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18 August, 2005

Guide to New Dubaians

In the Olden Days - the 1980s and early 90s - it was very easy to geographically categorise most paleface expat Dubaians. The vast majority were Jumeira Janes in bougainvillea-strewn villas: the wives of British industry and banking execs. These stolid society matrons, who spent around six months of the year back home "escaping the heat", had their feathers uncomfortably ruffled by the influx of flashy Umm Seqeim Sandras late last decade.

Today, the situation is far more confused. But to shed some light on 21st century Euro-expats, here is a rough guide to New Dubaians:

1. Countryside couples
These expats live in improbably-verdantly-themed villa developments such as "The Lakes", "The Springs", "the Meadows" and "The Leafy Forest Glades": all bang slap in the middle of the desert. Many of the old guard have moved here from Jumeira 1, converting their extortionately high rent into slightly less painful mortgage repayments. Jumeira coffee mornings have effectively gone online, with country couples spending their lives fretting about soaring service charges, unfulfilled maintance promises, and neighbours from hell.

2. Gardens inmates
These lucky detainees managed to get into Dubai's cheapest, leafiest new development before the waiting-list grew to its current length of several thousand applicants. They tend to be Tecom singles larging it at Trilogy and Bar Zar of an evening, as Sheikh Zayed road traffic now makes travelling north impossible, or subcon families organising community days on the cricket pitch. Less energetic inmates prefer to slip through the barricades for "gourmet" night at Jebel Ali Cloob.

3. Greens gang
Too late to get a Gardens cell, too poor for a country estate, young, upwardly mobile Greenies like to imagine that their life is some sort of Arabic version of Melrose Place. It is not. It is life in a large concrete goldfish bowl around a tiny concrete pool. Heather Locklear would rather eat her own feet than spend five minutes among the desperately un-Hollywood bodies slumped around the communal areas.

4. "Bidouns" or nomads
These are a hotchpotch of homeless wanderers, who migrate between villa and flatshares, unable to settle anywhere for more than a few months, always on a sadly-deluded lookout for a Gardens cell of their own. Some are Kisharoos - illegal workers hopping in and out of Iran every couple of months on tourist visas. Others drift about, regularly falling out with their ersatz landlords or being kicked out when the landlord moves back home.

Of all groups, the lifestyles of the semi-legal bidouns are closest to the traditional ways of the Bedouin. As such they should be rewarded with free Government tents and given shady camping grounds and subsidised camels.

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25 Comments:

Anonymous Luke the virus.... said...

Bravo SD this is more like it. Entertaining & illuminating. Pity I can't stir up things with this kinda post :-(

19 August, 2005 01:25  
Anonymous mohamed elzubeir said...

Ah.. no fair. What about the poor ones who can't afford to live anywhere near those areas? The ones who live in the actual city.

Oh.. and the others who can't even afford that and commute from Sharjah and other emirates?

Bah!

19 August, 2005 09:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it true the ruler of Dubai said he doesn't want anyone who makes 10k dh a month or less to live in Dubai? Can anyone answer that for me? If so, Dubai is likely to resemble Melrose Place and all the other soap operaesque destinations one finds on US television. Ugh!!

19 August, 2005 10:18  
Blogger Smokey Mirror said...

Anonymous:

I've heard the same rumour, but I thnk it's nothing more than that: a rumour. At least I hope it is.. the day I have to move out to Sharjah will quite probably be the day I leave this country for good!

19 August, 2005 11:26  
Blogger Alex said...

Where do I register for a subsidised camel?

19 August, 2005 13:56  
Anonymous mohamed elzubeir said...

A rumor is a rumor. However, I think someone have said that it will be difficult to survive in Dubai with less than 10k. That's all.

This is not abnormal though and it is certainly heading that way (give it another 5 years?). If you don't make enough to live in Dubai, commute. Very simple. There is no law that says you must live here.

19 August, 2005 16:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....and also, the colonists still live in their fungused woooden shacks in Satwa,,,oh sorry Jumeraih....my mistake

19 August, 2005 17:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

smokey mirror,

what is wrong with sharjah , noticed others with same sentiment,is it much different than dubai?

19 August, 2005 17:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the springs is by no means an uptown community at least not the part without any greenery or lakes"zulal" masses of cramped concrete blocks " townhouses ", more like a military compound in the middle of nowhere.

19 August, 2005 17:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bloody marvellous..

Your blogs are a joy to read, so keep up the good work

19 August, 2005 19:55  
Blogger LOKI said...

hey thanks for the link on your site... "Dubai to the Americas"...i appreciate it... only wish there was and easier way to exchange email addresses.

19 August, 2005 20:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anonymous, I live in the lakes zulal and it is not a mass of cramped concrete blocks, i bet you haven't even been here to have a look, if it was so bad there wouldn't be a huge waiting list of people trying to get a townhouse here. i also have friends at the meadows and springs and they have lovely homes, those areas are like the lakes just a few years ago, the greenery takes time to develop!!!! i dont think you should berate other people's areas and i thought you were extremely rude.

19 August, 2005 21:57  
Blogger Smokey Mirror said...

Anon 17:24,

A few things wrong with Sharjah. The fact that I, as a non-muslim, am still not (technically) allowed alcohol in my house is one of them. The fact that I'm also (technically) not allowed to be alone with my girlfriend is another.

But really? The main problem with Sharjah is the commute. I'd understand a 2 hour drive to go a hundred or so kilometers.. But for 20-30 klicks? Not so nice.

20 August, 2005 02:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smoke!! Anyone questioned by the police when they are with a woman has to prove she's their wife, as I'm told by emirates. So, although I'm married and my wife's last name is different from mine, and how I could prove she's my wife absent our marriage license is beyond me, I can be stopped and interrogated about being with her. Luckily I haven't been stopped, so you should feel honored; they think you are married to her or just don't give a damn. In any event, act natural and you'll be ok.

20 August, 2005 06:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "anti concrete block" lobby is developing severe anxiety because they missed the real estate train.
Do something now before you end up in a trailer park.

20 August, 2005 11:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secret: Its Dubai-ites.. but i welcome your analysis. I find it interesting how every community behaves differently and thinking their Sh%% dont stink here. Also gotta point out that while dXb is fashionable now in Europe, America still doesnt give a damn and doesnt know aobut Dubai!

Anyways here's a thought: Your blog must be giving the major UAE publications some competition. If there are other readers like me, Your blog is now part of my daily readings, sometimes even before or at the expense of papers (with nothing newsworthy in them anyways). I would rate you in top three if not higher - sometimes comparable to 7days - in terms of "daily dubai readings". Well done and hopefully you can capitalize on this someday ;o)

20 August, 2005 15:24  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Anonymouse, no it can't be 'Dubai-ites', nobody can pronounce a hyphen so it ends up sounding a bit weird. Also, 'Dubaians' makes us sound like something from another planet.

Lemme think - Dubaiers, Dubaiists, no, I got it! Dubcunians! Nah, maybe not.

20 August, 2005 17:34  
Anonymous Philanderering L. said...

really Anonymous...was flattery the best way u could think of to end your dry spell ;-) ....top 3 ? where did u get that from ?

SD - if the flattery did work keep us posted on developments

20 August, 2005 17:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the flattery is well worth it - I say to all the bloggers and readers - look around you - isnt this blog another part of your daily reads? I have only scanned the front page of KT today but have spent more time on this blog from work.

In any case Secret, if you do want to capitalize on this let me know - i know a good business opportunity when I see one.

21 August, 2005 11:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous....what wud ur boss think knowing u spend lots of work time on this blog ? tut tut...really...

21 August, 2005 13:40  
Blogger Dubai Paddy said...

Hello folks,

Glad to hear that I am not the only person who thinks the Springs are a big, ugly sprawling mess of sameness.

Comparing the green to melrose place....Ha!!

Mind you I live in ''the dark side''...mind you I would chose it any day over the spings....euch!

21 August, 2005 13:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bellissimo SD! ... Bellissimo!!

Funny and true to the word! Keep up the excellent blog and where's that 'Emirate$ A!rline' web-endorsement?

Luigi

21 August, 2005 15:29  
Blogger black feline said...

paddy,

yours truly here is also living in Springs 3...the ugliest place on earth...poor workmanship...cracking now..and the so called lake...more a a big canal...with a stupid fountain in the middle...i gave up jogging around that area...more for my life sake...many bobby traps on the ground...eg. a thick cable..jogging in the dark is just not worth it!

22 August, 2005 18:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,

As a new Dubaiian I would like to know from other expats about how much can a counsulate or embassy be my freind in need? I am American, and in the time of need, will the Embassy ensure i get justice? I ask this because it seems most laws and judgements come in favor of uae nationals.

Would love to hear from British, Aussie, American expats. Also in time of need, will the American embassy be more helpful than say a Lebanese?

24 August, 2005 14:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubaian? How about Dubious. I dropped in from Canada to take a boo. Everyone is happy. They drink a lot. Whether you are a city claiming a desert or a desert claiming a city is the question. Dubai is a folly. Your towers will never have more than 10% occupancy. And your real estate will dry up and blow away. Who wants to live where they cannot walk outside? Where nothing but money is green? Where swimming in the Contested Gulf is akin to bathing in hot champagne? Get yer money and get out.

26 August, 2005 05:58  

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