Few quotes ring truer when it comes to an understanding and a true experience of Dubai, which is the favorite holiday destination for millions across the world. Yes, it is a very rich city in the United Arab Emirates and deeply rooted in tradition. Publicity notwithstanding, there are many things about the city you don’t get to see or hear till you visit. I discovered many hidden gems during my last visit. Here are eight of them….
1- Cheaper oil price
Water is cheap in Dubai and oil (fuel) is cheaper. I bet if our bodies could run on oil, then residents of UAE would prefer that to water. The fuel prices in the city didn’t surprise me since UAE alone holds nearly 10% of the world’s known oil supply. But I was in for a much bigger surprise to discover that a liter of water costs higher than the same liter of petrol (oil). What a lovely place that will be for automobile enthusiasts!
2- Everything is about money
The only language widely understood in this city is money. There, money outweighs a simple ‘thank you’. No service comes freely. You even have to pay for your luggage to be weighed at the airport. I recall I had to make another payment for my luggage to be reweighed. When the weight wasn’t ok, I had to pay again after taking off some items for the whole exercise to be carried again. This happens only in Dubai. So just when you are thinking of visiting, be sure to load your wallet.
3- Very hot temperature
The sun actually feels very bright in Dubai. If you feel your city is hot, then am here to tell you Dubai is hotter. Temperatures go as high as 39°C. It is actually a desert city and the glare of the sun is felt on the skin. The driest part of your body will be more pronounced here. So, they have air-condition installations almost everywhere, including bus stops to mitigate the hotness. And also it’s not like many people there want to be stars, unless you want to grow crow feet with all the squinting you will do. Throw some sunglasses on and you will be saving your eyes from the sun.
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4- Chilled tap water
This is strange, isn’t it? Especially when the temperature can rise to nearly 40°C. Tap water can be likened to one right from a refrigerator. Sometimes it’s even difficult bathing with it simply because it’s too chilled. Don’t know how they do this but you know, everything is possible in Dubai. Even in my home country where temperatures can reach up 32°C, many are still unable to use warm water in their bathrooms.
5- There’s a Minister of Happiness
In the United Arab Emirates, happiness of the citizens is of paramount importance to the government and as such, has a Minister of Happiness; solely responsible for the wellbeing of citizens. That’s not all. There’s also a Minister of Tolerance, which kept me wondering whether everything is tolerated there. Guess what! Their Minister of Youth Affairs is only 23 years old. Yes, two-three! Where I come from, ministers of state average 50 years so imagine a 50-year old person handling the Youth Ministry. I hope someday we will do same here so we can have a Youth Minister who will be fully aware of the challenges confronting the youth since he’s not way older than them.
6- A safe Dubai
“Dubai is safe”, a famous assurance from all Tour Guides and Operators we encountered. In case you were in any doubt that Dubai’s residents are minted, take a look at its lost-and-found statistics. You lose your valuables there and they are easy to find, very much unlike some places we know. However, there are a few number of immigrants who on daily basis try to defraud people in business transactions. They are crooks and I remember one tried to sell an iPhone to me. After agreeing on the price, he brought out this fake phone. Had it not been my diligence, just imagine what would have happened.
7- No commercial billboards
Throughout my week-stay in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I did not see any commercial billboard. All billboards I saw had to do with the rulers of the city and country. It tells of the confidence they have in their leaders, and they are widely respected by expats and the national community.
8- Imported Sand built Dubai
Despite its geographical position in the heart of the desert, Dubai imports sand for its numerous construction works. All the sand seen at their beaches are imported, some even from Nigeria. According to the UN, the UAE imported $456m worth of sand, stone and gravel in 2014 alone.
It’s your turn to discover more about Dubai for yourself. Make that trip now!