If you ever wondered what a death sentence to your social life looked like, it looks like this:
The site I was attempting to load was www.facebook.com. This message means that the website is blocked by the UAE government. Consequently, accessing my database of friend's emails, phone numbers and photos is now impossible. Bye bye social life...
When I was going to Dubai, I hoped not to see a single cloud all year round. I thought that was the one privilege of living in the desert. I didn't even cross my mind that I will be witnessing a full blown flood! It has been raining for a few days (honestly, in Europe such rain would hardly do any damage - just an autumn series of strong showers.
Dubai glitters - fair enough. But the sparkling traffic lights on Sheikh Zayed road, luxurious hotels, villas, shopping malls, cheap gold and diamonds renowned for their quality-to-price ratio are not all there is to Dubai.
The lack of proper means of public communication in Dubai is a factor that makes many a carless person feel a bit excommunicated. And even if you have a car, if you live in certain areas of the city you risk being stuck in traffic all morning, afternoon and evening - or the "rush-24-hours" as we like to call it here.
However, the UEA government does care. They're building two metro lines.
Dubai is the only place in the world where one can find a seven star hotel. And people who can afford it. While in the real life “everything that glitters isn’t gold”, in the almost surreal Royal Suite of Burj Al-Arab, the most luxurious hotel in the world – everything that glitters is gold. The glamour is no less impressive in the most exclusive clubs of Dubai.
Before I came to Dubai I learnt, and accepted it as inevitability, that premarital sex, showing affection in public and drinking alcohol without a special drinking license was prohibited. When I came here, I learn that all of the above are actually quite acceptable in practice, only not in theory. Dubai is a morally liberal place that as far as the practice of (im)moral concepts is concerned.
The place is Dubai, al Rashida district (though I am yet to figure out where exactly do I live). The temperature is 46*C. The radio plays the best of oriental pop and the keyboard in the internet cafe has arabic script on it. No camels though ;-)
Whoever told me Dubai was a Western-looking city, where women are modern and liberal lied. Or so if my first impression.