Goodbye Dubai

In less than 30 days I will leave Dubai for good. I came for a life-changing experience and I got one. I'm very grateful for that. The experience turned out to be very different from what I expected, but that's a good thing. Living and working abroad experience has had a huge impact on me. Sometimes it's hard to tell how much of the development is because of this experience and how much is a "natural" development that would have occurred in other circumstances as well.

I met people that I want to be friends with for a long, long time. I have started to see a much bigger picture of the world, I think it's impossible to have a global world view without the living abroad experience. I am more confident than ever. I understand different cultures way better. I now know the true meaning of cultural differences. I am keen on diversity.

It is impossible to sum the meaning, the significance of this experience in just a few lines. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, having a living and working abroad experience would be it.

I feel that it's ironic that in a place like the Middle East - where love is repressed (and even more than that) - I found love.

While this experience has been awesome and I wouldn't change it for anything, there are quite a few things I will not miss. At all.

1. The weather and humidity in summer. I have experienced hell. Twice.

2. Dubai traffic jams. Although this is an increasing problem everywhere in the world, so I might not be able to escape that.

3. Censorship. Internet, movies (cinema), magazines, newspapers - it's all censored. I will celebrate the freedom again. I can't tolerate a paranoid government making decisions for me. And yay for Skype! (which is blocked here).

4. The sponsorship system. Here people are the property of the companies you work for. They own you. They decide whether you can apply for a visa to go traveling, or whether you can get internet access at home or get a PO Box number so people can send you mail. I hope I will never have to hear the phrase "no objection letter" again.

The sponsorship system in business is another monster that I wish never to meet again. The law states that any foreigner wishing to do business in Dubai (or anywhere in the Gulf States, with the exception of couple of free zones) must go into partnership with a local citizen and pay him a percentage (usually around 5%, some ask for up to 20%) or all revenues collected. In return, if you are lucky, he will assist you in registering your business, obtaining licenses, visas, etc. Most of these "local partners" are useless lazy bastard that don't want to do much at all but collecting the cash. And boast they are "businessmen".

5. Alcohol restrictions. By all means I do not support alcoholism, but I do want to be able to buy wine or beer when I want to.

6. Ramadan. If anyone wants to pick a fight with me that I disrespect Islam by saying this, then you are utterly stupid and just want to pick a fight. Ramadan is a pain in the ass for people that don't follow Islam. You can get arrested for drinking water or eating in public. How ridiculous is that? And by the way, its 50 degrees outside.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the authorities there that non-Muslims should not be forced into following Islamic rituals which are detrimental to their health. During the Ramadan you see poor Indians working outside in the heat of the day without drinking water thanks to the religious beliefs. Everyone - whether Muslims or not - should be expected by law to follow its doctrines.

If you want to fast, congratulations, but why force the whole population follow this rule.

7. Standing ovations of skyscrapers and other show-off stuff. I am sick of the Dubai show off culture. I literally get nauseous when I hear someone complementing yet another ridiculous real estate development. Artificial islands, luxury hotels, world’s tallest tower. There is no real substance to this place so they have to come up with some fakeass stuff. Dubai is a soulless city. I will most certainly not miss it.

8. No real nature. Nothing grows here without water pumping on the plants 24/7. Flowers and all other plants for that matter are watered with recycled water (which is a good idea) and that make them smell like shit. Literally. When walking on the street and you smell something disgusting, beware - some flowers might be nearby! Those 10 days that I spent last summer in Estonia remembered me how wonderful nature is and how important it is to me.

9. Racism. It's everywhere you go. It affects everybody. You hear "Stupid Indians!" almost as often as "How are you?". Mistreatment of manual labor: awful beyond words. Slavery is legal in the Middle East and it is illegal to complain about it.

10. Expressing love is illegal. I almost got arrested for giving a goodnight kiss to my beloved. A Russian couple got sentenced to jail for 3 months for kissing (acquitted later). If you walk on the street and hold hands, you have to constantly make sure there is no police around. How fu..ed up is this? Makes me so pissed.

I guess I could go on and on, but I will stop here. Goodbye Dubai. You will not be missed. I might come back in 10 years or so to check what's become of this place.


Anonymous said...

Kuhu mineks?

Peep said...

Esmalt USA paariks kuuks, road trippima ja edasi - universum näitab teed.

Gautam said...

Hey Peep,

You will be missed.!! Hope you are happy and succesful wherever you go and whatever you do.

It was nice knowing you ..!!


Stationary theif..!!

Liisi said...

So now it is public.
Almost two years of changing life in hell is over. Looking forward to hear about your new adventures!


Anonymous said...

sain lõpuks sinu blogi algusest kuni lõpuni loetud. respect! igati asjalik ja kohati ka õpetlik. Kuid lugedes seda sinu viimast postitust tekkis mul küsimus, et kas tõesti on Dubai sinule nii vastumeelseks saanud? Ok ma saan aru, et sa oled seal elanud kaua ja näinud kõike seda kultuuri ja elu lähedalt ning, et need kes antud kultuuris pole elanud ei tea asjast midagi. aga jah tänud selle blogi eest ja päikest ja kõike kõige paremat.:)

Seif said...

I know u r happy to leave this country, I wish u all the best in ur future adventures, we will undoubtedly miss u over here u guy !!!

Peep said...

If Dubai would be all bad or if I would hate the place, I would have left long time ago. It has its good and bad sides like any other place in the world.

Ill make a post about the good things as well.

Katrin said...

Dear Peep,

Your web page was for me the first inroduction to the life in Dubai. I enjoyed reading your blog and also learned from your experience here.
I will most certainly miss it.
I wish you all the best where ever your journey will take you.

An Estonian who will probably stay here for a year or two...