Surprised in Dubai

I actually felt quite safe meandering around the dark streets of Dubai in the middle of the night. The buses run 24/7 so I rode the public bus from the airport to the neighborhood where my hostel was located. The buses have a manual pull up ramp, but it is a bit steep and the bus driver wasn’t necessarily all that happy to get out of his bus and walk to the middle of the bus to flap the ramp down. But this may have been because it was 3:30 am in the morning!!

The trains here are impeccable, though! They are so new, clean and wheelchair accessible. I’ve never rode in such a squeaky clean metro 🚇in my whole life. You see people sweeping or mopping it all the time. I also heard from the locals that there is free wi-fi at every metro station. I haven’t really tested this out yet, because I’ve been wanting a break from my phone as well. Another thing about the metro train, it is not gender divided as far as I could see. I previously heard that females had to sit with females and males had to sit with males. This was not the case at all.

And if it wasn’t for the train being super clean and new, I would’ve thought I was in DC for a moment. People here work Sunday through Thursday, so yesterday (Sunday) was the beginning of their work week. Everybody was either in a dress shirt 👔 and tye or regular business attire very much like what you would see in the U.S.

There are a lot of foreigners living in this city. I’ve heard that most people living in this city are not locals. I’ve also been told Dubai’s main source of wealth is tourism NOT oil (not fact checked). I am not surprised at all. In my one day around the city, I’ve met Pakistani, Philippino, Indian, Chinese, Bangladeshi, and Sri Lankan people. Perhaps because of its diversity, this city seems to be able to adapt conservative Muslim attire to modern club wear very easily.

This was definitely not the case from what I could see in Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦. People were not only covered from head to toe in black niqab wear, but some people also wore a metal brace that covered their eyes and mouth. It certainly took some getting use to to not feel uncomfortable around it. I feel sorry for these women who have to wear it, but perhaps I am just projecting my feelings onto them. Maybe it’s really comfortable and a symbol of high status in their culture (?).

When I travel, I try to observe and not judge as much as I can. One thing I have noticed from my experience at Jeddah is that men have all the decisions making power. I hope this is just my ill informed background of the culture...

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