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Essential Reading If You're Moving to Dubai

The mesmerizing sunset I captured from a traditional abra at the Dubai Creek.
At the time of writing this post, I have completed seven months living in Dubai. In this time, I have explored so much of the city (as much as I possibly could) but there is still a whole lot waiting to be discovered. I feel like I have been here for a really long time but that speaks volumes about how easily I settled in to my new life here. If you're planning to move to Dubai, here's some essential reading just to get an initial sense of the vibe here.  

1. You'll need to watch your money. Dubai has everything aspirational from the finest restaurants to the most desirable retail brands to global events. But we know experiences cost money, and can be on the slightly expensive side. Can you do without that brunch? Certainly your stomach can. Do you need that jacket? Winter isn't for another 6 months. Introspective conversations like these are good practice to avoid overspending. 

2. Before I came to Dubai, brunch was just that - a brunch. Just another word, another meal. Here in Dubai, brunch takes on a whole new lifestyle significance. Brunches here can cost anywhere between AED 100 - 600. Brunches are mostly bottomless meaning people usually are on a liquid diet. I can't even fathom the food wastage generated every Friday. 

3. The Dubai heat is insane - there's no better way to put it. You have to remind yourself - you are living in what was once a dessert. Heat waves and sandstorms are a norm. Even a short ten minute walk in the day is beyond exhausting and one that you would embark on only if all logic permits. The summer night air is also thick with humidity making any outdoor activity a tough one. 

4. Girls, come weapon-ed with your heels. A couple of pairs. Attending social or formal events in flat shoes may be a comfortable solution but will separate you from the rest. 

5. Air kisses are a thing here in Dubai when you're working within a multicultural mix. You can always very courteously and smartly raise your hand in for a shake proactively if you are not one for the air kissing ritual.

6. Dubai's on a mission to make the experience of living here a culturally rich one. At any given point in time there are lots of events happening across the city. You think you can keep up with every one of them but you can't. Say adios to dull weekends in this city because there is always something new to do, always something new to experience.

7. At any given point, wherever you are, there will be some construction or building activity taking place. The noise generated from the construction to the side and back of my building have been the background score to my mornings for the past three months. 

8. Food-wise, Dubai is heaven. Restaurants are always reinventing themselves with novel dining concepts (think: dining in the dark, dining in the sky and dining to performance acts), diverse cuisines (think: Peruvian and Ethiopian) and unique ingredients (think: charcoal, aged chocolate). The creation of Last Exit, a food truck park is evidence of the city's love for food trucks. 

9. Because cabs are expensive, they are a luxury you reserve for rushing to meetings or to get to destinations not very accessible from the metro stations. Otherwise, hold on to that NOL card; for non-vehicle owners, the metro is your lifeline in the city. Using the metro also relieves you from experiencing the daily traffic woes. Bumper to bumper traffic takes on a whole new meaning here. 

10. The skyscrapers in the city are overwhelming. The famous Sheikh Zayed Road stretch with its wondrous man-made steel, glass and concrete structures will marvel you in your initial months here. 


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