...But not on the roads
I have to say I have never felt so safe since I live in Dubai. Except when I'm getting flashed and taken over by crazy 4 wheeldrives on the 6 lanes highway, even on the slow lane sometimes???
''What do expect me to do?? Drive into the ditch?? Seriously??''
Before moving here I imagined I could go to work on my little scooter just like in Thailand...Ahahahah I was so naive! I wouldn't last more than 5 minutes on the famous Sheik Zayed Road that connects the whole city. Highways are massive here and you can be taken over from the left OR the right. God! And surprisingly, you get used to it...you check your blind corner on the right, your blind corner on the left...you try to relax but as soon as the light turns green you immediately get honked???! I was told that's the same in Paris...sorry Madam I am from the Nooooooorth ! It's quite chilled up there. Bloody Provincials!
Apart from the crazy driving, you can forget about robbery, hassles in the streets.
The law is really strict and it limits the problems. It's quite nice not to have to turn into a Ninja at every street corner!
I forgot my phone in the food court of MOE one of the biggest mall of the city, 20 minutes after I came back out of breath and pale....but it was still there.
I leave my car opened sometimes. But nothing! When I go shopping I leave my bag on my trolley, I know stupid habit, and I go quite far sometimes...but nothing happens.
I can walk alone at night, without any problem...and without watching my back.
I can take a taxi by myself without any problem which is NICE.
2. SUNNY & HOT EVERYDAY
....but summer is a long nightmare
In the morning I usually open my eyes and I look outside the window. If I see a grey sky I start to cry...I know that's ridiculous but that was my Kinda Day in the UK. You know how much I love the sun and heat.
Before I started travelling I used to live in the North of France and every year I had to go through a long long winter for about 10 months. I always thought : Why should I survive 10 months of the year in that cold when somewhere else on this planet it's sunny and hot?? I had a tendency to turn blue and developed a Raynaud-Syndrom.
That time is GONE and it's so nice to feel warm all the time! It is sunny 360 days per year in Dubai! Apart from a couple of days of sandstorm and rain, you will enjoy a blue sky all year long.
However, SUMMER in Dubai is something else...it is another world not far from HELL. There is no word to describe it, each second spent outside is like torture. Imagine entering an oven..well...that's what it feels like. Walking 30 seconds outside can be a terrible and traumatic experience. You will feel the heat like you never experienced before and you will stay inside with the air-con at his max for about 5 months...Dubai becomes a ghost town. People say summer is July & August but actually it is from May to October, you will stay indoors. To take into account if you're planning to move here.
3. ALWAYS SOMETHING TO DO
...when you have time and money
What I love about Dubai, it's a big city with a human size feeling. I always see faces I know wherever I go. There is always something happening, so many events to chose from every weekend. Even in Thailand Koh Samui which is a little paradise, we used to go to same spots and I got a bit bored at the end. Here, there is always a market somewhere, a Food or Art festival, a new restaurant to check out, a concert, a fashion show, an exhibition...and being a blogger I receive many invitations but the only problem: some of them are during the day....
Then I wonder: Anyone working here in Dubai??
Spending the weekend at the beach in the sun remains a luxury. You need a bit more than ordering a banana shake to be able to enjoy the comfy sunbeds all day long like in Thailand. Except at Kite beach and Barasti which offers sunbeds for free (but you have to wake up early to catch one) a day at a Beach Resort will cost you about 200 aed-50 euros.
Thank god, many things are free or cheap like an escape to the Al Qudra desert, a hiking trip in RAK, a day on the RTA city boats or Abras on the Dubai Creek. Despite the temptations to spend money, you will not be bored and will have amazing weekends!!
4. PETROL PRICE/ TAX-FREE SALARY
...But rent is out of price
The petrol price went up recently but it is still SO cheap. Filling my tank costs me 60 Aed-10euros and I don't even have to get out of my car. I don't have to use public transport anymore. Driving is necessary in Dubai if you want to be able to do things without having to take those crazy taxis. But be ready to get lost at the start and make plenty of "U TURNS" the Dubai specialty. Never leave without a GPS!
Nice to receive a tax free salary, what was announced is what you will get. But you should better save for when you will be retired, your insurance in your home country....and a lot of people do not save in Dubai because so many temptations! Rent have to be paid in 1 or 2 cheques and 4 if you are very lucky. Some people have to take a loan just to pay their rent! Except expats who are on great package contracts where all is included: visa, insurance, flight, accomodation, school for the kids(that can go up to 70K/year!!)...Life is far from easy here. Be ready to struggle at the start, only if you have already a job, or savings, or ready to share a flat or very good connections It will be fine.
Personally to go on a moving abroad-adventure I will go somewhere else. Dubai is a city where all process are quite complicated and it takes time to settle.
5. THE MELTING-POT
....with daily misunderstandings
My colleagues are from all different nationalities and my students too (BTW I'm a teacher when I don't do blogging) it is such a rich environment however when I'm at the gym and the coach says:
''Ok guys let's do A jab and A body shot''
and some Indian guy says :"WHAT?? Body SHOP??? What is Body SHOP??''
Kind of funny but when you need to sort out something serious and you face some unbelievable misunderstandings, it can be quite annoying...
For info, Dubai has 80% expats from 160 nationalities.
6. TOP SERVICE
...A country of assisted???
Need a little snack at 2AM? No milk left? Bread? You can call the corner shop at anytime and they will deliver to you. I usually don't use that service but it is good to know you can and that everything is opened all the time. No more Sunday when you wait 5pm to buy some butter.
In Carrefour, men wearing yellow are helping you to put your shopping in the bags, you feel a bit assisted and ashamed but you get used to it quickly and when you go back home you think:
''Do I really have to fill up my tank myself???''
7. THE NIGHTLIFE
...when you are a Lady
Nightlife is great in Dubai. There are always plenty of special nights in beach clubs, hotels, rooftops. You won't be bored if you like to go out. It can be quite expensive when you look at Brunch prices: 400 aed is the average price. But if you are a lady, you can enjoy the famous Ladiesnight. Usually Tuesdays or Wednesdays but now all the other days too! I was told we couldn't drink in Dubai! Ahah it is possible and even everyday without spending a penny if you are a lady!
Ladies night are listed here .
8. A VIP LIFE
....where you will feel poor quite often
Hotels, beachclubs, lounges, restaurants are luxurious here in Dubai. Superficial, some people would say, yes but who doesn't like a bit of luxury??? You will meet someone who drives a Lambo, works in the stock market, in the oil industry or produce movies...and earn stupid amount of money compare to YOU. Everytime the valet is bringing me back my Little Toyota Yaris outside a 5stars hotels, I feel like....hiding??? My teacher's salary is spent easily in one night here in Dubai but not without guilt. But then you will see all those poor workers working 12h/day on construction sites, maids/nannies from the Philippines living in expats families who left their family back home and I feel I am the luckiest girl on Earth.
9. A CONVENIENT LOCATION
...when you can travel with Emirates each holiday
Dubai is located ideally to travel and go back to Europe easily in 6/7h and discover new amazing destinations such as Oman, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Zanzibar, Istanbul...
10. PERFECT FOR A MIXED COUPLE
A little advice if you plan to move to Dubai, get married before! It is the law here and you will feel more relaxed. Once you are here it will be an impossible mission. In our case it was just impossible in Dubai. If one of you is muslim or both catholic it's ok. Otherwise it will be VERY VERY complicated. Many couples live here without being married and don't have any problem. But you don't want to be worrying all the time. Also it is more convenient for visa and insurance matters. It will leave you more work opportunities and you will be ready if at any point you want to start a family.
That's about it of what I think of Dubai. I am lucky to be here. Having lived in different countries there are always pros and cons. Wherever you go, there will be something GOOD. You just need to see it and enjoy it to the max. All I can say is : In all the places I lived there is something I really miss.
I hope that post will help some of you before moving here...or not.
If any question I will try to reply the best I can.