Holidays and travel – such a luxury!
Recently I had the opportunity to enjoy a short stop-over in Dubai – a place I had never visited before. It is a progressive city, built in the desert, yet busy with activity, people and business. I must say the weather was quite warm (as expected) 45C and I needed to keep in the shade when out and about and to get back to my accommodation (and air conditioner) during the heat of the early afternoon.
I found it easy to get around and every one I spoke to was kind and helpful, especially if I needed information or directions. Although at times it was difficult to recognise the tourist from the local / expatriate. On three occasions I was asked for directions.
Our Arabian Adventures tour bus driver mentioned that the local people make up less than 10% of the population. The majority are expats, living in Dubai where employment is available and there are significant tax advantages (or no tax in some situations). My taxi driver was from Pakistan (his wife and children still live there and he goes home once a year for his annual holiday – to family), the bus driver was Indian and the tour guide was from Latvia. So as you can imagine there are many different languages, different styles of dress (modest clothing is recommended) and lots of opportunity to learn something new.
I felt safe and confident to be the tourist and find my own way around the streets and activities. Transport was easy to access and although I was there during the holy month of Ramadan the evening meals were delightful. The official language is Arabic, however English is spoken everywhere and when travelling around the city other languages can be heard.
I would have no hesitation to visit again and indeed look forward to seeing more of this interesting and constantly changing and expanding city of the United Arab Emirates.