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Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

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May. 13th, 2016 | 04:10 pm

Welcome to Dubai! This brief quiz will prepare you for some of the many beautiful sights, exciting shopping and dining opportunities, and cultural practices in our emirate. Don’t worry—you’re not being graded! But your answers will be recorded in case we need evidence later.

Let’s get started!

Which of these will you NOT find easily/affordably in Dubai?
a) Pork
b) Alcohol
c) Prostitution
d) Street addresses
e) Skype

[Answer (click to open)]The answers are D and E.


There are no house numbers, zip codes, or postal delivery here. Fingers crossed, though—the new Makani system issues a QR code for every home. Now the pizza guy only has to call for directions twice! And the government owns the phone company and prefers to limit competition, so fire up a Virtual Private Network if you’re going to stream porn or Skype your mom. (Not at the same time!)



One of Dubai’s major industries is gold. Which of the following can you NOT experience in Dubai?
a) Gold cupcake
b) Gold cocktail
c) Gold shrimp cocktail
d) Gold ice cream
e) Gold facial
f) Gold Class car on the Metro
g) An ATM that dispenses gold bars

[Answer]The answer is C.


Of course we would never serve a gold shrimp cocktail! Metallic tastes clash with cocktail sauce, and wouldn’t you rather have a garnish of fois gras? But we do suggest paying double for a Gold Class Metro ticket—it’s not just the cushy seat, it’s avoiding pungent body odor.



Everything in Dubai delivers. Well, almost everything! Except these two:
a) McDonalds
b) Starbucks
c) Pedicure salon
d) Car wash
e) Designer clothing
f) Ice cream truck that comes to your building and signals your phone to let you know it’s there

[Answer]The answers are B and D.


Car washes happen at the mall—so convenient! Just keep an eye out for the skinny Bangladeshi guy in a jumpsuit, wheeling a cart full of dirty water. He paid 200 dirhams to rent that cart for the day, plus soap, and he’ll work it off one 15-dirham car wash at a time. And delivery serves mostly women—too much caffeine will just interfere with an afternoon nap. Instead, have your pedicure in the comfort, safety and privacy of your own living room, where no man you aren’t related to could accidentally see your hair or recognize the shape of a body part through your clothes.



Which of these can you NOT eat or drink in Dubai?
a) Brunch with unlimited alcohol including Jack Daniels slushie machine and vodka-infused watermelons bristling with straws for the whole table
b) Camel burger
c) The Funky Monster, a strawberry shake topped with an entire slice of cheesecake
d) Coffee made from beans pooped by civet cats
e) Cream for coffee made of only cream
f) Fugu
g) Krispy Kreme donut

[Answer]The answer is E.


Organic-shmorganic! There’s carrageenan in all the dairy around here. And it comes in a tetra-pack suitable for cupboard storage for years! After you’ve enjoyed an enormous Friday morning brunch and your exclusive, through-the-digestive-tract coffee with additives, belly up to the bar for a Krispy Kreme at any of our nine local franchises, or enjoy poisonous puffer fish at either of our two licensed fugu restaurants. Care for the many diabetics and heart patients here is top-notch, too!



Taxis are cheap and common in Dubai. Which of these does NOT exist?
a) Pet taxi
b) Woman-only taxi (driver and passengers)
c) Daily pre-booked taxis for schoolchildren
d) Days off for taxi drivers
e) Illegal taxis that stop by the side of the road and charge half the going rate
f) Someone who comes to the bar and drives you home in your car when you’re drunk

[Answer]The answer is D.


Taxi drivers value the opportunities they receive in the United Arab Emirates, and they’re great family men, usually supporting a minimum of five people in India or Pakistan. With a quick six-month unpaid training period to "learn the system," they live in dormitories or work camps, work a twelve-hour shift every day for eleven months, and go home to see how little Raj is growing up in month twelve. So enjoy your ride—and if you’re a woman, look for the driver in the pink headscarf!




Rank these nationalities by order of average salary.
a) South Asian
b) North American/European/Australian/Afrikaaner
c) African
d) East Asian
e) Arabic

[Answer]The answer is B, E, D, A, C.


Use this handy mnemonic: “If you’re light, the money’s right, but if you’re dark, you’re fucked.”



Which of these can you SAFELY do in Dubai?
a) Leave your home unlocked with your computer on the table
b) Leave your car unlocked in the mall parking lot
c) Leave your laptop, cell phone and purse on the coffee shop table while you pee
d) Criticize your employer on social media
e) Criticize the government in any medium
f) Go to the mall bathroom
g) Get a placenta facial

[Answer]The answers are A, B, C, and G.


Welcome to absolute monarchy—where every day is sunny and the news is always good! Remember, if you’re outside your home, you’re on camera. That’s why you’re as safe here as in your mother’s arms! And if you don’t have something nice to say, don't talk about anyone or anything at all. Keep posting those cat memes! Maybe be a writer back in America! Make sure to private this post ASAP!

I know you’re confused about Fmall bathroom? Don’t be discouraged—the bathrooms here are spotless, with Filipina attendants cleaning the seat after every guest. And the privacy is unmatched—the spacious water closets with locking doors are perfect for a jihadi in full burka to call for assistance, then stab you with a kitchen knife when you come to help. But it was just that one time a white American teacher like yourself was murdered in the mall you spent every day in for six months. Time for a new coffee shop—maybe that civet-poop place has good wifi?



Bonus Question: How much would it have cost in “blood money” for the bathroom stabber to get off with a fine and three years?
a) 200,000 dirhams (100 camels, or about US$55,000)
b) Really? A camel only costs $5500? I would have thought they were more expensive
c) Does anyone actually try to pay it in camels? Is that like paying off a bad debt in all pennies?
d) That’s a lot of money. Apparently about five people a year from developing nations throw themselves in front of cars, hoping their family will get the payout
e) I’d hate to be the victim’s surviving spouse and have to choose whether I wanted the blood money or the death penalty
f) Wow, eight months from crime to execution—that’s a fast justice system
g) Mohammed Al Kaabi, chairman of the UAE Human Rights Society, said the speedy execution made a statement. “The hand of justice will slap whoever thinks of distorting the security of the nation,” he said.

Well, that’s all we have time for today, folks—write your answers to the bonus question down, keep your thoughts off social media, and salute when you pass a billboard of the King. Welcome to Dubai and enjoy your white and wealthy day!



______________________________________________
I'll probably be here 3-5 more years. And I'm not kidding about privating this after voting.





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Comments {22}

blahblahblah, whatever

(no subject)

from: kathrynrose
date: May. 13th, 2016 08:53 pm (UTC)
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And I'm not kidding about privating this after voting.

Please do. You're scaring me as it is.

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gratefuladdict

(no subject)

from: gratefuladdict
date: May. 14th, 2016 04:57 am (UTC)
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Seconding this!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 14th, 2016 01:32 pm (UTC)
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Will do for certain :)

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notodette

(no subject)

from: notodette
date: May. 13th, 2016 10:26 pm (UTC)
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<3

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 14th, 2016 01:32 pm (UTC)
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I'm always so pleased when you drop by :)

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orockthro

(no subject)

from: orockthro
date: May. 14th, 2016 12:25 pm (UTC)
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This, as always, was tremendously entertaining, with these massive little bursts of OH SHIT and WELL THEN. A+++

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 14th, 2016 01:32 pm (UTC)
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That's exactly what it's like to live there, too!

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kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre

(no subject)

from: bleodswean
date: May. 14th, 2016 01:23 pm (UTC)
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Great job here. I've a Persian friend and he longs for Dubai with his entire being.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 14th, 2016 01:33 pm (UTC)
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Thanks :) I'm glad I get to live here now, but I don't want to live here always!

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Murielle

(no subject)

from: murielle
date: May. 15th, 2016 04:19 am (UTC)
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Best of all worlds! Entertaining and educational. Brava!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 16th, 2016 04:21 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!

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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors

(no subject)

from: halfshellvenus
date: May. 15th, 2016 07:49 am (UTC)
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I have actually wondered how, as an independent woman whose coloring alone would make her stand out, you manage to tolerate the strictures of that country. My family went to Morocco when I was a teen, and the relentless staring alone was really unnerving.

No street addresses! I can't imagine how people find anything. In a town of 10 houses, sure, but a city that size?

Gold-bar-dispensing ATM has me boggled (do people buy things in units of gold bars?), and personal ice-cream truck as well. That's luxury.

The six months of unpaid "training" for taxi drivers makes me Grrrr. That is such a hard life, and it shows how desperately the money is needed that people put themselves through that.

Placenta facial! :(

The last section, though, was probably my favorite. Camel units!

Well done, and yes, please hide after voting. :O

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 16th, 2016 04:24 pm (UTC)
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The weird thing is, it really is underneath rather than in the open. Most people here are from somewhere else, and the dress code isn't really enforced - lots of Filipinas in shorts and short skirts. India is where I get the most staring, with Myanmar a close second.

I have to give the taxi directions to a landmark and then I direct him from there :) The city is very much divided into named sections and that helps.

I thought the ATM was a myth until I saw it, but I think it's meant for tourist amusement :)

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rayaso

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from: rayaso
date: May. 15th, 2016 08:51 pm (UTC)
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This was worth so many camels of wonderfulness I can't even begin to count them! I was cracking up through the whole thing, not just over the sometimes bizarre (by my parochial standards) information, but the playful humor of your writing.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 16th, 2016 04:24 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I gratefully accept your camels!

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millysdaughter

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from: millysdaughter
date: May. 16th, 2016 03:03 pm (UTC)
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One of the princessbride's friends spent a few years there. She misses many things about Dubai -- but they have five daughters, and it is not a great place to raise teenage girls.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 16th, 2016 04:24 pm (UTC)
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Yeah - on one hand it's super safe, on the other, it's not a great place for teen rebellion unless you're fabulously wealthy.

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lriG rorriM

(no subject)

from: lrig_rorrim
date: May. 16th, 2016 03:39 pm (UTC)
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This is all just so damn weird to me. And also kind of scary. Definitely, definitely change the access on this later. In the meantime, I'm glad you shared it with us.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: May. 16th, 2016 04:25 pm (UTC)
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I go back and forth between being happy to be here and excited to leave :)

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drwex

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from: drwex
date: May. 16th, 2016 05:28 pm (UTC)
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I am surprised camels have gotten that cheap. Many years ago when I last looked they were priced like a top-end mid-sized car (~$35,000 iirc)

I'll probably be here 3-5 more years

I had thought this was (more or less) permanent for you?

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prog_schlock

(no subject)

from: prog_schlock
date: May. 16th, 2016 10:02 pm (UTC)
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Oh holy cats, so much of this is distressing. Its shouldn't continue to be shocking to me - the fact that there are places where people experience much harsher oppression than in the US - but it does. I worry that this is the vision for the US that some of our politicians have, just in a Christian form.

My brain was searching for songs about Civat Cats and Coffee, but this was all it could recall:

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cutie201

(no subject)

from: cutie201
date: Nov. 15th, 2016 03:41 pm (UTC)
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Which of these will you NOT find easily/affordably in Dubai?

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