One of the things I miss the most about living in Montreal is walking. The UAE is simply not a walking country. Granted, in the summer, we suffer through 4 months of hellish temperatures, but even in the winter, when the weather is perfectly mild, walking is a rarity.
In Montreal, I did not own a car, and I lived downtown, meaning almost everything was walking distance from my house. My first job was a 35 minute walk away, and in the summer, I'd enjoy walking through the downtown streets of Montreal, leading up to the old part of town. The fresh morning breeze, the amazing sunshine, the still-quiet streets... it was just the perfect way to start the day. In winter, I'd be too lazy and I'd take the metro instead. It took the same exact amount of time as walking there, but I'm sure you'll understand that there's nothing appealing about a 35-minute walk in -25 degree (or less!) temperatures.
My last job in Montreal was 20 minutes away from home, so again, walking to work became a routine I quite enjoyed in the morning and at the end of a long day. In the morning, I'd put my iPod on, and walk happily to the rhythm of my music, stopping halfway to pick up my daily dose of cappucino from Second Cup. At the end of the day, the walk was the ideal way to leave work behind (and indulge in a bit of window shopping too!).
In Montreal, I'd walk every day...I'd walk to the grocery store, to the shopping malls, to the bank, to the amazing little bakery that sold amazing bread (and the best chocolate raspberry cake on the face of this earth!), to the pharmacy, to the cinema...
In Dubai, even if I wanted to walk, there wouldn't be many places to do so, except in the mall really. I take my car to go to the grocery store that's less than a kilometer away! Dubai's infrastructure is simply not made for walking. The streets are too wide, the pedestrian areas are scarce, and crossing a street can prove to be a dangerous ordeal given the track record of some of the drivers here. When I was in Barcelona over a month ago, I enjoyed walking all over the city so much. I realised how much I'd missed the freedom of walking!
Dubai really needs a pedestrian area, where people can just enjoy a nice walk, do some shopping, or sit in a restaurant/cafe and enjoy a nice, relaxing moment. Enough with the skyscrapers and 6-lane highways! Why not come up with something quaint and different for a change?