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.

  • 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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?

    • homemarketer105

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

          :)

    • 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.

  • 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… :|

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • http://lovelyelika.blogspot.com Lovely Elika

    Dayyymm that was racist :|

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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.

  • 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.