Why I Dislike Dubai (& feel bad about it)

Why I Dislike Dubai (& feel bad about it) 2

Why I Dislike Dubai (& feel bad about it)

For those of you that have been following along you may have noticed I’ve had less than encouraging things to say about my time in Dubai. Let me clear the air, Dubai is not the crap hole I may have portrayed – it just isn’t for me. Wait. “crap hole” is harsh, I just dislike Dubai…and feel bad about it. Dubai is great at what it does and who it does it for, namely not Shaun. Still, the Canadian in me feels the need to explain why I dislike Dubai.

What’s your deal with Dubai?

To many, Dubai represents being stinking rich, which is something I may never experience. Maybe there is something there? I dunno. I find it odd that symbols of wealth attract so many people. Why would I want to hang out in a lobby of a hotel that I will never stay in? Or browse a store with clothes I could never afford? I don’t get it. I suppose people like that window into the “good life” and to an extent it is interesting but also a little insulting don’t you think?

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The worlds only 7 star hotel, the Burj Al Arab, in the distance. Someday I can get closer?
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One of the hundreds of classic cars on display around the Dubai mall.

What is insulting is the racism in Dubai. I was only a guest there (as is the majority of the population of those that live there) but was told some disturbing things when it comes to employment – most notably  the open discrimination on race in the workplace. Just Google “Dubai job discrimination” and you will see plenty of comical (in the sense that it is so open) examples. This part makes me feel OK to dislike Dubai.

Do I dislike Dubai or did I miss something?

To be fair I didn’t get to do a lot of things I wanted to do in Dubai because of the slipped disc in my back. I wanted to head out into the desert and ride a camel or ride in a dune buggy but heard they can be very jarring – the latter that is. Riding a camel is like squeezing inbetween two hairy pillows, or so I imagine. Camel racing and riding were on the list but we just couldn’t fit it in. Plus Erin was a little thrown off by the idea after seeing how the ostriches were treated at the races in Texas.

Also by this point in our trip we were both pretty rundown. We both had colds and Erin was dealing with sinus pain so bad she went to a couple of clinics while in Dubai. On the plus Dubai wins points for its medical services. It is apparently becoming a popular medical tourism destination so if anyone is looking to get some work done I know a place.

Still, I have to ask,

“do I really dislike Dubai or did I miss out?”

What did you like about Dubai?

So timing may not have been in our favor when I say I dislike Dubai. That’s not to say I didn’t have a good time. I really liked wandering around Dubai Creek and watching the dock workers and old junk boats come and go. It was about as real as the place felt while we were there.

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Although water parks can be found anywhere and although my back limited me to what crazy watersides I could enjoy, the Wild Wadi waterpark is a blast. Thankfully they have a bunch of tubing rides that I was able to go on which were awesome – especially the ones where you end up inside an aquarium.

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So why so negative?

I’m not big into shopping (clearly from my mall culture post) or artificial things so that played a role in what I dislike about Dubai. Apart from that we had just come from Turkey, an amazing country full of culture, history, and awesome food.  Anywhere after that was sure to be a bit of a letdown.  I had a very similar experience with my first visit to Hawaii. We had just spent over a month immersed in the culture of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Japan then found ourselves in a very commercial, very American place. Sure the scenery was great however everything that came with it turned me off of Hawaii.

Beyond that I think it truly is the Canadian in me that feels bad when I say I dislike Dubai.

and for that, I apologize : )


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  • Pat White

    So very Canadian of you to apologize for disliking a place…then apologizing about apologizing! Love it.

  • John Caldwell

    Dubai isn’t for a lot of people Shaun. I wouldn’t sweat it.

  • Andrew Henderson

    If you didn’t have opinions on the places you write about I’m not sure anyone would be here on your blog. Dislike away!

    • True that Andrew! Thanks for pointing that out. Looking out California, you’re next! LOL

  • I’ve been having long connections in Dubai a few times, yet I just didn’t want to leave the airport. And it wasn’t even the fact that I’ve needed a visa.

    The city seems to me way to artificial and way to luxury (same point as you’ve made). I don’t fee like I might like it.

    • Agreed! I’m still the type that would have to see it for myself though. Hopefully you take a trip into town on one of your layovers to get a closer look. If anything, some of the outlandish sights are good for a laugh!

  • Trevor Britt

    Your pictures sure make Dubai look inviting!

  • Chad Thompson

    Agreed with @trevorbritt:disqus! Dubai looks rad.

  • theworldbefore30

    I love Dubai but I understand your points. Racism is a massive issue and to live there full time I think you have to learn to turn a blind eye to all the practically enslaved Indians working on building more skyscrapers. I always feel very safe in Dubai and I love the luxury aspects of a short break there. There are certainly massive benefits of working there if you are a teacher (high wages, free accom) but I don’t know if I could live there. I’m about to head back for my third trip in 6 months to visit my friend who has lived there for 2 years.

    • Yah, the racism side was new to me and very surprising. The discrimination in job postings is hilarious. Not sure I could live there either but will defiantly pass through again as it is such a major route connecting Europe to Africa and Asia.

      Have fun on your trip and thanks for sharing your comment!

    • I agree with you theworldbefore30 Dubai is a place with lots of attractive places and lots of fun activities. I went there after my mt rushmore yellowstone tours and had a great time there. So, I don’t agree with you that Dubai is a bad place to visit at all.

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