A few months ago, before I went to Dubai, I heard a few stories about how rude Arabs were, especially those at the airports. I read long threads about then on travel forums; I was convinced.
So I was prepared to have a straight face (especially as an African)and the perfect response for any racist remark/comment(and trust me ..it was a killer response!)
But I got to the airport and the Emirati who checked me out kept smiling and even wished me a great stay. I was so surprised at his gesture (and how handsome they actually are)
And then I came out of the airport and everyone was nice!
The bus driver, the hotel staff( I had to respond to hundreds of ‘’yes ma’ams’’), tourist I met in the elevators and even at breakfast …… I had to restrain myself from making conclusions too early but truth is, I was impressed!
Subsequently, I did explore the city and I came to these conclusions.
DUBAI IS TOO COSMOPOLITAN TO LABEL
Of course I encountered people of very diverse personalities, nationalities, religions, shapes and forms (lol) and colour! And as much as I didn’t encounter lots of local Arabs, it was much plain to see that how you are treated in Dubai largely depends on who you meet,the person’s race orientation and most of the time, if
business was involved!(nothing is free in Dubai), Taxi drivers, tour guides and people who are selling or want to take your money are the most friendly!(they call it customer service ) but even in this bracket, you will meet people who are not particularly nice!
ITS DEPENDENT ON YOU
Apart from the hotel staff who greet you hundred times a day even when you are not nice, you should expect to be treated based on your demeanor!
Unless the person you are dealing with wants your money, you should smile to get a smile back.
If you loosen up enough to be nice to taxi drivers, they can tell you some of the most ‘real’ and amazing stories you can ever hear about the country and you will alight very entertained .
One taxi driver explained to me how their fine system works, and even how much he earns at the end of the month. Another vented to me how his wife is a spendthrift and consumes everything he makes though she’s back home in Palestine and one heartily told me about his sexcapedes and how many migrants cope sexually especially with most of their wives absent. I made some very memorable times aboard taxis and I guess it was because I was first nice to them!
As much as an Emirati will not walk to you and start a conversation, when you do meet them in elevators (or at buffets, some will smile at you and some will not take the lift because you are in it).
In the first place, you hardly meet them and every time you do, they are eating or shopping(they are like endangered species) If you are a man, resist the temptation to stare too much at the women(even if you are wondering if they have air-conditions beneath those dresses in that temperature),you might get arrested if she reports you and forget about asking one out!(thank me later) Am sure peradventure, if your paths crossed and you said hello, you might get a hi back(but don’t expect anything beyond this)
I believe no one should base their impression of racism in Dubai on a singular encounter!
Whiles I had a swell time with people, I had some friends share with me very bad racist experiences.
Bottom line is, your opinion of racism in Dubai will always be based on who you meet but if you do visit, I hope you meet lots of fillipinos!