Monday, 19 May 2008


21 Ways To Tell You’ve Been Living In The Middle East Too Long

  • You go home to the UK and stand waiting for someone to pack your bag in Sainsbury’s until Someone In Management has to ask you what the problem is.
  • Speed bumps are not a signal to slow down, they’re a signal to overtake the traffic that’s slowed down and get 20 cars ahead by nipping in just ahead of the lorry coming the other way.
  • The doctor prescribes a broad spectrum antibiotic and you tell him that’s no use because you’re already taking Augmentin for your snuffly nose.
  • You automatically insert ‘inshallah’ into any future prediction or agreement to act in any way.
  • They come out to you on holiday but you go home to them on a tour of duty.
  • There’s a screw loose in a door handle in your house and not only isn’t it the end of the world and a major domestic crisis but it doesn’t actually get fixed for months.
  • The sight of girls wearing short skirts makes you want to go up to them and have a go about dressing properly.
  • Self service petrol stations are a treat.
  • When you hear “Panchos” it makes you think of a dwarf in a sombrero.
  • You run out of toilet paper but use tissues instead because you can’t be bothered to make the trip for some bog paper.
  • You and your partner don’t hold hands in public when you’re in the Middle East, but you do at home.
  • You ask the waiter at The Berkeley in London for ‘Masafi’.
  • He brings it and you don’t notice.
  • The bloke that answers the ‘phone at your Lebanese takeaway knows your voice, name, address and your order off by heart and calls you ‘habibi’.
  • You keep putting things in the wrong bins when you go back home to stay with friends/relatives in the UK.
  • You don’t know what an Oyster card is, you haven’t got an Oyster card, you can’t see why you should be expected to have one and what’s more you have a row with the bus driver because he can’t work out why an English person would be trying to put a pound coin in the slot the ticket comes out of.
  • It makes your blood boil when people talk about how visionary Dubai Internet City is because it attracted the global IT industry to Dubai. Because you can remember when the entire IT industry was already here and had to drag their sorry asses up the road to some zone because it was announced by the government and they felt they had no choice but to comply and move in.
  • Undertaking is perfectly acceptable and any short cut is a ‘witty’ thing to do, not a ‘wrong’ thing to do.
  • You read the words “Freehold! Live Your Dreams!” and they translate as “No Federal Legal Right of Tenure, Leasehold With a Lunatic Developer as Your Landlord in Law!”
  • You can remember when x was ‘just sand’, where x is any given area of Dubai outside Bastakia and Deira souk; any old bit of Sharjah; Riyadh beyond Airport Road, Pepsi Cola and Sitteeen Street; Doha; anything outside Muscat; beyond the Bab Al Bahrain; anything outside the Kuwait City Inner Ring; Amman’s Third Circle and Cairo outside the city centre. Similarly when the Abu Dhabi highway was one lane with no camel fencing and the world’s most dangerous night drive, the Trade Center the tallest building, Garhoud didn’t have a bridge and on and on and on and on...
  • When you see another British person, even in an otherwise empty room, your first instinct is not to stand behind them and form a queue.
  • It doesn’t all seem quite as much fun any more...


alexander said...

...and you can't count up to 21 properly anymore, either...

Seabee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seabee said...

I see what you mean by your comment on my post that 'today we seem to be coming from vaguely the same place'


Cairogal said...

"When you hear “Panchos” it makes you think of a dwarf in a sombrero."


Keefieboy said...

I remember on a trip back to the UK being completely unable to figure out which of the five available versions of green petrol would work in the hire-car I was driving. And haggling over the price of a newspaper. And being astonished by the price of Coca-Cola and saffron.

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