Being new, the question I ask my acquaintances is what is the best advice you can give me on living in Dubai.
Some told me that the hardest here would be saying “no” to all the sales! And it’s true. The deals seem to never end! You have the Dubai Summer Sale, Dubai Shopping Festival, the Ramadan Sale, GITEX Sale, etc. If you wish, you could really avoid paying the full price. Temptations are everywhere. No wonder some people have gone bankrupt!
Another told us to buy our car during Ramadan, wherein car companies throw in a little extra here and there. This one we did. We arrived late June and purchased a car in August.
But more than once, people have given me advice on the road.
The roads are here simply the best. Where else can you commonly find 4, 5, or 6 lanes? Clean and regularly maintained at that. The rules are in place. You have fines left and right which can range anywhere from AED 200 to AED 2000! And the cars.. woohooo.. all the vehicles that you can ever dream of are here (whistle). I mean the Dubai police car is a BMW 5 series! And most recently, the Dubai Police has added a Lamborghini Aventador to its fleet. It is here in Dubai that you can actually drive your dream car without worry of the road. The road. But not of your fellow drivers. The top causes of road accidents here are speeding, drinking and driving, and beating the red light. (For more info on the roads of Dubai, please visit “Ways of the Road”)
The one advice repeatedly given to us is to never ever make hand gestures while driving. With only 8% of the Dubai population comprising Emirati and 92% expats and migrant workers, you have people from different parts of the world! This is the true melting pot with residents coming from nearly 200 countries. When you’re giving a thumbs-up expressing satisfaction, people in the Middle East think you want to put your chubby little finger up their ass! But even that could be wrong. The Arab world is so diversified; it may be true for one group but false in another. To be in the safe side, my thumb will now never stand alone.
The story goes that a foreigner was driving on the road and was recklessly cut by a local guy. The Brit showed his dismay at what could have been an accident. He was communicating at the height of his passion, complete with facial gestures and hand movements. There was an instant when he might have used one of his fingers (it was so fast he couldn’t really remember), and it could have seemed like he was pointing or it could have been interpreted as a rude middle-finger gesture. But to be rude was never the intention.
The matter was brought to the police. There was no accident, mind you. No collision; no dent; no scratch on both their cars, of the other vehicles on the road, on government property, or on pedestrians. There was no mishap whatsoever. But to the police they went.
To make the long story short, the local made such a strong complaint on how the Brit was so offensive, etc. etc. The poor Brit got d-e-p-o-r-t-e-d. Flown back to his home country. The existence of expatriation, career advancement, and tax-free living put to a stop with just one hand signal read wrong.
Keep calm and stay worry-free. NO hand gestures while driving, peeps.