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Living in Dubai is a constant learning curve – this is because the city possesses such an unique lifestyle, very few places around the world teach people so much. From living alongside people from all over the world to getting used to the regional customs, Dubai offers residents a chance to learn new things every single day. Some are funny and quirky – others are essential in order to live a good life in the Emirate.
One of the first things people learn when they live in Dubai is that weekends are on different days. Instead of the Saturday and Sunday usual in Western countries, weekends are actually on Friday and Saturday in Dubai. The working week starts on Sunday, which takes a little getting used to for expats coming to Dubai for the first time. However, Thursday is always an exciting day to look forward to and the city is pumping with excitement for the weekend ahead.
Living in Dubai does not in any way require a person to actually speak Arabic fluently. In fact, practically everyone in the city speaks English and it’s very unlikely that one will find themselves in a situation where they actually need to know Arabic. However, everyone who lives in Dubai learns just the right amount of Arabic words to strategically insert them in every day sentences. When telling people to hurry up, they’ll say “yalla” or instead of thank you, will say “shukran“.
Dubai is filled with massive highways, with as many as six lanes and cars going at a legal speed of 12okm/hr – which adds up to a very dangerous experience. Living in here, every day is like a Fast & Furious sequel. Cars cutting you up, people speeding and drivers on their phones taking pictures. This requires drivers in Dubai to learn how to drive as if their life depends on it – because very often it does. If someone can drive in Dubai, they can drive anywhere.
Everything delivers. In Dubai, people can order anything to their house, from groceries to clothes. This makes Dubai residents pretty reliant on delivery services, especially for food. Some people in Dubai don’t cook and simply use a quick delivery app to order all their meals. People can also get food delivered at any time of the day. Want to eat seafood pasta at 4 am? No problem!
Dubai is home to the largest shopping mall in the world, Dubai Mall, as well as several other massive malls where people can shop and entertain themselves. One would think that with so many malls and cinemas around the city, getting a seat would be easy. However, that’s not the case. Over the weekend, it’s as if every resident of Dubai (as well as its thousands of tourists) decide to head to the mall. If you want to watch a movie over the weekend, you better book at least two days in advance in order to get a seat.
Dubai is a melting pot of people. This is the ideal city to meet people from all corners of the world and learn about their lifestyle and experiences. By living in Dubai, residents learn random facts about every single culture they come across – as well as how to respect every single one of them. People who live in Dubai will celebrate Eid Al Adha, Diwali, St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July and every single holiday from around the world with their multi-cultural friends.
Summers in Dubai are hot. In the city, as it’s very characteristic in the region, temperatures can reach as high as the high forties during summer months and it’s virtually impossible to be outside for too long without getting heat stroke. So when the temperatures start to drop, everything below 40 feels like heaven. Dubai residents will catch themselves in 36ºC and say how great the weather is. Oh, and if they feel the slightest breeze, everyone rejoices.
Living in Dubai definitely teaches a person to diversify their eating habits. This is because there are restaurants for pretty much every cuisine here, encouraging people to try as many different and exotic dishes as possible. A week in Dubai can mean eating Lebanese, Mexican, Armenian, Indian, Greek, Peruvian and Italian food – as well as many others. After living in Dubai you’ll learn to have an open mind to all types of foods.
Driving over the desert sand is extremely difficult and requires a lot of skill, as no one wants to get stuck in a dune. It takes a complicated process of deflating tires and knowing just when to accelerate and slow down. It’s not simple but for some reason, especially for those who have been here a very long time, this is a skill they have picked up along the way.
This is a crucial rule that anyone who lives in the city learns very early on. People should never ever eat in public during Ramadan – with the exception of a few areas where it is permitted. This is because the locals, as well as all other Muslims who live in the city, are fasting during that time. It’s seen as an extreme form of disrespect and even against the law to even chew gum or smoke a cigarette in between sunrise and sunset during the holy month.
Every single resident in Dubai spends the whole year looking forward to winter in order to hit the beach. This is because that is the ideal time to be outdoors and not feel overwhelmed by the heat. Winter in Dubai has perfect weather to sunbathe, do water sports and enjoy the beach without the chance of full-blown heat stroke.