Woman becomes first female train driver in the Middle East

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A 28-year-old woman from Dubai has become the first female train driver in the UAE and, in fact, the whole of the Middle East.

Mariam Al Safar is one of just a few UAE residents qualified to get behind the controls of a Dubai Metro train, and the only woman, according to the Daily Mail.

Dubai's metro system, which has been described as the most advanced in the world, is actually manned by an automatic driving system. But the metros still need manual operation when they are under overhaul or when accidents happen.

Faith Mutune, Mariam Al Safar s colleague, told the Dunya News: "She is the first local to drive. She was the only train attendant (when) we had a local. She is very hard working. She works early to come to work. She does night shifts, and she is everywhere."

Miss Al Safar told Gulf News: "I am always open to challenges and I am not afraid to take risks. I work hard and my job is my top priority."

Unlike some countries in the Middle East, Dubai has seen a rise in women successfully entering traditionally male-dominated workplaces thanks to a government drive to empower women.

Mariam added: "The government is always pushing women to be leaders of the future, so they are encouraging women to enter different fields."

Take a tour of Atlantis...
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Woman becomes first female train driver in the Middle East

A simple eight hour flight from Heathrow (or Manchester) and you arrive in a whole new world.

There are bejewelled fishy murals everywhere you look, there is gold, there is some more gold and there is a gold bullion vending machine. Leave the puritan in you at home.

Jaw-dropping opulence. Chic and understated, Dubai is not.

Installed in the main lobby of The Atlantis is a huge glass installation by US artist Dale Chihuly, you’ll walk past it every day, and it will still take your breath away.

If you wondering what could possibly be inside the huge archway that separates the two towers of Atlantis, then yes it’s one suite.

The Bridge Suite is the most luxurious of them all with wall-to-ceiling views of Palm Jumeirah, huge sun terraces and more opulence than you can imagine.

If you’re lucky enough to stay here you’ll have your own butler, a designated chef and hand soap made with real gold leaf.

For families. Your kids will be in raptures at the site of the 11 million litre aquarium (complete with sharks, massive sting rays and the odd diver).

There is a Kids Club and a Teen Zone (where parents are strongly forbidden to enter), and then the waterpark, the famous waterpark...

Aquaventure is the Middle East’s largest waterpark and is set into a backdrop of 42 tropical acres.

If you think you’re one of those people who “don’t do waterparks”, then you’ve got a surprise in store.

Whilst everyone else is charging about on water rollercoaster’s that weave in and out of the landscape and through tunnels of fish, or riding waves that reach swells of a metre high, or even plunging 27 metres in a near vertical drop, you could be lazing along in a rubber ring watching the world go by. Or, you could just go out there, and get involved!

You’ve got to swim with dolphins.  It’s everyone’s childhood wish come true right?

At Dolphin Bay you are led into the water and taught about these amazing creatures, next minute you’re having a hug, then an actual kiss.

If you want to take this holiday romance one step further, then you can swim into the deep waters of the lagoon and get taken for a ride.

Because this is Dubai, every taste is catered for. Pick a mood and there is a restaurant to suit it.

Ronda Locatelli is Michelin star chef Giorgio Locatelli’s rustic little Italian place; there is the award winning Seafire steakhouse (TimeOut Dubai  Restaurant Award 2011 ‘Best Steakhouse’) where the meat is imported from Australia on a daily basis, and Nasimi Beach where you can hang out in private cabanas and be served seafood platters and cocktails as you lounge in the sun.

If you’re really going to do it in style, then you should treat yourself at the gastronomic orgy that is Nobu.

The miso black cod is what everyone talks about (so obviously you’ll have to try that), the yellow tail tuna sashimi with jalapeño will knock your socks off (so dress smart), and the Kobe beef is so delicate that whenever you eat steak again, you’ll feel sad.

There is also a famous Nobu cheesecake that will transform your idea of what a cheesecake should be.

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