This week saw the publication of a short video aimed at new arrivals in Dubai, with tips from longer-standing expats on how to survive and integrate into life here. I thought I would post my top tips because actually, we all need a little reminder from time to time.
1. Buy the biggest bastard car you can afford. Leave behind the desire to apply any basic sense of driving etiquette. Assume a war stance before starting the engine. It’s survival of the fittest.
2. Don’t get carried away buying stuff (the car excepted) and forget the reason you came in the first place was to save a bit of money by living tax-free. Shoes and handbags look very pretty but will not pay the mortgage.
3. However annoying someone is being, don’t swear at them.
4. Do not spend summers here if you can absolutely help it.
5. Learn to smother your surprise/dismay at the fact that it can take up to 4 people to do a simple task such as grouting a tile. Larger jobs, such as fixing a leaky bath, may take up to 7 people to accomplish. All of them will wander into your house at individual times with no warning, and leave the front door wide open for the duration of their visit. Expect there to be more mess and damage left behind than there was before they came, and then see no.3.
6. Don’t wear skimpy clothes to the mall. Chances are you will look terrible in comparison to the average eastern european sporting the same thing in a much smaller dress size, and it really is completely disrespectful to do it in any case, given how easy it is to wear something that isn’t skimpy.
7. Don’t use arabic phrases in everyday conversation. You will sound like you’re just taking the piss or, at best, like a bit of an idiot. If you don’t speak cockney rhyming slang in London, or drop Gaelic phrases into conversations whilst in Swansea, why do it here?
8. However well put together you think you are, you will learn more about personal grooming here than anywhere else in the world. Who knew that you could actually get your entire face waxed, for example – or that it was even necessary?
9. Tip generously. Whatever they are doing, they are earning significantly less than you.
10. Wear sunscreen. You will arrive home looking incredibly old if you don’t.