Some of the names are Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa, Mall of Emirates, Financial Center, Deira City Center etc… this makes it a lot simpler for a tourist. These names can actually be very confusing because they are often in the native language, so Dubai seems to have brought in this subtle difference that is a big aid to tourists.

When you think about it we could easily merge the landmark n area names and make them the same. Good sense! 🙂

Train Lines

This can often be a major confusion. I remember in Kuala Lumpur there were like some 3 or 4 different lines and I had just given up on them! Dubai goes ahead and simplifies it admirably!

Red Line. Green Line. (Blue Line, Purple Line are yet to come). All the maps show these different lines in the respective contrasting colors and it is a lot simpler to grasp. It probably also helps Dubai’s huge expat population out by making them feel in a more neutral, not-a-strange-culture place.

Pride in various aspects of the City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its a very simple layout so far. I wonder where the Blue and Purple Lines will be...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So easy station names and train lines overall using the Dubai Metro is very simple. The design and ambiance makes it very refreshing too!

Accessibility

They have the usual braille marking in elevator buttons and clear directions. Pregnant women and disabled people have special seats and also a separate small compartment. I don’t know whether there are any more special stuff for people with disabilities because they tend to be subtle and I may not notice!

Braille Markings on elevator buttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall good experience. Even when there is a lot of rush its all quite relaxed. You can stand, get down, get in the train without much trouble. People with prams or any special needs are very often given way and seat by people.

Flipside: Seats

Often a trip in the metro just keeps you standing for the 30 – 45 mins. Most stations don’t have seats so we need to stand on the station for the train. The wait is usually less than 5 mins. Inside the train seats are very few, non – peak hours is not a problem but during peak hours we just have to stand the whole way. So especially after having roamed in the mall the whole day one just wants to sit!