There are a few things in the UAE that I think would be wise for the U.S. to adopt. Simply because they make my life easier or more interesting. Today I will mention two: traffic lights and text messages.
First, traffic lights are quite uncommon in Al Ain as most roads intersect at round-abouts rather than four-way stops. Generally, I think this works well for Al Ain. I say generally because there are a few times a week (rush hour and night-time) when I think that I’d prefer a light telling me (and everyone else) when to go. In the few places where traffic lights do exist, I appreciate the way the color changes. When the green light is about to change to yellow, it flashes before it changes. Then it turns yellow and then red very quickly. I like this because the flashing of the green light helps me to notice the change earlier than I might if it didn’t flash. The downside is that the yellow doesn’t last very long, so you really need to stop on the flashing, not on the yellow. But all in all, I think it is a much better system.
Ah, text messages. Whatever your feelings about them are, they are here to stay. In the UAE you are your phone number. Virtually every company or person you do business with asks for your phone number before they ask for your name. Generally speaking this is a good thing as it will allow you to receive free SMS (texts) for whatever service they are providing. Here are two of my favorite examples:
1) Every time I use my UAE debit card I get a text message telling me the type of transaction, location of transaction and amount. They will also send an SMS when my paycheck clears and probably any time anything happens with my account, but I’ve only experience these two things.
2) Last Saturday I made an appointment to see a doctor. Within a half hour of making that appointment I got a SMS that said “Thank you for making an appointment with Dr. Jim on …” Then the day before my appointment I got a text reminding me I had the appointment. So nice!!