Men nose kiss as a greeting
This greeting is popular in UAE and generally in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It’s not popular in many parts of Saudi Arabia and some find it very weird. Here is a hilarious Saudi First Kiss Parody (Buzzfeed): . The number of kisses ranges from one to three kisses.
2. We are a minority in our own country. It is apparently rare to see the locals, so sometimes I get stopped by tourists to take a photo with them. That said, more than 80% of the population are expats and we are ok with it.
3. “Dubai”: Many people around the world think the country is called “Dubai.” Hold on a sec, this is like calling China “Shanghai” while completely neglecting Beijing. The country’s name is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is made of 7 Emirates (States). Its capital is Abu Dhabi. Its nationals are called “Emirati.” And Dubai is the financial/tourism city in the UAE.
4. Camels are a big thing here. Expensive… The most expensive camel was sold for 10 M Dirhams ($2.72 M) in 2008 and their prices are increasing.Camel racing is huge too with huge prizes reaching a total of 100 M Dirhams ($27.2 M) in 2018. Camel owners follow their camels in a race with their cars.
5. Traditional dances include using guns, swords, and canes
6. Some people pay millions to have car plate numbers with a lower digit. I don’t agree with this, but it is surely a weird thing that is normal here. The plate number could be more expensive than the car itself.
7. Dubai Police drive a Bugatti, Aston Martin One-77, Ferraris, Lambos, Bentleys. Criminals can’t speed away.
8. Speaking of Police, the UAE ranks the second safest country in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. Walking out in the night is completely safe. Some people leave their cars on when going for quick groceries shopping.
9. We have Gold ATM machines
10. At the time of writing this answer, it is Ramadan and people living approximately at or above the 80th floor of their high rise building (e.g. Burj Khalifa is 161 floors) have to wait 2 additional minutes to break their fast because at their elevation they see the sun longer than those on the ground. We joke about it and say to whoever can’t wait 2 more minutes to break their fast on the ground and then go back up to continue eating.
11. In our region, we eat camels. The following is a camel burger (sprinkled with gold because why not?!):
12. Our formal wear is the Kandora (generally called Thawb in the Arab world). Amusingly, it is worn for any occasion. A conference keynote speech, business meetings, weddings, funerals, visiting friends or going to the supermarket. Like Steve Jobs, we don’t waste mental energy on deciding what to wear in the morning. We are so used to wearing it some even wear it as pajamas.
We even played football with it when we were kids.
13. But never go to a night club/pub wearing a Kandora, you will not be allowed to go in. Since these places are frowned upon (generally for Islamic reasons), wearing the Kandora there is like insulting Emirati traditions and ruining the public image of being Emirati.
14. Biggest everything. The tallest building in the world. Biggest mall in the world… fountain, garden, indoor theme park, man-made island, frame building, etc.
15. In the capital Abu Dhabi, Range Rovers are incredibly popular.
16. We have six royal families (clans) ruling the UAE(: yes six families and 7 emirates)
17. If the Sheikh has it, the whole country rushes to buy it. It is one of the most powerful marketing methods. The popular example is the Mercedes G63 AMG and how it became so popular in UAE and the Arab Gulf region after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed (PM of UAE and ruler of Dubai) had started driving one.
18. The Spanish Latte Obsession (?!):
It is said that the recipe originates from Spain. We love Spain + the coffee tastes great = a lot of sales. If you are in the UAE, I recommend you try it out at /Slash because it is so good there. Apparently, it is not popular in Spain (comment if you know about it).
19. We have snow (in a desert climate):
And if it is the summer, no problem! We go to Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort which is basically a gigantic freezer that you ski in:
20. We have a theme for each year. This year is called the “Year of Tolerance” where many initiatives are made focusing on increasing tolerance.
For example, Pope Francis of the Catholic Church made an official visit to the UAE
The prior year was called the “Year of Zayed” instilling the values of the UAE founding father. And the year before was “Year of Giving
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