Dubai Warnings Or Dangers Tips by DesertRat
Dubai Warnings and Dangers: 89 reviews and 111 photos
Although you're not likely to have any trouble, I strongly recommend that American visitors try their utmost to blend in with the scenery. I say this because I've heard of a few incidents in the UAE where people have been refused service because of their nationality. This is rare, but it CAN happen.
Unfortunately, Amercians are too often much too loud and -- all too frequently -- they make it abundantly clear to everybody that they ARE American. Announcing your nationality is something that gets up everybody's nose -- whatever it happens to be. I never lie about it when asked, I don't pretend to be Canadian or something. However, I don't make sure everybody knows it immediately, either. I find that if I'm quietly spoken, make it clear that I respect their culture and customs, and don't start arguments, I have no trouble.
And another thing: always remember that anti-American comments are virtually never directed at you personally; they're directed at the government. Unfortunately, too many Americans seem to think that others believe that people and government are indistinguishable from one another and take the flak the wrong way. That just isn't true.
If you are tempted to pick up a DVD or a flat-screen TV in Dubai, do be careful to make sure that it is compatible with the Area Standard or the broadcast system you need at home. Remember that if you're from North America, a DVD must be able to play disks encoded for Region 1 or else it must be capable of playing all the various regional coding systems. As for flat-screen TVs, make sure that it is multi-system because if you're taking it back to North America, it must be compatible with the NSTC color broadcasting system in use over there. Most parts of the world -- including the Gulf -- use PAL. If you don't clarify these technicalities before purchase, you might find your bargain purchase is useless to you when you get home.
Regarding DVDs, there are lots of them available in Dubai for very reasonable prices, but make sure you check the encoding note on the back. If you?re going to N. America, you need one for Region 1; if you're from Europe, it needs to be Region 2, while in the Far East it's Region 3. Here in the Gulf you'll find DVDs in virtually all encodings as well as in universal, play-anywhere varieties.
Watch yourself when you cross the street. Dubai drivers are maniacal, and crosswalks are not really respected. If you're driving yourself, never, ever lose your concentration, for drivers will do absolutely anything. Expect almost everyone passing you to continue on into the next lane; expect being cut off at every freeway exit; expect cars to approach from the rear at breakneck speed and braking at the very last, possible second. And if you're a woman driving and have the audacity to pass a male driver, expect him to pass you again, even if he's turning off immediately.
Wadis (dry river beds): If you go out to the desert to camp, do NOT pitch a tent in the bottom of a wadi. Flash floods can and do happen; careless campers are washed away or drown almost every year.
In terms of personal safety, Dubai is very, very safe compared with equivalent centers in the West. Theft is rare; muggings are unthinkable. There IS a little trouble with pickpockets in crowded areas, but the usual precautions are more than sufficient to avoid trouble.
NB: Dress code for women
Please, please do NOT wear spaghetti-straps, bare your middrift, or wear short shorts. You will see others dressed this way in Dubai -- usually they're Russian, CIS nationals, of E. Europeans -- but it is considered exceedingly offensive by the local Muslim population. Indeed, in the eyes of most Arabs, dressing in such a fashion is tantamount to announcing to the world that you are a prostitute -- and to be blunt, this is often the case with the Russians, Ukrainians, and Romanians who are there. Needless to say, if you do wear clothes that are too daring, you may well be approached by men if you are alone.
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