Ups and Downs of ExPat Life

I read today a list of pluses and minuses of life in Dubai,which got me thinking. I’ve made a precis of the original and added my own comments on these:

On The Down Side

  • This is NOT a tax free country.
    My take: The UAE has found all sorts of methods of taxing expats – Salik, hotel services, ID cards, even the compulsory exchange of a UK driving licence for a local one attract charges.
  • Expats are treated as second class citizens, something to be tolerated in order to get the country built. My Take: That is to be expected if you are living in another’s country without becoming a citizen.
  • Banking is difficult
    My take: I’d say different to the UK but not difficult once you take time to understand the process
  • Despite local claims, it does not treat male and female equally.
    My take: men and women are different and in Arab culture have very different roles, we are in their country and part of the novelty of expat life is getting to know the culture and people you are living amongst
  • Aside from the desert, there is little beauty.
    My take: Look up – nature does not hold a monopoly on beauty, many of the buildings around you in Dubai would be landmark towers in another city, simply because there are so many so close together does not mean that many are not attractive. And then there are the parks, the sailing dhows, even the wonky concrete artwork that’s dotted around The Greens 
  • Forget “great” food establishments
    My take: Yes Dubai is full of clones of famous restaurants & chains from all over the world but if you are serious about your food and take the time to look you can find wonderful food from all corners of the planet. 
  • Blocking of basic internet services such as Skype
    My take: Agree that you can’t download some software and that some websites are blocked but a little ingenuity such as downloading when visiting your home country and the restictions are gone.

 The Pluses
(I’ve left this part almost unedited except to anglicise it as they speak for themselves)
* It is very safe. Because the locals are very well off and the expats are here to work, crime is very low.
* If you love the heat, you will love the weather.
* Cheap petrol.
* Great selection of produce.
* Almost every food service can be ordered and delivered to your front door (me: and almost anything else like bottled water, dry cleaning etc).
* Road systems are outstanding (me: Agree but it comes with a health warning – with over 500 traffic cameras in the Dubai Emirate alone it can be costly driving on the open road! And driving standards are often appalling).
* Easy accesss to the sea.

So to any who are contemplating expat life or are feeling jading with it – be open minded and remember that you are only here/there temporarily. The “UAE Glitz” as the author of the original coined it is something exploit, reach out and embrace. Dubai provides the opportunity to experience many different things that you will never find in one place again including some wonderful fellow expats from all over the world.