The Top 20 Reasons Not to Move to Dubai (in no particular order!)

Living in Dubai is not wonderful and glamorous, as many would have you believe.  Forget about what you’ve read, seen, and heard; those shiny buildings and manmade islands are all just smoke and mirrors.  There are so many things wrong with this place that I have decided to compile a list, a must read if you are considering a potential move to Dubai.

  • 1. There is no standard address system making mail-to-the door delivery impossible.  In fact, it makes anything nearly impossible.  The taxi driver, here for only two days, and having learned English from old Beatles albums has no clue where your house is.  He won’t tell you that of course, he’ll just keep calling and saying, “Okay, okay.  Yeah, yeah.”  When you purchase something that requires delivery they do not have an address line, but a box where you are expected to draw a map.  Not able to draw a map?  Explain like this: I live on the street after the airport road, but before the roundabout.  Go past the mosque and make a U-turn.
  • 2. The government blocks all web sites that it deems “offensive” to the “religious, moral, and cultural values” of the UAE.  That’s hard to swallow for a freedom loving American, but I get it.  I do not understand, however, why all VOIP access and related web sites are blocked.  I guess the government also takes offense to people inexpensively contacting their families back home.  You’re welcome to call using the analog service provided by the government-owned telephone monopoly, but it will cost you a whole lot more.  So much so, in fact, your frequency of calls will be greatly diminished if you can afford them at all.  The government says VOIP is blocked for security reasons, yet even the residents of communist China and North Korea have access to these inexpensive calls.
  •  3. It is really hot outside.  Not Florida in July hot; Hot as if you were locked in a car in Florida in July with sufficient humidity to make it feel as though you are drowning.  Hot as in 120 degrees with nearly 100% humidity.  Do not look to the wind for relief.  This is the equivalent of pointing a hairdryer on full blast directly at your face.  Pour fine moon dust-like sand over your head as you do this and you get the picture.
  • 4. There are too few trees, plants, and grass – or living things aside from us crazy humans, for that matter.  Ever see a bird pant?  I have.  In my opinion, human beings were not meant to live in such a place.  If we were, there would be sufficient water and shade.  The only greenery around are the roadside gardens planted by the government, who waters the hell out of them in the middle of the day.  Thanks a lot!  Didn’t you say we should cut down on our water consumption because you are unable to keep up with the demand?  I have an idea: let’s all move someplace where it’s not 120 degrees outside.
  • 5. This country prides itself so much on its glitz and glamour that it put a picture of its 7-star hotel on the license plate. Yet, the public toilets in the king-of-bling Gold Souk district are holes in the ground with no toilet paper or soap.  Hoses to rinse your nether regions, however, are provided.  This results in a mass of water on the floor that you must stand in to pee.  Try squatting without touching anything and keeping your pants from touching anything either.  Oh yeah.  It’s 120 degrees in there too.
  • 6. This country encourages businesses to hire people from other poor countries to come here and work.  They have them sign contracts that are a decade long and then take their passports.  Even though taking passports is supposedly illegal, the government knows it happens and does nothing to enforce the law. These poor people are promised a certain pay, but the companies neglect to tell them they will be deducting their cost of living from their paychecks, leaving them virtually penniless – that is, if they choose to pay them.  Companies hold back paychecks for months at a time.  When the workers strike as a result, they are jailed.  Protesting is illegal, you see (apparently this law IS enforced).

These people will never make enough to buy a ticket home and even if they do, they do not have their passports.  They live crammed in portables with tons of others, in highly unsanitary conditions.  The kicker: they are building hotels that cost more to stay in for one night than they will make in an entire year.  Things are so bad that a number of laborers are willing to throw themselves in front of cars because their death would bring their family affluence in the form of diya, blood money paid to the victim’s family as mandated by the government.

  • 7. Things are not cheaper here.  I’m sick of people saying that.  I read the letters to the editor page of the paper and people say to those who complain about the cost of living rising here, “Well, it’s cheaper than your home country or you wouldn’t be here.”    The only thing cheaper here is labor.  Yes, you can have a maid – but a bag of washed lettuce  will cost you almost $10.
  • 8. There are traffic cameras everywhere.  I consider this cheating.  Where are the damn cops?  I drove around this city for weeks before I ever even saw a cop.  Trust me, they need traffic cops here.  People drive like idiots. It’s perfectly okay to turn left from the far right lane, but speeding even just a couple of kilometers over will get you fined.  These cameras are placed strategically as you come down hills, or just as the speed limit changes.  Before you know it…BAM!  Fined.  Forget to pay the bill and your car will be impounded..
  • 9. The clothing some of these women wear makes no sense to me.  I understand that as part of your religion you are required to dress in a particular way, but a black robe over your jeans and turtleneck and cover your head when it is 120 degrees outside?  In the gym some women wear five layers of clothing…sweatpants and t-shits over sweaters with headscarves.  Yet the men’s clothing makes absolute sense: white, airy, and nothing underneath but their skivvies.
  • 10. People stare at you.  I am sick of being stared at.  I’m stared at by men who have never seen a fair-skinned blue-eyed woman before, or who have and think we are all prostitutes so it’s okay to stare.  They stare at me when I am fully covered or with my husband, and even follow me around.  It’s beyond creepy and has brought me to tears on more than one occasion.  The staring is not limited to men, either.  I’m stared at angrily by female prostitutes who think I am running in on their territory by having a few drinks with my husband at the bar.
  • 11. Prostitutes?  Oh hell yes, there are prostitutes.  Tons of them.  So, let me get this straight, I can’t look at a naked picture of a person on the Internet in the privacy of my home, but it is okay to go out in public and buy a few for the night?
  • 12. Alcohol can only be sold in hotels and a handful of private clubs.  A person must own a liquor license to consume in the privacy of their own home.  To obtain a liquor license you must get signed approval from your boss, prove a certain level of salary that determines how much you are allowed to buy, and then submit several mug shots (aka passport photos) for approval.  Pay the fee and the additional 30% tax on every purchase and you may drink at home.  Then again, you can just pick up a few bottles in the airport duty free on your way in to the country, but two is the max.  Why not just drive out to Ajman where it’s a free-for-all and load up the SUV?  It’s easy enough, but crossing the Emirates with alcohol is illegal – particularly in the dry emirate of Sharjah, which just happens to lie between Dubai and Ajman.  Go figure.
  • 13. Not only do you have to get your boss’s approval to obtain a liquor license, but you must also get the company’s approval to rent property, have a telephone, or get satellite TV.
  • 14. Back to the craziness on the roads: If I see one more kid standing up and waving to me out the back window while flying down the road at 160 kph…whatever happened to seatbelts?
  • 15. When is the weekend again?  Let me get this straight: the weekend used to be Thursday and Friday, but no one took off all of Thursday, just a half day really.  Now the government says Friday and Saturday are the weekend, but some people only take off Friday, others still take a half day on Thursday, but some might just take a half day on Saturday instead.  Anyway you slice it, Sundays are workdays and little business can be accomplished Thursday through Saturday.
  • 16. There are few satellite television operators:.  The movie channels play movies that are old and outdated.  Many of them went straight to video back in the States.  Every sitcom that failed in the US has been purchased and is played here.  Old episodes of Knight Rider are advertised like it is the coolest thing since sliced bread.  The TV commercials are  repeated so often that I am determined NOT to buy anything I see advertised on television here just for thee principle of it.  When I say repeated often, I mean every commercial break – sometimes more than once.
  • 17. The roads are horribly designed.  Driving ten minutes out of the way to make a U-turn is not uncommon.  People are not able to give directions most of the time (remember reason #1), and the maps are little help because most have few road names on them, if any.  Where is interchange four?  You just have to hope you got on the freeway in the right place and start counting because they are not numbered.  Miss it and you’ll likely end up on the other side of town before you are able to turn around and go back.
  • 18. Taxi drivers are dangerous and smell. Taxi drivers work very hard here to earn a living because travel by taxi is still relatively inexpensive, even though the cost of living is not (see reason #7).  Because of this you may have a driver who has had little sleep or the opportunity to shower for several days.  Many of these drivers have just as much difficulty finding their way around as you do, but add to this a third-world country driving style and extreme exhaustion and, well, remember to buckle up for safety.
  • 19. Speeding is an Emirati sport and Emirates Road is just an extension of the Dubai Autodrome.  I know I keep mentioning the roads, but really, much of this city’s issues are encompassed by the erratic and irrational behavior displayed on its streets.  Visions of flashing lights on even flashier, limo-tinted SUVs haunt me as I merge on to the highway.  Local nationals are somehow able to get the sun-protecting dark window tint denied to us lowly expats and use it to hide their faces as they tailgate you incessantly at unbelievably high speeds, their lights flickering on and off and horn blaring repeatedly.  It doesn’t matter that you can’t get over, or if doing so would be particularly dangerous, they will run you off the road to get in front of you.  Don’t even think about giving someone the finger; the offense could land you in jail.  Tailgating is, unbelievably, legal.
  • 20. Dubai is far from environmentally friendly.  Ever wonder how much damage those manmade islands are doing to the delicate ocean ecosystem?  Coral reefs, sea grasses, and oyster beds that were once part of protected marine lands lie choked under a barrage of dredged up sea sand.  Consider the waste that occurs from erecting buildings on top of these sand monsters and from the people that occupy them coupled with the lack of an effective recycling program and you have an environmental disaster on your hands.  Add to this more gas guzzling SUVs than fuel-efficient cars on the road and the need for 24-hour powerful air-conditioning and its evident that the environment is not high on the priority list of the UAE.

So while I’m sure there are benefits to living in Dubai, tax breaks, multi-cultural environments, and beautiful buildings aside, reconsider your plans to move here if any of the above mentioned reasons strikes a chord within you.  Dubai is a city caught in an identity crisis.  Struggling somewhere between its desire to be a playground for the rich and its adherence to traditional Islamic roots, rests a city that lacks sufficient infrastructure to support its delusions of grandeur.  Visit if you must, but leave quickly before you are sucked into its calamitous void.

By Tia O’Neill

Posted under , ,

This post was written by bullets on June 25, 2008

48 Comments so far

  1. EEe June 26, 2008 10:18 am

    But what are you doing there if you dislike it that much? It looks to me you have some other issues 🙂 One minute you complain about speeding tickets, and then you complain about other cars speeding.
    For the rest, please visit Las Vegas 🙂

  2. JV June 26, 2008 6:45 pm

    Welcome to the Future – hope you like it. Minus the shiny buildings, you just described Dick Cheney’s vision of the future for anyone who isn’t in the upper crust of the world elite. Common people are to be treated like chattle for their amusement and profit. And to think, 50 million americans voted for these assholes.

  3. Ricardo Munoz June 28, 2008 8:10 pm

    Reason not to move to Dubai:

    11 Prostitutes??????????? Oh come on, perhaps you should look in other planets for avoiding these.

    I see your point demystifying the so called Ultra first world of Dubai, but you sound that you have a particular hate for third world countries.

    May be you should´ve stayed in your RV in Arkansas.

    On the other hand People staring at you may be giving you the clue to a new modeling career for you, with your blue eyes and everything.


  4. Jamaipanese July 10, 2008 8:32 pm

    some of the points in this list sound so racist and biased

  5. khod July 12, 2008 7:33 am

    because it is biased. first off, they aren’t wearing turtle-necks and blah blah blah under their robe.. appropriately dressed; but that’s a concept that is foreign to you apparently.

  6. comon. July 12, 2008 7:13 pm

    Give her a break. You all have complaints about something, and obviously she does not like where she lives. Dubai is meant to be a place of “luxury”, but this list is suppost to show what it really is. Especially the part about labour. It makes me mad to know that people this much money feel that they can do anything or make anything illegal…wtf no street signs?

  7. Retardo Munoz July 18, 2008 5:15 pm

    I’m not exactly sure what’s wrong with any of you. This country sucks in my opinion and I couldn’t agree more! She lists great points, which in fact are true.

    Think about some of this shit.

    Who in the hell wants to wear so much clothing when it’s that hot out as it is. Yes it may be their culture and all to do so but I doubt they really want to. They believe women should be covered from head to toe so that men can resist them by not seeing skin. Is that right?

    I agree with the prostitute issue. It’s cool for prostitutes to be out but you aren’t allowed to visit any website in the privacy of your home that may be offending to them. That’s completely ridiculous.

    And anyone that is going to pick apart her words when she mentions about her having blue eyes is just downright ignorant. If you really think about it, no one from that country looks like that. They are dark with dark features. I understand where she’s coming from. It’s rude to stare at a person just because they are in your country and look a different way. She paid her passport, therefor she can travel there and make notes on how shitty of a country it is.

    But most importantly in my opinion, those assholes have so much money because of their oil and instead, our government along with their decisions fucks us royally because… well, they can.

  8. Expert Traveler July 20, 2008 9:32 pm

    Reason 21: To avoid douche bags like the author of this post.

  9. Acoma July 21, 2008 11:06 am

    Retardo Munoz, do you not stare at people covered in the hijab or any other dress form who are “not from your country and look at different way” where you are from? or are you from the states where you’re all living in “freedom”?
    Tia talks about a lack of an address system, but honestly, how many countries other than western countries (or countries such as Japan) have such a system? You don’t see that anywhere else in the middle east, africa, or china for that matter. seems that Tia is a bored-at-home housewife who moved to Dubai to live with her husband probably making alot of money. But she’s sad, misses her family and her all to evident comfort zone of the USA. Stop complaining, woman, and move on with your own life if you’re unhappy: don’t blame it on the “others” and everyone take the racist steps out of your opinions

  10. Acoma July 21, 2008 11:14 am

    that is to say, Dubai is not perfect. no city or society is. you can only go as far as to say which society or culture you prefer, and why. when you begin to feel racist sentiment in someones stance, you’re dealing with a whole other issue. I’ve lived in Muscat, Dubai and Montreal and i can clearly express to everyone that i find montreal to be the best society for me in which to live. i value the liberties and lifestyles here. but i also value the traditions in muscat and dubai, and the governments attempts to keep a society running amidst an identity crisis and through a very strongly felt western encroachments in all aspects of life.

  11. Toni July 21, 2008 8:17 pm

    Everyone’s entitled to bitch, but this needs to be appreciated for what it is, namely an ignorant and arrogant person’s ranting on a culture she does not understand.

    first of all, you are religiously intolerant of muslim dress (ever heard of a hajib? bet not!); what if someone commented on the absurdity of the cross you wear?

    The assertion that taxi drivers smell is by far the most ludicrous claim. Do they all smell? Do they in fact smell more than taxi drivers in other countries? I would greatly enjoy reading the demographic research on that one.

    And to the fact that people are staring at you, it is human nature to stare at at things which are different from the norm. A lot of metropolitan cities are saturated with a number of cultures so it may not seem as much a shock, but don’t you think a black man would get a second look this day walking around the streets of birmingham? or how about a white woman walking through the poorest part of brooklyn? Besides that, I’m sure your fanny pack and patriotic t-shirt did not help your blending in.

    Different cultures have different ideas of what is socially acceptable, how to behave in a social situation, how far away to stand from someone. Far be it from you to foist your own values onto another culture as the proper way to behave.

    Please learn some cultural sensitivity before spouting your mouth off again. It only wastes our time and serves to make you look bad.

  12. Andy July 22, 2008 6:00 am

    People will complain about anything… And I’m not talking about the author, I’m talking about the comments.

  13. craig July 25, 2008 5:04 pm

    You can actually use skype, its illegal but the chat works and so what theyre pritecting their telecoms industry use msn which is almost the same and its not illegal and you can chat for nowt. As for the heat, its all air conned. Fuck, who moves to a desert then complains about the heat. What did you think itd be like. As for her moaninng about staring, thats natural in any society when you see something different, Im living in Japan at the moment and am a 6ft2 white guy. Hardly unseen in a 1st world country yet I get stared at too cause Im not the norm. If shes moaning about it being a dry country, go to a hotel and buy a drink moany. If the tv sucks, read a book or download a movie. Christ all her problems are lame as shit but I bet she rocks it when shes takin 10,000 dollars a month tax free to her USA account. Fuckin moany cow, I cant even be arsed typin any more about how trivial a fanny she is. Thats fanny in the UK sense of the word.

  14. Michael July 28, 2008 7:07 am

    It’s pretty revealing that none of the people on the attack have said “I live in Dubai”, whereas the only person who seems to have, agrees with the comments. A friend of mine had many of the same complaints of her time in Dubai (and to add, that’s it’s also just a big building site). People regularly attack western lifestyles and culture, and that’s okay, but when somebody has the audacity to point out flaws in non-Western areas, they’re immediately branded racist.

    As for cultural sensitivity, as one commenter added – how is staring “culturally sensitive”. I come from rural Ireland, where there are very few non-Whites, and you won’t catch anybody staring at the odd Filipino or Nigerian that comes to live in the area. Futhermore, as regards Muslim dress, she pointed out that it’s not the hajib that she can’t understand, but the layers, and layers of clothes underneath.

    Tia, good article. Ignore the PC brigade, there’s no need to apologise for having a view. I think you’ve touched a raw nerve with the people that came back home raving to their jealous family and friends about their weekend in Dubai.

  15. zero-kill July 31, 2008 5:20 am

    it sounds no worse off than living anywhere else. besides whining about it, why not try to change things? if you have the time to write/copy+paste a blog together then you would probably have the time to set some things right in that neck of the woods. of course you can’t change the heat, but then again, you are living in a fucking furnace, get over it =P

  16. monkeyduke July 31, 2008 10:06 am

    Outcries of bias and racism aside… I COMPLETELY FUCKING AGREE!

    Being an indian dude, who’s been there on more than a couple of ocasions, no other place sickens me than ‘Dubai’.

    The locals are arrogant, pompous assholes who think money will buy every shred of dignity available…regardless if its up for sale or not. Sure…their shiny pennies hire american/Uk advtg agencies to boost its PR…but honestly its a strange reimagining of Orwell’s vision of the future.

    I won’t go into specifics but here’s one of many examples: Say you are driving to work, stopping at every light, following every rule…and some asshole Chanel 5 smeared local crashes into you through a red light. Its not his fault…it’s your fault. Oh yea…the local police will never ever charge a local. In fact, they will trump up charges worse than a traffic error.

    Example 2: Being an Indian means I am third in line for movie rentals at the resident Blockbuster. First comes the local, next come the whites and then if they stock any more copies of that “western-filth”, you may get lucky and see that new Chuck Norris flick.

    I hate hate hate that place. Glad I don’t live there.

    P.s. – These Sheikhs btw come to India, throw money around to sleep with street childeren barely 8 years old. Some get caught…but pay their way out anyway. Come to think of it..India sucks too…but much much less so.

  17. paresh July 31, 2008 1:09 pm

    great post, thanks for sharing.

  18. Yail Bloor August 5, 2008 10:54 am

    Having lived in Egypt, Yemen, and the Emirates whilst being originally from the US, I can understand some of the gripes listed here. However. I can also gripe about stuff in the US too. Everywhere has advantages and disadvantages. Focus too much on the negative and it will overwhelm you – especially when living abroad. For example, a lot is made of the heat in this article. And the Emirates do get intolerably hot in the summer. But. Most of the year that is not the case. In fact, most of the year the Emirates have spectacular weather.

    However. I must totally agree with the problem of racism in the Gulf. At least the newer Sheikh is a bit better than the last, but civil rights for non-Gulfies is still a long time coming.

  19. Hypocrite August 5, 2008 3:14 pm

    Orwell is right.

  20. sup August 11, 2008 8:29 pm

    I would fucking LOVE to see the complaints about the US. LOVE TO SEE IT. ‘waaahh we can’t oppress women like we can back home’. fuck religious sensitivity if it fucks with individual rights.

  21. Ty August 12, 2008 9:03 pm

    Apparently everyone thinks this person is a deuchbag. When really if you actually read it, I know reading gives you a headache but…..she’s mostly complaining about the strange laws around the place. Oh and she gets stared at for her blue eyes. Oh and it’s weird that people wear 5 layers of clothes in 120 degree weather….

    (though the clothes thing might make sense. If your body stays at aobut 98 to 106 degrees then wouldn’t it be cooler to be insulated?) Anyhow not the point. I just find it stupid that she’s a deuchbag for complaining valid and non offensive points. When you guys are complaining with offensive…well not points because none of you have good points that I read. I think these are the same 9 or 10 people that go around and insult everyone on youtube.

  22. Jetty August 15, 2008 4:52 pm

    Don’t complain, love. Every place has something wrong with it, unhappy? try changing it. I’m from a neighboring city and it’s suited me fine so far, sure everything isn’t just peachy but it’s miles ahead of other places(I’m not naming them, don’t want to offend anybody)Ohh, and being Caucasian you must be well aware of the salary benefits and local partiality.

  23. joe August 16, 2008 2:46 am

    I worked in Saudi Arabia for two years. All that is true there too and worse. No alcohol at all.

  24. Kim August 16, 2008 6:27 pm

    If you are a woman from a traditional culture and want to cover up, by all means, do so. But a culture that forces women to be covered up, in so many layers that it is dangerous to her health, or be thought of as a prostitute. That is ridiculous. If men in that country associate showing knees or elbows with cheap sex, I think that reflects badly on the men. CONTROL YOURSELVES. I understand the frustration she must feel, coming from a culture which protects women’s rights, to a culture, so conservative and male dominated. It is her opinion, and probably several others too.

    It is scary to me that this posting received such offended and mean responses. Don’t we all prefer our home to other places.

  25. bob August 18, 2008 9:23 pm

    Ty: “though the clothes thing might make sense. If your body stays at aobut 98 to 106 degrees then wouldn’t it be cooler to be insulated?”

    that has to be the dumbest thing ive ever seen anyone write in my entire life. your body isnt some slab of meat. you sweat for a reason…evaporate to cool off. loading 5 layers of clothing would not insulate your body in 120 degree weather. it would only make you hotter.

    dont believe me, go bundle up in a trash bag and sweats and go sit in your car from noon to 3pm mid summer. if you die from heat stroke, just blame yourself.

  26. Jen of Bitbotters August 20, 2008 9:11 pm

    ^ It is indeed scary that this post received so many offensive comments. For what? Everyone’s entitled to express their opinion — and each person has their own individual thoughts, pasts, and ideals that create different perspectives.

    Thanks for writing this post. I too have thought of Dubai as a playground for the wealthy but after reading this I’m not in a hurry to visit.

    And people, she ISN’T complaining about the “hajib” wear itself, just the fact that local women are EXPECTED to wear these things in such hot weather because god forbid the men have to do anything like control themselves. What is it that makes people so quick to jump and point fingers with, “Religious intolerance!” RIDICULOUS.

    Still such a sad world we live in… and for those who say to change things if she had time to write a post, hmm… let’s see. Writing a post: 1 hour. Changing the politics and policies of a nation: Your whole freakin’ life.

  27. Fred Garvin August 25, 2008 5:48 am

    Gee, I was just about to move there, thanks for warning

    Do I really need a list of reasons why not to move to the middle ages equivalent of Las Vegas? No, because I’m not a moron. A moron would be someone who actually stays at a place they hate this much and instead of moving bitch about it on the internet.

    If you and your husband weren’t so greedy you would have never been there to start with. Please stfu.

    Thank you.

  28. Steve August 26, 2008 2:30 am

    Why is it that? – To some people, being politically correct is much more noble than telling the truth about the way things are. Is a person a racist because he says cab drivers in Dubai stink? I heard Jesse Jackson make a politically incorrect- but truthful – (rare for him) statement recently. He said ” When I walk through a neighborhood and I hear footsteps behind me and I look over my shoulder and feel relieved to see it is a white person – that pains me ” Now that was politically incorrect but it is the truth about black crime in America. If a white person had said it, he would be vilified and called a racist. If cab drivers in Dubai stink and the place generally sucks then what is racist about telling us.I have visited NY and have ridden in many cabs – generally the white American drivers don’t stink but often black/African and Arabs do have a high rate of body odor. Why is this – they are used to it in their culture and do not realize it is offensive to most American’s . Does this statement make me a racist? NO ,just truthful. Gripes about America- bring it on! -it is still the best place you will ever visit or live, hands down, despite its faults.

  29. Ic3L4nc3r August 28, 2008 2:52 am

    Reasons why you are Dumb.
    1. Keep your personal thoughts to yourself..
    2. You couldnt afford living there even if you want to.
    3. Your scared of something different.
    4. You are too American.
    5. Half the things on these list arent true
    6. Get your facts right.
    YOU VISIT A COUNTRY YOU FOLLOW ITS RULES. YOU GO TO AMERICA THEY HAVE FREEDOMS TO WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT..COOL. BUT IF YOU WERE BORN INTO A WORLD WHERE YOU COULDNT DO THIS YOUD THINK DIFFERENTLY. Hijab is showing respect to yourself by the way.. you guys are all dumb for thinking you know something that you know nothing of.
    Oh and by the way Mr. USA rocks. You guys have a long history of dumb presidents who sell guns to the people who fire back at them. And your health care system sucks. You all have no respect for anybody. Americas poverty level is the highest in the world for its population.

  30. Ic3L4nc3r August 28, 2008 2:53 am


  31. Liberal Dem September 14, 2008 8:13 pm

    All you apologists don’t forget, it was Saudis that flew those planes into the twin towers.

  32. M.S September 25, 2008 3:13 am

    Okay if you hate dubai so much why the hell are you living there ,what you have said comes across beng extremely racist and speaks of the bubble you have lived in in that perfect country of yours ,oh wait a minute isn’t that the same country that has so much segregation its sickening ,the same country that killed thousands of innocents iraqis over oil YES THEY MURDERD INNOCENT CHILDREN IN THEIR BEDS OVER GREED,the same country that allows people to keep guns which consequently has lead to many horrific high school shootings, a country that has an appalling crime rate. while its bad enough that when people of other races come to the usa they are insulted and attacked for their race but you take it one step further by suggesting that they should not be allowed to live how they want or wear their national dress in their own country HOW DARE YOU! you say you have so much freedom in your country i wonder how much freedom people of other races have yeah not as much as you i should think with the huge amount you hear of racism in the US, its truly a sickening that people still in this day and age suffer from racism in the education system as well as when they are looking for a job I salute your unfair corrupt goverment for how they conviently forget about the welfare and futures of the non white population you must be proud need i remind you of how much inequality was shown at the time of hurricane katrina and to think that people are suffering in a country like america the richest in the world ,SHAME ON YOU!
    You say people stare at you well then you must look like adriana lima yeah you wish .As long as people dont hurt other people commit crimes etc they should be aloud to where what they want ,who are you GOD to say what people should where ,how would you like it if people commented on what you wear you ignorant uneducated American
    Do americans even try to learn of the wonderful cultures traditions and the great diversity of the world ,this is a wonderful world because of all the DIFFERENT people customs languages etc ,i suggest you go back to your oh so comfortable life in the US where they apparantly don’t have prositutes LAUGH OUT LOUD do you not know how riddled your country is with prositutes ,brothels porn ,explotation of innocent people it happens alot in that country of yours in case you didnt know.Your comment on how the taxi drivers smell you sound like a immature ,uneducated ,ignorant fool i guess no one smells in your country generalising really is something your good at if only you could appreciate the beauty of diversity.
    Why did you not mention the great things about dubai like the low crime rate for example i guess that slipped your mind you were to consumed thinking about the muslim clothing and the smelly taxi drivers.
    I could go on and on about your lack of respect and your obvious distain for freedom of others but i won’t bother ignorance is something that when learnt is very hard to get rid of so good luck to you and hope you enjoy the flight back home to your perfect country with the best dressed people who all smell of roses xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  33. cid September 27, 2008 5:45 am

    Wow…you just described America and every other country in the world.

    Everywhere you have prostitues, (except maybe the Vatican)
    Speeding tickets everywhere, speeders everywhere.
    Don’t like the weather? Your problem, maybe other people like the weather.
    What’s so wrong about not being able to get alcohol on the street?
    Dress code? I say western countries are a bit too exposed. Etc etc, this article doesn’t really gives reasonable points for not going to Dubi.

  34. Joe October 17, 2008 11:06 am

    Wow, all you people bashing her have never had a new home in a different culture, have you? No way you had.

    Lists like hers are frequently published in all English spoken newspaper columns, read by expats, all around the world. Everybody else in the same situation nods in recognition when they read them.

    Though it is a huge mistake to share it outside that community, since you’ll have to be there to understand it. There is no racism or ignorance behind this, just small time everyday problems. Not understandable from outside the group.

    There is a difference between being a racist and being annoyed at the locals you are visiting. There is no way that any person from any culture can visit a new culture for a lengthy stay without getting annoyed at the locals for their customs. Period. We are all guilty of that. But you just can’t publish it globally as the truth of that culture.

  35. K.D. October 31, 2008 2:09 pm

    I have lived in Dubai, I am a Western woman and one simply cannot compare Eastern and Western cultures. This poorly written posting highlights the writer’s ignorance of the country and city she lives in. The hijab is worn on the head and the abaya is the robe. The water is de-salinated, it is a desert. Every person working there makes more money than they would at home, whether they originate from India, Bangladesh, the U.S., the U.K. or Mars. I loved living in Dubai, it opened my eyes, made me more tolerant and I learned a lot. There are more spoilt, silly woman there than one can imagine. Stroll into the Lime Tree Cafe at 10am and listen to them all complain about their maids. Shameful……

  36. Asim Zaman November 19, 2008 12:52 pm

    I am leavin in dubai for 2.5 years, I came here to work, and 2 things i dont like about dubai is labour condition is not good and traffic (ofcourse this is a city in world and not in heaven nothing is perfect) but otherwise it is a wonderfull city to be in and make your career and enjoy your life in peace… and regarding the comments its totally baised or most of it is just sorry for saying stupidity…..

  37. marcus December 10, 2008 8:58 am

    the taxi drivers smell. most of them at least. i dont care if they are white, black, brown or wherever they fucking come from (i think most of them are indians anyway, fuck it i’ll say what i want). they should use deodorant since apparently in their home country, smelly armpit is a fad. that should change here. i decided to never use taxis after a horrible experience where i almost passed out after the driver raised his arms to answer his phone (in a very loud voice by the way).

  38. Gloria December 29, 2008 5:53 am

    I think it’s funny how ignorant everyone involved in this debate is. Most of it extends to racism and dress. Um, there’s racism everywhere, and while it’s pretty bad in the U.S., as someone who has lived abroad for a long time, there is just as much racism in many other countries (they’re just not vocal about it.)

    Frankly, the fact that women have to wear that many clothes in that type of weather is ridiculous. Please do not call me ignorant because I am extremely familiar with the culture. There is a reason why women are expected to cover themselves from head to toe, but men can wear comfortable clothes (and visit prostitutes, it sounds like). Because people took the original meaning of the modesty laws and turned them into ways to shame and control women. Shame is a pretty big deal.

    I do not for one second think that the U.S. is flawles (truuust me), but Dubai makes me sick. The pure waste that has gone into that city; the excess. I think it’s disgusting and the exploitation is unimaginable. That whole “they have it better in Dubai than at home” argument is also total bullshit. So big deal? That means you fix the exploitation and poverty at their homes, not give them a different form somewhere else.

    Frankly, living abroad made me come to my own assumptions about the rich from the UAE and Saudi Arabia. I find them simultaneously pretentious and falsely-pious while also corrupt, excessive, and unfeeling toward the less unfortunate. I find the wealthy Westerners – who are basically the same without the false piousness and slut-bashing – who jump onto the Dubai bandwagon, equally gross.
    Fuck the whole thing. I am so sick of wealthy, spoiled, ARROGANT and undeserving people bitching ANYTHING much less whether Dubai is an annoying or wonderful city to live in.

  39. Jackie December 29, 2008 5:58 am

    To everyone telling her to stop complaining about people staring at her, you have not been a woman in an orthodox Muslim country. I have been to several, and it is truly DEGRADING the way men look at you. I remember being a 14 year old girl – who had never even kissed – being leered at by men my father’s age. The sexual harrassment is unbelievable. It’s different from being a White guy in Japan, I guarantee you. No one makes you feel like a whore for being foreign.

  40. timothy December 30, 2008 2:44 am

    Tolerance is a virtue. This person who wrote the original list is experiencing cultural burn-out, which Dubai can do to all but the very few who live right on top of the ‘pile’. And yes, it is a shit pile.
    Dubai is a frontier town – it’s only 10 miles long by about 2 miles wide. So expect all the floatsam of the Middle East, Russia, Europe and Asia to arrive. Most are looking to make money faster than they can back home. This means everyone is acting selfishly – and very few people can be relied upon. People make promises to do things, be somewhere and they break the commitment. Something better came up…….maybe.

    Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the culture in use in Dubai is the heavily layered racist hierarchy. Locals are Class 1, well heeled westerns are class 2, well helled arabics are class 3, well heeled indians are class 4, mid ranking westerns are class 5 etc The Emiratis are the most explicit about this ranking Syrians, Eygptians and Morrocans at the bottom of their food chain. They far prefer Indians as staff than other arabics. So the society is organized to protect the powerful and exploit the weak. But only about 200,000 people call it home. Everyone else is NOT in their home – and they will never be given such rights. So like it or leave it.

    As for the staring, the lady is right. You realize how hypocritical these men are – they rush off to prayers and then they step outside to undress your wife, with their eyes. They have such vulgar minds, they deserve nothing better than the life they have, until they develop respect for women as human souls with equal talents and needs. Making women cover themselves in robes was a defensive measure against such low caste men. Islam is a culturally and geographically specific religion. The tribes of Arabia were wild, ruthless and without God. So the old world remedies propagated by Prophet Mohammad are just that; locally relevant, globally not. Again, women are better to leave than suffer such insults.

    But give credit to the effort; the Bedouins of the Emirates have done more to modernize that part of the world dominated by Islam, so their citizens do not need to live in medieval conditions, than anywhere else, except perhaps Brunei. Most Islamic societies are so rigid they cannot adapt their eduction, social services, entertainment etc to meet modern demand expectations that arise in growth economies. They simply repress or wallow in dogma as happens in Iran, Syria, Saudi etc. So, ask the question – how do the Emirati Sheiks escape the wrath of the fundamentalist killer kooks? Maybe there are deals within deals and even ayatollahs like to keep their money safe – and have a place to go on holiday.

    In any case, this lady has made some telling points, from her point of view, based on what she regards as OK standards. They are all points that make sense when you have lived there – so all you low brow rude dudes will have to pour your bigoted venom onto some one else. This person is NOT saying anything more than the TRUTH as she has experienced it.

    In any case, everyone is leaving now……….the bubble has burst.

  41. Chris July 22, 2009 9:23 pm

    Ha ha, this post is cracking me up. I feel so sorry for you. So much for every celebrity that has purchased some ridiculous piece of real estate out there. I hope they enjoy their 120 degree weather with their non-addressed house.

  42. bigbadmarine July 29, 2009 5:57 am

    I’ll tell you what. We will stay the hell out of they’re country and they stay out of ours. we definitely should not try to change the way they think, work, live, dress,beat they’re women or whatever. we will never change them. they’re sick people, twisted stuck in three thousand years ago, and that’s it in a nut shell. i’m tired of watching my fellow marines die and everyone else who serves. let’s get out of there now. when they build nukes, bomb em. no men sent, bomb em’. they cannot and will not ever be trusted. anyone who believes to give your life to allah as a martyr to kill us christians or evil people as they call us. and thinks by doing so you will die and recieve what, 20 virgins is not right upstairs. nough’ said, chow and semper fi to all my fellow marines and prayers that they come home now.

  43. bigbadmarine July 29, 2009 6:03 am

    Oh by the way i am not a racist. i say live and let live. what i said goes for any country trying to change the middle east. it’s they’re area. just leave it alone whether it’s dubai,iran, iraq.etc…

  44. Snake October 30, 2009 11:18 pm

    Although this writer is a little bitchy about small stuff but she is right most of these things happen exactly the way she describes.Sheiks treat people from other countries like shit.10 yo slave boys and girls are smuggled from poor Asian countries for their pleasure…if these idiots weren’t rich on oil they would have married their camels and roamed the deserts.

  45. Jess November 13, 2009 4:39 pm

    What no one seems to realise is that whether you think some women wear too many or too few clothes- isn’t it sad that we always focus on women’s appearance! As a white British woman, who happens to be muslim, I’m sick of the stereotypes. I don’t wear a headscarf, but that’s my choice and personally I think that there are more interesting topics of discussion concerning religion, geography and politics than what the locals are wearing. Having lived in Morocco I understand that it’s easy to find fault with a country when you’re missing home. What’s sad is the generalisations some people make. My husband is Muslim and Moroccan but he’s more interested in hip-hop and the gym than controlling me! Please stop confusing religion and politics because they really don’t mix! No religion or country is perfect because they are influenced by people and people aren’t perfect!!!I’m sick of this them and us mentality created mainly by the media. In the end we’re all the same.

  46. Caitlin November 15, 2009 12:42 pm

    Hey everyone, chill out! She wasn’t saying that America is far superior, she wasn’t trying to be racist, she is just pointing out that she doesn’t enjoy it

    Which is fine.

    Stop taking things so personally! I thought this article was entertaining and interesting and all of you who have gotten your panties in a twist that she is supposedly being racist and those of you questioning why she lives there need to get a life and stop getting so wound up over a little informative article on the internet.

    Find something more constructive to do!

  47. A February 25, 2010 7:27 pm

    I recently moved to Dubai and read this article before I arrived. Initially I thought this list was over dramatic and written by an arrogant ‘westerner’. I mean who uses smelly taxi drivers as a reason for not moving to a new country?

    Well I can honestly say after being here for many months that most of the reasons listed are right on point. Dubai is lovely but not all that it’s cracked up to be. Definitely do your homework before you decide to move here. I am enjoying my stay as I am learning a lot about the Middle East and Asian culture, but don’t see it being long term. If you are into a multi-cultural environment and travel then give it a shot. But if you are an average Westerner who does not like to compromise or be flexible with your standard of living you may want give Dubai a skip.

  48. joseph May 22, 2010 7:56 pm

    omg if u dont like uae go back 2ur home the leaders here are the first in the world


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