THE 5 BIGGEST MYTHS ABOUT DUBAI
Dubai - the city of superlatives, the city where everything is better, bigger, higher and more beautiful, but also the city where women have no rights, the city where alcohol is forbidden, the city where only Muslims are tolerated.
Is everything true, or is it just a myth? We have been living in Dubai for some time now (Tayler for more than 4 years, Anika for 2 years) and can answer questions like: "Is a woman allowed to travel to Dubai alone at all?", "Is it allowed to drink alcohol there?", "Does a woman has to veil herself?", "Is it allowed to kiss in public?", "Is Christmas celebrated in Dubai?
Continue reading, if you want to know what Dubai really is like and when you want to know, if we answer these questions with TRUTH or MYTH.
MYTH #1: IN DUBAI EVERYBODY IS RICH!
This statement is anything but true, because apart from the many rich people, also many less-wealthy people are living here. Dubai is a place where many people have the opportunity to work and earn the small change they need to feed their families at home. That means that a lot of people who come from poor backgrounds (from countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, etc.) come to Dubai, leave their families at home, share flats or even rooms with strangers, work very hard (7 days a week, for 12 hours each) and send 90% of their monthly income to the family in their own country. What sounds cruel to us, is an incredible improvement in living conditions for these people. Even though these people are not rich, they are still rich in humbleness and grateful for the opportunity Dubai offers them.
MYTH #2: WOMEN HAVE NO RIGHTS!
This statement is probably one of the biggest prejudices for Dubai!
Dubai is modern, open-minded and above all international. There are more foreigners living in this city than local people and one thing is clear; if women in Dubai had no rights, not so many (especially young) women from all over the world would go there.
So there is absolute equality! Women are allowed to drive a car, travel to Dubai alone, live alone in Dubai, are allowed to do all jobs, are paid equally and do NOT have to veil themselves from head to toe.
I (Anika) can move, behave and live here just as freely as in Europe and dress myself the way I want to. However, the topic of clothing is also a little bit about respect. During Ramadan, for example, you should make sure to cover your knees and shoulders and behave very respectfully towards culture and religion in general.
MYTH #3: ALCOHOL IS FORBIDDEN!
Drinking in public is forbidden, that's true!
The Arab Emirates are definitely not the only country with this rule. And just because alcohol is forbidden on the street does not mean that alcohol is not allowed in general. Dubai definitely has a very exciting nightlife, with wild parties with lots of beer, wine, champagne and spirits. The only difference to Europe is, that you don't find alcohol in the supermarket, but only in licensed hotels, restaurants and clubs.
There are also licensed shops where you can buy alcohol with a valid alcohol license.
MYTH #4: YOU GO TO JAIL FOR HOLDING HANDS IN PUBLIC!
If this statement was true, then we would definitely be in prison already.
In this aspect, Dubai is very modern and liberal. Holding hands, hugs and even a kiss on the lips is therefore completely ok. And no, you don’t go to prison for it. However, the same applies here, as with the already mentioned clothing topic. It's all about respect! As long, as you behave respectfully and don't necessarily kiss in front of the locals, everything is fine!
MYTH #5: APART FROM ISLAM NO OTHER RELIGION IS TOLERATED!
Although Dubai is a city dominated by Islam, this doesn’t mean that other religions are not tolerated. In Dubai and the rest of the Emirates other cultures, religions and beliefs are more than welcome. The liberal Dubai is home to more than 80% of emigrants of nearly 200 nationalities and it is obvious that this statement is a myth.
Islam is one of the most respectful religions we have ever known. Besides the numerous mosques for Muslims, there are also every kind of Christian churches, up to Gurdwaras (the place of prayer of the Sikhs). All people have the opportunity to attend regular church services and practice their religion freely.
As you have probably noticed, Dubai is characterized by many prejudices. However, we are cautious to believe such prejudices immediately, but to first take a look ourselves and get an idea of it. With this little mythbuster, we wanted to give you an insight into the true Dubai and we hope you enjoyed it.
Let us know if you have ever been to Dubai or what other prejudices you have heard. We are looking forward to your comment!
Tayler & Anika