Monday 18 November 2019

Is the Emirates the Safest Place on Earth?

Seen in Mirdif City Centre...

Now, I'm the first to admit that I've drunk the Kool Aid. I reckon that most expats in their first couple of years are ambivalent about this place, those that make it to five years are generally going to be pretty much in favour of it all. Get to ten years, buy a villa in the Ranches or whatever expat ghetto suits you best, and you're probably raving about how marvellous it all is - despite your Shiny perhaps being a tiny little bit less sparkly than you were promised. It's a Shiny, after all, and that's shiny enough for most people.

We perhaps tend to forget sometimes how, far from Shiny, home was grimy. Rain, tax, tea, in that order. That's why we're here, no?

I admire those that came out here with a game plan. Two years, five years, once you've got that deposit on a flat in Richmond or a sixteen bedroom mansion in Leicester or whatever it was that you wanted to get done, you've done it and gone back. That's great, but it was never for us. We just liked the place and we meandered - we never had an objective, as such. A vague idea that we'd go home one day, perhaps, but that was as concrete as anything got.

I remember saying to Sarah just after we arrived that we'd been £1,000 in debt every month in the UK and now that we'd been in the Emirates a while, we'd bought the household things we needed (and could never afford back home) and had a thousand quid in hand. If we did a year here and went home a thousand quid better off, we'd have done a year in the sun and have £2,000 more than when we arrived. That, I said, would be just as true if we did 25 years and went home two thousand quid better off. And it is, at that.

I'm very well aware that there are those who don't - for whom the Emirates hasn't been as kind or who have just found themselves out of step with the whole place. There are people who have found themselves trapped in a job they've hated, been bilked by a dodgy employer or who have just generally hated it and everything it stands for. There are those who have left here and re-cast their old home in the sun as a horrible, empty place (funnily enough, many who have done that seemed happy enough when they were here).

But, clearly, over 25 years later something's keeping us here - we like it, very much so in fact. Is that a bad thing?

One of the very many things I like about here is the sense of personal security. I've got used to keeping my wallet in my back pocket, to leaving the car open as I nip into the shop - to having loose change in the little pot thing by the handbrake (I'm reliably informed I wouldn't have a side window if I did that in the UK - I still find that hard to believe, but you tend to listen to the locals).

Walking past charity collection boxes in the malls stuffed with notes and noticing that a) they're not chained down and b) they're still there two seconds later, one is occasionally reminded that the crime rate here is so low as to be almost negligible. Sarah's safe out walking alone or with a friend, day or night. You forget that until you have to wise up when you're on holiday back in Europe. Until you hear the horror stories.

The photo above was taken in a jewellery shop in Mirdif City Centre. Even being as used as we are to the safety and security of here, we found it was an amusing 'where else in the world?' moment...


Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

So very true, and, despite my banishment, I still heartily recommend UAE, along with the rest of oil-rich Arabia, as the one global location where ideas, however fantastical, are listened to and often result in an income.

Where else is it possible to live and thrive with such a diverse population?

In over twenty years, across the region, I never experienced any of the less desirable traits of western society, excluding those who had overindulged at watering holes ;-)

I would advise folks that a low profile, reqarding inequities of the system, is maintained, jumping over the parapet is not recommended!

Alexander said...

There are pitfalls and potholes - of course there are. And Dubai Society does rather miss Your Grace...

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