Saturday, September 6, 2008

10 things I hate about Dubai

Since we’re in the month of Ramadan, leisure options are currently spread thinly in the Middle East. What to do, what to do? So I’ve decided to use the time to think carefully about those little things in Dubai that I just cannot make peace with. After one year of being based here, there are still many. Ready? Here goes…

1.) The traffic
Need I say more? Hopefully the city planners are working on a speedy solution.

2.) The taxis
After waiting four hours in a taxi queue the last thing you feel like is marrying the driver. Especially if it smells like there’s a bucket of pooh under his seat and you get home with whiplash.

3.) The exorbitant prices
Last week I paid around $40 for six months worth of bank statements. Daylight robbery!

4.) The lack of fresh food
Ok, I know, it’s the desert and everything has to be imported and kept cool but it’s just so sad to see those tired tomatoes on the shelves.

5.) The rude children
“My son does not speak to slaves,” one local mother told me after a kid threw something at me when I approached him. I’ve been called many names before but that was a first.

6.) The censored media
While many websites are blocked here, the most interesting pages in the local newspapers are the lifestyle supplements and recipes. Go figure.

7.) The lack of labour laws
I have listened to many sad expat stories and it doesn’t matter how much money you pay someone if you take away their humanity. But - labour unions are considered treason.

8.) The strict laws that gets Westerners behind bars every day
Drugs such as codeine which is available over the counter in many countries, is illegal in Dubai and can get travellers in jail. As will trace amounts of recreational drugs on your clothes. What’s more, in a rape case there is a danger of the victim being tried as a prostitute or homosexual.

9.) The unequal treatment of foreigners
While the 80% expat community keeps Dubai running, they will always come second to the locals who often gets away with committing crimes, even against foreigners.

10.) The superficiality
Artificial beaches, islands, boobs, chickens and even fake friends. In an increasingly cold digital world, it's no wonder that this city is becoming so popular.

Wow, it really feels good to get that off my chest. Perhaps now I can start working on a list of ten things (I will scratch until I find ten) I love about Dubai. Watch this space.


po said...

Hey, I have visited Dubai quite often. I didn't fit in at all with the super wealthy shopping, spa-visiting, private club lifestyle. But the fact that the crime rate is zero was fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lize - I've been there a few times before - on my most recent visit I finally decided...I dont like the place too much...

Emma said...

You're absolutely right in your assessment of dubai. It's nice to see other people have their own mind-unfortunately much of the Middle East, i.e. Oman, Bahrain, Qatar are slowly but surely turning into Dubai. However unpopular this observation may be, it is 100 percent true!