Culture shock in Dubai

Hello, I’m still very much alive here. The past three weeks just zoomed by in a wink, with most of my time spent taking care of the kids, managing the household, taking up driving lessons and exploring Dubai. I have also been feeling very tired, hence the lack of mood to blog.

As I’m typing this (with one finger!), Xan is sleeping in my arm – having woke up twice in the past hour looking for me. See la, how to blog?!

Sleepy but clingy Xan
Sleepy but clingy Xan

Here’s sharing some interesting things I have encountered so far:

1. You can never outrun the police force here simply because some of the policemen here drive Lamborghini and Ferrari! Mind you, the Ferraris are exclusively driven by policewomen only.

When I grow up, I want to be a policewoman in Dubai!
When I grow up, I want to be a policewoman in Dubai!

2. My friend, Helena – who is living in Doha – has previously told me that Yakult is extremely expensive here. I have finally seen some selling here. Yes they are, at 40+dhs per pack of seven bottles. According to another friend, their ingredients are apparently more potent. Maybe I’ll try it one fine day πŸ˜€

Pricey Yakult, anyone?
Pricey Yakult, anyone?

3. When I first arrived here, I thought eating out is ridiculously expensive. The average price for a plate of main course for one person in a decent cafe is around AED35 (approximately RM29) and above. I have paid AED55 (RM45) for a plate of normal fried noodles before! Then we found out that it is possible for an average-income family like us to dine out in Dubai. You just need to know how and where. Also find some makan kakis. Discount sites like Groupon and Cobone offer great dining opportunities. Emirates’ staff and families get an exclusive membership card that entitles its holders to enjoy discounts in various restaurants, malls, retailers and shops. Also, there’s the yearly Entertainer’s Guide which you can buy from the bookshop and contains lots of value-added dining and lifestyle vouchers. Not forgetting the TimeOut Dubai card too.

4. People here not only drive fast, but they like to honk too. Don’t take it personally though, as it’s only a way to communicate that “Hey, I’m here!” But it isn’t as bad as in India or China though.

5. We didn’t know that it is not advisable to drink the tap water here, even if it’s boiled. So yes, the kids and I have been drinking sandy water for more than a month, Hubby two months. No wonder I saw people buying and recycling bottles after bottles of mineral water! We finally realised after visiting a friend’s home. After discovering that my digestive system has probably turned into a beach, we subscribed to weekly home delivery service of Nestle distilled water that comes in big gallon-size bottles. We later switched to Masafi when my body didn’t agree well with the content in Nestle. We are now in the midst of looking for a water filter.

photo 4

6. Home delivery is a big thing here, especially for food. Almost every restaurant and cafe offers home delivery service at a minimal charge of around AED3. The supermarkets and pharmacies here deliver too! They also have many cleaning companies that deliver part-time maids to homes.

photo 1 (3)

photo 2

7. I assume that people here like to throw parties because party supplies can be easily bought. When I say ‘easy’, it means every mall or supermarket will have a dedicated section for party supplies.

8. From the country I hail from, this is a culture shock: the public toilets here are very clean. No ugly surprises, not even the toilets in big public parks.

9. The private education here is very, very costly. For nurseries, the fees range from AED20,000 to AED45,000 (RM16,300 – RM37,000) per year of three terms. That’s around RM5,000 t0 RM10,000 per term of 3 months. Like Hubby said, “Can buy a brand new Proton already!” American-syllabus schools are usually the most expensive, followed by International Baccalaureate (IB), British, Indian and so on. Some charge up to AED100,000 per year for higher grades! Fuyohhhh…

10. The variety of cars here is huge. Name it, they have it! And unlike Malaysia, the cars here are a lot more affordable. We recently bought a Mazda CX-9 at a fabulous bargain.

11. I have been mistaken as a Japanese or Korean but most of the time, a Chinese from China. And whenever I open my mouth to speak, people are usually surprised at how “fluent” my English is. To them, I’m supposed to be speaking half-past-six English. A Singaporean friend here got questioned repeatedly when she explained that her first language is English. One of my driving instructors even asked me, “So I guess you are educated? Malaysians don’t speak English right?” Pfffttt…

I will be focusing on completing my driving lessons and getting a license in the next few weeks and may be slow in updating IATH. Please bear with me. Until then, take care and may you be well & happy! πŸ˜€


14 thoughts on “Culture shock in Dubai

  1. lilian

    Hey Joey, Good to hear from you and that you guys are settling down… Must be a good experience, living in a foreign land and adapting to their culture. You are doing very well.. Keep it up..!! Jia yu..!!

  2. Cool…looking at the pic of Xan reminded me of my newborn. He likes to sleep on his back…and recently have developed a flat spot…everyone is saying that beyond the 3 months period the head is hard to shape back…is it true? Any remedy to “round” it up again?

    1. Hehehe my mom said the same thing to me too. Old people have this perception that babies will have cone-shaped heads if we do not rotate their sleeping positions. For Xan, I didn’t really pay particular attention to this. She sleeps on a dimple pillow since birth. Perhaps you can try that? Another method is to “mould” the head by massaging the head gently in circular motion. Heard that sleeping in sarung will help tremendously too but having been a user of sarung during E’s time, I don’t recommend it. Not only it’s not very safe, it creates dependency in sleeping.

    1. Cool right? Apparently they are introducing more luxury cars to the fleet now. Just today, they launched this weird-looking helicopter that serves as CCTV to monitor potential crimes from the air.

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