Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Long and Short of it

Sometime last week UAE got her first GOLD ATM and is the first country after Germany to do so. Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel became the first hotel in the world to install "gold to go, a gold vending machine," The exterior of the machine is coated with a thin layer of gold and offers customers 320 items to choose from, ranging from gold bars that can weigh up to 10 grams, to customized gold coins. The Gold rates are constantly updated[every 10 mins] inside the shiny machine courtesy, a built-in computer connected to a dealer which sells gold online.

We discussed the news here in surprise and delight…….I mean, what next??? Imagine pushing money through a slot and getting gold in return. A definite jump from the age-old method of visitng a jewellery shop and selecting a piece after hours of careful scrutiny. Most of us got a kick out of it and are hoping they'll place a few of them in Dubai too......u bet 80% of the population will want to try it atleast once;-D.

Now that I think of it, UAE is always in the news for one record or the other. For a country which was just a desert in the 60’s to transform into the most happening hotspot of the Middle East in mere 20-30 yrs is a record achievement by itself. While the late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan is credited with both holding the young United Arab Emirates together after the British withdrawal in 1971, and overseeing the development of his own state[Abu Dhabi] during his 38-year reign, Dubai is treated as the brainchild of Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum and his visionary son, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the current ruler. Honestly, it’s hard to pick another country which has experienced such rapid changes in modern times.

Most of us are aware of the World’s tallest tower Burj Khalifa which was inaugurated early this year; at 2716.53 feet (828 m) high the Burj Khalifa located in Dubai has 160 floors & more than 500,000 sq m of space for offices and apartments-setting the new world record for the Tallest building.
It's about twice the height of the Empire State Building; you can see its spire from anywhere in Dubai[95km any direction] & lays claim to the highest occupied floor, the tallest service lift, the world's highest observation deck - on the 124th floor & with the world's highest mosque & swimming pool located on the 158th & 76th floors.

Spending more time on this line of thought I was staggered to find out so many biggest, largest, tallest, richest and fastest records of UAE that I simply had to put them down here…

Biggest man-made islands: The Palm Islands, Dubai are the world's biggest man-made islands and form the shape of a palm tree when seen from the sky. It houses a variety of tourist attractions like restaurants, spas and theaters, as well as residential homes.

Tallest hotel: The Burj Al Arab now synonymous with the image of Dubai is the tallest hotel in the world, standing at 320.94 m (1,052 ft) high from ground level to the top of its mast; built on a man-made island, the hotel shaped like a sail, has 202 suites, 28 'double-height' storeys and covers a total floor area of 111,480 m². It’s the world’s only 7 star hotel and every tourist takes atleast 1 picture with the imposing structure in the background as proof that he’s been to Dubai;-D.

Highest Date Palm cultivation: The UAE is recognised as the leading cultivator of date palms: In 2009, UAE received the Guinness records certificate, which reads: "The world record for the most palm trees planted in 10 years is 42 million and was achieved by the UAE."

World’s richest city: In March, 2007, the Forbes Magazine declared Abu Dhabi the richest city in the world. Its 420,000 citizens, who sit on one-tenth of the world’s oil, are worth about $17m apiece.

Fastest growing city: Dubai has been declared one of the fastest growing cities in the world; 15% of all building constructions during last 10 years in the world were done in Dubai and about 15 to 25% of the cranes of the world have been playing with 70 billion € have been currently invested in building projects there.

Among the other note-worthy records ….

The largest seashell mosaic: On 17 January 2010, Guinness World Records® was present in Dubai, UAE to adjudicate the record attempt for the largest seashell mosaic. The mosaic which was made entirely from seashells resembled Dubai’s police logo which is a dhow sailing on sea waves. The 60,000 seashells mosaic was built in 32 days and 59 persons took part in gathering and classifying the seashells.

Largest Acrylic Panel: The Dubai Mall aquarium was awarded the Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Acrylic Panel; at 750 mm thick, the acrylic viewing panel is built to withstand the enormous pressure of 10 million litres of water used in the aquarium, but transparent enough to give visitors clear views of the 33,000 plus marine animals on display.

Largest awareness ribbon of flowers: The largest awareness ribbon made of flowers was 28.71 m (94 ft 2 in) long and was made of 105,000 pink carnations. Unveiled on 16 November 2007, in Dubai, UAE, it was created on behalf of the Dubai Healthcare City to raise awareness for breast cancer research.

Largest inflatable sculpture: The largest inflatable sculpture in the shape of a bottle was 1500 m³ (52,972 ft³) in volume. The bottle was 25 m (82 ft) high and 11.9 m (39 ft) wide and was created by Vitaene C at the Dubai Shopping Festival in Dubai, UAE, on 28 January 2007.

Largest parade of Mercedes-Benz cars: The largest parade of Mercedes Benz consisted of 153 vehicles and was organised by Gargash Enterprises with the support of their customers. The convoy started in Dubai and ended at Endurance City, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, UAE, on 21 April 2007.

Tallest Flagpole: Abu Dhabi has a flagpole staking its claim as the tallest in the world, at 123 metres.

Costliest License plate: Another record-breaking feat for the capital came in February 2008, with the sale of the most expensive car plate in the world. License plate No. 1 was bought at auction for a staggering Dh52.2 million by Abu Dhabi businessman Saeed Al Khouri, breaking the previous record of plate No. 5, which was sold to his cousin for Dh25.2 million.

The world's largest cylindrical chocolate bar - weighing 370 kilos and measuring 2.25 metres in circumference and 82 cm in height was unveiled at Hamarain Centre as part of the Dubai Food Surprises event in Dubai.

The Not-So-Remarkable But Nevertheless Records……

Largest Cardboard Box Pyramid: Lulu Hypermarket in Dubai has built the ‘World’s Largest Cardboard Box Pyramid Display’ out of thousands of Air Wick Automatic Spray units.

Largest Kandoora: At 2008's Dubai Winter Shopping Festival, millions flocked to see THE WORLD'S LARGEST KANDOORA

Most clothes pegs clipped on one hand in one minute: is 48 and was achieved by Mohammed Ahmed Elkhouly (UAE) at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, UAE, on 21 April 2007.

World's biggest shopping trolley: Measuring 639cm in length, 250cm in breadth and 900cms high, it took 15 people five days to build it, and was constructed by Century Mall.

Largest Banner: The world's largest banner measuring 20,000 m² (215,278 ft²) was created for Sorouh Real Estate PJSC (UAE) by Ad-Air Group Plc (UK) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 22 October, 2007.

Largest mattress & bedset: Intercoil International who make beddings and orthopedic sleep products in the Middle East, won an accolade by the Guinness Book of World Records for manufacturing the largest mattress in 2000 and the largest bed set in the world, during DSF 2007.

Longest chopsticks: In April 2008, the Guinness Book of World Records sent a certificate to Dubai's Marco Polo Hotel confirming the hotel's entry for the longest wooden chopsticks in the world. At 22.5 feet long, the pair of chopsticks in Dubai beat the record set by China's Shenyang Province.

Highest amt of Cans crushed: The Coca-Cola Company sets the 69th new Guinness World Record in UAE for having the highest number of Burn energy drink cans crushed[61,106 cans in three minutes] during a monster truck show in Dubai, UAE, claiming a record announced by Guinness World Records.

The future records in store:

The largest Airport: The Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai is planned as the world's largest passenger and cargo hub, ten times larger than Dubai International Airport[this one is impressive by itself] and Dubai Cargo Village combined. With a 100,000 parking slots this air facility will also bear the distinction of having the largest parking facility in the world. It is 50% complete and if everything goes according to plan it will be fully operational by 2017.

Rotating Tower: The Dynamic Tower is due to be up and running by the end of 2010 will be the world's first moving building! This amazing 80-story tower with revolving floors will give the building a shifting shape, and will house 80 different suites and will never look the same twice, according to developers.

Longest driverless train: The Dubai Metro launched into operations in September last year is now only partially working; once both the red and green tracks are complete, Dubai Metro will enter the record books as the world’s longest as in lengthiest driverless train system.

UAE maybe a tiny dot on the world map but there’s no doubt about the fact that she’s keen to make her mark. Money has never been an issue in this part of the world; dearth of a good idea the only holdup. As of now the recession has been hard on the real-estate & automobile sectors but there’s no doubt that it is only a temporary hitch; the best my dear friends is yet to come.

P.s: I got some of the information from here, here, here and here. There could be a few records I may have missed out, so if any of you who know more drop me a line I’d love to add it here.


  1. Wow! gold to go sounds cool. You are very right, people will give it a go simply out of curiosity.

    Me & hubby so wanna have a holiday in this country of dreams, majestic and hi-tech. I so wanna get a bite of that massive chocolate bar :)

    Thanks for sharing this awesome info :)

  2. There's so much that the UAE has got to be proud of. The economic achievements you have mentioned. Its also an oasis of tolerance and modernity in a region where modernity of thought is in short supply. With so little other than oil, so much has been achieved. Especially Dubai - with no oil and still so much achievement. Yes, there were excesses and some of the marvels you have mentioned are white elephants. But then which country has not had excesses. The UAE has much to be proud of. That's why it attracts such wonderful people as the writer of this blog :)

  3. Will you be my tour guide Nancy? Seriously :-)

  4. WOW! There are sooo many achievements. I've always admired Dubai- and the couple times I've visited, I was very impressed...but now a Gold ATM- what next???? My goodness. I was amazed with the list of 'record breakers' which you noted. My head was swirling just thinking about each and every one of them. I have to parrot Agnes in her comment and say, "PLEASE be my tour guide the next time I come to Dubai!"

    p.s. I would say that Singapore might run a close 2nd to Dubai in transformation- not in holding the record for anything but in establishing itself as a nation to be reckoned with- considering the small beginnings...of course, Dubai still holds the record of having been nothing more than a desert and now being a thriving place!!

  5. @Nancy: U missed another major attraction nowadays - YOU (or rahter the thrill of discovering the faceless Nancy) ... Oh Lonely planet will love to have you on their panel... :D *Runs now as Nancy dusts her hands*

  6. Chatterbox: U must visit atleast once....its totally worth it but do take care to plan it during the cooler months.
    And u r welcome:-))!!!!

    Ramesh: Its also an oasis of tolerance and modernity in a region where modernity of thought is in short supply.
    Oooooh yes believe me I second u heartily on this point.

    Agnes, Anjuli: "Will you be my tour guide Nancy?"
    Yeah bhi koi poochne ki baat hai;-D

    Sagarika: Very funny, u r lucky I'm in a very happy frame of mind;-D!!!!

  7. super interesting read nancy! Most of all was the gold ATM! That's soooo kool! :)

  8. God! Hw bt ppl there donating some money :P :P

    Got to visit this *world record place* sometime soon ;) Lemme go call Bins ;)

  9. Wow, all of a sudden, I am really proud of being here :)

  10. Wow! That is a bunch of records!! I would love to try my hand at that gold vending machine :)

    We have a 3 hour halt at Abu Dhabi this time, on our way to India, I so wish they decide to install one at the airport too - duty free gold vending machine ;)

  11. n i leave this place more enlightened than what i was when i set foot ;)

  12. @Nancy: Huh? मैं समझा नहीं!

  13. Read that in a local paper here and was amazed,gold ATM.
    So nice of you to give a bunch of records.
    I wanna visit UAE soon,though its nearby,somehow cant make to it.

  14. Sunshine: Isn't it???? I was entranced for a few hrs;-D

    Swaram: Oh they donate....and generously too. Hmmmm.....another good idea for a post;-D. And do visit..its totally worth it!!!!

    Masood: Awww....thank U!!!!
    What.....u were not talking abt my page;-o????

    Smitha: LOL...dont worry the duty-free itself will distract u enough, hopefully next time;-D

    Blunt Edges: Oh u dont have to thank me...its my pleasure;-D

    Agnes: LOL....I meant 'What a question to ask???? Ofcourse I'll take u around';-D

    Ambulisamma: Do make the effort...its worth it though dont visit in the summer...but u already know tht, right;-P

  15. LoL @ Agnes' 2nd comment ;-)

    Sorry Nancy..your first post to go beyond my attention span. I got completely puzzled in all that largest,tallest,longest,biggest! :S

    Although I have no doubts that UAE Tourism Dept should most certainly be indebted to you!

  16. Wow !! Lots of interesting facts I never knew about !!
    I so want to visit this country once :-)

  17. Has anybody tried their hands at scrapping out the layer of gold on that vending machine??

    This is one City that went through such a fast transition. I still remember the Dubai I grew up which was less of tall structures and so much fun to live in. errr...am one of those who hates Tall Man Made Obstacles :(

    The highlight of your post was definitely that Huge Chocolate. How I wish I could take a few mouthful of it :)

  18. Has anybody tried their hands at scrapping out the layer of gold on that vending machine??

    This is one City that went through such a fast transition. I still remember the Dubai I grew up which was less of tall structures and so much fun to live in. errr...am one of those who hates Tall Man Made Obstacles :(

    The highlight of your post was definitely that Huge Chocolate. How I wish I could take a few mouthful of it :)

  19. Has anybody tried their hands at scrapping out the layer of gold on that vending machine??

    This is one City that went through such a fast transition. I still remember the Dubai I grew up which was less of tall structures and so much fun to live in. errr...am one of those who hates Tall Man Made Obstacles :(

    The highlight of your post was definitely that Huge Chocolate. How I wish I could take a few mouthful of it :)

  20. wah kya baat ha..gold thru ATM..I would love to try my hand at it..and so many milestone for such an small country !

  21. the longest post on UAE's extreme features: you know which:-) kidding aside, it was an eye opener. as for the gold ATM, you are right. everyone would like to give it a try at least once.

  22. Gold ATM - wow.

    watta list!

    I visited dxb for the first time in Jan this year. Managed to go up Burj Khalifa and visit Burj Al Arab (thanks to my super cool uncles! :D ). I'm awed by the place. deftly visiting dxb again for sure.

  23. I don't understand why my comments behave in such an uncivilized manner only at your place? It's like as if am standing on a mountain top and yelling out, the echo keeps coming back in sets of 3...grrrr

  24. I don't understand why my comments behave in such an uncivilized manner only at your place? It's like as if am standing on a mountain top and yelling out, the echo keeps coming back in sets of 3...grrrr

  25. I don't understand why my comments behave in such an uncivilized manner only at your place? It's like as if am standing on a mountain top and yelling out, the echo keeps coming back in sets of 3...grrrr

  26. seriously??? a gold atm? just for the experiece of it i wanna buy gold from it!!
    tell me when you do :)

    and *sheepish grin* have to admit....i have a picture at most of those places u mentioned coz they are the tallest/largest/biggest/other such unique charactericstics in the world! :D

  27. I do wish somebody would give you some credit for promoting UAE like this. I mean seriously, u know more that I managed to in the 14 years that I studied there!!!!

    LOL at Agnes response! She totally cracks me up?

    Hmmm... I wondering if Swaram is calling me to check if I'd like to travel with her to dxb!!!! :D

  28. Longest chopsticks, huh?? Now the record will be to see somebody eating with it!!!

  29. Seriously???? A gold vending machine? Where am I living, I think? :)

    Yeah, UAE is all this and so much more. Like you, I'm also one of those who'll never give up on this country coz it has been extremely nice to me :)

  30. WOW! To think I still need to see most of these - surely need to plan another trip to Dubai!

  31. Hey... ! and I need to even see Germany - inspired by the world's first Gold ATM! The other day we went to see an apartment in Mannheim and had to pass through the area populated with mostly Turks - there were gold jewelry shop all around as in India. They were the first ones I saw in Germany.

  32. vooooow,Nancy!! Awed at your efforts to write them down so well, what with measurements, exact years and all!! Take a bow!!Definitely a wonderful blogger, you are!!

    Have heard of Burj, the rotating tower and the palm island. Everything else is new to me, thanks to you!!

  33. Very educational post though I am not sure if people like me will trust a machine to dispence the right kind of gold.

  34. first time commenter...found you through anjuli. this is a fascinating walk through the uae. and i appreciate your leading with the gold vending machine. you drew me in. the photo of the palms island captures my imagination. i used to be a daily newspaper reporter, and a serious one. you are a terrific reporter at heart. glad i stopped by. will be back.

  35. Gold ATM??? WOW!!! That is something!!

    And that is a huge list of achivements have actually never padi any attntion towards that part of the world!

  36. wow thats sooo much of info and I didnt knew most of it, so thanks for bringing it up.

    How are you doin?????

  37. well that is the positive side, the negative is that in its race to be the tallest, the longest, the costliest and the richest...etc, it forgot some of the ground rules, and the effect of which is being seen now...it was a ballon full of hot air that has exploded..
    It is more like a dream that suddenly turned into a nightmare, thank God for Abu Dhabi...otherwise the nightmare would be worse...
    But still I like the spirit of the country, it welcomes everyone, even expatriates, with open arms and allows them to expand...and grow...now that has to be commended plus the power to dream, that is something to be commended too.
    Metro and the Burj Khalifa are greats too, but then why?why have a burj khalifa that is mostly empty...!and which is not a very sustainable choice in buildings...
    Nancy, these are just my views..but u have taken so much effort in correlating so much information, for that hats off to u!

  38. Lostworld: Mark my words u r sooo going to regret it one day when u'll be visiting Dubai someday and thinking I wish I had read Nancy's post carefully & memorised all the details;-D

    Dil Se: U must....its so worth it...during the DSF is the best time:-)).

    Cracked Chronicles: LOL even if it was easy to scrape off I doubt anybody who can afford to stay there wd think it was worth all the trouble when all they had to do was to push some of their loose change thru the slot to get the good stuff;-D.

    Renu: When are u coming over;-D???

    Lan: The idea seems to be catching on....sooon u'll find tht there's one popping up next to where u r located;-D. Thats wht atleast I'm hoping;-P

    Sriram: Aha u've done Burj Khalifa huh.....most people are totally impressed after visitng. Do try making it during the DSF....another something which is totally worth it:-))

    Sakshi: LOL havent u hrd of the phamous pazhancholl "onnil pizhachaal moonu";-D.

    Limenlemons: Hehe most of us have those pictures u mentioned. So u've been here huh...I bet u did the desert safari too;-D

    Butterfly: Oh I wish somebody did that tooo....give me credit I mean;-P
    So...have u and Swaram booked ur tickets yet;-D????

    Sparkling: Didnt u know....u must have been super busy really not to have hrd abt it;-o. And yes I love the country inspite of everything;-)

  39. very informative and nice ...I wish I could be lving there for soem time...well may be after the children are in college and dont need mummy around...and I am back after a long break!

  40. OMG! That is quite a lot of 'biggest', greatest' etc. I proudly and gleefully passed on the info of gold vending machine to S :) and also added that reading blogs is indeed sooo useful :)(I am not being sarcastic. i do mean it)

    Nice post!


  41. I keep telling my husband to make a plan, as CCIL has made a resort there also:)

  42. When I'm in Dubai next,you'll take me to all these places, right?? :P :P

    Yes the development of UAE, more specically Dubai in such a short span has been exemplary.

  43. Colours: If u havent then another trip to Dubai definitely needs to be planned;-D.
    Honestly its surprising how much we dont know about a country even after staying there for so many years.

    RS: Thank U for the lovely words:-))!!!! Encouragement always makes me want to try harder.

    A: Hehe I get ur point but if u ever stayed in UAE u wdnt say tht. The police here takes a very serious view of crime and there's no way anybody will get away with this kind of fraud:-).

    Ed Pilolla: Thank U, I'm overwhelmed by ur comment really:-))

    Smita: I get wht u say, most people dont even know a place like UAE exists:-)

    Sadiya: Dont mention it, a pleasure always:-)
    I'm doing good....tho was terribly busy the past week:-P

    Sindhu: Hehe ur comment is loaded one and it requires more than a simple explanation....u've mentioned too many things.
    I'm going to go out of context here....but it reminded me of a quote when Graham Bell was trying to patent his invention "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
    - Western Union internal memo, 1876

    I know there is no similarity between the two but have u noticed....anybody who dreams big has a 1000 people eager to trash his idea & maybe just 1 or 2 willing to give him a chance.
    U do know this isnt directed at u personally coz I know u were approaching the post from a reporters angle but there r many in Dubai itself, proud to be living here & enjoying all its comforts & attractions & yet dont think twice abt mocking its efforts to find a place on the tourist map.
    I agree the recession has been particularly harsh on Dubai but I dont believe for a second this is the end. It will take some time but Dubai is going to come back with a bang and what a blast its going to be....yeah, yeah I know wht u r thinking right NOW;-D

  44. Vinoo John: It is indeed an experience to stay here and mind u....after experiencing the comforts u may even not want to move away from here;-D

    Preeti Shenoy: LOL I bet every woman who found out did tht;-D. And thank U:-))!!!

    Renu: Yes I knw, they were trying to sell us a memebership a few months back. U must definitely make plans then;-D

    Deeps: That depends on whether u are willing to meet me in the first place;-D
    Oh yes the changes are very visible & obvious to everybody; which is why everybody who considers the ME hopes he gets to work in Dubai;-D

  45. Wow..Lot of records..Never knew even 1/4 th of this..I love Dubai,maybe more than my homeland... If given a chance to opt place of living,i would opt Dubai...

    An ideal example of wise use of oil money..They have provided job to a major section of people,especially Keralaites...Thanks to those Sheikhs..

  46. Nimmy: U r right, even I've noticed most people if offered a chance to live anywhere in the ME they'll autopmatically opt for Dubai;-D

  47. awesome! i am dying to visit and see the tallest, largest, biggest etc etc :)
    rotating towers sound soo exciting :) and so does palm islands :)

  48. Saima U must visit....atleast once;-D!!!!

  49. And u know my cousin once wrote, Dubai is the capital of Mumbai..in its spirit it is great! But I am still skeptic..it is a lot PR too!

  50. You just need to be named as the Tourism Minister for UAE !!! LOL !!! Looks like Dubai is beckoning me !!!

  51. LOL Sindhu....typical reporter buddhi urs is;-D

    Uma...Dubai sure is....beckoning u ie;-D.

  52. you forgot few more worth mentioning facts:

    I live here :) And so do you :D

  53. Hahaha.....how I cd I forget an important detail like tht;-D

  54. Wow, awesome Nan. A teeny tiny country has achieved so much... I wish our larger countries could implement the same atleast in a small and local way...
    And gold ATMs.. that is really fascinating!!
    So one does not need to face grumpy sales men/women and be pressurised to buy something just because you have spent an hour in the store ;-)))

  55. Wow! Gold ATM ?? And the rest of it!! Awesome!!


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