Quick look into Dubai.
Here we go. The end of all preparations and goodbyes. We have just landed in Dubai.
We were in Dubai for 14 hrs as a stopover between our London and Sri Lankan flight so we decided to leave the airport and spend some quality time in Dubai. We travelled out with the first metro on a hot Friday morning which was at 10am because Friday is a rest day for Muslims. Our first stop was the Dubai Mall just next to Burj Khalifa where we met my friend, Katalin who lives in Dubai. One of the first difference after we left the airport was that women and men were segregated in the metro and stood separately. We already knew that we were not allowed to show any public affection while we are in Dubai such as holding hands or kissing.
The modern part of Dubai was beautiful and we even saw the fountain show which is definitely worth to see. Best fountain I have ever seen in my life.
It was lovely to hear someone’s experience who lives in Dubai, this helped us reflect on the city a little more as well. Kata said she struggles with all the rules, for example at Ramadan, foreigners are not allowed to eat in public. She also said that only 10-15% of the population is actually Emirates, locals. We have learnt other facts about Dubai later on after our half day tour with Viator as well (https://www.viator.com/tours/Dubai/Dubai-City-Half-Day-Sightseeing-Tour/d828-2168DXB002).
With the half day tour we explored the Old town, saw a Mosque, a Museum and went on a boat trip. The trip was alright but we decided that we much preferred the new part of Dubai and wished that we could have spent more time around the beach area as well. The souks, markets etc… just reminded us of Morocco really. We were also exhausted because of no sleep the night before (overnight flight).
And some more facts that we learnt:
If you are a local, you are automatically given a huge house from the government and they will also pay for your wedding as well. Dubai’s main income is no longer oil but it comes from businesses, lettings and tourism. If you are an expat, you are not allowed to buy a property in Dubai or become a citizen even if you have lived there forever and rent is pretty high.
The country is governed by Emirates when in fact they are the real minority and expats will be expats for the rest of their lives. But at least women are allowed to be voted in the government as well I guess. Basically, it sounds like they use foreigners for their economy so that they can be rich but then look down on them and use force when they don’t follow their rules. Hence, Dubai comes across modern and progressive from the outside and forward-looking but underneath it is a selfish, traditional Muslim country in my opinion.
It was a hot day but having long walkaways between places helps residents deal with the heat for sure. There was a walkaway that took us about 20 mins to walk., even with the 10 travelators.
At the end of the day, we were puzzled why there wasn’t a link between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 not even a bus, we had to take an Uber (£3.89) as the other option was paying around £10 for a taxi. We also had to pay £15 to store our luggage at Terminal 1 in the morning as they don’t include transfers to other flights, unless you pay an extra fee or the airline you travel with has an agreement with the other airline.
It was a great day and was worth to see Dubai but we won’t be rushing to go back. One day was enough for us, we decided that we would not want to live in Dubai in spite of the rich economy and the high percentage of foreigners.
Next stop Sri Lanka.