10 Arabian days & nights

10 Arabian days & nights

June 7, 2015 1 By Marsha

After my first 10 days as a newbie in Dubai, I already feel like I’ve been here 10 weeks. However, this roller coaster ride is far from over and even though I’m overwhelmed by all the new impressions, and the 45 degree heat, I’m very happy to be here. Trying to make sense of this new adventure I decided to make a list of my observations so far:

  • People (especially Arabs) in Dubai are courteous (hold open doors, wow!), friendly, helpful and have given me a very warm welcome
  • I am possibly the tallest girl in Dubai. Note to self: try not to wear heels
  • I have developed a love for Lebanese food
  • Okay, and for junk food, but so what else is new… (burgers galore! Oreo milkshakes, Ben & Jerry’s S’Mores flavor, baklava, Cheesecake Factory)
  • Taxi drivers – you have to give them directions
  • The service is excellent, everybody calls me ma’am and I’m treated like a queen
  • I have also developed a love for Arabic pop music (which might have to do with the limited TV channel selection in my hotel room…)
  • You can only Tinder if you have VPN, since it’s blocked by the government
  • Once you do, you will find most men: love selfies, love to show off their beach bods with the Marina skyline in the background, are short, and get angry if you don’t reply quick enough. And like to mention in their tagline they are CEO of something
  • So far, the nightlife is fun but I’ve discovered 2 types of people who are overly represented: drunk tourists (mainly British) and prostitutes (mainly Russian)
  • I’ve seen more prostitutes and women wearing skimpy outfits than I’ve ever seen in the Red Light District in Amsterdam
  • Red tape – in order to set up a bank account I need to get a UAE phone number. In order to get a phone number I need my passport. But my passport is at the visa office. Conclusion: I need a visa first
  • Most Arabs eat lunch for breakfast, dinner for lunch and lunch for dinner. When eating a halloumi sandwich for lunch I was told: “we eat that for breakfast.” Another note to self: change eating habits if you want to fit in
  • The World Islands are being built in Dubai. I heard the Netherlands is still up for sale?
  • It gets hot. You don’t need sunscreen but sunBLOCK

So, even though I miss everyone back in Holland, I am very eager to discover this new place I now call home. These little culture shocks make me feel alive and put a smile to my face, and I have not regretted my decision for one second. Ask me again after the summer (when temperatures rise to 50 degrees), but I’m sure my answer will be the same…