I was thinking about this the other day actually; living in Dubai, and quite possibly the rest of the UAE, really skews your sense of reality. There’s the real world, then there’s Dubai. Unless you have lived there, or, perhaps even in West Africa, then you really won’t get it. Here are five things I missed when I moved back to the UK….
- Shops Open till Late – Really Late
Most shops in Dubai close late. Like 10pm, and during periods such as the Eid holidays, the malls and shops are open 24/7 as tourists from the neighbouring GCC countries pay a visit. Combined with the fact that The Dubai Mall (featured in daintellekt‘s video below) is the world’s largest shopping mall, nothing else compares. Returning back to London where shops close at 6pm latest on the high street took a lot of readjusting on my part. I can’t nip into H&M at 2am for instance (during an Eid holiday), which absolutely sucks.
- Shops Deliver Anything
Aside from literally staying open till all hours of the night (in some cases not closing at all), you can call your local ‘corner’ shop and have them deliver anything you want. Milk, eggs, detergent – you name it, as long as it’s in the shop, they will bring it to you. Brilliant if you’re like me and really can’t be bothered to go downstairs to the shop in your building!
- Every Single Restaurant Delivers to Your Door Step
McDonalds, Burger King, Sushi Bento – they all deliver food to your office or home. Very few fast food restaurants here in the UK do that. Pizza Hut maybe. Even Pizza Express have certain areas in London that they cater to. In Dubai, every Friday (which was one of my off days) I would order Eggs Benedict, orange juice and Poffertjes to be delivered to my flat for brunch from Little More Cafe. It was my weekend treat. I also believe that I accidentally paid them the equivalent of £100 and they didn’t tell me! Ahh well. I miss being able to do that. I also miss ordering sushi from Sushi Counter after work.
- The Amenities of Apartment Blocks
Almost every single apartment block comes with a swimming pool, gymnasium and sauna that every resident can use for free. So, returning to the UK and realising that a) my flat does NOT have a pool or gym and b) that the gym at the top of my road charges about £400 a year to use their facilities, reduced me to a snivelling mess. Not that I ever used the pool in my flats in Dubai, but it was comforting to know that the option was there and that this is considered standard throughout the entire emirate.
- Uber Taxis
I discovered that using an Uber was slightly cheaper than hiring a normal taxi (depending on the type of Uber you hired) and a lot were luxurious cars. Nothing like rocking up to work in a Lexus or similar each morning. One day, I received a Jaguar, paid the equivalent of £8 to get to my destination, AND, for using the service, was awarded a £50 Namshi gift voucher, manicure and pedicure gift certificates for both men and women, as well as two bottles of artisanal water. Not bad!
Featured image, Dubai Marina photo credit: http://hbsdubai.com