Upon landing in Dubai, visitors see a modern metropolis with gleaming skyscrapers, luxury vehicles, sandy beaches, and mega shopping malls. What took the West decades if not centuries to achieve – the building of fully functioning cities, Dubai accomplished in the short span of fifteen years. Dubai is a modern city materialistically, but its development is only partial because the legal system and culture have not caught up in any meaningful way. The glitz that people witness gives them a false sense of reality, leading them to believe that Dubai is as open and tolerant as any Western city. Unfortunately, many discover that this is not the case after making a mistake and ending up in jail, something that can easily be avoided by reading this book.
The purpose of this book is to prepare the reader for the reality on the ground, and not the hype being promoted in the media. Drawing from my twenty years of experience as a relocation and cultural induction consultant in the GCC region, I explain all you need to know about Dubai, UAE, as well as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia so that you can avoid common pitfalls and thrive in your new environment. Oftentimes, people who work in Dubai end up visiting or working in another Gulf country; this is why having this knowledge is essential. You will learn about:
• Dubai and GCC visas.
• Phone service in each country.
• Recommended drinking water.
• The Khaleeji dialect versus classical Arabic, and languages spoken in the region.
• UAE and GCC culture, liwa dancing, music, and Gulf cuisine.
• The national dress for men and women of the region.
• Rules regarding alcohol in all six countries and how to get a liquor license.
• The dress code, rules of conduct, making friendships as an expat, and dating.
• Rules regarding unmarried couples sharing a hotel room or cohabiting in an apartment.
• How to choose a hotel as a tourist.
• Renting an apartment or villa.
• Buying a property.
• Plumbing issues to expect.
• Problems that expatriate women face in their everyday lives that men don’t face.
• Censorship and laws regarding social media.
• Misunderstandings that have led to the imprisonment of expatriates.
• Stories of Western businessmen who fell afoul of the law in Dubai.
• How to tell a real police officer from a fake one, and how to avoid being scammed.
• Banned medications.
• Health insurance, schools, taxis, car rental, eating out, and activities.
• Job recruiters and accepting a job.
• The lack of bankruptcy protections for individuals and small business owners.
• Banks, brokerage accounts, and taxes.
• Emiratisation and Saudization.
• The effects of lower oil prices on the region…and more.