Sunday, February 01, 2009

first impressions and all that

So here we are in Dubai. Still in a bit of a daze. Still keep thinking it's a holiday until I remember it's not a holiday at all. Still not sure what I think of that.

Alpha went to work today, which seemed to be fine (he's one of those strong silent types who refuses to chit-chat unless 100% necessary, sigh, sort of manly though so can be forgiven) while kids and I went to look at schools and figure out all the boring mundane stuff you get used to when you've lived in a place for more than five minutes... which immediately stops being mundane when you go somewhere new and realise that you haven't a clue about anything anymore. Culture shock is an understatement.

Funny/odd things I've seen/experienced in the past couple of days:
  • Waitrose's 'Pork Room' in Dubai Mall - a room full of pork products separated from the rest of the supermarket with a door made out of those thick plastic sheet things - huge sign at the entrance shouts 'Non-Muslims Only'
  • A group of Arab ladies in full Burqua squeezing into the lift with a bellboy literally staggering under the weight of their designer shopping bags - a quick sneaky peek revealed that one bag was stuffed full of saucy underwear (including a tiny g-string perched on top of the pile)... not sure why this tickles and intrigues me so much, after all, covering up is probably far more sexy than some bird with it all hanging out (especially the g-string showing over top of jeans look, yuck)
  • Every single taxi driver in Dubai has rudimentary-at-best driving skills (and that's me being kind) and none of them know where the hell anything is; they complain bitterly about not knowing where it is you want to go, as if you chose your destination just to annoy them, and expect you to give them directions - like I bloody know, having been here all of five minutes. They're a lot more polite and accommodating when Alpha is with me - suspect the rudeness and idiocy is down to being a female out in public without the civilising influence of a MAN. Shame on me
  • Many people sporting woolly jumpers and knee-high boots, despite the 28C heat outside. What's THAT all about?
  • Men in suits crossing Sheikh Zayed Road - the equivalent of the M25 except it runs through the centre of Dubai and the driving is more erratic/ bloody nuts - without seeming to think that nipping across a 5 lane highway on foot trying to dodge the speeding bumper-car traffic might be a tiny bit stupid
Oh, and my internet connection is SH*T (no broadband or WiFi in the hotel - WHHHAAAATTTTT???? Call this civilisation?)

But apart from all that I think we like it.


Anonymous said...

Dubai, for all its glitzy image, is still a male-dominated society. Ex-pats ignore, at their peril, a very different mindset. YLM, you have no status apart from your husband and children. In fact, your children now belong to your husband and not to you. On the other hand, your husband has to look after you and keep you in luxury befitting an important man. You have to be the perfect wife for such an important man. You see the trade off? You behave perfectly and you get control of the American Express Card. When in Rome..... And be extra polite to those nice taxi drivers - you never know who they are or who they are related to! Take care, YLM, or, should I say, YDM. You are in a different (and very interesting) world. Good Luck!

YLM said...

Anon, you are so right. Guess I'm going to have to be happy with that trade off, for the next 3 years anyway.

Do you live in Dubai by any chance?