United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates meaning United Country in the Middle East and sharing borders with Oman and Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. is a federation consisting of seven emirates: Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain and the largest Abu Dhabi which contains the capital city and accounts for 87% of the total U.A.E. landmass.
One of the most famous geographical features of the federation is the Palm Islands in Dubai.
They are the largest land reclamation projects in the world and are being created from sand dredged from the bottom of the Persian Gulf. Palm Jumeriah was the first to have residents located on the peninsula.
Palm Jebel Ali will likely become a large draw for the tourist industry in 2012 when Busch Entertainment Corporation opens the first of four theme parks including a SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
Emiratis are known for their hospitality; they feel honored when receiving guests and socializing with friends and relatives.
Guests are welcomed with coffee and fresh dates. Incense is passed around so that guests can catch the fragrance in their headwear.
Lunch is the main family meal and is eaten at home at around two o'clock. It usually consists of fish, rice, meat, and a vegetable dish. Many Emiratis prefer the traditional style of eating with the right hand.
The inhabitants of the Persian Gulf states have enjoyed camel racing for many years as it is considered a traditional sport.
Formalizing camel racing was one way of maintaining its central role in UAE life.
The U.A.E. has short torrential rain burst during the summer months often resulting in flooding of dry riverbeds called Wadi. Temperatures during the summer can reach 48 °C in some places and during the winter go as low as 10 °C.
A dry and dusty wind known as the Sharqi blows from the southeast with gusts up to 80 km/h and can make living on the coast unpleasant during the late summer months.
With sand storms reaching up to a thousand meters high it often shuts down airports for short periods of time.
Muslim 96% (Shi'a 16%), other (includes Christian, Hindu) 4%
One of the more traditional sports to be found the U.A.E. is camel racing which is much the same as horse racing. Football is a major sport in the federation, even though the United Arab Emirates Football Association was established in just 1971 it managed to have a team qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 1990.
In 2005 the team won the Kirin Cup after defeating the host country, Japan by one goal to nil.
From 2009 Yas Island will be host to a race in the Formula One Championship Circuit. It will be setup similar to Monaco with street and marina sections throughout the track. Largely due to the big expatriate Indian population, cricket is an immensely popular sport in the U.A.E. which is home to the governing body of cricket; the ICC.