Tuesday, October 21, 2008

3.5 weeks in Dubai and loving it so far!!!

I've been in Dubai for less than a month and I really do love it so far. This may have something to do with the fact that I am still not staffed and thus have absolutely no work to do :), but I think a larger part of it is just the people. I like everyone I have met so far. A very large percentage of the population here is young professionals-- they're all between the ages of 22-30 and all seem to be well educated with cool jobs. And it seems that the type of people that end up moving here and just above average in terms of coolness ;-). In any case, I feel like it's super easy to meet people here, as no one really has established lives here, and the people I do meet are generally quite cool. My only fear is that I won't feel this way in 5 months...

More observations on life in Dubai:
  • I am spending more time with Europeans than I ever have before. There are surprisingly few Americans around. Europe pretty much dominates the Expat market. Germans and Brits are the most populous in my network at the moment, but I have also met Italians, Swedes, Austalians, etc. It's been fun seeing how the cultures are different. Notable differences between Europeans and Americans thus far: Halloween in Europe implies scary costumes, whereas we Americans go for any type of costume. Also Europeans call costume parties "fancy dress" parties :). Also, the concept of dating seems to be different among some Europeans. Some guys I have talked to say it's totally okay to go on dates with other girls even if you are committed to a girlfriend. It's not cheating unless it's physical-- that's a different mentality than the one I/most Americans? have...
  • I also spend more time in hotels than I ever have before. The Dubai social scene takes place almost exclusively in hotels because hotels are the only places that alcohol can be served legally. This means that clubs and bars are all connected to/ inside hotels... the Dubai parallels to Vegas are becoming more clear.
  • Some other interesting laws: No public displays of affection or cohabitation between girls and guys who aren't married
  • I am not a fan of greeting people in the European way, which is a kiss on each cheek. My [American] default is hugging (which, for the record, I was never a huge fan of to begin with), but all the Europeans do the kissing thing here. I lean in for the hug and then they kiss me on the cheek and I get confused and then I don't turn my head fast enough for the kiss on the other cheek. It's very awkward and embarrassing. Basically, I think I am probably Dubai's worst greeter. I am also just not a huge fan of random people kissing me on the cheek ;-)
  • Local anything-- there isn't any of it. Other than local hotel brands, I have yet to see Emirati brands or types of food, clothing, etc. Pretty much everything is imported...
Another update: I am moving next week into my home for the next 8 months! It's going to be a villa in the Jumeirah area of Dubai-- very close to the beach! I am sharing the villa with two other girls, which should be fun. And get this-- there is a live-in maid!!! She will be able to do my laundry, clean, help cook, etc-- it's amazing! I do feel a little guilty about this, but I figure, when else in my life will I get to have a maid? So I'm going with the flow and living it up for the next 8 months-- more reason for you all to come visit me! I'll post pics of the villa as soon as I move next Tuesday. I am having a going away party for my sweet hotel room this Thursday, which I am very excited about. I'll get to see if I actually have some friends in this city ;-)

That's all for now... Miss you all!

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