Tuesday, November 11, 2008

life in ME - So far

So, I am in Dubai for some time now. That’s the latest update. I am here for some project which was supposed to start two weeks back but it’s getting delayed. I am doing nothing till then. Its kind of difficult to be doing nothing, but this is what I have to do till the project starts, hopefully by this Sunday. Now Sunday is a working day in Arab-land, and Friday and Saturday is off. It takes time to get adjusted to especially when you are interacting with junta on either side of the globe, for whom Sunday is a holiday.

The concept of weekend reminds me of another interesting episode here. Somewhere here in Dubai, I saw TGI Thursday, with the same logo as that of TGIF, and I thought, this is some major fraud company. A friend who was familiar to this part of the world reminded me that Thursday weekend here is what Friday weekend is for the rest of the world and hence TGIF is TGIT! Some other Dubai specific information which I have discovered so far is:

The Arab females here are rich platinum n huge diamond wearing females. And though some females are covered from head to toe, their sense of fashion is truly commendable.

This city is all BLING – BLING. So much so that the glaring lights and the reflections off the shiny mirror buildings give me a headache every evening I come back from office. Cities elsewhere are bling -bling too but I guess vegetation there absorbs the reflection. Here there is nothing to absorb the reflection. No trees, no vegetation.

Whatever greenery you see is on imported mud from other countries, and they need to replace this , because beneath this is sand. Almost all shrubs and patches of green that is maintained is lined with sprinklers. So most of the cities look dull and dry.

The beaches are nice with pristine white sand lining the blue sea. The sand has too many crushed shell covers, and different kinds of shells dot the beaches. I found 5 different kind of shells, during my 5 minute beach walk. Before the oil find, these guys had pearl harvesting as their source of income. I think you can even find pearls if you sift the beach sand. 

Cars are oomph….too many , too cool, and too stylish. The taxis are the Camrys, which are still a sought after premium car segment in India. I noticed many convertibles too, though the weather is not convertible friendly. Despite good roads, and good cars, which are auto transmission by the way, traffic remains a major problem.

People speak hindi, as 80-90% are people from India/Pakistan. So all the waiters, cabbies, office boys would be comfortable talking in Hindi rather than English. Mallus are too many, it’s their other homeland.

Food has been good so far. Many options exist and taste is good. It’s because of the purity of the spices here. The portion sizes are huge. People eat a lot and waste a lot.

Baskin Robbins doesn’t taste as good as it does in India. My suspicion is that they use camel’s milk here. The taste is rubbery.

Freshly made juice is must have. One needs to drink it to savor the taste.

Purity is not compromised here, be it spices or gold. So you know what to buy.

People are rich, but public transportation is pathetic. Only one legal service operates by the name of dubai taxi, and the demand far exceeds the supply. They are making the Metro system, and the backbone is ready. That should improve things.

As much hotter it is, lower the temperatures are inside the offices, buildings, houses and taxis. I carry a shawl with me at all times. The low temperature of air con puts me off really. Unless you ask for you won’t be served normal temperature water. So you get to freeze inside the buildings. They love sub zero temperature so much, that they have a man made ski slope made of real snow in one of the shopping malls. How about that!

Everything is Huge: tallest building, biggest shopping mall, largest man made island; biggest aquarium, and so on.

Oh yeah Orkut is banned, and so is all sites that provide VoIP services.
There are only two telecom operators, of which one has the monopoly, and services are expensive.

I am still exploring, and I shall keep posting more....


KP said...

Never thought dubai is this cool:). Always had different impression abt arab world!
TGIT.... Innovation at it best:)

A Girl from Timbuktu said...

@KP: yeah it is quite liberal here, infact its just like India, as long as you follow the rules :) which makes it best of east and west