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19 July, 2007

Five Dubai delights

As the time of year comes to pack the BOAC bag and set off on another trip back to colder climes, the thought of what will be most sorely missed from the sandlands comes to mind.

Among Dubai's many attractions, five things stand out:

1. Permanent, brilliant sunshine

2. Shops open until at least 10pm every night

3. Being able to drive at 140kmph with relative impunity

4. Cheap, ubiquitous, excellent Lebanese food

5. Alphonso mangoes

Perhaps there are others. But these five delights are those that will cause the greatest pangs while sitting under a grey, drizzling sky munching a wormy apple, with the sandwich shop closed by 5.30pm and twelve points on ones licence for doing 31mph in a 30mph zone.

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79 Comments:

Blogger Tammy Duplessie said...

Hi, I'm from Canada and I find it very interesting to read about your thoughts,ideas and about your country. You have a very interesting blog. If you like to read about my world I'm at http://momknowseverything.blogspot.com

19 July, 2007 05:07  
Anonymous Calcutta Cop said...

SD..
Have a safe trip and come back soon, do hope you will keep up your intriguing blogs from the wet lands.Its not only me but the majority who enjoy your posts.Do keep it flowing, and yes,do give the Bobby's my regards.
Bon Voyage

19 July, 2007 08:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure you wouldn't miss the Khaleej Times news articles?

19 July, 2007 09:11  
Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

There are, of course, many others. One that was recently brought to my attention was that in the Sandlands you're unlikely to have your car's SatNav nicked.

Leaving thousands of dirhams of GPS perched on the dashboard of your parked car might constitute leading someone into temptation. But there are places in the UK (ane elsewhere, I imagine) where a piece of Velcro on the dash will earn you a broken window. You see, the Velcro indicates a GPS hidden under the seat.

19 July, 2007 09:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sd,
If you like Alphonso Mangoes you have to try the other varieties of Indian Mangoes (there are something like 300 species). If you do get the chance head out to Lulu hypermarket and pick up some Malgova Mangoes - out of this world.

-RB

19 July, 2007 09:40  
Blogger EyeOnDubai said...

Oh yes. And stting in a petrol station in your car, waiting for someone to come and fill it up...

Enjoy!

19 July, 2007 11:09  
Blogger secretdubai said...

RB - I had a very bad experience with some other mangoes recently. They smelled beautiful - fresh, tangy - and they tasted like mud. They weren't overripe or underripe, they were just vile.

So I'm increasingly nervous to veer away from Alphonso, but I will give Malgova a try ;)

19 July, 2007 11:17  
Blogger nick said...

grey, drizzling sky munching a wormy apple, with the sandwich shop closed by 5.30pm and twelve points on ones licence for doing 31mph in a 30mph zone

I see you are from Birmingham, or Newcastle.
Good luck then.

19 July, 2007 11:30  
Blogger BuJ said...

LOL.. it's obvious which destination we're talking about then :)
Welcome welcome!

btw, I heard they propped the threshold to 32 mph and dropped the points to 3!

19 July, 2007 11:44  
Anonymous SevenSummits said...

Have a lovely vacation SD,
can add three more delights :-)

(1) Yummy fresh lemon juice with mint :- )))
(2) You can go running in the middle of the night on the beautiful AD Corniche without expecting to become a victim of a mugging (not sure if that still applies to Dubai)
(3) Friendly “male”!!! immigration officers – for those that travel a lot to developing nations, this is clearly a very nice experience. :- )

mmmh, it is 35° C and sunny in Northern Germany – where on earth did you go?

19 July, 2007 14:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H in A says :

There are lots more I can add from where I am,which is not Dubai.Care to guess ?

1. Pleasant Sunshine through the year in 30's, but without the frying feeling and suffocating humiduty of Dubai that makes you feel you died and went to Hell.
2. miles of Beaches in three different parts of the country that make jumeirah look like a garbage dump, with excelellent underwater life that can keep you busy for months, in pleasantly warm water.
3. You can walk around safely any time of day or night
4. Shops and small restaurants close at 4am in the morning
5. Affordable food
6. Rents that dont make you hate the place
7. No police puts remotely drunk drivers in jail for a month
8. There are some 100 varieties of mango, and lemon and all kind of fruits grown here, not imported in plastic jackets.
9. Well things move a lot slowly, unlike dubai but who is complaining.

I didnt want to depress any of you, just that many places have good sides if you care to explore beyond the sandlands. Ces't la vie

19 July, 2007 16:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous who said, there are also better places with good sides, besides Dubai.
I wonder where you're going if you gonna eat apples with worms....
Maybe its good that people from Dubai go on vacation elsewere, than they can see reality for a change and not only glitter and kitch.
I live in Belgium, but i would'nt change it for Dubai.

I can sit in my garden until 10pm and its still light outside.
I can eat whatever i want, and that means no worms in my apples.
In the morning i don't have to drive 3 ours to my work.
They don't arrest me for putting my finger up in the traffic.
I also can drive 140kmph on the highways.
I can also eat cheap Lebanese food and much more...
Whatever happens, i have social security.
I can be halfnaked on the beach and people wan't be arrested for looking at me.
They wan't put me in jail if i smoke a joint and i can buy alcohol whenever and where ever i want.
And don't forget the freedom of sex.


And yes i am a siviliced girl :p
Just wanted to point out that i live in a free land with beautiful seasons and fair laws....
I guess, if people live in Dubai for a long time, they live too long with there sunglasses on....

No offence, its just what i think.
Have a nice holliday, i love you're blog!

20 July, 2007 09:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5 dubai delights..... yet the 1000 dubai dreads outweigh them..sorry when my contract is up, im leaving and never looking back

20 July, 2007 12:30  
Anonymous al-republican said...

SD-

May I suggest some deliciously juicy mangoes from Pakistan:

Sindhri, Langhra and Chaunsa (the "r" is the heavy RAA sound in urdu that is somewhere between D and R).

I have been aroud the world and I have not tasted mangoes better than these. Actually, Alphonsos are the most plastic-tasting variety I have come across. I think it is because I have been spoilt by the varieties I have been eating (as RB mentions).

You can get these in the vegetable and fruit markets. If you look for them in the hypermarkets, you will obviously not find the real thing. Chaunsa is actually a small mango that is supposed to be suckled rather than cut and eaten. It's quite an experience!

Cheers!

20 July, 2007 16:50  
Blogger tobasco said...

If its UK you travelling to, then you can also add a nice sheesha cafe. Since the smoking ban they've all closed :"(

20 July, 2007 16:52  
Blogger CG said...

Hmmm, It has been a week since I flew up up and away, far from the sandlands. What do I miss?


Thinking



Still thinking



Oh yes, my 200 x 200 bed. And my truck of course, but I have not found any pedestrians that need a good nudge yet.

Nothing else.

20 July, 2007 21:27  
Blogger J-T Sullivan said...

'Permanent, brilliant sunshine'

Don't tell me! This goes on even in Winter? What about cloudy skies, rain, fog etc.?

Seems like the Good Lord loves this place!

Still, there's no place like NY or Dublin!

20 July, 2007 22:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By Sky News SkyNews - The father and uncle of "honour killing" victim Banaz Mahmod have been jailed for life for her murder.

Why even bother using taxpayers money to feed and house these types of people? Just ship them back to Iraq where Im sure they will be 'honored' for their crimes.

Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and his brother Ari, 51, were ordered to serve minimum prison terms of 20 years and 23 years respectively.

A third killer, Mohamad Hama, 30, was also given a life sentence and told to serve a minimum of 17 years.

At a pre-sentence hearing it emerged that Banaz, 20, had been raped and tortured before being killed.

Her death had been ordered by her Iraqi Kurd father and uncle after her affair with fellow Kurd Rahmat Sulemani was discovered.

Banaz asked police for help four times but was not taken seriously.

She even gave officers a list of five people she suspected would harm her and Mr Sulemani. They included Hama and three men who have fled abroad.

After being taken to hospital following a previous attempt on her life, Mr Sulemani recorded her fears on his mobile phone.

The film was played in court and helped convict her killers from beyond the grave.

In sentencing the men, Judge Brian Barker said: "This was a barbaric and callous crime. Ari and Mahmod had more respect for their community rather than for their own blood, and Ari was specifically the force behind the enterprise."

Banaz disappeared in January last year, and her body was found 100 miles away buried in a suitcase in a garden in Birmingham three months later.

Last month, Mahmod and Ari, of Mitcham, south London, were found guilty of murder.

Mohamad Hama, of West Norwood, south London, pleaded guilty to murder before the trial.

Banaz was garrotted for five minutes but took half an hour to die as Hama stamped on her neck to "let her soul out".

Five police officers face the threat of disciplinary action as a result of the trial.

21 July, 2007 01:42  
Blogger Andrea said...

Well...obviously anonymous people..Dubai and the UAE is not for everyone. But I tell you, I miss it every day!!

I miss the desert more than anything,and the picnics out in the mountains of oman.
and the 15 minute trip to work !!!(just gotta be smart about where you find to live!!)

I miss the azzan!!!!! 5 times a day!

I miss madinat jumeirah in the evenings and the fabric souk in the mornings.

I miss working with people from at least 8 different nations!

I miss seeing camels in the back of pick-up's parked next to porsche cayenne's.

I miss Dana!!

and you know what, I live in Byron Bay...look it up. I live in frigging heaven on earth but it doesn't stop me from missing the complexity of the sandlands.

21 July, 2007 15:20  
Blogger rt said...

its true..the comfort this place affords is brilliant...yes there are loads of other complaints that often surface..but the luxury of having all worlds in a single geographic space is awesome.

21 July, 2007 18:09  
Anonymous mike said...

andrea, as you say, dubai isn't for everyone, like people who aren't paid a fortune. most of the folks from '8 different nations' I work with can't make ends meet, can't afford school fees and rents, can barely afford to get back and forth to work. Ajman is the only place they can afford to live and that's a bit longer a trip when you work in jebel ali. you people who get paid large sums of money and believe dubai is some sort of romantic paradise, hanging out for cocktails at the madinat make me ill.

22 July, 2007 04:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll never miss this place!!!

22 July, 2007 10:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well rt, you should come to live in Belgium, we have all worlds in a single geographic space too.
Just go around the corner and you think your in another land. We even have thousents of Arabics here!
I live in Antwerp, town of the diamonds, if i go there, i sometimes wonder... im i in Belgium?
People who know Antwerp, should know what i mean.
If you see 10 cars passing by, you will find 2 belgium people in it and the rest are strangers.
You really don't have to go to Dubai to have all worlds in a single geographic space

22 July, 2007 13:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea, I read your mail and looked up Byron Bay. Then I read it again and looked up Byron Bay again.

Are you frigging demented ? :)

22 July, 2007 17:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

miss dubai? u must be losing it. It is indeed the saddest place I have ever worked in. And before you can comment, yes i did have very decent wages, and Andrea, I did stay 8 minutes drive from my office on shk zayed.

But before you go and comment that you should be smart where you stay, it is pretty obvious you never interacted with anyone from any of the 8 communities you are referring to, other than see them in office as wallpaper.they would have told you they earn 5000 dhs a month, and the monthly rent of a place in i hr driving radius from office would be more than that.

Obviously, you do miss being a privileged citizen in a 3rd world, than being anonymous in your own privileged country. And of course you will miss the easy money some people make here with hardly any qualification, based on nationality.And you will miss the 4 ltr car you drove here etc.

But in the end, for most people who come here, they are not searching for the romance of empty sandlands. they come here to work, and to live well, and unfortunately for most, this is not a city that gives any comfort of live . Bad Weather,living costs, lack of culture and history, traffic, rents, lack of any activity other than eating and malls...it can go on and on. To think this place is wonderful...well if you are coming for a months culture break from home, fine. Living here doing the daily grind...driving 2 hrs to work and all the crap that comes with autocracy....not sure. i live now in a country that has deserts, camels, and far better romantic quality of life than dubai. and it is not middle east.

22 July, 2007 17:58  
Anonymous Rose in Dubai said...

How about shop assistants who are helpful and friendly and can speak in more than grunts. It does my head in every time I go to the UK and people in shops are just so rude!
and fruit that tastes of something! That I definitely miss and usually try to smuggle some back!

Have a great holiday!

23 July, 2007 08:19  
Anonymous SevenSummits said...

Andrea,
Sorry, but did you leave your brain back in Byron Bay? Fellow bloggers have already pointed it out to you, but honestly I am simply appalled. :-( Obviously SD made an effort to focus on the little personal positive things about Dubai in this “vacation posting” and surely there is something positive that we can all recall about Dubai. (since there is something positive in every place and human being no matter how small or insignificant)

Yet you are obviously lacking any sense of SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY and since you must be older than 16 (with a job) this is just inexcusable. Please take a closer look at your environment and find out how people are suffering and are deprived of every single right in the UAE. Notice how long people have been separated from their families to earn a living and since bringing their loved ones along is just impossible, notice how housemaids are enduring semi-slave conditions in the UAE, visit a labor camp, realize how insignificant the value of a human life of an East Asian laborer is, and so on ….
Certainly for a very selected few of us, Dubai is atypical – In other words, being tall and blond, I enjoy the privilege of getting treating with lots of respect everywhere, but what about my dark Pakistani colleague – senior to me in scholarly achievements – what do you think will happen when we both are together in Dubai? Are you that blind to all the racial discrimination going on???

23 July, 2007 13:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant believe this. Every post has to be turned into some anti Dubai rant eventually.

There is a species of people here whose sole purpose is to whinge, whinge, whinge.

What on earth is wrong with you? I understand the disgruntled tend to be the noisiest, but cammon, have a break, have a kit kat or something.

This place is not perfect, but it is a damn better than most places the whingers came from, no doubt about it. To prove it, you are all mostly still in Dubai arent you?

It will be for the benefit of everyone if you simply just leave, mostly for your mental health and well being. You are doing no one favours from being here, absolutely no one, least of all yourselves.

I personally sincerely hope no would be immigrant, especially from the third world, reads these negative comments and gets influenced by all these negative comments. For the truth of the matter is this place has been extremely beneficial to countless people, and has raised the living standards of countless people here, and back home in their own countries.

Some people have used Dubai as a launch pad to immigrate to other countries as well.

Just to repeat in case my message was overshadowed by my other rants. The gist of my point is..LEAVE, BYE & GOOD RIDDANCE. Hopefully to be replaced by a more enterprising , happy immigrant.

23 July, 2007 14:29  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I personally sincerely hope no would be immigrant, especially from the third world, reads these negative comments and gets influenced by all these negative comments.

I sincerely hope that many third world potential immigrants DO stop to think after reading some of the negative comments here and in other blogs.

Because it is not the bed of roses that many of them are led to believe, and it is almost certainly not worth getting into a lifetime's debt to come over here. There are so many tragic stories of Asian workers who were totally duped and had completely unrealistic expectations before they came here.

At least if they know the truth they can make a more informed decision.

23 July, 2007 14:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No place on earth is a bed of roses, and I certainly do not wish to imply that. I'm simply saying alot of third world immigrants can have a better chance of improving their lives here.

Misery follows humans wherever they go; I believe we are hardwired to be miserable. Wherever humans go, no matter how pleasant, we will always find something to make us miserable. You could say its the way we are created. Alot of the misery is also brought on by the relative wealth / income inequality one experiences here. But if you ignore that, and look at it objectively, then Dubai could be a better place if you are from the third world.

You mention the manual workers as a disadvantaged lot, I agree with you there. However alot of them have had positive feedback from their fraternity that already exists here, and thats why they decided to come here. Not because of some glossy advert that emaar did for the marina.

Besides a fair bit of the commentary here is not constructive or informative criticisms, its simply written out of spite for the people and cultures that live here.

I think Dubai is a decent place to live, and a fantastic place to visit.

23 July, 2007 16:45  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Misery follows humans wherever they go; I believe we are hardwired to be miserable. Wherever humans go, no matter how pleasant, we will always find something to make us miserable. You could say its the way we are created. Alot of the misery is also brought on by the relative wealth / income inequality one experiences here.

Exactly. But I am not hardwired to be miserable, and nor do I think are most of the commenters here. I don't think Dubai is as nice as it was six years ago. I loved it then, it changed, and I don't like it much now.

I also feel misery on behalf of those who earn low wages. The thought of their plight, and their impotence to improve it, and my impotence to improve it for them, makes me miserable.

I realise you are desperate to (a) try and say something nice about Dubai and (b) present everyone else as being negative, but the fact of the matter is that you are not the only one who sees Dubai's good points or its bad points. We all do.

You want to see it as "spite" and unconstructive because that suits your own strange agenda. In fact if you look at my blog and others, you will see numerous examples of constructive criticism: better ways to run the tolls (make them rush hour only), better ways to handle domestic worker sponsorship (centralise it), better ways to improve traffic (have taxi/bus/multi passenger lanes and encourage car sharing rather than criminalising it).

Some of these suggestions - including my suggestion to split GITEX - have actually become reality. And while it may be unlikely that the inspiration for that came from my blog, it does prove that our criticism is often constructive and often appropriate.

Are you a "third world immigrant" yourself? I rather suspect you're not. I think that you get your kicks from adopting a teacher's pet stance of hyping Dubai and unfairly defaming those who critcise it.

23 July, 2007 17:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to inform you that you do not have a monopoly on sympathy for the low wage earners. I and alot of people do too. However discouraging them to not come here when this place has been beneficial to quite alot of people is simply disingenuous.

"I realise you are desperate to (a) try and say something nice about Dubai and (b) present everyone else as being negative"

There is alot of nice things in Dubai, tons of them. They are obvious to anyone who wishes to open their eyes, one need not be desparate to find them.

As for me wanting to paint everyone else as negative, this is simply a figment of your imagination. I dont know where you get that idea from.

As for my strange agenda, well perhaps you could clarify to your readers what that strange agenda is. I for one dont know it. Perhaps you could tell it to me.

I never said all crititicisms here are unconstructive; I said some are, and spitefull to boot. I lay this charge speicifically to some of the commentators here who have a knee jerk reaction to hate everything here. I wonder why they are here to start with, why dont they just pack up. I'm damn certain no one will miss them.

And no I'm no third worlder at all. But I have been to countless third world countries, and I know the difference in wages between Dubai and other third world countries. Dubai wins hands down.

As for my kicks, I dont know what you are on about again. I simply do not want people to be discouraged to come here, when they could improve their lot, and their families.

23 July, 2007 19:23  
Anonymous mike said...

no, i'm not wired to be miserable and no, i'm not leaving. i was simply pointing out that Andrea seemed to be living in some fantasyland rather than seeing Dubai for what it is...at least what i see it as...an means to an end. i came here in the early 80's and moved in fulltime in the early 90's. i have no plans to stay after my pension kicks in as it won't cover the inflation. i consider myself lucky as i am on a contract that takes care of most of my expenses, but i'm very aware of the plight of the less-fortunate...people just like me who came here to save enough money to be able to go back to their home country and live good..now they are barely getting by and are basically trapped..kids in school; not enough funds to leave; just getting by and not saving anything. this isn't an 'anti-dubai rant'..only a comment that Andrea should see this place isn't 100% a postcard picture od the Burj Al Arab as people would have you think.

24 July, 2007 07:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous "H in A". I too live in a place with a wonderful weather, wonderful sea, FREEDOM, the right to SAY WHAT I WANT, good income, great CULTURAL LEVEL, SUNSHINE, and many other things you LACK in Dubai. Of course PARADISE does not exist, but FREEDOM is nice. I won't give a penny for your Dubai, your sunshine, your kitch city, the highest skyscraper, and all that silly things.

24 July, 2007 11:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:27..

Well done for living in a wonderfull place, well done. Go celebrate.

My point was that there is a huge group of people who could benefit by coming here, whose main concern is not freedom but food in the mouth and their families. Thats all.
Dubai has given those people a chance.

24 July, 2007 13:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:27..

Well done for living in a wonderfull place, well done. Go celebrate.

My point was that there is a huge group of people who could benefit by coming here, whose main concern is not freedom but food in the mouth and their families. Thats all.
Dubai has given those people a chance.

24 July, 2007 13:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really touching post, that captures the feelings of a lot of people commenting here I think.

http://beerandbloating.blogspot.com/2007/07/theyre-gone.html

24 July, 2007 14:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H in A says :

Hello anon @ 23 July, 2007 14:29, the flag bearer of "GET OUT IF YOU DONT LIKE" brigade, and "Dubai is a fantastic heaven on earth" club.

1. If someone like SD had this blog running a while back, I would have never ended in this jackshit place. Thank you SD, future would be sufferers in Dubai will thank you for the close escape.
2. No I am not genetically miserable, on the contrary, I am what Optimism is made of, and I live everyday happily, and friends spend time with me for the happiness I share
3. As for GET OUT, most people came here for some money, in a place they thought was decent. And what they get is very little money these days, and very poor quality of life.Fck racism, they will take it if they get the money. And they are stuck since they have to accept failure and go back and hunt for non existent jobs in own countries, jobs they quit when they left. Do you have any friggin idea how expensive and difficult it is to move jobs and countries ? So they hang on to Dubai for dear life, not bcos they like it.
4. Any place will give opportunities if you put your heart and soul into it. Millions did in Dubai, and a few hundreds prospered. So you sell hope abt dubai and get people here, and tell them dont worry, this is heaven, you just havent crossed to that lucky side of street yet. I say, On the contrary, they should leave. Maybe they will never find anything better elsewhere, but without trying how the hell do you know if they will or will not.
5. Do you get pissed when someone criticises dubai? well, welcome to democracy of internet. This is not GulfNews, or "Times of Autocracy". People are entitled to opinions, we will continue to crap on Dubai as long as crap is what happens. And not out of vindictiveness, but to make sure more people dont get in on hype and hyperbole. You see, I show companies how to do marketing and PR. And I will be damned if I let some idiots spin stories to con people and make them suffer.
6. If you are so confident that we are doing Dubai an injustice, in the end, truth will prevail. Why dont you just go out and ask someone who just moved in to Dubai 6 months back, what he thinks of his decision now. You will be surprised.

And as a personal note, while Dubai may not be hell, there are so many better places around that I am surprised how little people are exposed to, and keep saying Dubai is The place.

24 July, 2007 15:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H and A..

Please dont be an ignoramus, I never said this place was heaven on earth. I'm merely saying some people will be better off coming here, especially from third world countries. I dont know much about you, but it seems the shit hit the fan for you. Sorry to hear that.

And yes you can always find a place that is better, always can. But what does that say?
You can always find a better wife, better house, better car ad infinitum.

You are obviously miserable here, but its not miserable enough for you, otherwise you would have left. I hope you leave soon for your sake.

24 July, 2007 16:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I subscribe every word H in A. Please don't try to show Dubai as a place for poor people. No public schools, no social services...You may die if you are poor! Take a look at FaceBook, take a look at the UAE comunity there...Good Lord! one may believe that people's brains just melted in that wonderful world full of nonsense. Do you ever think of politics, of climate, of the war in front of you, in Irak? Slavery? Look at your maid, is she soooo happy in that fkg racist place? It's just a fake place, no history, no past, just skyscrapers...Somebody who lived in Dubai and loved it 30 years ago told me that is horrible and I'm happy she told me so and opened my eyes. I feel so good after being there and decided not to accept the job.

24 July, 2007 17:53  
Anonymous al-republican said...

SD-

As a person who was born and bred in UAE, I can see your point about Dubai becoming too "plastic" in the last 5 years or so. Dubai sometimes reminds me of Lebanese women, hehe.

But, I am still confused as to what you want UAE to be? There is the plastic Dubai that you have started abhorring and then there is the still-orthodox Ras Al-Khaimah which you will not spare even the minutest opportunity to mock and call "backward"? I have actually met with the rulers of Ras Al-Khaimah and some of their senior leadership; they are a REALLY educated and cultured lot! I kid you not!

I suggest you should some day try the northern areas of Pakistan (when things are peaceful of course, these days whites are not welcome hehe). It is REALLY beautiful and scenic! And the people there are AMAZING.

I am not being sarcastic here :P

24 July, 2007 18:13  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Al Rep - I've never had anything against RAK, on the contrary, I really admire it. It has a sense of individuality and independence and seems very progressive. It is certainly a source of some amusing stories (like the ongoing battle against "massage parlours"!) but I certainly don't consider it backward. If I have ever written that, then I take it back. I always think of it as the "frontier" emirate, a bit Wild Wild West, but I say that in a friendly way not as critcism.

It's Sharjah I have an issue with, because of their "decency" laws. I'm less bothered by laws banning t-shirts (whatever, the A/C is usually pretty cold in a mall, though I think banning lower arms is rather pointless) and I personally couldn't care less about alcohol (I don't drink, but even if I did I wouldn't care that they ban it) than about the ludicrous segregation laws. Yes I know they are generally not followed, but they are there, written into law, and they can be used "when required".

Those laws make it a crime for me to visit Sharjah with a male friend. They make it a crime for me to share a car ride with my male colleague. Sure - I won't be prosecuted for those things - but that doesn't mean I am not breaking the law. And I object to behaviour such as that being illegal.

So while I think Sharjah is the best emirate by a mile in terms of wildlife intiatives - huge kudos to Mr Al Midfa at the breeding centre among others - I find it immensely backward in other ways. Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah - none of these emirates have "decency" laws, and are they any less "decent" than Sharjah? No.

But RAK - what a cool place. They even joined the UAE a year late. I sometimes wonder if they'll choose to go their own way again completely some time.

24 July, 2007 18:30  
Anonymous Safia said...

Hmmmmmm....

Having worked nearly 10 years for the people Al Rep describes so glowingly in his post, I think he (like soooooo many others) was blinded by charm/money.

I could tell you stories about that lot that would make your hair curl (or go straight, if it's already curly).

There is a reason that RAK is so disliked by other emirates' governments (especially the big powerful ones).

24 July, 2007 21:39  
Anonymous Cotton Eye Joe said...

Dubai is a great place for the nationals, whites and people with a truckload of money. Period!

I'm always surprised by the hypocrisy - on one hand the west/europe is blamed for all the shit that happens in the middle east and on the other, whites are almost revered and paid ridiculously high salaries. The truckload of dirhams some western/european consultants take home is proof. I'm a caucasian myself and I just don't get it!

25 July, 2007 08:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD, A pakistani girl with very little imaginateion is running a spurned lover kind of war against you, alternately masquerading herself to be a local. looks like she has a secret lesb crush on you. You better stay wherever you are on holiday..:-)

25 July, 2007 13:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 24 July, 2007 15:19 said

there are so many better places around that I am surprised how little people are exposed to, and keep saying Dubai is The place.

Where are these places please ?

25 July, 2007 15:05  
Anonymous KTWwat said...

Did anyone mention Very Inexpensive Sex?

25 July, 2007 15:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Rep, being born and bred here wouldn't mean anything right? You are still the child of an expat brought here to work, so would you remain. In most other countries, you would've belonged to the country, legally and emotionally. Maybe you are better off without. Just another golden rule of the region, to prevent slaves taking over the masters:-)

25 July, 2007 17:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I posted a comment yesterday and it wasnt posted. I wonder why? Perhaps its because I wasnt slagging this place off, and that goes against the grain.

And Oh! before I forget. Cotton eye Joe is not caucasian. Cotton you look bitter,and envious. Those are not good qualities you know. Also Cotton, whould be too much to ask if I asked you to please the country? You have nothing good to say about this place, nothing at all.

Where you came from did they kick you out by any chance? Do you think they will take you back if you caught the next available flight? Bitter , Bitter, Bitter, Bitter, Bitter, Bitter....dada dada dadam.......dadam.

25 July, 2007 18:22  
Anonymous SevenSummits said...

SAFIA: You have a serious point there and I believe that you could tell us stories that would make us shake our heads in disbelieve. Nevertheless it is somewhat human to be blinded by the charm/money of these elites and while I personally have to deal with them on a constant basis around the globe, I frequently realize that even Westerners fall for this. (and we cannot excuse it with a paternalistic social system, based on submission to authority – so a special shame on us! Just saw it in Kuwait once again and am still wondering how some individuals can so easily sell our ethics for cash!) But who cares about some elites – they are often somewhat strange, no matter where they come from. What worries me more is that even those intellectual symbolic elites in UAE society are not at all what they pretend to be and that is alarming and very dangerous.


AL-REP: Personally I believe that those seriously concerned with the region (not those that are there purely to earn an income!) know exactly what they would want Dubai to be like and what SD is describing is merely putting an obvious trend of disintegration (“negative integration") into simple words. What you describe as “caving in” in your other post, is known as the apathy created by a typical rentier mentality. This type of society rewards access to power (organized coercion, political authority and wealth) and glorifies material possessions, at the expense of knowledge, labor and altruism. Generally this created a condition of "negative consent"– the decline of participation - on part of the people at large, thus resulting in a situation where people are sinking into a morass of individual interest at the expense of collective welfare. The absence of a functioning civil society is just one aspect of this issue and most certainly this has nothing to do with Islam. (well and there is no such thing as an Arab culture, displayed all over the Arab League) You saw from the comments of our ANON above how people - unquestioning and unaware – react to criticism. So much nonsense in one post topped of with a “if you don’t like it leave” remark reminds me of the typical responses that you get in the UAE when you even remotely touch topics like youth bulges, social contracts vs pro- natalist policies, education, human trafficking, Emiratization and so on – ah, we all know and there is no need to repeat it over and over again. It is a seriously complex topic …. yet while some of us realize how frustrating the situation must be for the local minority, I have never heard a single feasible solution to the problem from a UAE national. (actually not even a non feasible solution!)

While the UAE serves as a perfect example of a rentier state it is certainly not so easy to convert an entire generation indoctrinated with this mentality, which also is visible in the defined relationship of the UAE society toward salaried work, back to its former state (just have a look at the blog of An Emirati's Thoughts – a clear display of how he isolates position and reward from their causal relationship with talent and work. He has never experienced anything else, so no one can really blame him!)

The paradox COTTON EYE JOE is describing is omnipresent in Dubai and while Dubai is still totally depended on foreigners that are making up roughly 98% of their private sector work force and if all these would leave the country would be back in the stone age within 96 hours (no water, no electricity, no gas, no security either – good chance for Pakistan, India or Iran :-) …) – they still disdain the major work force and more or less “silently though segregation” hate the tiny rest by blaming us for each and every problem that can be found in the entire Islamic world. This creation of cognitive dissonance is certainly nothing new, wherever there is way too much foreign involvement, but most certainly it would be about time for the UAE nationals to question those issues concerning Dubai (mass tourism, alcohol, crime rate, prostitution, etc.) instead of pointing a finger at the West.

When it comes to Pakistan – several Western colleagues have told be that it is one of the most beautiful countries they have ever seen and besides you got something that I am addicted too. :- )))) It never ceases to amaze me what on earth drives anyone to spend a vacation in Dubai??? To see one big construction site or an artificial city, where nothing is authentic? Shopping? While you can go to the same shops elsewhere in the world? Totally unexplainable?

I will visit Northern Pakistan next year and will see how much they will in reality dislike me. Should I take some dark shoe polish along? Mmmh? Sadly you disagreed with inter-religious marriages in your other post and that somewhat surprised me, since it does not correlate with your religious /intellectual approach (???) I know of many examples of Pakistani / German relationships (both ways) and they all seem to handle the cultural/religious differences quite well.

SD: Wow, “decency laws” in Sharjah??? Honestly - did not have a clue – thanks for sharing the info and even while I do not drink any alcohol either and always dress conservative (certainly no T-Shirt or Shorts unless in my hotel room) in respect to the local culture, I am just trying to figure out how many laws I have already broken unintentionally in Sharjah  ?! Just talked to a very senior Saudi colleague (over 70) on the phone and told him that he should have known better, when he hugged everyone (males and females) for goodbyes last time on a parking lot???? Now I conclude that this was illegal, but he just laughed and found it very amusing.

In regards to scenic, still-orthodox Ras Al-Khaimah I have a few objections, because I hope that you are aware that “female circumcism” is still practiced there (I personally know two local educated ladies that are suffering from the consequences of this totally unislamic mutilation) Of course it is considered a taboo topic in the region, but such practices should never ever be ignored.

COTTON EYE JOE: Totally agree with you on this paradox, but there is also a lot of accumulated hatred against Westerners in the UAE. The shallow kindness will soon disappear, if you dare to criticize just about anything that concerns them.
In a normal business environment you will not even get close enough to see this characteristic. Moreover there is also a much stronger tendency for national women to hate foreigners, then among the male populace. (never seen it as distinct in any other part of the world) Please do not forget that expert Western/European consultants (despite their color or race – there is not only Caucasians in Western societies!) get paid well on a worldwide scale. In fact you will earn less going to the UAE than going for instance to Somalia or Sierra Leone.

25 July, 2007 18:27  
Blogger S. said...

Being here in Canada, I have had people ask where we moved from, and when we say Dubai, they wonder why we moved.

There are a lot of reasons why we moved, but one of them, was the fact that I came to the realization that Dubai was what it was due to the cheap labour. I mean, the new properties are somewhat cheap compared to other countries, the rich have so much money to throw around, and all this is only because their bottom line, is so low.

Gas stations can afford to have someone pump your gas for you, only because the guy earns so little, its cheap for the gas company to afford him. So, you get your gas pumped at the expense of someone who's sharing a room with 4 other people and barely able to make ends meet.

The thing I like about any civilized country is the fact that everyone, no matter how lowly their job is, is paid their fair pay. (Ok, you do have illegal immigrants who are not, but they are hiding from the system and therefore unable to use its protection)

I see a lot of people whinging that Dubai is so good, and that you can get a maid to do things for you, and have someone pump your gas, and take out your trash. You can get your car washed every day for a month for as little as Dh 100, you can get someone to pick up after you. At the end of it all, youre just exploiting the people who do these things for you.

Dubai is a boom town now, because there arent things like minimum wage.

And those of why say "So..?", remember this, What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Dubai is slowly sinking.. At one time, there was just a small section that was exploited. With the laws of economics, those that once exploited others are now finding themselves exploited too. And it will keep going up and up.

25 July, 2007 20:02  
Blogger navind said...

rIn Platoon, a (African-American) soldier's response to Charlie Sheen's revelation that he enlisted because it wasn't fair that only underprivileged kids fought and died in Vietnam:

"Shiiit. You have to be rich to think like that in the first place"

The Dubai phenomenon (formerly the Middle-East phenomenon) is now almost 40 years old, and cheap labour continues to find its way to there from the subcontinent. Most people have heard of the problems; most people would still choose to go if given the chance. These people are poor; they aren't stupid or mis-informed. After 40 years most would-be (temporary) migrant workers will have had contact with a former resident of the land of milk and honey.

Don't pity them because they are enduring physical hardship; they probably had to endure the same level of physical discomfort in their native lands.

Do not feel sorry for them for not being able to see their families for years at a time; they knew it was a sacrifice they would have to make for the higher level of income (provided that they were paid what they were promised in their contracts).

Those fortunate enough do in fact save enough money to provide a life that is more comfortable for themselves and their families. In exchange for their family life, their identity as equal citizens, their language and religion, they can take back enough money for a plot of land or a house, perhaps a 3-wheel taxi or an old van or an even older tractor.

If Dubai shocks your sensibilities, its only because it shows you the inequities of life in the sharpest ethnographical and demographical relief.

Perhaps the problem is not with Dubai, but with the fact that there is a world of haves and a world of have-nots (and not merely in economic terms)), and never the twain shall meet. Except, apparantly, in the Middle East.

I feel sorry for the fact that life is hard enough for some people to have to send their 17 year old daughter off to work in Saudi Arabia. If feel sorry for the fact that some people get off lightly and others dont.

Such is life.

I wish I had answers, but I don't.

--------
PS:
All you clowns crapping on about how the middle-eastern wages are making the lives of 3rd world unskilled labourers so much better: For the last time, No. From the day they arrive here they will be legislated against but not for, spoken at but never to, seen but not acknowledged by the system that needs them but doesn't want them. All justified by the pittance tossed their way and the accompaning platitudes of how its more than they would make at home, and how they can leave if they don't like it, followed up by some obscure reference to the caste-system (which still exists in only parts of one country in Asia).

25 July, 2007 20:17  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Hmmm, I posted a comment yesterday and it wasnt posted. I wonder why?

I haven't knowingly/intentionally deleted any comments for at least the past 48 hours (possibly the last week). So either it never got to me, or it got deleted by accident. If you submit it again - assuming it's not obscene etc - I will publish it for you.

If the big mix of opinion here doesn't convince you that I am not censoring either side, then nothing can.

25 July, 2007 21:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you navinf for bothering to explain.....

I keep saying Dubai is not perfect, but it has lifted alot of people, alot of people. Some even have become rich.

This place is not perfect, but it does have lots of plusses too. There is no point hating the locals and blaming them for every mis fortune.
Its not like they have a say anyway. They werent even consulted for all the huge social changes that have happened here. Yes they have benefited, but most of the money goes to the rulers.

I really have to emphasise this, Dubai has lifted alot of people from the third world. Whether they are working here, or coming here as small business people. I have seen countless such people, way too many to count.

As for the Summit thing who has alot to say, whi is living in Canada now. I would like him to know this. Canada is the worlds biggest country, it is more than one third the size of Africa. Almost all its original inhabitants were exterminated, simply for being the wrong skin. Given they were all stone age people, imagine how many languages were spoken there, how many cultures existed. All wiped away, gone with the wind.
And I could say the same for all those model countries that people will mention as some sort of beacons.

So next time you go chilling in a park in the wild open expanses of canada, spare a thought to the natives that once roamed there and were exterminated simply for being different.

25 July, 2007 23:12  
Anonymous Rose in Dubai said...

Spoke to my maid about this yesterday and this is what she had to say. She said "I come here to work hard to make a better life for my family because war has made it impossible for me to do that at home, so my sons and daughter can go to school and my parents can be comfortable. It is an honour for me to be able to do this for my family. I miss them a lot but when i go home and see what my work has done for them I am very happy."

For me I am grateful to her because she makes my home beautiful and comfortable and actually I pay her the same as I paid the lady who worked for me in the UK.

Rose tinted glasses? Perhaps, but I believe when we look at something we don't see what's out there, we see what's in us. Some people see misery, exploitation, slavery. Others see beauty, opportunity, growth and challenge. Both groups are right, there is good and bad everywhere, but what you choose to focus on determines your life.

26 July, 2007 09:37  
Blogger S. said...

Anonymous, if youre going to start mudslinging, at least get your facts straight.

1) I did in no way "blame" the locals. I just said that the reason that people can afford so many luxuries is because there is always some poor underpriviledged soul to do things for them cheap. That goes for Jumeirah Janes, Satwa Sallys, Mirdif Marys and Karama Mamas.. If you notice, I started off the post stating that people here asked me about Dubai and the fact that you can have someone do things for you cheap there.

Secondly, Canada is the SECOND largest country in the world and its no way larger than Africa.

Africa = 11,700,000 square miles.
Canada = 3,851,809 square miles.

If youre talking extermination of the natives, you mean the US not Canada. Most of Canada's original inhabitants are still around. In fact the government here made three provinces autonomous and under First Nations (thats what theyre called) control. Most of the tribes are still around, and they are even given priviledge over all the other Canadians in things like finding work, benefits and services.

If you want to compare apples to apples, spare a thoughts for all the Bedu who were the original inhabitants of the UAE and who are now considered "stateless" persons..

Get your facts straight before throwing your 5 fils into the discussion.

26 July, 2007 09:58  
Anonymous Cotton Eye Joe said...

Anon @ 18:22,

Yeah right! I'm, not caucasian! I just pretend to be one because...errr....I get a kick out of it??!!

I do admit I get bitter sometimes when I see the double standards! I work in the oil industry and get to travel to some of the fields. It disgusts me to see the pittance some workers are paid because of where they come from. Just because I have the privilege of making more than I probably deserve, I don't ignore the unfairness. And trust me, it is. A lot of us believe so. OK we might privately have a laugh about moronity of the system here. But then, I'm here to make hay while the sun shines ;-)

26 July, 2007 10:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD, somebody you kept haunting us with personal attacks and nasty comments whom you were forced to banish still seems to be lurking around as anonymous. talk about having no pride and being ...Bitter , Bitter, Bitter, Bitter, Bitter, Bitter....dada dada dadam.......dadam

26 July, 2007 12:31  
Anonymous Rose in Dubai said...

>>Africa = 11,700,000 square miles.
Canada = 3,851,809 square miles.<<

Shit, what did I miss, Africa got unified into one big country - WOW! When did that happen?

26 July, 2007 13:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey S dude / dudette.....
Can you read properly? Where did I say Canada is bigger than Africa?

But yes, I believe Russia is bigger than Canada. By the way Russia did quite a bit of extermination on its own territory too on its native peoples..

You say Canada was not exterminated? Well I have a rainforest in the sandlands I would like to sell you.

Very cheap, very very cheap I sell to you. Cheaper than the rainforest you will get in big department stores. Five million hectares its size it is. I also name it after you. Ok, deal? Yeess good good.

26 July, 2007 14:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 23 July, 2007 14:29

You said:
"Just to repeat in case my message was overshadowed by my other rants. The gist of my point is..LEAVE, BYE & GOOD RIDDANCE. Hopefully to be replaced by a more enterprising , happy immigrant."

I love this comment. Of course you would want a more enterprising, happy immigrant. Who else would do all the work here, while you and your local masters bathe in oud scented water.

-RB

26 July, 2007 14:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every race/country has a dark past.

If we want to bring out everyone's dirty laundry, we are gonna be hear a long time.

The fact of the matter is that there is something seriously wrong with the UAE. It wouldn't be such a big thing if they admitted it and said this was the way its gonna be. The reason people get pissed off, is because of the hypocrisy: the bullshit PR about being a great and fair nation, the application of Islamic principles when it suits them (the righteousnous of which is questionable in the first place).

And no I will not leave. I am gonna sit here and point out the facts to all those uncaring, uneducated, hypociritical people. Idiots Idiots Idiots.... Bada Bada Bada ....Bing. whatever.

-RB

26 July, 2007 14:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RB, you can stay hre for sure, no problem. but if this place seems to interfere with your happiness, why dont you go back where you came from. Its simple common sense isnt it?

And further to that, why would you want to stop others coming here, when it will be beneficial to them just as it has been beneficial to you. It has been beneficial to you hasnt it? Otherwise you would have left ages ago.

As for the hypocricy thats here, well thats your fault for believing the hype. Most people know this place is a dictatorship, most people know this place has has its own different culture, which is quite conservative. And most people can tell the difference between hype and reality.

Now if you chose to believe the PR hook line and sinker whose fault is it? The PR people or you gullibility? No?

26 July, 2007 15:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 26 July, 2007 15:26

I never said I believe the PR. Please reread my comment. All I said was I am sick of the hypocrisy here. If they have the right to lie, I have the right to tell the truth.

Instead of attacking the people who tell the truth why aren't you attacking the people who lie?

You seem so keen to bring more "slaves" into the UAE. Are you one of those people who would like to exploit fellow human beings?

-RB

26 July, 2007 16:02  
Anonymous al-republican said...

Sevensummits:

You are choosing the wrong time to go to NWFP. The "central government" (read military) has declared an emergency there and the province is under de facto martial law. You might see lots of army personnel there and you may not be allowed to visit all places.

I do hope things get better there before your trip though.

26 July, 2007 18:05  
Anonymous al-republican said...

SD-

You don't drink?? Wow, my fascination and respect for you have gone up several notches! :)

Just to make a point, though, have you ever thought how alcohol is prohibited in the Qur'an? What is the significance of Divine texts for that matter? Had faith been a "personal" thing as people have made it look like these days then there would have never been the need for scriptures and prophets.

Divine Law is implemented by humans in this material world. Prophets were not Angels, they were humans. Since alcohol merits the revelation of verses in connection with it, it follows that it is our system. This is exactly why there is so much noise being made to seperate religion and state. The idea is to take away the influence of divine law and replace it with temporal ones designed to suit the whims and desire of human beings.

The key to this misunderstanding is that Muslims are identified in the Qur'an as people who "enjoin good and forbid evil" (amr bil ma'roof wan-nahi anil munkar) as a collective group. We forbid alcohol because God has forbidden it for Muslims. From the point of view of Jurisprudence, there is no harm in promulgating laws regarding alcohol. In fact, the view of all schools of thought is that if something is stated in the Qur'an then there is no space for human intervention.

The West has laws on alcohol, too. They might not ban the substance, but they have laws in place to regulate its intake by the public due to the harm associated with it to others. Isn't that ALSO non-sensical if measured by your own vectors? So the way I see it, its the same thing at varying degrees.

The classical line of reasoning in Islam being that things that cause harm should be avoided ALTOGETHER. The word used for prohibited acts is "La Yaqrabu" meaning one should not even GO CLOSE to such things. For example, places where alcohol is served should be avoided, too. The injunction is there to root out the possibility of the person being influenced by his circle (if he visits such places often enough) and trying it (and thereon it's all about the "domino effect").

Note: I really wish there was some other medium to share this info with you because I know some wouldn't care and will in fact get irritated to see all this. You may not publish this here cuz this was addressed to you.

26 July, 2007 21:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo,

Al Republican starts his preaching again.

Al Republican, I don't think you realise that no one cares whether muslims drink or not.

The whole clash of civilisation is due to the fact that muslims want to impose their rules and religion on everyone.

-RB

27 July, 2007 13:39  
Anonymous SevenSummits said...

Al-Republican,
Don’t worry about the irritation of others, because your efforts to explain some of the misconceptions about Islam are directly related to many of the topics we are touching here. For instance the ongoing HYPOCRICY in the UAE which many are referring too and which of course is directly related to the unfounded negative image of Islam in the West. (e.g. allowing alcohol consumption for their economic voracity, disregard for science and education, environmental destruction, women displaying material wealth, tons of make-up and lack of any human compassion while wearing “hijab” (in direct contraction to modesty and morality), laborers not being paid, etc. Due to the fact that these fellows still claim to be religious (almost often used almost as a threat), the average Westerner gets a distorted view of what Islam is and stands for and hence instantly draws the wrong conclusions. Even worse is the fact that this behavior reflects on other Islamic societies around the world and especially those from the LDCs have a tendency to copy these (Gulf) socio-cultural norms. (with very negative outcomes – I guess that anyone can imagine that)

Mmmm – alcohol consumption may serve as a good example to fight against the common prejudgment of Westerners from your side. As you noticed neither SD nor I consume alcohol and certainly I could point out numerous others that don’t. This has sometimes little to do with religion, but with “judgment”. Personally for example I do not drink, because I like to be responsible for what I do (even the mistakes) and am fully aware of all the risks that alcohol consumption carries. It is a major social problem in Germany (especially the young generation), however it is also a very big problem in Islamic or partly Islamic countries. Lack of reliable information and the absence of awareness campaigns can mutate into some of the social consequences, we already witnessed for instance in the UAE among the national population. In my opinion it is absolutely irresponsible from the government to allow alcohol consumption in such a fragile (in terms of development) environment and personally I prefer Kuwait / SA (where people just do what they do in their privacy and not in public) However a mature as well as sincere person will not be tempted by peer pressure by going to a nightclub with colleagues / friends to enjoy the music and atmosphere, so give a little credit to adult self-control please. ;-)

Thanks for your concerning words in regards to NWFP. The military is usually my best friend, because if I do my job correctly they will eventually have nothing to do, but stay in their barracks and have a great time. In other words I am used to people in uniform and do not mind arms unless they are pointing in my direction. :- ( Your beautiful home is not within the scope of my work – I only get to deal with really scr…. up countries and Pakistan certainly does not fit into that profile. (Let us pray that it will stay that way!) I will just visit a few projects, open my ears and broaden my horizon for a better understanding of the general problem in the region – so it is only educational.

S.
Another beautiful scenic landscape – just wonderful – and so few humans around – even more wonderful! Great place for “responsible” eco-tourism (not what the UAE is trying to advertise under this term)
Certainly those troublemakers should get their facts straight first, before making some noise (common problem in the UAE thou, even among scientists :- ( )
Sadly I have to inform you that the Bedu cannot be considered the original inhabitants of the UAE, but your point was well understood anyhow.
If you are interested you will find a paper on this topic entitled
“IMAGINING A BEDOUIN PAST: STEREOTYPES AND CULTURAL
REPRESENTATION IN THE CONTEMPORARY UNITED ARAB EMIRATES”
at http://inhouse.lau.edu.lb/bima/papers/R_W_Hawker.pdf

Cheers from Germany

27 July, 2007 14:11  
Anonymous al-republican said...

Sevensummits:

Selling of alcohol, if I recall correctly, was allowed for the convenience of Western/non-Muslim expatriates. But even now buying alcohol is a little complicated. It is easily available in restaurants, hotels and bars though.

The Dubai government saw it necessary to do this if they wanted to attract Western tourists. It was their call and I guess it is working. I am sure they make a lot of money out of it, but as a Muslim I know that this is surely not pleasing Allah. As a verse in Surah Jumuah (chapter 62) reads about people giving precedence to material wealth over the commandments of God:

"... Say (to the Muslims, Oh Muhammad): Say: That which Allah hath is better than pastime and than merchandise, and Allah is the Best of providers."

Such is the materialistic today and such has been the lure of wealth to mankind that he has always bargained his duties to the Almighty for the gains of this World. I am no exception to this human instinct. May God help us all.

28 July, 2007 01:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people comparing Dubai to Pakistan need to have their heads checked.Even if Pakistan manages to build some Malls and skyskrapers and some decent hotels, most people will never think of living there,don't ask me why cos it's obvios.

28 July, 2007 11:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do Alphonso Mangoes look like ? Where D'ya get em?

28 July, 2007 16:37  
Anonymous al-republican said...

Anon 28 July, 2007 11:25

Who ever tried to compare Dubai to the northern valleys of Pakistan?? To start off with, I didnt even talk about modern highrises and malls; I talked of the rugged yet scenic mountains of the north the scintillating lakes and rivers alongside them. Apples and oranges here, friend.

28 July, 2007 20:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alphonso mangoes are not necessarily the best - they are moderately sweet and have a very delicate flavour to them.

You can get them at any large Indian hyper market (don't pick up mangoes at Spinneys - they generally are not upto scratch). Check out the Lulu behind MOE.

Most people from the Sub Cons do not eat much Alphonso (mainly because of the sheer variety of Mangoes available - and a lot are better than the Alphonso).

Try out the Badami variety as well.

A ripe Badami or Alphonso should be a rich yellow (a few streaks of green are fine) and should be a little soft to touch. And most importantly is the smell. They should have a rich sweet mango smell.

If available pick up the Malgova mango - this is one of the most ugly looking mangoes - it is round and green (even when ripe - so smell and touch are the ways to tell ripeness in a Malgova). But the flesh is considered by many to be among the best. This is considered a premium Mango in the Sub-continent. They are hard to grow and relatively more expensive.

p.s: Avoid Mangoes not from the Sub-continent - they are never very sweet and lack flavour

- RB

29 July, 2007 16:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H in A says:

beg to differ RB. I have lived in cairo for quite a while, and due to weather which is moderate heat, and hardly any rain during most of the season, produces some of the best mangoes I have eaten. While mangoes from India/Pak is excellent, rain or extra water is often retained by the tree/ fruit. So I find the alfons( as they call it there in cairo) or some 30 varieties of mangoes there excellent. In fact they are major exporters of mangoes these days.

29 July, 2007 21:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H in A,

I like the extra juiciness you get with Indian/Paki mangoes.

But you are right, there are some excellent fruits from Egypt.

Iran too has some absolutely brilliant produce. I love their grapes (especially the really tiny ones which are in extremely dense bunches).

The UAE produce is not the greatest but I still purchase it - more as trying to support the local, smaller, less well off farmers.

I find that a lot of the stuff from Africa, Australia and Europe is just not as flavourful as the Egyptian, Iranian, Omani and Subcon produce.

-RB

30 July, 2007 11:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,been living in dubai for ages since i was a child in the late 70's..Their was a time when dubai was something you could hold on to,memories one could cherish...The serene environment, teh simplicity of everything... neighbours who were kind, children who played on the sand,play football endlessly thoughtout the day...you could hear children gigglin and laughing...the only park being the one in safa...the drive to chicago beach hotel(the know jumeirah beach hotel) was amazing the beaches pure, crystal clear. the folklore the culture amazing. But all thats changed in their quest to play catch up with the rest of the world, the leadership of dubai and its locals have truely lost their way..
its sad,so very sad.not only have their lost their culture, the have lost their identity. its a just a city nothing special.A endless rat race to show to the world hey we want to be noticed...pick me pick me..Exploitation, discrimination and racism goes unchecked...Their is basically no freedommm.Freedom to fornicate with your minds thats all you will get in dubai...Its truely a place so twisted beyond anyones comprehension..Its Malls and Malls, highways and byways now.Traffic and more traffic..Laboureres and cranes..

FInally the eco-system, the smog...GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN>>>

01 September, 2007 19:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow,
I have been reading this blog in particular ,for the past 2 weeks.
Love the freedom of expression of the blog.
People putting down their opinions is Therapeutic for the mind.
Having been born and raised all my life in dubai,and left it only 5 years back .
There is alot of resentment in many of you of the treatment and the descrimination of dubai offers you.But We all ended up their for the Money and Safety and we all were very disappointed .
People ask me where i was born and i say Dubai.And they look at me weirdly why on earth i left it in the first place.
I told them all that glitters isnt gold,go see for yourself .Money isnt everything in life.whats important,is to be happy and be a person with dignity.

09 November, 2007 18:46  
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12 April, 2008 15:29  
Anonymous Annabel said...

not going to miss this place. praying that my spouse will get a job in a different country.

was interrogated by a plain clothes police for nothing today, not believing where I was from and judged me by my look.How dare! How rude! Law is crazy here..U R NOBODY here even after so many years living and working here. I forgot to turn on the light on my car and was ordered to go to the police station wt a police car, just because I am a lady and hv an asian look! I was bullied! was so humiliated!!!!

28 December, 2010 01:38  

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