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01 March, 2006

Guide to Dubai

With the world's eyes on Dubai over the ports controversy, here's a ten-point guide for foreigners considering a sojourn in the sandlands:

1. Language
You will need fluency in Arabic - including several Gulf dialects - to get by in Dubai, otherwise it will be impossible to even buy a loaf of bread or make a phone call.

2. Women
Traditionally, western expatriate women were required to live in a custom-built compound known as Jumeirah, which became increasingly cramped and run-down over the decades. The government has now built new, spacious enclosures for them in the middle of the desert, scenically and inaccurately titled "Hills", "Lakes", "Meadows" and so forth.

3. Driving
There are two types of driving license in Dubai. Category A is granted only to Arabs and westerners, and requires them to drive at no less than 200kmph on all major and minor roads. Purchase of a high-end four-wheel drive vehicle is mandatory with this licence. Category B is given to Asian expats, and requires that they drive below 60kmph in the fastest two lanes of all highways. Holders of Category B licences may only drive white Nissan Sunnies.

4. Locals
All locals in Dubai - that is to say the men in white and the women in black - have private oil wells in their palace gardens, giving them an average income of two million dollars each per week. When a child is born, a new well is drilled for it (similar to a "christening gift" in the west, but somewhat more useful).

5. Money
The money used in Dubai is called "wasta". A concept currency called the "dirham" also exists, but it is the equivalent to Green Shield stamps or internet "beanz" and has no real purpose beyond the UAE edition of Monopoly. To earn wasta, you visit important people and say appreciative things, and they may make a donation into your wasta pouch.

6. Sport
Sadly, the era of camel racing is long past, since foetal jockeys were forcibly repatriated to their mother's wombs in Bangladesh. Today's favourite competitive sport among UAE locals is a real-life version of Sim City, where families compete to build the biggest towers, earning bonus points if they max out Construction Chaos and achieve Gridlock Level 100.

7. Entertainment
All films are banned in the UAE due to various cultural sensitivities. But never fear! Cinema halls are far from silent: being filled instead with the haunting music of the Dubai Ringtone Symphony Orchestra.

8. Communication
Rather than having the internet, the UAE has a special communications system known as the Proxy, which consists of a few outdated html documents cached in a government office. To retrieve one of these documents, sandlanders must produce residence visas, passport copies and salary certificates in quadruplicate, and pay several thousand "wasta". Once the transaction is complete they can happily scan this document into their computer, and surf away! (That's if they're lucky enough not to get the notorious "Blocked" page, which accounts for 97.4% of all html documents in the cache).

9. Tourguides
As a tourism hub, hospitality in the sandlands is second to none. Any lost-looking visitors wandering around the streets, or entering a hotel, or just driving around in their car will rapidly be approached by one of tens of thousands of charming, multicultural "hostesses" who will help them feel very welcome. (Around 300 of the "dirham" Green Shield stamps is an appropriate tip for their services, perhaps 400 if they take you on a special tour of the back alleys).

10. Miscellaneous
Watches and other time-keeping devices are illegal in the sandlands, since punctuality is a serious affront to the local culture. Hazans are sufficient to wake residents up each morning. However, expats desperately wanting to know the time can drive to the Clocktower Roundabout in Deira (or walk, which is probably quicker) and get their horological fix.

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Blogger MuFi101 said...

SD u crack me up... i fwd this to my uncle in NY who will meke a trip to dubai soon to, guess what, check out real estate.

this has gotta be posted on :-) as a link titled REALITY LOL!!

Great blog..K.I.U.

01 March, 2006 05:03  
Blogger Keef said...



01 March, 2006 06:38  
Blogger BarfUser said...

11. As the U.S. press has so courageously revealed in the light of the Dubai Ports deal, the UAE is a notorious hotbed of al-Quaeda, whose members spend an inordinate amount of time in Web cafes, instant-messaging their friends overseas, and plotting the destruction of the U.S.A. Many of them eat at KFC and watch, albeit while hating themselves, "Desperate Housewives."

01 March, 2006 06:58  
Blogger dubaibaggie said...

No, they watch the local version 'Desperate Housemaids'

01 March, 2006 07:31  
Blogger dubaibaggie said...

Is it true that "The Lakes" is to be renamed "The Leaks"?

01 March, 2006 07:34  
Blogger Plonker said...

Now thats funny.. you forgot to mention our faivorite number one newspaper.. how can a post about dubai be complete without it

01 March, 2006 08:10  
Blogger unJane said...

Some of your best writing to date -Thanks!

01 March, 2006 08:43  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Brilliant brilliant brilliant!

01 March, 2006 08:52  
Blogger Harsha said...

i Sooooooooooooooooooooo totally disagree with 1. and somewhat disagree with 3. Loved 6.

01 March, 2006 09:12  
Blogger Balushi said...

after 2 year white/weterners will be like the Indians in Dubai!

20 year back whites use to think that they are the best of the best but

hahahaha we goat and sheep herders are buying off their ports and daily livlihood which they cant support anymore!

any UAE national reading this blog should not get upset with the contents but rather try to understand the frustartion of the whites occuring from the above.

Its not easy!

01 March, 2006 09:40  
Blogger kingfisher said...

Very good form SD! Thank you.

01 March, 2006 09:41  
Blogger Balushi said...

after 5years Blacks will take over USA as well, blacks have already taken over south africa!

we have to allow all the whites one day to live in the Meadows, Greens and Hills Refugees camps.

01 March, 2006 09:43  
Blogger trailingspouse said...

Yesss!! You are back on form with this one SD!

01 March, 2006 10:03  
Blogger Samawel said...

amusing :)

01 March, 2006 10:29  
Blogger Papadose said...

Alright..I have to agree with Harsha, points 1 and 3 are ridiculous. We're you being sarcastic on 1? Not too sure..Point three - where have you seen asian expats on white sunny's?? thats unfair..

Balushi, only a matter of time, before we indians take over your ports...and sheep.

Oh and one other thing - Barfuser, you are an idiot.

01 March, 2006 10:54  
Blogger Precious said...

(left eyebrow raised, understanding what goes on between the lines of this entry...appreciates it... stares at the screen and then shouts: "What's the point? Is this entry going to change anything?!")

01 March, 2006 10:54  
Blogger Axonsax said...

it would be funny if it was not sooo true!

01 March, 2006 11:10  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

Harsha and Papdose - sorry Papadose - once again, you prove our Bloody Indian talent of completely missing the point and not getting the joke.

01 March, 2006 11:24  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

Also, Papdose - sorry, Papadose - you're so hasty about calling Barfuser an idiot (I'm not entirely sure why), but wonder where SD has seen Asian expats in white Sunnys? Say the following words out loud and you'll see one instantly: "GET A MOVE ON, YOU TWIT."

01 March, 2006 11:42  
Blogger Harsha said...

Monkey chief, sorry - minky chief; i disagree with the point that u need to know arabic to get to dubai, order a loaf of brea, make a phone call, etc.

knowing Urdu/Hindi, Iranian (even malyalam sometimes) will do. And I predict, 2-3 years from now I'd be able to add Tagalog to the list.

and about 3 , i disagreed cuz, its anybody obtaining a license or been driving in Dubai for more 6 months are usually on the left most lane, ppl having a driving license for less than 6 months can be found on the right lane. Also, ppl having a driving license below 6 months that drive on the left most lane eventually move to the right lane after 1 accident.

Ppl like me are usually found on the 2nd and 3rd lanes from the left.

P.S - every night I come home in a TOYOTA HIACE in the LEFT MOST lane at 200kmph

01 March, 2006 12:07  
Blogger Harsha said...

I'm not gonna stand up for being Indian or Blah, just like 'westerners', 'jumeriah janes', etc are usually generalised, so are Indians, big deal.

n hey, hmm not just sunny's (now replaced by TIIDA) but 75% of cars in Dubai are white, n its usually the Arab nationalities that have White cars.

01 March, 2006 12:13  
Blogger Papadose said...

Monkey Chief, sorry - minkey chief, seen your blog - waiting for it to progress to the next topic. I think you've taken the "Bloody Indian" thing for too long. Me wanna say "GET A MOVE ON, YOU TWIT"

01 March, 2006 12:15  
Blogger Shafique said...

Geeeniuss SD - but a bit frightening too, given we fly in to Dubai tomorrow!!

I'm psyching myself up for the driving... :)

Keep up the good work.

01 March, 2006 12:21  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Thanks guys!

Point 1 was sarcasm - given there are people who have lived here for 20 years and know no more Arabic than "inshallah".

01 March, 2006 12:27  
Blogger Harsha said...

ok , then i agree :op

my family itself has been living here from the past 65 years or so.. My dad somehow picked up more of various languages but Arabic? - a teenie weenie more then inshallah

01 March, 2006 12:41  
Blogger unJane said...


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Satire is a literary technique of writing or art which exposes the follies of its subject (for example, individuals, organizations, or states) to ridicule, often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change. In Celtic societies, it was thought a bard's satire could have physical effects, similar to a curse. The humor of such a satire tends to be subtle, using irony and deadpan humor liberally. Most satire has specific, readily identifiable targets; however there is also a less focused, formless genre known as Menippean satire.

There are two fundamental types of satire: Horatian satire, which is gentle and urbane; and Juvenalian satire, which is biting, bitter invective. The burlesque form of satire can also be segregated into two distinct categories: High burlesque, or taking subject matter which is crude in nature and treating it in a lofty style, or low burlesque, taking subject matter traditionally dealt with in an epic or poetic fashion and degrading it.

The following commentary on satire is illuminating:

Satire is a mode of challenging accepted notions by making them seem ridiculous. It usually occurs only in an age of crisis, when there exists no absolute uniformity but rather two sets of beliefs. Of the two sets of beliefs, one holds sufficient power to suppress open attacks on the established order, but not enough to suppress a veiled attack.

Further, satire is intimately connected with urbanity and cosmopolitanism, and assumes a civilized opponent who is sufficiently sensitive to feel the barbs of wit leveled at him. To hold something up to ridicule presupposes a certain respect for reason, on both sides, to which one can appeal. An Age of Reason, in which everyone accepts the notion that conduct must be reasonable, is, therefore, a general prerequisite for satire.

01 March, 2006 12:43  
Blogger Papadose said...

Point 1 amended. I've been living here all my life. I know "Shukran" and "Asalam Alliekum" too!

01 March, 2006 12:48  
Blogger Harsha said...

One word that everybody knows 'MUKHALFA'

I had picked up Arabic (somewhat broken) when i was 11, but i never got a chance to excercise it regularly, so i'm in the same boat now.

01 March, 2006 13:02  
Blogger grapeshisha said...

This was hilarious. Thanks for making my day.

You forgot to mention how Dubai has the world renowned Dubai Port Insecurity Excellence Institute (DPIEI) or affectionately known as "Dubai Pie Eye" where students who look 'shifty' are taught to smuggle weapons of gas instruction before being placed at key ports across the world and communicating with terrorist brethren globally using smoke signals.

01 March, 2006 13:16  
Blogger sand in the vaseline said...

quality, quality humour. nice one SD.

01 March, 2006 13:32  
Blogger flamin said...

i dont agree with point 1. majority of the people in shops are filipinos and when was the last time u went and asked someone in arabic that u wanted brown bread?

balushi, in parts...u make sense. sometimes. mabrook.

01 March, 2006 14:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I just read 'Filipinos' again?

This is bad, or good, or whatever..I don't know.

Anyway, I don't like some of the thoughts in this post. This blog is viewed internationally. I don't think satire is good for the UAE's image. ;)

01 March, 2006 14:45  
Blogger moryarti said...

"...since punctuality is a serious affront to the local culture..."

So true ... :)

01 March, 2006 14:48  
Blogger secretdubai said...

i dont agree with point 1. majority of the people in shops are filipinos and when was the last time u went and asked someone in arabic that u wanted brown bread?

Let's see...

We have foetal jockeys, western women being forcibly enclosed, personal oil wells for newborns, a phantom currency, a ban on watches, driving limits at a minimum 200kmph and you choose to not "agree" with point 1?

Are you implying that you do agree with points 2-10?

Anyway, I don't like some of the thoughts in this post. This blog is viewed internationally. I don't think satire is good for the UAE's image. ;)

Try - you might feel happier there ;)

01 March, 2006 14:54  
Blogger samuraisam said...

Wow. I feel empathy for SD;
how moronic are you idiots?


Can you not see the sarcasm in "private oil wells in palace gardens" or how about, "Watches and other time-keeping devices are illegal in the sandlands" or how about, "All films are banned in the UAE due to various cultural sensitivities. But never fear!"

Yet people bother to point out factual inconsistencies in an OBVIOUSLY satirical posting.

" dont agree with point 1. majority of the people in shops are filipinos and when was the last time u went and asked someone in arabic that u wanted brown bread?"

wow. I am reading these comments in utter disbelief.
The UAE's internet users are an embarassment for the UAE, look at wikipedia, the entire UAE getting banned because people vandalise so damn much, then people look at this posting and can't see the satire, perhaps if they had never visited they wouldn't understand some of the points, jesus and crackers, people are going to see these comments and punch themselves in disbelief.

To Etisalat, plz 2 b saving face for the UAE and ban internet now. kthx.

/me recommends SD take off commenting completely since readership is too stupid to appreciate your blawg

01 March, 2006 14:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try - you might feel happier there ;)

lol..I'll stick wit u. *hehehe* ;P

01 March, 2006 15:07  
Blogger flamin said...

i don't think all bloggers are obliged to agree with everything that is posted. and if we don't agree, doesnt mean we are stupid. besides little sam, i dont owe it to u to gauge my intelligence level. as for satire, i dont see it in that line. now if u see it, good for u.

01 March, 2006 15:30  
Blogger Balushi said...

Secy must be fluent in Gulf Arabic! - How do I know this? Because she is still alive! because according to her we cant buy a bread if we cant speak arabic here.

Like i said before: People on the Internet have REAL LIFE experience=ZERO they are Sat in-front of the PC 24/7!

They sit on the internet and get the experience of real life from another internet site... Duhhhh!

It takes One Dumb to teach another dumberer!

01 March, 2006 15:40  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

Harsha and Papadose (wow, I got it right this time), you've just spent more and more comment space demonstrating your absolute and utter moronity.

Please read the unjane's post from Wikipedia. Please read and abosorb what SamuraiSam said. THESE ARE NOT SERIOUS POINTS TO AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH. (And as for both of your 'monkey see, monkey do' games with my screen name, A MINKEY ***IS*** A MONKEY!! Watch 'Allo 'Allo and you'll see.)

You've just missed the bus again.

Harsha, thank you for standing up for Indians everywhere and telling SD that you most certainly DO NOT drive a white Sunny. No SD, it's a Toyota Hiace!

Nights in white Sunnys
Never reaching the end...

01 March, 2006 15:55  
Blogger secretdubai said...

besides little sam, i dont owe it to u to gauge my intelligence level. as for satire, i dont see it in that line. now if u see it, good for u.

u know what i think? i then when u write like this u really havent got a right 2 comment on someone elses intelligence. it looks like your either lazy or illitrate. but if u like writing like this good for u. 2 b honest i think that u can write properly cos ur blog is written properly, so why dont u try to comment this way as well?

01 March, 2006 15:57  
Blogger grapeshisha said...

i no understand. i thought satire is clothes you wear when you sit down and sarcasm is a hole in a curry.

01 March, 2006 16:08  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

Sadly, just as SD decided to pull out all the stops and no longer make allowances for the cranially impoverished, we all get sucked into the same old arguments with people missing the satire/sarcasm and taking everything so damn seriously.

I think I'm going to become Balushi. Didn't somebody say something about there being pleasure in being mad that only the mad know?

01 March, 2006 16:08  
Blogger samuraisam said...



01 March, 2006 16:19  
Blogger Harsha said...

and as for minky dear

'Harsha, thank you for standing up for Indians everywhere and telling SD that you most certainly DO NOT drive a white Sunny. No SD, it's a Toyota Hiace!'

do you really want me to point out the sarcasm for u when i said Toyota Hiace ? and standing up for indians??...try reading my comment again. Honey i give a damn of what u think about Indians

ok not I feel like Balushi...

and i think i'm gonna fall in *love* with sam..

01 March, 2006 16:43  
Blogger Harsha said...


01 March, 2006 16:45  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

Harsha, my profoundest. I judged you by this line of yours: "i disagree with the point that u need to know arabic to get to dubai, order a loaf of brea, make a phone call, etc.

knowing Urdu/Hindi, Iranian (even malyalam sometimes) will do. And I predict, 2-3 years from now I'd be able to add Tagalog to the list."

I did a terrrible. I assumed that if you didn't get it the first time around, you wouldn't even if it was hammered up your nose. Nice save!

Re what I think of Indians... err... you do realise I'm Indian right? I'm proud to be Indian. But I'm also often ashamed by how ferkin thick we can be.

01 March, 2006 16:51  
Blogger CG said...

Oh dear. The post was hilarious SD, and nearly as good were the responses. Harsha is on something, without doubt.
To all the rest of you, don't bother trying to explain, what they have not learnt already cannot be taught at such a late and sunny moment in their lives.

01 March, 2006 17:47  
Blogger Eswara VAN Sharma said...

Wonderful stuff...incisive, insightful and no less than Dubai deserves.

Keep up the great work. You might actually manage to persuade me to return to the sandlands!

01 March, 2006 18:18  
Blogger Eswara VAN Sharma said...

Brilliant stuff. Just what Dubai deserves and needs. Your comments are telling, insightful and incisive. More power to you and your ilk!

01 March, 2006 18:22  
Blogger Balushi said...

Oh! ok, secy this and secy that! enough of that. Dont gratify a dead men to the limit that his skeleton might pee in his grave.

How do you guys know if Secy actually wrote all this??????

Maybe she Copied and paste it from somewhere?

I always copy poetry from hindi movies and songs and recite them to my girlfriends! actually they believe that these poetries are from me. How stupid are they anyway!

I want this doubt to be clear.

01 March, 2006 19:31  
Blogger archer14 said...

Awesome post, SD, sad that many here just don't get it. Sam, some people need really SUPER SPESHUL GIFT's, even that pic you posted could go right over their head (I loved the last punch line in it - bloody true). I feel it should have been just "GET A DAMN DICTIONARY".

01 March, 2006 19:33  
Blogger samuraisam said...

archer i did actually previously gift khaleej times with a dictionary (:

01 March, 2006 20:17  
Blogger UaE MaX said...

whats wrong with u ppl! stop arguing and enjoy the joke !
u r not supposed to agree with it
i think its funny, thanks SD

01 March, 2006 20:23  
Blogger flamin said...


01 March, 2006 20:31  
Blogger Kiwi Boy said...

Ess Dee! If laughter is the best medicine, I think you should be a pharmacist.

Very good post, lol. Especially points 4 and 10.

PS - Dubaibaggie, lol @ 'Desperate Housemaids'.

01 March, 2006 22:10  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

LOL Samurai Sam - I'm interested in buying machines from you. I'll need quite a few though - do you have the capability of making, say, a billion?

01 March, 2006 22:20  
Blogger Rock.the.Casbah said...


Also thought it was funny that when SD tried to write in poor English she fell through and let the last 'to' slip.

01 March, 2006 22:24  
Blogger Papadose said...

"Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own" - Jonathan Swift

And so they lived happily ever after....

01 March, 2006 23:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


hmmm interesting. To think all this time I thought a person could not be MADE mute they just were. silly silly me.

teach me how to be dumb SD =D

02 March, 2006 00:21  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Also thought it was funny that when SD tried to write in poor English she fell through and let the last 'to' slip.

Damn my shoddy txt spk!

02 March, 2006 00:37  
Blogger desertblog said...

Bloody excellent.

02 March, 2006 01:01  
Blogger nzm said...

You'll be writing for the Dubai Enquirer soon!

02 March, 2006 01:14  
Blogger marwan said...

Lawdee Lord, some people are thick here - or on something at least.

Another great post from SD - your favourite no.1 blog in the middle east.

02 March, 2006 03:19  
Blogger BuJ said...

very nice stuff... made me laugh...

mind you i didn't know if u were joking when i read point 1, but once i got to point 2 i started grinning :)

02 March, 2006 03:36  
Blogger 1Desi said...

nice one as always SD... now when's the next post?!

02 March, 2006 10:29  
Blogger sandsOfTime said...

:-) Made my day. Keep it up SD

02 March, 2006 11:47  
Blogger aussie70 said...

Nice one SD.
For those people who couldn't laugh at this. GET A LIFE !!!!!
and out of the far left lane because you are driving very slow in white sunny

02 March, 2006 18:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh vey!

03 March, 2006 16:28  
Blogger Krishna said...

Great Writing!!

03 March, 2006 19:14  
Blogger fruitkake said...

This is great

04 March, 2006 13:19  
Blogger Stuart Friedman said...

Numerous versions of Arabic? In Dubai? I thought the language of the UAE was Hindi, Urdu, or Tagalog. What am I missing.g

04 March, 2006 21:45  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I am with Keefieboy!


I do take exception about Westerners getting Class A licenses. This Westerner's license was a lot more similar to the Class B.

09 March, 2006 23:41  
Blogger DubaiTeen said...

Amazing blog... SD you're a really entertaining blogger!!

All of it was so true - especially the proxy internet part! I still don't know why they blocked

Keep up the brilliant blogging.

10 March, 2006 15:00  

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