Only in Dubai

Only in Dubai

December 26, 2015 0 By Marsha

I like it when something is ‘out-of-the-box’, whether it’s a person (all my exes and many of my friends), idea (“let’s move to Johannesburg, Murder Capital of the World!”) or city (Amsterdam). Lucky me I moved to a city that doesn’t fit in any box, no matter how big (or expensive). After half a year, I am mostly amused and surprised (ok and sometimes frustrated) by a lot of new experiences. A world of difference when comparing it to life in Europe:

 

Holland experience Dubai experience
Superfoods being sold in every supermarket. Biological stores and supermarkets on every street corner, vegetarian restaurants. Cooking healthy meals at home. Shake Shack burgers & cheese fries, key lime cheesecake at Magnolia Bakery, everything at Cheesecake Factory, Reese’s being sold everywhere, Cinnabon, Lebanese knefe, Sheikh and Shake milkshakes, 24 hour delivery at your doorstep.
Meals consist of either chicken, beef, pork, seafood, or are vegetarian. Every meal, and I mean every meal, consists of chicken. Chicken burgers, wraps, sandwiches, salads, wings. I don’t like pork (even though every supermarket reminds me it’s for non-muslims) and the beef is all imported. So it all boils down to: chicken.
The weekend is on Saturday and Sunday, as it has been all my life. The weekend is on Friday and Saturday. On Friday I can’t sleep late because I still expect my alarm to go off. On Sunday I want to sleep in but then the alarm goes off to remind me it’s a work day. Total mindfuck!
Once the sun comes out (10 days a year), the entire country goes outside to enjoy every ray of sunlight. We pay lots of money to travel to far away places to enjoy good weather and nice beaches. We complain about the Dutch weather on a daily basis. It is always sunny and warm. I start almost every weekend with either going to the pool in my building or the beach across the road. This is pure luxury to me and something I will never take for granted.
Only teenagers have a prepaid phone. The first 2 months I had a prepaid phone, and it felt like being back in high school. I tried to call a date back once to tell him I had arrived at the bar; not a good time to discover you have zero credit left. Or while in the midst of negotiating a deal for your apartment…
When getting a facial, a perfectly normal question is: “what is your skin type?” When getting a facial, a perfectly normal question is: “do you use Botox?” or “did you ever get a face lift?” Huh?
Clothes for tall people being sold everywhere, since the Dutch are the tallest in the world. When shopping for new jeans I discovered: they do not sell length 34. So not only people are reminding me on a daily basis I am tall, so do the Diesel and G-Star stores.
Holidays are set in stone. The UAE has its own Moon Sighting Committee, who determine the Islamic holidays (mostly a few days ahead of time).Why have set holidays when you can also ask the moon.
Taxi drivers either make small talk about the weather, or don’t speak to you at all. Many taxi drivers ask if I am married. Lesson learned: don’t go into discussion with someone who is in an arranged marriage and thinks dating and sex before marriage is a sin. Get a fake wedding ring and just say “yes”.
Going to the gym means having to step on your bike through the rain, arriving home late…. so basically always an excuse not to go. I have a personal trainer who comes to the gym in my building, and as a bonus also gives me dating advice.
Dating in Holland = needs a separate blogpost. Dating in Dubai = needs a separate blogpost.
Real Christmas trees are sold at every street corner. Only fake trees are available, and locals are scared of real trees (“Don’t they have bugs and insects in them?”)

Looking forward to new out-of-the-box experiences in 2016!