The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of Al Ain, UAE.
Before getting into housing and what-not, I’ll start with saying that we rented our car from Thrifty Car Rental in the Al Ain Mall. We called around to a couple of different places and were given relatively the same information, but the gentleman there seemed extra kind and we were able to get a mid-sized sedan (a Toyota Yaris) for about 1299 dirhams per month (roughly $350 USD per month). That included two drivers (my wife and I), full insurance for any contingency, as well as full repairs and servicing whenever necessary. The car is spacious enough for 5 people and has ample trunk space. The only downside is that the car sits very low and sometimes scrapes a bit when going over large speed bumps in and around Al Ain.
One thing to keep in mind is that – if you decide to travel to Oman, you must secure Omani insurance. I believe the gentleman told us that you could get it in about five minutes and it costs 150 Dirhams per week.
We know a lot of other teachers were eager to jump the gun on renting a car, rushing to view apartments, and altogether trying to keep one step ahead, but the reality that we experienced is that there was ample time to do all of that without adding undue stress on ourselves or our little troopers we’re dragging along with us.
Alright. Now for the nitty gritty. We were given our housing instructions and they went something like this: ADEC would be working with two real estate agents from Al Qattara Real Estate, and we could choose where we wanted to live. Presenters came up to present their properties and give brief overviews of the wheres, whens, whats, and hows of each place.
There were two presenters, each from Al Qattara Real Estate providing two living spaces: Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium and Al Muwaji Village. Each had their ups and downs, but the Bin Zayed Stadium apartments were the talk of the town. There was a mad dash to get to the offices, but we waited until the end of the presentation and then took off with our other family who moved to Al Ain from El Paso. (*It’s a small world after all)
After paying a deposit of 4,000 AED (about 1,090 USD), we scurried off to see our new digs. We were given apartments right next door to each other and in the same building. How cool is that? When we arrived at the building and were taken upstairs to look at them, we were all extremely impressed. Okay, we were all SUPER excited and in disbelief about our good fortune. We had been given three bedroom apartments (with maid’s quarters) and three and a half baths. Pictures are posted below…[supsystic-gallery id=13]
One of the biggest takeaways from this experience was that we needed to have a good deal of cash (dirhams, specifically) on-hand to be able to pay for the deposit. We haven’t gotten our housing allowance, as of yet, and are still using our debit and credit cards from the states.
Teachers will not have their passports (ADEC still has them), and will not be able to withdraw large amounts at exchanges or banks without a passport. Typically, ATMs will only give out around 3-500 dollars (USD) in any one transaction, so the options become limited very quickly unless proper planning is in place. So, remember the seven Ps along with the five Ws. Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.