Continued from Things To Know Before Moving To/Visiting Dubai (Part 1)…
8. 89% of people living in Dubai are expats!
Yes, I was blown away too when I first heard these stats. The expat population is mostly made up of Indians and Pakistanis, closely followed by Filipinos and Egyptians. Due to the fact that the locals only make up 11% of the population, they receive amazing benefits from the government such as free healthcare and free education through high school. Here was a very interesting piece written by a local Emirati in response to a question on Quora asking how life is in the Emirates as an Emirati.
9. Avoid strangers when snapping away.
Taking pictures of people without their permission in Dubai can result in a 500,000 AED fine (approximately 136,129 USD). The reason is invasion of privacy. Be careful that there are no strangers standing behind you in your selfie either! Other big blunders include taking photos of government buildings, military sites and aircraft. Yes, it’s one of those weirder things about Dubai.
10. Downtown Dubai vs. Marina
Anyone who’s been to Dubai knows that the liveliest neighbourhoods are:
– Downtown Dubai: where you have plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs as well as office buildings or…
– Marina: where you have some of the best beach clubs, shisha bars and a beautiful promenade for a romantic walk around sunset.
Simply put, Downtown Dubai is where you’ll find a more swanky, upscale, urban scene and Marina is where you’ll get a more relaxed beach holiday feel but there’s a catch! These two areas are on opposite ends of the city. To me, it feels like Dubai is divided into these two camps and if your friend happens to live in Marina but you live in the downtown area, you can forget about meeting regularly. Or perhaps it’s because I don’t drive.
Of course, aside from these two neighbourhoods, you do have a strip of fun spots, entertainment and restaurants along Jumeirah Beach Road.
If you are currently debating where to live, check out this article! You’ll find a detailed comparison of both areas.
11. Dealing with taxi drivers is an art form
Just today, I had a taxi driver take a longer route to earn an extra 1-2 dirhams…Frankly, I could’ve just tipped him. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about the money – I was already late and really did not appreciate the detour. When he started reaching for the change at a glacial pace, I was inwardly seething.
I’ve had rude questions thrown at me by taxi drivers asking if I work in hotels (???) and if the male friend that just put me in a taxi was a boyfriend because I’m so pretty, why don’t I smile for him?
Do not let my polite exterior and looks trick you into thinking I’m a sweet, submissive Asian girl with no backbone. I fired back immediately and shut them down. I’ve deducted money from taxi rides because the drivers have deliberately gone round in literal circles and then lied about it to my face when clearly I saw the same building appear from below the horizon TWICE.
All things considered, if taxi drivers are the worst of my problems in life, then I really have no problems in life, if I’m honest. Rude, uneducated drivers who think they can outsmart clients are just a minor inconvenience, at best.
12. You haven’t had brunch if you haven’t done it Dubai style.
When someone in Dubai asks you if you want to have brunch, they’re not talking about something chill in a quaint café serving organically grown veggies with your organic eggs. They’re talking about fabulous boozy brunches to cure your hangover from the night before! Or as a prelude to what’s in store for the night ahead. Whatever your itinerary is, you haven’t done brunch properly if you haven’t done it Dubai style!
So that concludes my list of things you should know before visiting or moving to Dubai! Hope that was enjoyable and that it gave you a better understanding of what is accepted, what isn’t and just how much the city has changed and evolved!