Answered: 10 Mysterious Questions We’ve All Asked About The UAE

Yes, The Palm really is sinking.


Living in Dubai inevitably leads to a whole host of weird questions. More often than not, we just accept that we’ll never know the answers and go on with our day-to-day lives. Well, no more. You’re about to get an education.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to dig up some of the most mysterious questions about the UAE and find out the answers. You’re welcome.

1. Is The Palm really sinking?

There have been some mixed reports on this one. According to a recent geological survey, though, Palm Jumeirah sinking – at a rate of five millimetres per year, to be exact. On top of this, the incredible man-made island requires constant maintenance due to tidal erosion. It does look pretty, though.

thepalm sinks dubai

2. Does Abu Dhabi really seed the clouds to make it rain?

If you’ve ever wondered where Dubai’s random, unseasonal rain showers come from, you’re not alone. In short: yes, Abu Dhabi seed the clouds. This involves injecting salt crystals into (puffy) cumulus clouds by airplane, which increases moisture and causes a collision of droplets. Rain typically occurs 20 minutes after seeding.

rainclouds dubai

3. Why does it sound like marbles are dropping in the apartment above me?

It’s 3am. You’re lying in bed and suddenly hear marbles dropping in the apartment above you. No, it’s not a ghost. The most likely explanation is that your building’s air con system needs a flush. Apparently, the sound comes from the condensation pipes. You can get your head out from under the blanket now.

marbles dubai

4. Why is there a random Universal Studios sign in the desert?

It’s a gate that leads to nowhere. A solitary Universal Studios sign standing amidst the dunes. This was part of a planned project in 2008 for Universal Studios Dubailand; unfortunately things quickly ground to a halt as the recession hit – construction only got as far as the sign.

universalstudio dubai

5. Where did that massive abandoned plane come from in RAK?

If you’ve ever made a weekend trip to RAK, you’ll know what we’re talking about. Well, the abandoned aircraft is actually a Russian cargo plane purportedly owned by notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was banned from entering the UAE in the early 2000s. Theories suggest the plane was sold and stripped for scrap. Bout is currently serving a 25-year jail sentence in the US.

abandonedplane rak

6. Are The World Islands ever going to be ready?

Well, they sort of already are. The cluster of man-made islands has already opened The Island, a luxury beach club that’s part of the Lebanon complex. Further reports from earlier this year suggest the ‘Australasia Islands’ will soon be underway, while ‘Sweden Island’ is all set for completion by 2017. Watch this space.

world islands

7. Can you really fry an egg on the sidewalk in summer?

Well, sort of – but not really. A raw egg needs a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius to become a proper, firm fried egg. It may start to cook, but without a consistent heat source from the bottom, it’ll struggle to cook through. Your best bet is on a black marble slab in direct sunlight. Let us know how you get on.

fried eggdubai

8. Is Dubai going to introduce income tax?

Although the rumour mill has been churning, official reports from the UAE’s Ministry of Finance has ruled out any plans to impose income tax on individuals working in Gulf States. Having said that, we can’t help but feel it’s only a matter of time.

dubai taz

9. Is it safe for me to exercise outside in summer?

Looks like you won’t be able to use “it’s too hot” as an excuse anymore. As long as you drink enough fluids and avoid the hottest times of the day, it’s perfectly safe to exercise outside in summer. But don’t push things too hard, alongside the heat, humidity puts extra stress on the body.


10. How much glass did it take to build Burj Khalifa?

This is mainly because we wanted to know. Apparently, 26,000 panels were used on the exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa, installed by more than 300 specialists from China. In total, the glass covers an area of 1.8 million square feet – that’s nearly 40 football (soccer) pitches. Woah.

burj 4
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