Dubai. Feeling dizzy. Temperature outside hits +37. Dry air mixed with exhausts make your lungs plead for some breath. What the hell am I doing here?
Wondering from day to day about my adventurous settling in Dubai, I question myself what exactly people do here?
As I recently spoke to Dubai ex-expat, originally from Germany, she bravely mentioned “Who comes to Dubai? People whose countries are in complete depression. Or those who failed to prove themselves at home and became exiles. Here they turn into kings” (implying on western Europeans). Yes, pretty rough, but surprisingly, majority would agree on the statement even though among “those” expats there are actually people who work and do a great job. Alas, I don’t see them much.
Another friend of mine grumbles about being managed by “bunch of fools without education, nor any common sense or at least knowledge about what they are doing. Typical Dubai”. These are the comments I receive on a regular basis and sadly – confirming it on my skin.
I agree with my friends up to a certain point, as I experience as much racism here and stupidity as anywhere in the world. One of my personal observations led me to conclusion that not having the “right passport” will knock you down the stairs. Then the trail becomes longer with really high steps.
It is rather sad to witness the culture of slavery in the country, where it is normal to be an “Ordinary laborer” as per the visa status. Let him be either garbage collector or constructor – there is name for any profession!
There is no respect and nobody cares. It’s being encouraged. Bring more people to work. Sorry, to toil.
Why am I still here? I came here by accident and I bought a pig in a poke. I never actually fancied the idea, but some forces brought me to the Arab world. I took a chance.
Despite the fact that I don’t feel comfortable in the country, I learned a lot. I put a sign “Observer” on my forehead , exploring, noting and making conclusions about what’s actually happening in the world. How bad or good the country is – it is part of the world which fascinates me and evokes my curiosity.
Here are the points of what I have learned and got shocked by within last six months:
1. Women’s rights. As per them, woman should be covered as she is a precious diamond, she is respected and loved. However, apparently there is a slight problem. According to one local female resource, local men do try to convince ladies to talk to them, asking for mobile numbers, and then if one does (because she is normally not allowed to, but if she’s in love with him, she can’t help herself. Understandable) the rumor is spread around stating she is an easy woman and ultimately no man will talk to her and worse – marry. It is difficult for woman to get married in such circumstances. Men word is stronger. Much stronger.
And although “woman” is a treasure, it is not applied to women of different religion somehow, therefore other women are all whores. Not fair, honestly. Not fair. Even though when I try to follow the rules of Dress, I am considered being “easy to access”. I am not. NOT.
As per the same local female resource, apparently it is not as safe to be here a woman as I expected. I was told all those stories about violence, rape, harassment and women being treated inappropriately (at least that’s what I feel when I am on the public beach) – with no chance to speak out. I dread coming out after sunset.
2. Roads. You don’t want to drive in Dubai. Getting out on the road can be easily confused with zoo-land. Hippos, monkeys, slow giraffes, everybody. Can’t count, but accidents happen every day and people just don’t learn. They simply stop and STARE, ultimately creating traffic jams. Not too smart.
3. Etiquette. Getting out of metro grants you another doze of aggressiveness as you need to push and shout asking CAN I COME OUT FIRST? Any basics of etiquette? No. Simply, no. Annoying. That was the rule my parents drilled into my head : Let the people come out first and then enter. If you open the door and somebody behind you – don’t slam. Hold it for a second.
Two phrases and the whole world can be changed.
4. Pollution and global warming. Difficult not to mention but, in the end, I even don’t want to start. No, no, no. Otherwise I gonna burst into never ending polemics with myself and become grey haired in one night because of stress. Just too much pollution and A/Cs.
5. Culture of money and glamour. Oh, how do they love money and being the richest, the tallest, the largest
and the biggest, the best, the best, the best. We have the highest building, the biggest shopping mall, the tallest fountains, the fastest roller coaster, the hottest weather, the most expensive muffin, the only Palm island, the largest flower park and the the and the. We are “THE”. Be proud. 50 years of history.
UAE nationality and passport are considered to be almost THE BEST to hold since the people are the apple of their government’s eye. Respect to the government as among 5 million people, approximately only 800,000 are locals. Thus you don’t have to do much being a local. Just live, enjoy your life and ask for more if you need. Somebody will take care.
Jealous? I am not. I was brought up in the country where you have to build your life up on your own and invent in order to differ. There is happiness without glamour. Not in Dubai though. Everything is extremely expensive.
6. Getting around and about. Yet not the perfect place to live in but nonetheless, in order to survive, I got out my optimism and found something that I haven’t experienced in other places. I’ve been to Guns’n'Roses concert and rode the fastest roller coaster. Being in the middle of everything is also an advantage for I can reach Seychelles in 4 hours flight. I’ve seen the most beautiful fountains ever (note, and the biggest). I have visited Mussandam with its dolphins and mountains(part of Oman in the UAE).
Yes, I feel unhappy as I can’t practice rock climbing as simply there are no rocks. Or do my Spanish lessons with painting alike as environment absorbs my inspiration with exhausts and dust. There are no sidewalks and it’s impossible to live properly without car. But.. I pull my wisdom out of shadow and pretend I am an explorer with big assignment – to understand the world of Middle East. Good luck to me.