One of my oldest friends from the UK is now living in Dubai now. He’s been here a few years with his wife and kids. You can count the number of times he’s ventured out to the bars on one hand. Apparently when you have a wife and kids – you are not allowed to go out?!
Anyway, some other friends from the UK are on holiday in Dubai and are staying with my pal who lives here. I saw them in the UK last week and they were excited about coming.
On Friday evening I went over to see them and we all went out for a drink. Which was where it all went wrong.
For starters, I had been out since lunchtime at a brunch, which means I was dressed in a polo shirt, jeans and trainers. My ‘pals’ told me that I would not be allowed into a Dubai bar wearing trainers. I begged to differ. They kept up the argument for quite a while. Even when I pointed out that out of the 4 of us, I was the only one who has actually been to the bar (Sofitel) and knew about the (lack of) dress code.
I also pointed out that the Sofitel bar, although nice, is not really somehere they’re going to like. It’s rather pretentious. Expensive, full of false people and not really a party atmosphere that my pals were seeking.
When we arrived – we were asked if we had a reservation. – for a bar! We managed to talk our way in and found a seat which looked at the Burj Khalifa. This is where my pals pissed me off again. They were saying how magnificent it is. And it is, don’t get me wrong, but after looking at it day in, day out, you get used to it. They ARGUED with me that each time I see it, I am amazed and taken aback?! To a tourist, yes. To a resident, it’s just another bloody building.
After half an hour or so, the management came over and hoofed us out of the seats – telling us they were reserved.
I explained to the ‘tourists’ that this is normal. Some Emiraties will be coming in, buying expensive bottles of champagne which means they get the special service. That’s life here. Money is king.
Soon after, I got pretty fed up/bored with my friends naievty of the whole Dubai situation and made excuses to leave.
When someone lives somewhere – and had experienced something, they tend to speak with authority. When I got here, I hit up Rafiq with all sorts of info from Sim cards to buying cars. He has lived here a while, he knows the score.
So when my pals (tourists) start trying to tell me about places that I have experience in (albeit only a few months) then I get annoyed.
It’s the same in Thailand. I’d have a customer come through the door and tell ME how it is – with their new girlfriend who is ‘different’.
Trust me… experience, knowledge, know-how is invaluable.