20 Reasons Not to Move to Dubai (In No Particular Order)

Posted on 03/18/2014 ~ Categorized as Live
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Blake is Chief Content Officer for EscapeArtist. He lives with his wife and three sons in the Deep South of the United States.

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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. Dubai eBook

    Read some of the good parts about Dubai

  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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?
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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?
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.

Excerpted from “20 Reasons Not to Move to Dubai” in Escape From America Magazine, Issue 94.


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  • Robert in Vancouver

    It’s the same or worse in other middle east countries. If they didn’t have oil money, they would all be living in the dark ages.

    Yet left of centre people love buying oil from those countries, and hate buying oil from Canada where none of the above problems exist.

    Plus Canadian environmental standards and human rights laws are 200 years more advanced than any OPEC oil producer.

    • Majid

      That’s quite an ignorant statement to make. Who’s to say where Canada and the US would be without their natural resources; maybe in the same dark age you claim certain OPEC countries would be in?

      A lot of countries in Africa have large amounts of natural resources, yet are in poverty. On the other hand, many countries that have little natural resources have high standards of living.

      You can’t judge the standard of life of a nation based solely on whether or not there are natural resources. Claiming a country wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without its natural resources is just baseless.

    • Ricky

      There are actually countries where the western interference have actually made the country worse than it was ever. Case in point – Afghanistan. It never recovered from 1980 invasion by Russia.

    • Yuliya Terziyan

      Hhhh…wait till your neighbours finish oil from Middle East and they come over your place:)Why would they buy now,when you are always near:)

  • Maria Alejandra Sierra Hernand

    wow! looks you had a very hard time there, unlike me, as the 5 years spent there were some of the best of my life.

    I just think you americans are very intolerant towards other cultures and ways of life, complain and critize about everything because you want the whole world to be like US, that’s why US have forced the rest of the world to speak english and use dollar as currency.

    Just my thoughts.

    • Makka Arrieta

      OH MY GOD, this is SO true. Americans are very ethnocentric. If something is not the way it is “back home”, it’s bad. They are so annoying sometimes.

      • Justsomeguy151

        You are right bt you are also generalizing.

      • Christy Ausdemore Tanner

        Not all Americans are the same, unfortunately we all get lumped into a big pot and are called arrogant and other things. There are many of us who are normal and love various things about new cultures.

      • khanji

        Because it is true. America has the best of everything. If you never lived there you will not know. Sorry.

        • asdf

          Sorry to break it to you but this is true. I had never been outside the US until my band went on tour, and I visited more countries than I can count or process. There are only two countries that have it as good as the US and that’s Austria and Switzerland. The rest of the world is actually five years BEHIND popular american cities like NY and SF. Not trying to be arrogant, but it’s just true and if you have never been in either city, you will never understand.

          • Ricky

            Appreciate your opinion but I don’t think you can judge a country by just being a tourist. Having lived in many different parts of the world, I have to put Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and a host of Western European countries above USA. This is not to say USA is bad. I love both NYC and San Francisco (I think Portland, Oregon is underrated. It is one of my favourites). I do agree however that Dubai is highly discriminative, tone-deaf judgemental, elitist and doesn’t deserve a penny of mine. That being said USA has double standards when it comes to international standards and criticism ( by this I am talking mostly about the government and media and not the ordinary people). Also, some of the things mentioned are more cultural than anything. For example in many eastern countries the habit of staring is not considered rude or impolite and practically nobody minds it. It has nothing to do with the author being fully covered or being blue eyed.

          • Luke

            New York is a shithole and San Francisco is crawling with homeless.

          • Waya Wannano

            I agree! I would take Vegas Or Miami over New York anyway. I can’t stand NY. Dark gloomy, trash everywhere, smog, old buildings etc. The only good thing about it are all the hot Latino guys.

          • QP

            I love the unity in Vegas. People from literally all over the world embracing one another :)

          • Real

            This has got to be the most arrogant post I’ve seen. NY and SF huh. Guess americans are really just full of themselves. You all continue to believe the hype and have fun in those “fema camps” lmao.

          • Naomi

            I have travelled about 40 countries and you saying that seems very ethnocentric. Japan is cooler, Germany, France, and plenty of others. Just cuz you stayed in certain places in certain countries doesn’t mean that you know the world. You have a very limited view.

          • guest

            Are you kidding? i don’t see Japan in the list, its kind of gullible mentioning NY and SF only don’t you think i personally have been everywhere including NY and SF and let me say it would be number 11 on my list where as Japan the home of technology, culture, harmony, infrastructure and let me add the home of people in general. Yes some stuff are expensive but living wise it is affordable along with your needs and wants on the side, you don’t need a car for transportation Japan is known to have the “worlds” biggest train lines and subway lines every where from city areas to rural regions also they have an amazing shinkansen train system where the only trains used are the world famous bullet trains with super acceleration speeds. Food is not hard to find its everywhere not mentioning their vending machines all over Japan from noodles, snacks and drinks hot and cold expenditure wise its very affordable then western countries me personally would put Japan first then western countries such as Australia,NZ and United States Of America. Don’get me wrong Dubai is a wonderful place which other country gives you a house, transportation and higher salary annually then other places with extra perks on the side such as medical, prepayment and furnished living quarters or houses for the contract you agreed lets say 5 years working internationally in Dubai as a medical scientist is an annual salary of $ 120,000 AUD. Good thing is you don’t have to worry about home loan, rent or vehicle purchases in some job categories where as in Australia first year working i would be making $55k tops annually and theirs all the other stuff on your shoulders mortgage, vehicles, medical payments and family expenses, education coasts, your house, putting food on the table , clothes also their needs and wants . No one is perfect everyone’s got their ups and downs when it comes to rating.

          • Life Long Player

            Try Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

        • Naomi

          Come on.. I have been to America plenty of times. It isn’t THAT GOOD.. thats a lot of propaganda. I don’t really know that many things that I like about going to the states to be honest. Its a bunch of HYPE. Looking at the poverty rates, homeless rates, murders etc alone makes it obvious that its not THAT GOOD OF A COUNTRY. :P the “best of everything” for the top 10% of people

      • Waya Wannano

        We can’t help it, don’t be jelly! Lol

    • Justsomeguy151

      You have a point about Americans’ attitudes albeit in the most general ay but nothing in this woman’s article is out of line or unreasonable. Don’t blame the American People fr the Banksters forcing othert nations to use the petro dollar. We have ZERO control over that and are more victims of that than any other nation in the world.

      • Christy Ausdemore Tanner

        absolutely true, the big banks run the American economy, and aren’t they doing such a lovely job of it?!!

    • homemarketer105

      Stay there forever if you feel like it with the stinking muzzies and their stupid sectarian ideology of killing the rest of our free world!

      • Christy Ausdemore Tanner

        homemarketer105, please oh please get a life and stop thinking everyone is as close-minded as you are..

    • Kyle

      You are so retarded, I am dieing of laughter,

      First-Grammar(Duh)
      Second-The reason most Arabs living in UAE should know English, is because most of the oil they have goes to America, meaning it’s the biggest source of money.
      Third- I agree with this guy, and I am not American, Dubai is a multicultural society, and should except other religions except for their own.

      • kyle

        dude

      • Ricky

        The world consumes a lot of American products from something Hollywood to things as small as coffee (think Starbucks) so, shoul Americans start speaking every language of the country they interact with?

        Everything in Dubai is stratified. The nationalities are stratified, the race is stratified as such religion is stratified too. Islam takes the pedestal and Judaism is on the bottom of the totem pole.

      • Luke

        The UAE was under British rule until the early seventies which might suggest why English is a primary (though unofficial) language there. Learn your history plz.

      • Waya Wannano

        Dieing= dying

    • Brandon A English

      ROFL. The US has “forced” the rest of the world to speak English and use the dollar as currency? First of all, the US isn’t the only country that speaks English, nor did English originate there. Secondly, explain exactly how the US “forces” any country to speak English? Furthermore, no other country uses the dollar as currency, do they? Is China using the dollar? No. They use the Yuan (rmb). Japan uses the Yen, Hong Kong has their own dollar–and other countries have their own currency. Your wording is incorrect. As for trading benchmarks, if countries decide to use the US dollar for that, then that is THEIR choice to play that game, because they aren’t forced by the US.

      As for being intolerant towards other cultures, you need to remember that the US itself represents a wide array of cultures and isn’t just “one American culture.” It is, literally, a melting pot of peoples from all over, a land of immigrants, and one that has evolved in a way that is quite unique. There are indeed a HUGE amount of Americans who are uncaring and ignorant about what’s going on in the world and they need to/should care. However, a lot of what’s listed above about Dubai is absolutely ridiculous and I can’t imagine having to put up with such nonsense on a daily basis. Just because someone is an American and happens to complain doesn’t make them intolerant and criticizing. Show how this article is simply being “intolerant” overall and then you have a point, but after reading through the list, I can honestly say that the restrictions in China are looking better and better.

      • QP

        Love your response Brandon !

    • Jenny Ng

      It’s not just culture differences that bother me about Dubai(I don’t really mind culture differences unless it involves sexism :/), it’s the fact that this city sprung from nothing to a sprawling city landscape in less than 25 years! There obviously had to have been SOME form of unfair labor involved. In order for a city to have been built that fast in that amount of time is inhumane, and there are many underlying problems that we haven’t even seen yet.

      • Ricky

        Yes, finally someone that made sense.

      • Waya Wannano

        Further information: Human rights in the United Arab Emirates
        Burj Khalifa was built primarily by workers from South Asia and East Asia.[130][131] This is generally because the current generation of UAE locals prefer government jobs and consider private sector jobs to be below them. Also, because of the benefits available from the UAE government, most locals would rather rely on these benefits and not go to work.[132] On 17 June 2008, there were 7,500 skilled workers employed at the construction site.[35] Press reports indicated in 2006 that skilled carpenters at the site earned £4.34 a day, and labourers earned £2.84.[130] According to a BBC investigation and a Human Rights Watch report, the workers were housed in abysmal conditions, and worked long hours for low pay.[133][134][135] During the construction of Burj Khalifa, only one construction-related death was reported.[136] However, workplace injuries and fatalities in the UAE are “poorly documented”.[133]

    • Waya Wannano

      Exactly, just like the whole rest of the world is dying to get in this country. You’re an idiot. People dream of coming here. If you lived here you would never want to go somewhere else. We’re not intolerant. We’re just used to living a better life.

      • QP

        Everybody I met in Vegas that were from other countries was dying so hype about being in America. They way they admired us was amazing because usually Americans value foreigners. It was all love.

      • Life Long Player

        I agree. I would take a job as a lab associate at a university in the USA than being a full professor at a university in UAE or any of the gulf states, despite all the follies America might have.

    • Naomi

      I would agree with this. Whats so great about America anymore? Its so violent with so many weirdos. I would rather live in Dubai any day.

    • spartan

      Thanks Maria you resumed it !

  • Kate Green

    Wow you need to move on as seriously sad. Dubai is a great place to live and i could list just as many positives as your negatives. We have a wonderful home with garden (surrounded by trees and flowers) and a lake behind us. We spend 8 months of the year with doors open (no bugs) and eat outside/play/bbq etc. We drive to Abu Dhabi or UQ to load up on cheap beer and wine as needed and have great parties! Yes there are problems with driving and construction but many cities face the same. Laws are different but the UAE tries hard to accommodate western values and Muslim conservatives — it’s a darn hard struggle to find balance! And please leave the women’s clothing alone. What does it matter to you if they are wearing a shayla and abaya and it’s hot. If that is their choice (and it is here) then that is none of anyone else’ business =- especially westerners and men.
    Other things such as children not wearing seat belts. Have you traveled anywhere outside the US? Hello. These problems are worldwide. So please just get out of the UAE and make the roads less crowded with angry, negative people so the rest of us can enjoy our life here.

    • sonia

      Hi Kate, which country are you from? I am moving from US to Dubai in August for a job with Zayed University. Both scared and excited..

      • Kate Green

        Hi Sonia. I moved to Abu Dhabi in 2000 for three years to help open ZU. Great times:) Now I have been back for 1.5 years opening International Horizons College. It’s a great place to be and to raise a family. I feel safer here than the US and my children have more freedom as it’s safer. We have a wonderful, small school they attend and they love it. My 11 year old said the other day that he never wants to go back to the US as he is happy here.
        Yep it’s a big city. Traffic is painful at times (I debated leaving my car on the side of the road yesterday and finding a taxi as I was lost and stressed:) and there are differences but if you enjoy travel and expat life then this is just the norm. ZU has it’s challenges — government school and they had a major overhaul last summer of admin. But the students are so neat and I really loved “my girls” during my three years there. Come with an open mind and heart and embrace all the country has to offer. It’s good.

        • homemarketer105

          When muslims start killing you and your children, then you’ll want to go back to a real democratic country with your family, but it would be too late by then.

        • richardrichard2013

          hi kate , are you still in dubai? thanks?

      • Ruth

        Just don’t disagree with the locals and you’ll survive. The minute you disagree with them or treat them as if they are not gods gift to the universe, they will fire and deport you

      • QP

        Hi Sonia.. How’s things going so far? I’m interested in
        Flight Attendants Assessment Day – 8th November – Atlanta but after reading this post I’m more scared than anything.

    • homemarketer105

      Please Kate, stay in your filthy muslim country and do not come back to our Western Free World!

    • khanji

      You are lucky.

    • starlightshimmers

      All of the things you listed are superificial things like “parties” and “cheap wine” and “cheap beer.” What about human rights, education, equality and social welfare? Those are the things that matter the most in life.

      • Yuliya Terziyan

        What human rights you are talking about?Does it exist anywhere?They just feed you with such words to believe them!!!If you are jobless and homeless in US what human rights will be for you?If you are unfortunate enough to be called some name of Muslim origin and be trapped by US government with false accusations, where your human rights will be?If you are single mom in Germany the government has a full right to find the way to take your kids away forever with their “child abuse”excuse.Yes,from normal adequate parent.And these are top countries to promote “human rights”..There are bad issues like that everywhere.If you don’t like UAE leave it.It is funny how people come over here from countries
        like US,UK etc use all the benefits of this country,drive the most expensive cars,go enjoy themselves in fancy places, get a safe environment all without high tax and then leave and complain….So stay wherever you are.By the way UAE is not only abt Dubai.There are many other cities and safe places to raise your kids with good morals and nature.

    • Ruth

      Your party life is good as long as you are a protected national of a western country. Asians and other Arab nationalities alike are treated like dirt.

      • Maioha Kelsey Tawa

        what about new zealanders lol

        • حيدوري

          New Zealanders are always treated with respect in any country they go to as they are known to be kind and welcoming people

  • Joseph Fawzy

    you are really going outstanding listing your experience in UAE. the best way for you is to travel back to wherever you came from or choose a place which is according to your standards! GUESS where, OFF EARTH!

    • Ruth

      You must not work with locals Joseph. I dare u to criticize a local and see what gappens

      • Joseph Fawzy

        I had a unique story with a local involved, I was driving on the highway and i found a local youngman driving extremely fast toward me from the back, with flashing his high beam in a way which is really disturbed me, not to mention i was driving in the 2nd lane from right (slow one). i can say his speed was around 160 Km, once he overtook me from the left, i pulled out my hand and i was like saying “slow down!” he got it wrong, he thought I flicked my middle finger, it was dark and because he knows he was driving insane he thought i did that and insult him, i know for good that such things is banned by law in UAE. anyhow, he was trying to stop me with all means and put my life at risk and my wife with me, we called the police and file a complain while he still chasing us like crazy. suddenly he decided to go away and after couple days i found the police calling me asking me to report to the police station as someone file a complaint against me, all what was in my mind that no matter what i will be having a bad treatment because im nick to nick to a local. guess what, the officers at the police station give the “full support” they even did not release the guy until he sign off a statement that he will not come across me in the future.

        I did not work very closely with local but like any country, any nation, any tripe or whatsoever we can call it, bad & good are always exist.

    • Waya Wannano
  • Kate

    Finally, someone saying it as it is. Obviously going to upset those that have chosen this lifestyle and don’t want to accept the bad bits and ignore the injustices. However even in my home country there are so many things wrong with the way it works. But at least it promotes equality and a basic standard of life for everyone… I think the main and most important problem with this country as a whole is the Nationality Hierarchy. Obviously those that promote what a wonderful life they have in Dubai are those that won the birthplace lottery and got the passport that allowed them human rights, better work and life benefits than the countless people who actually built the country. Having lived there for many years and following the ridiculous over worked weeks without choice and watching those from less fortunate countries get sucked in and done over by both country and companies I decided I’d rather pay the upfront taxes in my own country where everyone is treated equally and your job is based on competency, not who you know or where you are from. Yes I was promised amazing money, career opportunity and good weather. Well heck if I was doing those 54 (bare minimum) hours in my own country I’d be rich. But I’d have the choice. Living and working there unless you are lucky enough to be a local, part of the seedy underworld or know someone who can get you in at the top by any means necessary is akin to serfdom… But those “Jumeriah Janes” will overlook it and pretend it doesn’t exist, because after all most of them would never have had that chance in their home country, yet when they move to Dubai, it somehow that elevates them to upper class without any class, manners or sense… I sadly prefer to live and work amongst people who don’t judge others for where they come from and don’t treat other nationalities like their lesser because of where they are from. I think everyone everywhere has spent enough time as history shows to fight for equality and the blatant ignorance of this is nothing I can change so I choose not to be a part of it. It’s just very sad to see so many people bought up to see this as the norm and for so many to be promoting this lifestyle. However each to his own and the rest of it.

    • Vera Morgan

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  • illlzzzzz

    I was in Dubai in 2010 and fell in love right away. I have been living in the US (Orange County, CA) for over 20 years now and love Dubai so much. Maybe because I was born in Pakistan so I understand the culture and everything. Do everyone a favor and don’t ever go back, seriously. The workers chose that life because that is what they wanted. I spoke to some of them while I was there and they loved it. The women are beautiful even with the abaya. Why do you care if they are fully covered wearing that in the heat? Are you wearing it? When I went there I was 21 years old, I did not have any man stare or follow me. I think you made that up, no offense. Seriously, learn to appreciate some finer things in life. It won’t kill you.

    • homemarketer105

      You muslims talk about your muslim “paradises” as if they were nice places to be, perhaps for you as a born muslim, but not for American or European people who love freedom and not a stupid religious ideology so dangerous as Islam!

    • Danny Ray

      Ever thought there may be a reason none of the men stared at you or followed you? I think maybe you should fully cover up too. Then the view might not deter?
      The migrant workers enjoy being little more than slaves. Not getting paid, having documents stolen to prevent you leaving and jail if you protest. What’s not to love?
      Glad you understand the UAE so well because you were born in Pakistan. I understand the culture of Greece because I was born in the Philippines, why can’t people realise this?

      • Melamy

        that was funny

        • Danny Ray

          :)

      • Samer

        Ever thought that what you write reflects your class and upbringing? Does it make you feel good to hide behind a screen and insult people because you suffer lack of social respect in reality!?

        • Danny Ray

          Ever thought “why am I writing things to this person whilst making crazy assumptions about their social standing and making myself look extremely foolish as a result?”

    • Lidia

      Illllzzz – you are the second person that seems to be speaking in utterly denial( and kate green ) – what is wrong with your judgement ?

      – I understand that optimistic people ( as you both clearly want to be perceived ) tend to be…well…optimistic , but just don t go there were you see social and cultural related injustice as something that should be left alone – do you really think that the women want to be covered from head to toe in the harshest heat as a general rule?

      - I m not saying that there should be no respect for culture, I m saying that making an unbreakable rule for a minority or a gender is not okay. But just you smile as you pass by, you are not covered from head to toe every day, enjoy your happy life, I m sure the women you pass by are smiling too, you just can t see it ( but clearly imagining it). Who told you this,” they chose it”?

      And the workers? Really? They chose to live their life in this way – being poor is a choice? Working dreadful hours on minimum and laughable income is a choice? Who did you talk to?

      I cannot believe that the author of the article was ripped off for being american because of criticism – she s not criticizing the culture in itself, but the human nature that bends culture for its own purpose ( usually related to money and power).

      The author is not a representative of the bad perceived american people – you are, you are the wrong type of american.

      And it s not even about Americans as Makka Arrieta and Maria Alejandra comment frugally and transforming themselves in anti-american stereotypes – all the world it s full with the social stereotypes that America gives us – we choose to see it because it s big and it s on TV – you can find jerks and ignorant red necks everywhere in this world.

      illlzzzzz – Being a positive person does not mean to look at all the positive aspects of life and make the negative ones fade into not so bothering ones – it means that you are pro active and you also empathize with other people, whatever their culture, social status or level of happiness and you try and make a difference in your little life helping and understanding others, not passively watching and telling yourself that a harsh lifestyle from whatever cause it s a choice.

      I m not an American and I m also afraid to think about your age because I think that you also have children and you should have a life experience that made you a better person, not an ignorant one.
      Take care that your children stay positive but insightful.
      Ignorance and the pursuit of false happiness ( aka “finer things in life”) never changed the world, it just allowed for injustice to thrive.

      • Ricky

        I agree with you on everything except the clothing. You cannot say for certain that all women do NOT want to be covered. I want to make an analogy with the west here and say that many women in the west are pro-abortion or pro-life as they call themselves regardless of how sexist it appears to others. Similarly there are many women fighting for legal abortion often call themselves pro-choice. I think it is easy to deny people the human complexity who come from different background than us. I am sure many women are forced to cover themselves up but many also wear it by choice. Ever wondered that some women wear out of religious dedication? some women wear it out of habit because that is how they are being dressed from childhood? Do you know some Muslim women (esp in West) wear Hijab/Burqa in support of Palestine? Not all women wear it as a result of social pressure and force. Though some are forced to wear one.

      • Ruth

        There are so many advocates for the plight of Asians in Dubai it is appalling the way they are mistreated and u cannot miss it. What is not so publicly advocated is the plight of Arab nationals like Palestinians and Syrians etc who are ridiculed and humiliated daily by the locals and deported if they dare speak. The new wave of locals are unbearably rude and will further bring down Dubai with their disregard for humanity

    • Ruth

      Seriously I agree with Danny, I visited Dubai with my 70 year old mum and even SHE was cat called and followed by men! Not just me. So either u r just upset that someone dared criticize your beloved Dubai or you just look, well not as great as u think. Or maybe as the author said, the attraction is the white skin and blind hair which you as a Pakistani do not have

  • Nicat gozlu

    Hm you sound like a cry baby to me. These problems happens everywhere even in US. No surpise US is the criminal center of the world, amount of drugs, kills and robberies

    But UAE is the safest place in the world. I never seen any traffic accident in my 5 years here, i never seen street fights, never seen any robbery. Its so safe place that its very hard to see any cops around as you said

    People are kind and respectful. Thats because 70% of them are indians. And they are not arrogant as American or Russian people. They are humble and respectful. And they respect white people. Only 20% are local emirati people, they feel like a boss and arrogant.(because its their country) But they are very less and you dont see them most of the time. They love european women

    Only bad thing is weather. Its very hot even in the night. Without AC you can die

    • homemarketer105

      I bet you have seen people being beheaded and hands being chopped off according to Shariah. Another asshole worshipping the muslims!

    • PieFtw

      Other than being okay with modern-day slave labor and completely disregarding the local ecosystem and government censorship, the UAE sounds like a fantastic place to live… :|

      • Guest

        well if you look at the other side of the story, USA was built on the blood of native american and back slavary. so please dont talk about slavary and racism. there arent any bigger racist and ignorant as American are.

        • Waya Wannano

          That was a long time ago. We’re all a big melting pot now. Everyone here’s pretty much of mixed race. Racism has happened everywhere and terrible horrible things have happened here, but were talking about the present not the past. Did you not notice our president is half black?

    • asdf

      US is not actually the criminal center of the world. Try to say something FACTUAL instead of hatefully emotional.

  • Nicat gozlu

    Women with abaya are very sexy. They turn me on. Especially local women (dignity+beauty)

    That dress protects them from the sun. They cover their face with abaya. You got it absolutely wrong. How can you go outside without cover in 120 degree?

    • homemarketer105

      Why don’t you try to chase them down…I bet they’ll cut you in pieces!

    • Melamy

      I disagree with the writer on the abaya issue. Abayas are not required dress for women in Dubai, but are the required dress for women in Saudi Arabia, so if an abaya is seen in Dubai it is by choice that she wears it or bc of her husband’s mandate…they are not required by law in the UAE.

      That said…dear sir…abayas not not sun protective…they are heat stroke producing, and deadly. Abayas are black. Black absorbs heat while white reflects it…so those black abayas are not designed to protect women from the sun or they would be white like the male thobe you see men wear. Abayas are purposely designed to be heat exhausting, uncomfortable, and dangerous so that women will “stay inside where they belong,” and only go out when utterly necessary. LOLOLOLOL thanks for the laugh that was funny. You should do stand up comedy.

    • Abdulaziz

      “that dress protects them from the sun. They cover their face with abaya. Women with abaya are very sexy. They turn me on.”

      Then in that case, Mr. Einstein, all men in that land must wear abaya….a black one preferably so that all heat is absorbed and transferred directly to the face. Men and women wearing black abaya and looking sexy……more dudes from San Francisco will go to UAE.

      • Allen Gencarelle

        Lol yeah! All men must wear abaya. Only in black too lol. And men, do not forget to submit your selfies here because we HAVE to see this LMAO. Bring the sexy back gentlemen!

        • Abdulaziz

          Selfie is unislamic and punishable by stoning to death.

  • Amer Maini

    Someone is butthurt !
    Life in Dubai is better than in my home country, and guess what it is, the majestic Germany … let alone the US

    • Kskate

      There are a few crap places in Germany, I can imagine they can be worse than Dubai.

    • penis pump

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  • Christy Ausdemore Tanner

    It seems like you are in the minority, and that you were not willing to make adjustments and accept another culture. Going over there thinking your going to be able to do the same things as you could in other places, well that means that you obviously did not read anything about the culture before going. Really traffic camera’s is one reason??? Are you serious, they have these all over the place in big cities in the US, are you complaining about those as well?
    I don’t know seems more like a frustrated rant of a person who wasn’t ready to accept changes for what they were, instead wanting to live an old way of life. That’s fine for you, but everyone has to make up their own minds about this location and if they like it or not.
    I do appreciate your honest outlook, and don’t want you to think I’m trying to slam you, I do hope you’ve found a location that is more to your likes. God bless you!

    • Christy Ausdemore Tanner

      Man why so harsh? Did God not give you much in the man department or what? Jeez, well again, for one I’m a Christian, not a Muslim, so again you are speaking out of your ass without thinking, but I’m having so much fun keep it coming.

  • Anna_Banana888

    I just came back from Dubai – I went there for a vacation for two weeks. I am originally from Russia, and lived there until I was 18. Then I lived in Korea for 3 years. Then I lived in US for 12 years. Dubai is an awful place, and everything in this article is right on a spot. Everywhere I went, I was asked where I was from. After that I was treated as a prostitute, because I told them that I was from Russia. Women are overly dressed. It just became a drag, because I couldn’t just wear a tshirt and jeans to go out. One Brit called me a peasant, because I had a tshirt on and was Russian. One of my former American friends told me that I was a slob, because I had my hair in a ponytail and had no make up on. Gimme a break! There is nothing to do besides going to a pub or superficial night club to get drunk or go to a mall. It’s hot. No trees. All buildings are superficial. All service people looked at me as I was superior, because I was from US. All Brits looked at me as a inferior, because I was originally from Russia. Some arrogant Brit tried to tell me that he makes more money than me. First of all, he was a catering manager. I am a petroleum engineer. Big difference. I was harassed by Arabs anywhere I went. They would just sit next to me in a coffee shop when I was actually trying to get some work done and stare. Striking normal conversation with a stranger is impossible in Dubai – you are judged based on what you are wearing and your nationality. I am so glad to be back in US – this is the best country for me. Never again I will go to Dubai. The can offer me a petroleum engineering contract paying twice as much to move there – no way, I will stay in US, where things are actually green, people are down to earth and friendly and here are plenty of different things to do. Did I mention there is no theater? Also, I prefer to be on a beach in Grand Cayman Islands than in Dubai – much more beautiful. The other thing I enjoy in US is that women walk by themselves instead of being a pretty attachment to a man in all times. And actually some women here have short hair or dread locks. And I can listen to Jimmy Hendrix in a coffeeshop without being harassed. I am looked on as a normal person by a waitresses here in US. And there is no pounding electronic music at every branch here – actually nice and quiet, so one can enjoy a meal.

    • al hannah

      Dear Anna you will not face this problem over Dubai only Im not from Russia but I have white skin and blue eyes and dark long brown hair.In Turkey I have troubles and am always asked Am I from Russia as the majority prostitutes are from Russia in Turkey. I hate it…. it hurts and has nothing with my moral and from where I AM I .Ture reality

      • Waya Wannano

        This paragraph made absolutely no sense. Why attempt to write in English if you don’t know how! Hahaha Looser

        • Wayne

          “Looser”? It’s ironic that you spell loser incorrectly. It didn’t make much sense, but don’t berate her. She won’t learn if she never tries. I’m not sure if you’re bilingual, but it would appear that you aren’t, considering how inappropriate your comment was. I think you’re the only ‘looser’ here.

    • spartan

      In this case why don’t you stay in Russia !it’s easy to criticize other countries .What about Russia ? It’s even worst otherwise you wouldn’t leave your motherland !

      • Anna_Banana888

        Spartan, I can criticize any country and express my opinion even though I grew up in Russia. This post is not about Russia, it’s about Dubai. If you read my post, you’d see that I rather stay in US than Dubai. And I listed the reasons why. You pick your country to live in, and I’ll pick mine. For now I picked US over Russia, Korea, Mexico and UAE. I might move to Europe or Costa Rica later when I get tired of being picked on by guys like you in US.

    • Smoothsix

      Anna, I’m a Brit and agree with all you’ve written. If I were to compile a list of desirable countries to move to Dubai wouldn’t be on that list. I wouldn’t move to any Arab/Muslim country and the heat in Dubai is enough to put anyone off. I’m sorry to read your comments about arrogant Brits. Unfortunately many of them seem to have a misguided and thoroughly undeserved superiority complex over ALL other nationalities (especially when they move abroad) which is a relic of their colonial past and about a century out of date. Many Brits live in the past as they prefer to fondly remember former glories rather than the reality of a country that has been in decline for decades and become a rundown, multicultural hellhole overrun with asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and native “chavs” plus a truly awful climate for most of the year, dilapidated infrastructure, depressing national news, high costs and taxes etc. Individually you will find pleasant, well-mannered and decent people in the UK – as anywhere – especially the older generation, but many are among the least sophisticated, charmless, ignorant, unattractive and unpleasant people I’ve had the misfortune to encounter, and I’ve been to over 80 countries. I also agree with your choice of country to live. No country is perfect but parts of the US are hard to beat for a variety of reasons, some of which you’ve mentioned. Ignore fools, you sound like a smart/switched-on lady, and Russian women are some of the most attractive, intelligent, educated and feminine on the planet.

      • Anna_Banana888

        Smoothsix, thank you for your kind comment.

      • Sunday dennis

        Workers case is extremely worse, Those on tour or visit of Dubai Can have extremely good hospitality, Pls take time and ask the workers, Few workers are lucky though but majority are slaves,Fundamental Human right is nothing to write home about..Pls do your research right

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  • Shawn W

    this article should be called “20 things that I don’t like about Dubai”. 3 & 4- really? you dont think people know that they are moving to a hot desert climate from the get-go?!. Love that you finish up with “i’m sure there’s some benefits like… multi-cultural enviroments” after having a huge bitch fest on mostly cultural related difference of how Dubai is not like the U.S./West. I’ve been here for over 6 years and have understood and accepted the nuances mentioned above that seem to really get your goat. So good riddance, the UAE is better with out you and anyone else who is basically a tourist that overstayed their welcome.

    • homemarketer105

      I bet you are another white stupid european kissing up to the muslims…that is why Europe is not anymore Europe, but EURABIA…thanks to people like you!

    • Waya Wannano

      How do you live in a place where there’s no soap or tp in the public bathroom? Do you just avoid the toilet at all cost till you get home? Adult diapers perhaps?

      • shama

        Not all public bathrooms are like that. It’s rare when you find bathrooms like that.

  • Kskate

    I am a dual national who has spent last 2 months in Dubai. I am not American but I could add many good reasons why I am thinking of leaving this place and finish my contract earlier. I have lived in Eastern Europe , UK and travelled to many countries in the world, so I am not new to the idea of living in a foreign place and adjusting to local standards.
    Speaking of standards, unless they are dictated by the religious law, in Dubai they do not exist. Vulgar and ostentatious display of wealth, no respect for others, greed spread across all classes make this place a truly repulsive destination, both for tourists and expats.
    You are taken for a ride by the bureaucracy, landlords, taxi drivers, bar owners and so on.
    Speaking of the first, the impression I got is that Dubai’s only national trademark is to produce numerous documents and charging fortune for stamping them. It starts from the confirmation of the diploma in your local embassy, approving it in Dubai, work visa, ID driving license to absurd ones such as alcohol license. Alcohol shops being tucked away in the parking lots, far from the eyes of the usual shoppers making purchasing there a very humiliating experience, not to mention being checked by the police before you can even spend a penny (except of course for alcohol license ).
    One conclusion so far, is that despite I am probably earning the highest salary in my career, I am finding myself cutting on everyday spending: everything is so much more expensive than in UK and my quality of life has materially decreased.
    Those who looked through the colourful images of properties in Dubai are up for shock when faced with the reality. The standard of rental accommodation is the lowest I have experienced in the world. If I had asked my tenant in London to bring in his own furniture, appliances (fridge, oven and washing machine) and asked to pay a year in advance, he would show me a finger. Well in Dubai this is a living standard and good luck with showing any vulgar gesture!
    The quality of service is also very low, try going to any restaurant and test your patience waiting for your order and then a bill.
    The perception of Dubai being a shopping destination is also very illusionary: this is true that Dubai has the biggest shopping malls with taxis and all the fireworks, but the selection of overpriced goods is equivalent to what you can get in TKMAXX (US: TJMAXX) for much smaller price and much better choice.
    I can understand a lot of people dread this place but would not admit to failure, disappointment when they go back. Some do really enjoy it here. I do believe it depends on quality of one’s life in their original country. For me last 2 months in Dubai have made me revalue and appreciate both my old countries and probably most of the places I have visited and lived so far.

  • greenberri

    in simple words its an artificial country! they are wannabees, their planning is bad. will get them no where if people don’t follow the rules and they are not strictly enforced either. people are desperate, frustrated and helpless here because the good or actually NORMAL part of life is only for the rich and the bad and DIFFICULT part of life is for everyone else. traffic jams, perverts, bad driving, congested streets, overly populated by indians, it could be called dubaindia instead of dubai and yes the place is very costly, very very costly. genetically modified food is introduced here too now and its being sold in huge quantities everywhere. the world can simply not withstand the load of so many useless humans any more, no doubt something needs to be done about it but the creation of a “developed” Emirates was just not a good idea. great article woman!

  • NoNayNever

    I agree with a couple of points, maybe. The majority is just opinion and pretty pathetic, think the roads here are bad? Try living in Sao Paulo or Ho Chi Min City, its all relative and there are far, far, far worse places to live in the USA let alone the rest of the world.

    At the end of the day, when I finish up here i’ll be set for life which is kind of the point.

  • Jessica Green

    New middle eastern men that come to America stare at women here and treat us like prostitues even if we were fully clothed!!! I believe this article 100% ppl of this nationality cannot speak on this matter bc you were brought up around these ppl if not ppl very similar.so u don’t understand the difference of harassment to us women!! It comes down to it being a male run country!

    • Abdulaziz

      Your symptoms are diagnosed as paranoia.

      • Allen Gencarelle

        Your symptoms are diagnosed as hilarious

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    Dayyymm that was racist :|

    • Ruth

      Racism is the calling card of UAE nationals, more like a national hobby

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  • Jake

    And I WAS thinking of retiring there one of these days. Sacramento summers are brutal 100-112 — but 120? I’m more than roasting. Fuggut about it. I’m staying put. Thank you for telling it like it is.

  • Sara

    Ahw why didn’t you approve my comment to be posted? Is it because you know I am right ? : )

  • Dubai love

    I loved every aspect of Dubai! The person who wrote the 20 reasons not to move or go is full of crap. I’ve been several times for periods of months. I don’t know which Dubai this list is referring to but it written by a ridiculous close minded idiot. No offense, I didn’t say stupid I said idiot. Not having enough knowledge is a costly mistake. I am a white women with green eyes and brown hair so I too stand out but I wasn’t stared at or made to feel uncomfortable in any way shape or form. And the bathrooms are cleaner that the bathroom of an extreme OCD person. ( I would know because I have extreme OCD). Oh and by the way you are in a dessert country so don’t expect cool weather. It’s a dessert dummy. Everywhere you go the air conditioning is blasting. So much so I carried a light cardigan with me everywhere. All I took was taxis and never had any issues. If you don’t like a countries, culture, religion, or whatever don’t go just so you can bash them later. That idiotic and childish to say the least. Stay in your quaint little world where lies and truth are distorted and you believe whatever your told. Close minded people are never happy if things don’t fit into their tiny little brains. Sorry to be brutal but I’m so sick of people bashing other countries without adequate knowledge or experience.

  • mikesb72

    So, it’s not like the US and therefore a terrible place. Dubai has it’s issues and some of them you have raised correctly. The US has some issues of it’s own, some of them worse than anything you have listed in the article. Your article has no balance and I would urge anyone thinking of living in Dubai to ask folk that are willing to give a balanced view.

  • Samer

    This article is not fact checked and is mostly wrong. Clearly the writer is full of anger and bitterness and should address her problems rather than infecting people with negativity. Dubai is a great place that helped me turn my life to the better. No one is forced to come work here but still thousands of new people are calling Dubai home every month. Haters can hate all they want. Dubai will keep heading for greatness

    • Ruth

      The article is factual. You can at least admit that while still claiming to love Dubai. Dubai is tetany to prostitutes and tailgaters and blocks internet etc none of what the author writes is made up

    • Waya Wannano

      http://youtu.be/gMh-vlQwrmU. Watch slaves of Dubai by Vice, just google it

  • Noel

    Unfortunate for the writter, she hasn’t experience life outside of her little Wisconsen town until now.
    I see dubai as mostly an above average and moderate city.

    • Waya Wannano

      Cool lets throw bombs at it

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  • David Eisenberg

    Slave labor. SLAVE LABOR! Slave labor.

  • khanji

    Great list and I agree 100%. Like to add few things. There are very few big corporations. If you come from US where it’s easy to find a company with 5000+ employees, it’d rare here. So, you are always over qualified for jobs. Roads are confusing to say the least and they suffer from identity crises. Stupid roundabouts every where like UK but drive on the left side as US and Canada. WTF. Exits and signs very confusing and mostly don’t give you enough time to get in proper lane. Job descrimination order of the day. Brits hire Brits. Indians hire Indian and locals hire locals. Emirates airline CEO is a brit so 90% employees are hired from UK. Even Indians from UK. Very few jobs for us Americans. If you are a do it your selfer then it sucks because you will not find anything close to home depot store. Grocery stores in shopping malls still bugs the Crap out of me. There is no free street parking anywhere. You get traffic fines via sms message and there is no way to contest. I can go on and in But bottom line is for most people from India, Bangladesh and Philippine this place mint be heaven but this place will drive an American crazy as I am about to.

  • Majid

    The fact that you expect everybody to speak perfect English in an Arabic country is unreasonable, to say the least. Don’t give me that “it’s a tourist destination and therefore should be accommodating to English speaking tourists” argument. Take Spain as an example, nobody is obliged to speak English there, even though they rely heavily on tourism. Also, Dubai plates have long dropped the hotel design, just proving how outdated your opinion is.

    While I won’t claim that low standards of living for certain groups are justified, there is strong support for reform and advancement. Not to mention the fact that every other nation’s beginnings were riddled with slavery and forced labor. The UAE is relatively new, and it will take time for certain aspects to be fixed.

    Oh, and the argument for alcohol? The UAE strictly regulates it for two reasons. The first reason would be religion. The second reason would be its destructive nature. We don’t need to put up with the large range of widespread alcohol-related incidents like others need to.

    Alcohol is not part of the Emirati culture, if you can’t accept the UAE’s compromise to be more accommodating to non-muslim residents, and make your own compromises, maybe you shouldn’t have left your home country.

    • Ruth

      Correction, alcohol is a huge part of emirati culture as evidenced by the huge proportion of alcoholic emiratis

  • Shankar Das

    Fantastic article!!! Thank you for descriptive info, which was very significant in our apartment buying decision in Dubai.

  • Deepak

    I am from India and have been thinking of moving to a better country and have been evaluating Dubai & Singapore that have better quality of life and much lower taxes than India. But from this article it appears Dubai is a no no. If the views are correct, I would never want my children to grow up with such values. I would definitely go as a tourist and see how things work in everyday life to take a decision.

  • KHADIJAH a. HOLLINGSWORTH

    first I want to say Dubai Is a city that is only thirty years old;with a city that young there are many things that have to be developed eventhough it is a wealthy city. Next I want to say as a tourist it is always good to report things to your US embassy or Consulate who more than likely has some input with Dubai government officials there and especially things that make you uncomfortable. Now re:#5 the public toilets in Souks. It would have been a good idea to consult with managers of the Souks about providing toilet paper. In addition I am Muslim living in the US however we are required to practice Istingha when relieving onself. This means after urination you dry the area with toilet paper and then pour water over the area with a small bottle or spray hose to make sure you are clean then dry with toilet paper. This is the proper IIn that practice

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  • Ahmed Saleem

    Born and raised in Dubai and can say that this is 100% true. However, it must be kept it mind that one can make a list of ’20 Reasons to Move to Dubai’ or ’20 Reasons Not to Move to Any Other City’ as well. So in the spirit of fairness, I will be providing another perspective to what the author has written about.

    Thanks for understanding that certain websites are blocked because they are opposed to the people’s values. It is also true that the government has a monopoly over communication and blocks VOIP as well. It is almost dystopian. But luckily for us, we can bypass these restrictions using simple software and access any blocked site.

    Humans have been living in deserts for thousands of years. If you go to places like Dhaid (just 45 mins away from Dubai), you will see many birds, camels, donkeys, chickens and dogs in the farming areas. Dubai also has a lot of pigeons and stray cats. If they can survive in the heat without AC, so can we.

    Most public washrooms in Dubai do have a WC. When we go to the West we complain that there is no water available to wash our nether regions. Different cultures have different standards of personal hygiene.

    You’re right, some clothing makes no sense. It is quite unfortunate that people there (and around the world) have taken to jeans in order to appear modern or Western. Being a thick, rough cloth it is not suited to all climates. The abaya and thobe, however are perfectly suited to Arabia. White reflects heat and the looseness keeps air circulating. The women wear black possibly because with the intense sun, their clothing could be see-through. Modesty is more important than comfort. The men and women both wear headdresses because the rays from the sun is more hot that heat itself. So the more you’ve covered (in a certain way), the less hot you are.

    There is no reason for Dubai to provide Western media in the first place. We need the opposite. We need to have UAE-made television content that caters not only to Arabs but the expats as well in their own languages. I assume you’re referring to the free channels, because you can get almost any channel in the world in Dubai if you buy the right package. I can sympathize with your experience as a white person in Dubai, being stared at and what not. But you can thank your own media for giving people certain perceptions of Western women.

    You say that the environment of Dubai is not human-friendly, so why would the humans of Dubai be environmentally friendly? Western countries have only started to ‘go green’ in the last decade or so. Here’s the big picture: modern technological developments develop over time in Western countries, giving them room to adjust accordingly. But in other regions, these inventions are introduced suddenly and usually quite late, such as the phone, the car, the computer, the cell phone, internet and so on. So it is understandable why the infrastructure would be a mess, or why due to a lack of understanding people will abuse technology. Keep in mind that the cultures, infrastructures, political and education systems of post-colonial countries were all but destroyed by the occupying powers. They’re not building on their foundation because they have none. The rulers have no idea what they’re doing, they’re sold to Western powers and are just concerned with accumulating more wealth. Naturally it will take time to rebuild and adjust. However, what you said of the current situation is absolutely true, especially about the modern slavery and prostitution in Dubai, etc. and we must raise awareness of injustices that are happening in the city.

    • Laura Marie McFarland

      Thank you for your interesting and well reasoned responses. It is interesting that the Western way of life has had centuries to develop organically, while other places like Dubai have sprung up from a superficial perspective on ‘modern’ at breath-taking speed. It certainly would have to mean the infrastructures would be less developed, as those things take time and ongoing investment. Its interesting to I think that there are aspects of individual people that are a reflection of the cultural and physical environment that they develop and live in, and while its logical it also seems to be unrecognized in the way people interpret a given country or culture’s status quo. Ive lived all over the world, for over a decade, half my adult life. Im very unusual. The percentage of Americans that even have a passport is shocking in its small size. Then on the other hand, it also means that millions of people are staying out of the skies, and a good deal of Co2 is not being pumped into our sad little atmosphere… I think it is important to recognize, that while the US government has been promoting ideas of not polluting the public spaces with rubbish since the 60′s, our corporations continue to pollute to the utmost they are able to get away with it. And then more, to the extent they are fined in the billions, and then look for ways to do it in countries where the governments either can’t or won’t restrict them. Sadly most Americans don’t yet recognize the rot within. But give them some time..they will… Not that that means Dubai has something as an alternative to offer. Virtual slavery, misogyny, environmental ignorance and degradation are nothing to be proud of anywhere..

  • Tala Mukaddam

    This is so old. So old so old. None of these are still applicable, and most weren’t even applicable back then. This person just wasn’t very resourceful at all.

  • MazharShah

    I am working in UAE since 1973. Now I am old and need to go back home, whereas I have no home to go. As a humanitarian issue no one is allowed to have a permanent residency even after living 40 year here in UAE. If I were in America I would have a permanent residence. This is a big difference to mention.

  • Reginald Bravo-Famous Adams

    Can anyone help get a job and live in Dubai…i will like to know the procedure. I want work and live there am just a young male here who wish to work abroad to make ends meet to help family handicap FAMILY. please anyone to help out. PLEASE email me at reggiefamous@yahoo.com and i will be so glad if anyone is willing to help me and mail me and tell me what to do please please please

  • overbyen

    Some of these are just cultural things…like seriously, you’re gonna complain about the lack of alcohol IN A MUSLIM COUNTRY????

  • Owbahmah

    Id agree with some of the things you’re saying except for the fact that you’re writing with a clear bias that makes everything you say sound like a childish rant, for example:-

    You find the one unsanitary bathroom in Dubai and you make it one of your 20 points? I live in Washington D.C., the capital of the most powerful country in the world and the bathroom across the street from where I work has doo doo on the ceiling and a badly drawn nude depiction of Jennifer Lawrence.

    Its too hot outside so we should….move the country? Australia has too many dangerous animals, AND its too hot. Maybe they should move Australians somewhere else too right?

    Even worse you criticize YOURSELF in half the points, you complain about how people stare at you, then you complain about how people are dressing too conservatively. You complain about the crazy driving and speeding, then you complain about how there are too many traffic cameras. You complain about there being too little greenery and no environmental consciousness (which is absolutely not true; you’ve clearly not bothered to travel anywhere else in the region or even make a simple Google search because that point is easily refuted) then you complain about the over-consumption of water these apparently non-existent plants (that only exist when it suits your argument) are taking up.

    This article could have been informative to read but you seem to be too clouded with your dislike (hatred?) for a culture you seem to not really understand to make any of it actually constructive.

    Dubai, and the rest of the Gulf for that matter doesn’t need any more close minded, intolerant and hypercritical people so leave at your own leisure :)

  • william

    at least someone knows that roads are dangerous people always die but seriously they shouldn’t die because of a car my uncle died when I was born if that car never hit him I would see him every christmas it hurts just to think of it.

  • Black&White

    Nobody is forced to stay in Dubai or in any other place, if you don’t like it just leave it! All the places in the world have “fans” and “haters”, i know people considering Paris a horrible city, so it is just about “de gustibus non est disputandum”.

  • Dhruv

    I’ve been living in Dubai for 10 years and let me tell you this. Dubai is awesome. You need a liquor license because you don’t want drunk people on the streets screaming and killing people like in america. Also, There are camera’s all over the place cops see so they don’t need to be everywhere everytime. Also, dubai is turning solar. The Sheik (ruler of UAE) gave a speech saying by 2020, dubai will be almost all solar. And they are trying! I can see more solar things coming up like paying for certain parking spaces, solar laps on the street, ect. And the heat. They are doing there best to stop people from getting a heat stroke! There is a reason they have air conditioned bus stops so people are not panting. Also, dubai has a fast metro that can get you to anywhere for 10 dhs in less than 20 minutes. Also, now they are watching out for people sticking there heads out of windows and the roads are 5-8 lanes wide so theres nothing wrong with the road. Maybe this is just your imagination

    • Ruth

      Seriously u think at 3 am Dubai streets are not full if drunk people?? Problem is that in Dubai it’s concentrated at 7 days a week with no rehab centres

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  • fahd

    what you said is absolutely true, for me it is no different than any gulf city , except the easy laws for commerce, and thats what makes it doing well.

  • Julia London

    What a lot of bs :)) agree on occasionally bad smelling drivers and not the best roads , but the rest purely depends on how you look at it. Now name me a place which is paradise plz. There’s no such place on Earth

    • Waya Wannano

      Ummm easy………. Miguel Perdomos bed ;-) and maybe BoraBora

  • mustafa Nabaa

    hmmm,
    It really depends on what you are.
    I am a guy who lived in different countries, Jordan, USA, Qatar. each one of them have its benefits and dis-benefits.

    If you have a good well paid job in the USA defiantly it gonna be better thanliving in gulf. they have justice and they respect people in there country.

    But if you have a normal to bad job.gulf is better for you because they pay you very well just because you are western and you have blond hair, you will end up having a very good salary with a nice house and no TAX .
    Os it is really depends on you and what are you thinking about, ask yourself this question (are you welling to accept extremely hot weather for a good salary ?)

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  • Real

    All this hatred and non stop rants. Seems people just can’t get away from home without actually opening up to a new lifestyle. Ignorance.

  • Naomi

    The author sounds like the type of person that is miserable anywhere that she does that’s different from her own culture. I don’t know why you would try to bash a country that is so lovely, you must be a very negative person. I just came back from Abu Dhabi and Dubai and I had a great time. I loved so many things about it, the people and the culture and the food, the architecture, the art, etc. I would agree with the author about driving being dangerous, but it’s because of all the immigrants that are on the road. I have traveled to almost 40 countries and I would rank UAE as definitely one of my favorites. The writer sounds quite bitter and negative. If she doesn’t want to travel and be exposed to a new culture, then don’t go.

  • Naomi

    The writer seems very ethnocentric. I loved Dubai, I just got back a few days ago. Yes, the driving is dangerous compared to Europe or North America, but compared to other Arab countries it is pretty good. I have all good things to say about it. One of my favourite countries.

  • Raiden05

    FYI Dubai is just in its developing stages.
    It doesn’t mean everything you say be true.

  • IBRAHiM

    Never have I read something more ridiculously stupid, misinformed or racially judgemental than the load of crap up there .. you’re wasting bandwidth on internet that can be put otherwise to a better use like a silly song, basically anything else in this world is better than this .. you don’t like it here don’t come :)

  • Watchman

    I sure hope you got outta there fast.

  • shama

    First of all it’s called an abaya not a “a black robe or turtleneck to cover your head”
    We only wear it in public, not in our homes.
    No, we aren’t forced to wear it.
    I like wearing it because I can wear anything under it(pajamas) and I never get a bad hair day.
    It’s crazy how you find it weird when guys stare, aren’t you used to it in your own country?
    Not all guys over here are like that, to be honest.
    You shouldn’t expect everyone to be friendly, but people are.
    It’s better having traffic cameras than none, people who get fined deserve it. Why go over the speeding limit?
    Don’t think there are no cops on the road, there are a lot but you don’t know. Just because there is no cop car doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

  • Ann Henrietta Barlow

    I love Dubai. I have lived all over the world and am yet to find anywhere that is perfect. At the end of the day it’s what you make of it.

  • lizzy benjamin

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  • sarah

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  • Harshita Lanka

    This post is so racist.

    • Kskate

      Do you mean the article? It is very critical, but I cannot agree with it more. It is fair everybody knows has a second opinion not only the one censored by the government.

  • doris carter

    My Name is Mrs. Doris carter, I was married to my husband for 10 years and we were both bless with three children, living together as one love, until 2011 when things was no longer the way the was [when he lost his job]. But when he later gets a new job 6 months after, he stated sleeping outside our matrimonial home. Only for me to find out that he was having an affair with the lady that gave he the job. since that day, when i called him, he don’t longer pick up my calls and he nothing since to come out good. Yet my husbands just still keep on seeing the lady. Until I met a very good friend of my who was also having a similar problem, who introduced me to a very good love spell caster. But i told her that if it has to do with things that i am not interested, but she said that it has nothing to do with pay first. but the only thing he was ask to do was just to go and buy the items to cast the spell, and that was what she did. And she gave me the spell caster e-mail address and phone number. When i contacted him, i was so surprise when he said that if i have the faith that i will get my husband back in the nest three [3] day, and off which it was really so. but i was so shock that i did not pay any thing to Prophet Osula Agbe but my husband was on his knells begging me and the children for forgiveness. This testimony is just the price i have to pay. This man Prophet Osula Agbe is good and he is the author of my happiness. His e-mail address: ohehenemenspelltemple001@yahoo.com

  • Kskate

    The article nails the essence of Dubai glamour. I have been here for over 6 months and there isn’t one word in the article I would not agree with. I’m looking forward to finish the remaining projects and leave this Kafka inspired Disneyland for good.

  • lizzy benjamin

    Hello I am lizzy , am out here to
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    Hello I am lizzy , am out here to
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    effect.He told me what i need to do,After it was been done,24 hours later,My Ex
    Husband called me on the phone and was saying sorry for living me and the kids
    before now and one week after my Husband called me to be pleading for
    forgiveness,I was called for interview in a very big company here in IRELAND
    were i needed to work as the managing director..I am so happy and overwhelmed
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