We have put together all of the exciting, fascinating, and occasionally bizarre things that can only be found in the United Arab Emirates. No point in rubbing your eyes. Everything you are about to see really does exist.
You might not realize it, but Dubai has multiple manmade islands in its territory. In fact, the city of Dubai has two such islands: Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali. Both islands are made to look like palm trees, which is pretty amazing if you can get a birds-eye view of them. However, neither of the islands is completely finished. As you might imagine, it’s quite a job to make an island. The process of making these islands is called the World Islands Project and is currently underway.
The World Islands Project is actually a project in which 300 small islands will be laid and created to form a world map from above. Amazingly, every country, region, and many notable landmarks will be rendered into an island throughout this incredible project. In 2008, the World Islands Project had to take a break due to major financial issues. However, when the project began in 2005 the islands were estimated to cost $13 billion. At this time, not very many islands have been completed yet, but the project continues to move forward and one day we just might be able to see it!
If you saw a picture from Dubai just a few years ago, you probably wouldn’t recognize it. In 2005, the city was still mostly open desert with a few buildings peppered throughout the landscape. In the last decade, there has been massive growth in Dubai. The city looks completely different from what it was just a few years ago.
If you compare the picture below to one from a few years ago, you’ll see what an incredible difference there truly is. The once mostly empty landscape is now a flourishing city equipped with housing, gardens, fountains, islands, and countless skyscrapers. It’s amazing to think about how quickly a place can transform.
Largest Aquarium in the World
It may seem that Dubai has the largest everything at this point. Dubai’s enormous mall, which has a total area of 1,124,000 square meters and holds 1200 stores, is the Dubai Aquarium. The aquarium is located on the ground level of the mall and is the world’s largest indoor aquarium. Further, the world’s largest acrylic aquarium panel is located inside the Dubai Aquarium. The panel is in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The Dubai Aquarium holds many amazing features including a glass-bottomed boat which you can ride and view over 33,000 aquatic animals. There’s even a cage diving activity you can do in order to swim with sharks. Other features surrounding the aquarium include the world’s largest candy store: Candylicious, a store spanning over 10,000 square feet, and an Olympic-sized ice skating rink.
The World’s Highest Tennis Court is in Dubai
While many professional tennis matches will have spectators on the edges of their seats, this incredible tennis court will have everyone literally on the edge of a 1,000-foot-tall building!
The top of the Burj Al Arab hotel has an amazing green roof that doubles as a tennis court. Before the Dubai Duty-Free Men’s Open, tennis giants Andre Agassi and Roger Federer were invited to play a match a giant feat against anyone with a fear of heights for a friendly tennis match! Though the court isn’t regularly used, it’s still an incredible place to watch a game. Just make sure you stay very aware of your surroundings!
When you think of approaching a vending machine you probably think about types of soda or chips, but some places are taking vending to the next level. As types of vending machines continue to expand—for example, you can find vending machines in Japan that dispense everything from umbrellas to puppies—the realm of possibilities seems to be endless. In line with its extravagant ways comes one of the most opulent vending machines you could ever imagine.
If you’re an impulsive buyer, you might want to avoid Dubai’s solid gold vending machine. Using cash or credit, anybody who approaches this incredible machine can purchase authentic 24-carat gold. Purchasers can choose a variety of amounts, from solid gold bars to 2.5 grams. Due to the price of gold constantly being in flux, prices at this machine vary. A computer inside the machine updates the prices of each gold item about every 10 minutes. Imagine going to a vending machine looking for a Coca-Cola and returning with a solid gold bar! Only in Dubai.
Luxury Bus Stations
It may seem like everything in Dubai is luxurious. From police cars to shopping malls to bus stops, there is a widespread aesthetic of wealth and opulence in Dubai. While you might not pay much attention to the bus stops around you in Dubai, bus stops are not only closed off from the elements but are completely air-conditioned. While this may seem excessive, it is actually an important safety feature due to the intensely high temperatures Dubai can reach.
Due to it being surrounded by a desert, Dubai reaches unbelievable temperatures. It isn’t that uncommon for highs to climb above 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Waiting for the bus can be a very uncomfortable and even dangerous experience. At the very least, it will leave you incredibly sweaty. If you are young, elderly, or have a health condition, taking the bus and waiting in the heat could cause a serious issue for you. It’s great that Dubai has come up with a solution so that their public transportation is more accessible and more comfortable.
Camel Here, Camel There, Camel Everywhere
Camels are an important part of everyday life in Dubai. They’re used for much more than racing and are actually an integral part of the economy. At the market you can buy camel milk as well as camel meat, however, it is difficult to find camel meat at restaurants in Dubai.
Not only are there camel races and camel food items, but also just outside the city limits of Dubai you can go on amazing camel safaris. Camel safaris are a great way to expose you to life outside the city and to see how the Bedouins live their daily lives in the hot desert heat. You get to ride a camel during these excursions as well as participate in fun activities such as bread making, sheesha, and henna. And don’t forget to grab some souvenirs! You can buy camel milk chocolate during these safaris to bring home to your friends and family. Talk about exploring Camel-lot!
Largest Theme Park on Earth
Currently, a major theme park project is under construction in Dubai. Dubailand is an amusement park to top of all amusement parks. It is twice the size of Disney World and is projected to be the largest tourist attraction on Earth. 200,000 visitors are expected to visit Dubailand every day.
The project was announced in 2003 and is constantly being improved and changed as construction continues. About $55 billion has been spent so far on Dubailand construction. Currently, there are 22 projects under construction.
Tourism Causes Culture Clash
Muslim culture in the Middle East encourages women to dress modestly and cover most of their bodies in public. Dubai is ruled under Muslim law and many women do practice a modest way of dressing there. However, due to the heavy amount of tourism in Dubai, there is a certain amount of tolerance for foreign cultures and less modest ways of dressing.
If you do visit Dubai though, it is strongly recommended that you dress modestly. It is important to show respect to the places you are visiting and to try not to cause anyone to become offended or uncomfortable. Though the city tolerates foreigners who dress less conservatively than natives, it helps to be considerate. The city of Dubai is a melding of Western modalities and conservative Islamic beliefs. This melding will likely continue as Dubai builds more and more tourist attractions every year.
Being Too Handsome Can be a Problem
Omar Borkan Al Gala, a journalist from Dubai, had to leave Saudi Arabia because he was too handsome. Authorities were concerned because they believed this handsome UAE reporter had the potential to corrupt naïve and impressionable women at the annual Janadriyah Festival, a cultural festival that lasts two weeks every year in Saudi Arabia.
The handsome Al Gala had been a successful male model and as he made efforts to perform his job as a reporter at the festival, more and more girls began to recognize him. The female admirers asked for Al Gala’s autograph and photo. Things started off slowly but quickly escalated until female fans completely surrounded Al Gala. The authorities noticed and intervened, asking Al Gala not only to leave the festival but also not to return to Dubai altogether.
With so many people come more vehicles and with a lot of vehicles come a lot of traffic jams. Though not every resident of Dubai has a fancy automobile, many people do have quite luxurious rides. These amazing cars pile up every day as they honk and yell in an effort to get the jam to move forward. The picture below is worth a thousand words. You probably have seen traffic jams before, but have you ever seen one that looked quite so luxurious?
With the rapid growth and constant construction of Dubai as well as the ever-rising population size in the city, traffic is predictable and will probably only continue to get worse. While the city is making efforts to lessen the traffic issues they currently are experiencing, it seems the billions of dollars they’re spending to improve transportation infrastructure aren’t doing that much. However, in 2009 the Dubai Metro opened and helped to increase public transportation usage in lieu of vehicle usage. These solutions come at a cost, though. Dubai spends about $790 million every year on transportation infrastructure.
Growing Growing Growing
Dubai is on a rapid growth spree with no signs of letting up any time soon. Construction seems to be in a permanent state of work as the city enlarges its infrastructure every day. With all that construction occurring comes the need for a lot of tools. Dubai is home to more construction cranes than any place on Earth. In fact, Dubai holds 25% of the world’s construction cranes. Now that’s a lot of cranes!
Next on the list of cities with the most construction cranes is Sydney, Australia. You might be wondering what American city has the most construction cranes. Believe it or not, it’s Seattle, Washington! That’s right, Seattle is the U.S. city with the highest number of construction cranes—not New York City or Los Angeles, which is what you might’ve been thinking. With construction continuing to be on an upward trend in Dubai, it looks like they’ll stay number one on the construction crane front for quite some time.
It may not be shocking that a city with an ATM that dispenses gold contains the largest gold market in the world. Everywhere you look, you’ll see objects encased in gold. From telephones to wallpaper, gold is an abundant and present commodity in Dubai.
Due to its popularity, more than a few locals in Dubai have become extremely skilled metalworkers, specifically with gold. You can bring any everyday object to a gold craftsman and have it plated in the precious metal. However, just because gold is abundant doesn’t mean it comes at a cheap price. You’ll have to pay quite a chunk of change if you want your cellphone plated in gold. At this point, I’m sure it’s no surprise to read that Dubai is one of the most expensive cities in the Middle East.
Major Fashion Hub
Though you may think of New York, Paris, London, or Milan when you imagine the world’s most prominent centers for fashion, Dubai is actually an up-and-coming fashion hub in the world. The epicenter of fashion in the Middle East, Dubai is quickly making a name for itself as a go-to spot for innovative fashion.
Every year there is a major fashion show in Dubai. The city even has an area specifically dedicated to fashion. Local designers are making worldwide names for themselves in Dubai and have been featured in fashion shows in Paris and New York City. Though the fashions in Dubai are sometimes more conservative than the fashions of the West, they are still lauded for their creativity and craft. Get yourself familiar with designers in Dubai, because you’ll most likely be seeing more and more of them in the future.
Once a Major Source of Pearls
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Dubai was major in pearl farming. Later petroleum became a major source of income and now, the main source of industry in Dubai is tourism.
During the First World War, the pearl industry collapsed in Dubai. The Great Depression, as well as the invention of the cultured pearl in Japan, played a large role in the collapse of the pearl industry in Dubai. However, they soon moved on to other sources of income and continue to grow in amazing ways each year.
Premarital Sex is Illegal in Dubai
Having intimate relations before marriage in Dubai is a serious offense. Engaging in this activity before legal marriage can end up in jail sentences or deportation. Further, public displays of affection are seriously discouraged and frowned upon in the Muslim city of Dubai. If you travel there, it is strongly suggested that you refrain from any sort of PDA from holding hands, to kissing.
In the past, there have been numerous instances of ex-pats being put in jail after the discovery of premarital sex. Unfortunately, in these instances, things are pretty primitive and the man’s word is given much more credence than the woman’s. Distressingly, several foreign women have been thrown in jail after making an attempt to report that they were assaulted by local authorities.
Though there is a great deal of leniency when it comes to tolerating Western culture in Dubai, there are certain cultural lines that cannot be crossed. The UAE is more conservative than many Western countries and many ways of interacting on a day-to-day basis differ between the two cultures. In Dubai, it is not tolerable to display public affection, and engaging in such acts can have legal repercussions.
Married couples are permitted to hold hands while out in public, but this is the extent of permissible PDA in Dubai. There is absolutely no kissing allowed and any physical contact between members of the opposite sex is publicly shameful. It is important to be very mindful. Shaking hands of a woman should not occur unless she initiates the contact, for example. Keep your hands to yourself and you should be all right.
Dubai is growing at an amazing pace and is actually considered to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. In Dubai, in 1968 there were only 13 registered vehicles there. However, that small number has grown quite a bit since then.
The traffic in Dubai is so intense these days. Due to construction and development, the roads can become quite congested. Not to mention foot traffic isn’t that common due to the high temperatures Dubai reaches. Amazingly, double-decker roads have been built in Dubai to help ease the traffic issues that arise in Dubai.
The city of Dubai’s police department employs an elite force made up entirely of female officers. This special all-female police force was originally founded in order to deal with issues relating to fraud and theft in Dubai. However, this force also has the important task of handling issues that arise with city dwellers relating to gender that are otherwise considered to be inappropriate for male officers to handle.
The officers in this police force are selected from the UAE’s entire population of female police officers. These women have experience working in police stations, surveying criminals, providing bodyguard protection for important people, and using weaponry. Every member of the police force must have the ability to speak Arabic as well as English. Though members of the force say that it is sometimes difficult to get male members of society to listen to their authority, the special force is still lauded for its progressiveness.
Luxury Cars are Often Abandoned in Dubai
Amazingly, there is a huge amount of luxury car abandonment in Dubai. If you tour the parking lots of Dubai, you will find thousands of BMWs, Mercedes, Ferraris, and Porsches, completely abandoned. In fact, the BBC reported that a Ferrari Enzo, which is worth $1 million, was found completely abandoned in the Dubai airport parking lot.
You’re probably wondering why this is occurring. Though there isn’t one reason, in particular, it is speculated that the Sharia Law could be to blame. This law states that if you stop making car payments, or fall behind, you will have to go to prison. For this reason, these cars are potentially the property of people who have fled the country in order to avoid going to jail.
There are Hefty Class Divides
As an up-and-coming global center for business, there are hundreds of skyscrapers being erected every year in Dubai. The population of workers who help construct these enormous buildings is largely made up of immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. There are around 3.2 million people living in Dubai and immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh make up over 50% of Dubai’s population while 17% of the city is made up of Emiratis and the remaining 43% are generally wealthy foreigners from other parts of the world.
The economic divide between these sectors of the population is enormous. Many immigrant workers live their day-to-day lives in uncomfortable, impoverished conditions and are often taken on busses back and forth between labor camps with dorms, while native Emiratis have their rent, education, and medical bills paid for by the government and upper-class foreigners earn huge salaries from their white-collar jobs.
A City is Being Built Within Dubai
The Mall of the World is currently well underway in Dubai and is a building so large, it can actually be considered a mini-city within the city of Dubai. This center is 50 million square feet and is completely climate and temperature controlled so nobody will have to endure the intense summer heat. Inspiration has been taken from London’s Oxford Street and New York’s Broadway Avenue. Massive domes, making it completely sealed off from the outdoors, will cover the entire urban center.
The Mall of the World will hold an impressive 20,000 hotel rooms, parking space for over 50,000 cars, and of course, hold the world’s most enormous shopping ball. The main incentive for this massive project is to increase tourist interest and travel in Dubai. Space will also be extremely technology-based, with 3-D printers creating meals, drones delivering services, and mobile app purchasing.
All Big Everything
In an attempt to bring attention and attraction to Dubai, it seems everything is being built on a massive scale. Americans may be familiar with the mentality that bigger is better, but in Dubai, the biggest is best. Everywhere you look there are giant buildings and attractions in Dubai.
Dubai is home to the tallest tower in the world, the Burj Khalifa, a giant at 2,722 feet tall. Not only that, but the world’s largest indoor ski facility, indoor aquarium, and biggest mall are located in Dubai. There are even plans to build the largest amusement park in Dubai. It seems there are no limits to the grandeur of this amazing city.
Dubai’s Airport is a Huge Source of Income
The airport in Dubai contributes around $22 billion per year to the UAE GDP. Amazingly, oil only constitutes 2% of Dubai’s revenue. The bulk of the money coming into Dubai comes from the transportation, commerce, trading, financial service, retail, and tourism industries.
Due to the high amount of revenue that comes from tourism, it may not actually be so surprising that so much money comes from the airport in Dubai. Dubai International Airport employs over 90,000 people and holds over 400,000 jobs. It is actually the busiest international airport in the world and the airport with the highest number of passengers per flight. It even has the largest airport terminal in the world, Terminal 3.
Largest Indoor Ski Park
As you might remember, the mall in Dubai is famous for its extravagance and grandeur. Not only is the mall home to countless shops and restaurants, but it also features Ski Dubai. This indoor ski resort is the largest in the world, measuring in at 22,500 meters.
It’s pretty amazing to think about an indoor ski resort. This park is filled with snow and covers an area of 3,000 square meters. Furthermore, the resort has some incredible features including an 85-meter-high indoor mountain containing 5 slopes, which change in intensity, steepness, and difficulty level. Some of these slopes include a 400-meter long run, an indoor black diamond run which is actually the only indoor black diamond run to exist.
Dubai Has Artificial Islands
Interestingly, Dubai has actually reclaimed a few islands offshore and built them up with a massive amount of sand. The island, Palm Jumeirah, is a palm-tree-shaped island and Dubai has made a claim that it is actually the eighth wonder of the world. Believe it or not, the islands were built up with enough sand to fill 2 and a half Empire State Buildings.
There are two more islands, Jebel Ali and Deira, which are in various stages of development. Currently, Palm Jumeirah houses 30 hotels and resorts. Additionally, yachts and speedboats can be rented for private tours around the islands. Talk about an island in the sun!
Dubai Has 400 Skyscrapers
In 1991, the World Trade Center was the only skyscraper to exist in Dubai. However, a lot has changed since then and a lot of construction has occurred.
Currently, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai is known as Skyscraper Avenue. Both sides of the long street are lined by tall, amazing feats of architecture. One of these buildings is Burj Dubai, which is the tallest building in the world. It’s hard to imagine how many buildings there will be 20 years from now.
There is a Massive Amount of Oil Produced in Dubai
Enough oil is produced in the city of Dubai to fill 4 and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools per day! That’s about 50,000 to 70,000 barrels worth of oil or 11,000 ml. However, oil isn’t even the main source of income in Dubai.
In 1991, Dubai produced 400,000 barrels of oil every day. Though you might suspect oil was the major source of income in Dubai, it is actually quite a small percentage of the GDP. The main source of income in Dubai currently is tourism and real estate. That’s not actually so surprising considering all of the incredible attractions being built constantly in the city every day.
Less Strict Dress Codes
Unlike some areas in the region, the rules regarding women’s dress in Dubai are not set in stone nor are they necessarily strict. People visiting the city are permitted to wear revealing clothing in Western style and women who live in Dubai do not have to cover their heads unless they choose to.
That being said, it is important to be mindful when dressing in Dubai. If you are visiting and wear a provocative outfit, you may face some backlash or uncomfortable situations with locals. Further, if someone complains about your dress to the authorities, you may run into some trouble with the law. It is also important to keep in mind that the relaxed rules regarding women’s outfits do not apply to religious situations. For example, if you are visiting a mosque you must wear proper attire. Clothes that cover your body and headscarves are required for entry into all mosques in Dubai.
Shop ‘til You Drop
Dubai is currently building quite an amazing project—The Mall of the World. This mall, as you might’ve guessed from the name, is being constructed to be the world’s largest mall. Not only will it be huge, but also this mall is not your typical shopping center. The mall will contain an enormous, climate-controlled, indoor city. A great way to escape the heat, this “city” will cover an expanse of 8 million square feet. The “city” will hold 100 hotels, which are expected to house at least 80 million visitors every year. The indoor city will also include a park designed to be more amazing than London’s Hyde Park.
The plans to build this incredible mall were announced in July 2014. It is expected to take 10 years to complete the project, so we’re already more than halfway there. It is no wonder that Dubai is such a tourist haven. Once this incredible mall and all those hotels are built it’s sure to be an even more popular destination. Who knows? Maybe you’ll visit Dubai next!
A Quarter of the World’s Cranes are in Dubai
With so much construction going on in Dubai, it might not be so surprising that the city holds about 24% of the world’s construction cranes. There are about 125,000 cranes in the world and Dubai has 30,000 of them.
That number will most likely rise, too. There is a high demand for construction machinery and equipment as well as vehicles and laborers in Dubai. The real estate boom is continuing to grow in the Middle East and the UAE with no sign of letting up any time soon. In fact, the city’s budget for infrastructure and growth in 2017 was $12.88 billion. That’s the highest budget in the world for an area the size of Dubai. Just think of all those cranes!
Dubai Has an Extremely Low Crime Rate
Dubai has an impressively low level of crime, reporting a nearly 0% rate of illegal activity. Perhaps in part due to the city being ruled under Muslim law, harsh penalties help to deter most inhabitants of the city from breaking the rules. The city is largely populated by foreigners who know that they could be imprisoned or deported if they were to break even the smallest of rules in Dubai. Surely, this is an incentive to stay under the radar.
Furthermore, the city of Dubai is proud of its impressive police force and sees its legal enforcement system as something to show off. This may be why every police car in Dubai costs the same average amount as full college tuition in the United States! If you travel to Dubai you’ll see luxurious police cars such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and even an Aston Martin worth 1.79 million dollars!
The Hotel's Gold Could Completely Cover 46,265 Mona Lisa Paintings
Astoundingly, the Burj Al Arab luxury hotel is covered with a massive amount of gold leaf. The interior is decorated with 1,790 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf—that’s enough to cover 46,265 Mona-Lisa-sized paintings! Talk about a gold-plated existence!
The hotel Burj Al Arab is the fourth-tallest hotel in the world and is considered a “7-Star Hotel.” Interestingly, about 39% of the hotel is not habitable; it just exists to add to the impressive statue of the hotel. Make sure you have extra cash to spend if you’re planning on spending a night here—the Royal Suite costs $20,000 per night and an average room costs around $1,500!
Safe Family Locations
Dubai is conscious of the public spaces it provides for people and their feelings of comfort and safety. There are beaches that only permit women and families to enter their grounds. This means you won’t find any single men roaming these sandy shores. Furthermore, people who choose to visit these safe beaches are required to dress modestly.
The dress code at this beach is specifically targeted towards women—they are required to be fully covered when entering the beach grounds. Locals, due to the dress code aligning with their religious practices, have particularly appreciated the beach. This space allows for a more reserved, less Westernized environment to flourish. Bikinis are not allowed, which helps those who have modest dress codes to feel more comfortable. One local woman commented that these family-only beaches are wonderful because they do not allow loud music, smoking, and large boisterous groups to make locals feel uncomfortable while they enjoy beach time.
It'll be Difficult to Find an Address in Dubai
Something got looked over in the midst of Dubai’s amazingly rapid growth—street signs! Instead of having a standard address system, residents of Dubai draw maps on their letters or write specific instructions such as: “After the white mosque, first street to the left, gold door.”
When visitors come to Dubai from the airport they are strongly advised to carry a map around so that they point out where they are going to drivers. Otherwise, they won’t have any way of communicating where they are going!
License Plates are a Symbol of Social Status in Dubai
It might be funny to think of, but license plates are bought and sold for over $14 million in Dubai. 1-digit-numbers are the most desired, followed by 2-digits, and so on. Who knew something that we take for granted could be such a prized commodity?
Most of us could care less about what our license plate says, but in Dubai, they mean a lot more. License plates symbolize status, power, and prestige. People spend millions to get number plates that mean something to them. However, the more numbers they use, the cheaper the plate is and the less social prowess they can boast from it.
In 2015, Dubai’s GDP was greater than $105 billion. The city’s wealth is visible in numerous ways from its luxury squad cars to its massive buildings. One perhaps more surprising display of wealth, though is the rather popular practice of owning exotic animals. People in Dubai own animals such as monkeys, baboons, and lions—oh my!
It seems the wilder the animal the more it is desired to be a pet. It is often inferred that the more exotic the pet, the more wealthy the owner of the said pet is. The social status that comes with this practice seems to be the biggest incentive for it, which can be a bit of an issue. In 2017, the government banned the practice of owning and keeping exotic pets. However, people still break the law. Not without consequence, though. Owning a lion or a tiger can get you 6 months in jail and a $136,000 fine. Now that’s a wild risk!
There is Robot Camel Racing in Dubai
Just as the national pastime in the U.S. is baseball and Canada’s main sport is hockey, the national sport in Dubai is camel racing. However, the camel can only support so much weight and race at the same time, so only children can participate in the racing of actual camels.
The need for children to race camels has caused major humanitarian issues in the past. Children have been illegally trafficked into the United Arab Emirates for the sole purpose of participating in camel racing. Luckily, this process has largely been halted due to an unlikely solution. In Dubai, child-sized robots are used to participate in the beloved sport of camel racing. This isn’t a sport for those with shallow pockets though, robots range in price from $300 to $10,000!
It may be a surprise to read that the majority of residents in Dubai aren’t actually from the United Arab Emirates. Interestingly, only about 17% of people living in Dubai are citizens of the UAE. This is for multiple reasons, but a large reason why is that the city is constantly being constructed by foreign workers who travel to Dubai to make money.
About 83% of the population in Dubai is made up of immigrants who come from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. The large immigrant population means the city is alive with many different cultures. However, there are issues that have arisen due to the mixed population of Dubai. There is an enormous wealth gap between immigrant workers and the citizens of the UAE. Wealthy citizens enjoy the riches of Dubai, the golden cars, and luxurious mansions, while workers who come to Dubai to perform construction often have to endure very poor working conditions as well as poor living conditions. Citizens of the UAE receive free medical care, free education, and free rent. In contrast, immigrant workers often live in labor camps and have to work outside in the blistering heat for very little money compared to citizens.
Dubai is Hotter Than Hot
Dubai is located in the desert, which means it is very sunny almost every day and rarely rains. During January, the coldest month of the year in Dubai, temperatures average 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and 57 degrees Fahrenheit during the nighttime. While many people dread January temperatures in the places they are living, this time of year is probably a welcome respite from the insane heat for residents of Dubai!
On the other end of the seasonal spectrum, summertime in Dubai is not an enjoyable time of year. Summers are hot, windy, and humid. Temperatures average 106 degrees Fahrenheit, cooling down to around 86 degrees Fahrenheit at night. On extreme days though, temperatures can grow even higher. Make sure you bring a hat and lots of sunscreens if you choose to travel to Dubai!
There's Zero Debt Tolerance in Dubai
There are strict rules in Dubai regarding debt. If you rack up debt and aren’t able to pay it back, you could be in serious trouble. Residents who fall into default on credit cards or miss any payments that they owe are immediately sent to jail or deported.
For many foreigners, Dubai offers well-paying jobs, tax-free salaries, and up-scale accommodations that are hard to resist. However, the high-rolling lifestyle can be addictive and many individuals find it difficult to balance their spending habits with their paychecks. In this way, many end up racking up debt, which results in their deportation. Yikes!
Dubai is Competing to Have the Biggest and Best Everything
Dubai seems to be racing against itself when it comes to building and creating the largest of everything. With massive construction projects constantly underway, it’s hard to keep up with what superlative the city is proposing to create next.
Dubai is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world and is even said to be home to the best hotel in the world—The Burj Al-Arab. Furthermore, Dubai is home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. This enormous skyscraper can be seen from 95 km away and is actually 163 stories tall. If that wasn’t already enough, the city is building the largest indoor shopping mall, has the biggest aquarium, the tallest hotel, and the most extravagant indoor ski park. It’s hard to compete with that!
Luxury Cop Cars
Dubai is centered on luxury and opulence so much so that even its police cars are incredible examples of ample wealth. These cops ride around in cars most people would only dream of owning one day—Ferraris, Aston Martins, and Mercedes Benz.
As you might imagine, these fancy squad cards cost quite a pretty penny. Every squad car costs about as much as the average university student’s tuition in America. Furthermore, there is very little crime in Dubai. There are strict punishments for breaking laws. For example, if you are late on insurance payments you could face prison time or prison time. It seems that these harsh penalties have the intended effect because there is almost no crime in Dubai. The city is actually ranked as the 9th safest city in the world through Numbeo’s Crime Index Rate.
Gold Plated Everything
Not only can you find gold ATMs and gold vending machines in Dubai, but you can get pretty much anything you can think of plated in gold. People in Dubai aren’t afraid to show off their massive amounts of wealth. If it isn’t enough to have a massive mansion, porches, or luxury yachts in your possession, don't worry. You can actually get your entire car plated in gold!
It’s becoming a common trend to completely cover cars in gold in Dubai. Everything from Ferraris to Corvettes, to Bentleys, can be found in all gold versions. If gold is too pedestrian for you, try encrusting your Mercedes-Benz in diamonds like the Saudi Prince Waleed or a Porcelain Bugatti. Just make sure to bring your sunglasses, you might be blinded by the shininess if you’re driving in Dubai!
There are ATMs that Dispense Gold Bars
Believe it or not, there is an ATM that pays in 24-carat gold. You can get bars, coins, and even wearable jewelry from said ATM.
When a customer approaches the ATM, they make a selection and pay with cash or credit card. The machine, “Gold and Go,” then dispenses whatever the consumer has ordered. Known between locals and tourists alike, the "Gold and Go" has become a sensation. It is located in the Dubai Mall and needs to be replenished with gold at least twice a week!
Dubai is Growing at an Extremely Fast Pace
Dubai is growing so rapidly each year that economists have voiced concern surrounding a potential financial and housing collapse in the near future. With the third-highest amount of skyscrapers in the world, the second-biggest mall in the world, and a population that is growing substantially in size each year, everyone is wondering if the rapid growth is sustainable.
In 2009, Dubai’s metro system was completed and features 42 stations. The system was amazingly built in 18 months! That’s much less than it takes most cities to build public transportation systems. Though the discovery of oil reserves initially put Dubai on the map, the city makes most of its money from tourism and the trade of other commodities.
Alcohol Consumption is Limited
Due to religious beliefs, you will only find non-Muslims drinking in Dubai. Tourists are allowed to drink alcohol if it is purchased from licensed restaurants, hotels, and bars that are attached to hotels with licenses. If you are found drinking in a public place, including the beach, you can be seriously punished. It is considered extremely unacceptable to drink in public.
Further, you have to be careful about how much you consume. Dubai is severe regarding its rules about public drunkenness and has absolutely zero tolerance for anyone found drinking and driving. In order to actually purchase an alcoholic beverage from a store, you must have a special license, even if you are a tourist. However, you can buy alcohol at the airport and bring it back to your hotel. Though the rules in Dubai may come off as harsh, the city is known for having some of the highest-quality alcohol in the world.
Texting and Driving Is More Common Than You'd Hope
While Dubai is at the forefront of some of the world's greatest industries, the driving culture there is a lot different than in other places. Sadly, distracted drivers are one of the most common reasons for car accidents in Dubai, and in the UAE in general. Many of those accidents are caused by young drivers who text or use social media on their phones while driving.
In 2018, students from the American University of Sharjah pledged not to use their phones while driving in an effort to fight road fatalities. While their initiative is commendable, this issue is far from being completely solved. Still, no matter where you are, it's always advised to look both ways before crossing the street.
You Can Get Some of the World's Most Expensive Cellphones
The level of wealth among high-class people in Dubai is sometimes hard for common folk to wrap their heads around. Most of us walk around with a smartphone that has limitless access to the internet and the apps we need, but in Dubai, the latest iPhone can be disregarded as a peasant's gadget.
No matter how many new iPhones and Androids keep coming out, those advanced mobile phones will never be custom-made items. As it turns out, custom-made smartphones or simply ultra-expensive models are something you see in Dubai more than anywhere else.
Matchmaking Is Still Done Through the Newspaper
Say goodbye to dating apps or online dating. If you live in Dubai, it is totally an option for you to find your one true love in the classified section of whatever newspaper you're subscribed to. That's right, what used to be common before websites such as Craigslist or OkCupid came along is still going strong in some countries.
Dubai natives (or their parents or matchmakers for that matter) can post an ad in the newspaper specifying some personal information about the person and their desired spouse. People who think they could be a good match (or, again, their parents or matchmakers) may get in touch with them through the contact information at the bottom.
Marriage Is Taken Very Seriously
Sharia law speaks highly of proper marriage and frowns upon unjustified divorce. There are very specific circumstances under which a couple can divorce, and even then, there could be great consequences to such a decision.
This is why, in Dubai, married Muslim couples interested in terminating their marriage are advised to use the services of a marriage counselor or look for reconciliation before ultimately deciding whether or not they want to stay together. When you think about it, it sounds like a pretty good idea no matter where you live.
Fireworks Are a Big Deal
Dubai holds quite a few impressive world records. One of those records was achieved in 2014 on New Year's Eve when the city launched the biggest fireworks display in the world. The display included nearly 500,000 shells that were deployed over six minutes.
The display took months of planning, and the shells were fired from several launching spots stationed on the "World Islands," which is a group of artificial islands off the coast of Dubai. The previous record was held by Kuwait and included a little over 70,000 fireworks fired within a single hour.
Home of the World's Biggest Automated Car Park
Modern technology is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has the potential of making our lives easy and efficient. On the other hand, all that automation can result in the loss of human connection and in people losing their jobs to robots and machines.
One of the things that have become almost fully automated is car parks, and Dubai is no different. In fact, Emirates Financial Towers has the biggest automated car park in the world, with parking spaces for more than 1,000 cars.
Next Level Public Transportation
The future of transportation is autonomous vehicles. There are very few people who can own or use such cars around the world, but in Dubai, it is essentially public transportation. Much like in other great cities around the world, Dubai has an impressive metro system.
The Dubai Metro is nearly 46 miles long and it's completely driverless. It is the largest of its kind in the world, which means that even those in Dubai who can't afford a car, can still ride in style. So yeah, self-driving public transportation is totally a thing.
Watering the Desert
Fountains often make great landmarks in many popular destinations around the world. Just like the Bellagio fountains in Vegas, the Montjuïc fountain in Barcelona, or the Trevi fountain in Rome. All those fountains attract a daily crowd of numerous tourists.
But these fountains have nothing on the Dubai Fountain situated in the Burj Khalifa Lake. This impressive fountain has a fully choreographed water system that holds two shows a day. The show is the biggest of its kind in the world and it can be seen from anywhere near the manmade lake.
Dubai Knows How to Party
The home of a predominantly Muslim population may not sound like the prime location for a record-breaking clubbing scene. Well, Dubai may be a lot of things but it sure isn't predictable or typical. In 2013, the world record for the longest club DJ session relay was broken in Dubai.
The session was a little longer than 4 hours, and it took a score of 119 DJs taking the stand one by one to complete it. Each of the DJs taking part in the event mixed one record, much to the enjoyment of the local party animals looking for a nice party.
Living in 3D
Remember when 3D printers were a novelty? People's jaws would drop to the floor at the sight of a machine using melted plastic to create a plastic cube. While toys and other small objects were the first to be printed using these new machines, it didn't take long for other applications of it to become reality.
Being the technological powerhouse it is, in early 2020, Dubai made history as the home of the first 3D commercial building. It took 17 days for a cement printer to print out all the pieces of the building. Once printed, it only took two days to put the pieces together and complete the building. So that means that the housing crisis is solved, right?
Chain, Chain, Chain
If putting this list together has taught us anything it's that Dubai is a big fan of gold. With gold ATMs and the largest gold market in the world, it's no surprise that Dubai holds the world record for the longest gold chain.
The record was set in 2015 by the Dubai Gold & Jewelry Group, which has created a 22K gold chain that's a little longer than 18,116 ft. That's about as long as 78 Boeing 747s lined up nose to tail!
Smelling the Flowers
They say everything is bigger in Texas, but if we had to guess, we would say Dubai is not far behind it. In fact, we think that soon enough, the common phrase would be 'everything is bigger in Dubai'.
Home of the tallest building in the world and holder of numerous Guinness world records, Dubai is big on spectacles. One such spectacle (and world record) is the largest flower structure in the world. It is essentially a life-size sculpture of an Emirate Airbus A380 made of flowers.
Extreme sports fans are probably familiar with base jumping, paragliding, or bouldering in distant corners of the earth. As it turns out, Dubai has a little something for everyone, even adrenaline junkies. We are talking about the longest urban zip-line in the world.
It is a 1.7-mile-long zip line (that's longer than the Golden Gate Bridge!), and those who venture it can almost fly above the Dubai marina at 90mph.
Sleeping With the Fish
When planning a trip, one of the first things you want to take care of is accommodation. And we believe that about halfway through going over this list, you made sure that Dubai is on your personal bucket list. If you feel like splurging on your trip to Dubai and guarantee that your hotel room has an ocean view, consider staying at one of the Atlantis underwater suites.
Atlantis has two suites (Neptune and Poseidon) that are completely submerged under the water of the Persian Gulf, meaning you can sleep with thousands of marine creatures swimming in your walls.
You Can Literally Have Gold for Dessert
Those of you who are familiar with the ancient story of King Midas know he wished he could turn everything he touches into gold. At first, he enjoyed the newfound riches, but that's also what made him starve to death as all the food he touched turned to gold too, which he obviously couldn't eat. Well, apparently Midas has never visited the Scoopi Café in Dubai.
Scoopi Café serves gold ice cream, which is the most expensive ice cream in the world. This luxurious dessert is served in a Versace bowl and consumed with the help of a gold spoon.
Golden Facials Are Real
Luxury spa treatments are nothing new. It seems like wherever you look people are trying to harness the power of the earth's flora and fauna to preserve their youth. One such trend is using a golden mask in facial treatments.
You might think you can get some gold-colored beauty masks at any beauty product store, but the percentage of actual gold in that mask would be minimal to non-existent. In Dubai, however, they don't settle for anything less than 24K of the real thing. The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray spa offers a full facial with a 24K gold mask.
You Can Get a Lava Shells Massage
Lava shells are the latest trend in massage therapy. Unlike the regular hot stones sometimes used in massage therapy, the lava shells can emit heat for up to an hour, which makes for an out-of-this-world session of massage therapy.
The shells go through a special process through which they absorb heat and minerals, which later help the patient with pain and stress relief. You can't just get such treatment at any spa, but in Dubai, these aren't hard to come by as long as you don't mind paying up to 200 dollars for them.
Have you ever read a book so good you wished you could live in it? Well, thanks to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library in Dubai, you can be one step closer to living in a book. The library building is designed to look like an open book, which is so cool it's surprising no one thought of it sooner.
The seven-story building houses hundreds of thousands of books, which means that book lovers who walk in will never want to walk out.
Most Guinness World Records in Mena
If you've been paying attention there's no chance you slept on the fact that Dubai breaks records for breakfast. The UAE has over 400 Guinness World Records (Yes, 400!) and Dubai itself is responsible for 60% of those.
Its Miracle Garden, which you can see in the picture, has three records, while Burj Khalifa holds eleven. Dubai is also known for breaking uncanny records no one else could even think of, like the longest underwater live radio broadcast (we didn't even know you could broadcast underwater!) Even weirder — a record for most people to parachute from a balloon simultaneously, which is like, what? But hey, they know what they are doing.
Dubai Was Founded in 1883
Dubai was first founded as a fishing village in June of 1833. It was a sleepy community up until the 1970s when it started to transform thanks to the Bani Yas tribe. 800 tribe members arrived and started populating and transforming the humid desert into the urban capital we know and love today.
In the 1930s, the population reached 20,000. In the 90s Dubai saw a revolution in the form of becoming a tourist destination, and today it is a multicultural cosmopolitan.
You Can See The Palm Jumeirah From Space
We have already mentioned The Palm Jumeirah many times, as it is one of Dubai's most impressive accomplishments. But, as if man-made islands in the shape of palm trees weren't enough, there's actually more.
As this picture proves, these beautiful islands can actually be seen from outside earth! Yes, astronauts have reported back on this legendary masterpiece.
They Have a Happiness Minister
Dubai is a part of The United Arab Emirates also known as the UAE. The UAE is made up of six different emirates. The UEA actually has a minister for happiness. Yep, you read it here first, they have a minister whose sole responsibility is to worry and think about the citizen's wellbeing.
When you think about it, this is a brilliant idea, how come no one else thought of this? We vote to have a minister of happiness in each and every state and country!
Fuel is Cheaper than Water
Most of us are used to having to live with high gas prices, which make our car trips more expensive than we'd like them to be. In Dubai, the situation is actually quite different.
According to "The National," a local newspaper, after the oil prices collapsed, petrol became incredibly cheap in Dubai. How cheap? So cheap that it costs less than some of the most basic products. It is actually cheaper than water, which is insane.
Dating in Dubai
A lot can be said about women and men in Dubai, but one fascinating fact that might make life a little bit harder for the guys of this hot country is that there are 2.3 men for every woman in Dubai.
This is according to data that first saw the light of day in 2019. While it is unclear why this is the case, it's pretty obvious that this makes the dating market a little bit more challenging for men.
Time Differences in the Burj Khalifa
So much has already been said about the Burj Khalifa, but there's no such thing as mentioning it too much! The tall building stretches half a mile into the sky. It holds over 150 floors used for residences. So far, so good, right?
But listen to this peculiar fact, people who live above the 149th floor are so high up in the sky that they see the sun for a longer time than others living in Dubai. This means that during Ramadan, they have to wait longer for the sunset, only then they can break their fast.
The Gold in Dubai weighs More Than 300 Elephants
There's nothing the people of Dubai love more than gold, and honestly, we can't really blame them. Shocking data from 2013 shows that $70 billion of gold was traded that year. All of the metal exchanged weighed a total of 2,250 tonnes or 2,250,000 kilograms.
Now let's do some math together, one large African elephant can weigh about 6,350 kg. This means that in 2013, 354 elephants' worth of gold was traded in Dubai. Let that sink in.
An Agency to Keep Animals Safe
While the capital of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, can safely and accurately be described as a very urban place, the people of Dubai still care about their animals.
The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) has been working on preserving the country's biodiversity for over four decades. They do this by overseeing certain areas and raising awareness. How cute!
Not Only in Hollywood
In our world, stunts are preserved for Hollywood, however, in Dubai, they are literally all over the place. From cars to jeeps, if you can balance yourself then the roads are your playing field.
Next time you drive down the roads of Dubai and come across someone hanging out on a car barely grabbing onto the car's frame with one hand, pay no attention, It's acceptable out there.
The ambulances in Dubai are known for many things. They are the fastest in the world and usually sports cars are called for the job. So if God forbid you find yourself in one there, be sure you will arrive at the hospital on time.
Not only that, the ambulances in Dubai will make sure you arrive all in class and in style as the emergency vehicle there are not as bland as the ones you know.
Dubai is known for having a skyline of towers with more than 50 floors, that reach the clouds up in the sky — yes they really do! So these rich residential blocks have penthouses surrounded by white fluffy clouds.
So, next time you book yourself a room in one of Dubai's luxurious bed and breakfasts, make sure you ask for a cloud view.
Colorful Side of Dubai
Not everything about Dubai comes down to sandy deserts and Batman cars. There's is more to this magnificent place and even more to the yellow-colored horizon.
The Dubai Miracle Garden is one of the biggest flower gardens in the entire world. It is a habitat for more than 250 million plants and is definitely a must-visit place to consider for your next trip.
Unlike most places in the world where German vehicles are considered the best, in Dubai, a Mercedes is not all that. Unless you take it all the way.
The proud owner of this car must be one of the wealthiest ones in Dubai. And he is. Saudi Prince (Amir) al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul-Aziz is the one who decided to decorate this car with a total of 300,000 diamonds all around. And it cost almost five million dollars.
The Less Fortunate
Believe it or not, there are also not-so-wealthy people in Dubai. The government does its best to support the less-fortunate residents and supplies free food for whoever is in need.
What caught our eye in this image is that the government not only supplies basic and relatively cheap food but it also stocks these fridges with expensive and luxurious delights. Everyone deserves a treat every once in a while.
No One Forget About the Horse
Talk about a high standard of living! The prestigious houses and extravagant apartments are not only for the wealthy Sheikhs of Dubai, as those rich dudes have non-human companions to look after too.
These horse stables resemble more of a Moroccan temple than a horse habitat. The people of Dubai care for their horses no less than they care for their families and themselves, and so it should be.
We can accept the lions and tigers that randomly pop up around Dubai's landscape, however, when it comes to this man's best friend, it might be controversial.
These turtles are called desert turtles and Dubai is one of the few places they can be found. If you do happen to come across one in your lifetime, stay away. Apparently, they are not known for their close relations with humans. Not that this guy cares.
This Is What a Public Bathroom Should Look Like
When you first look at this photo, you might think that this looks like a well-designed bathroom, perhaps in this rich person's penthouse. Well, we have news for you.
It turns out, this luxurious bathroom doesn't belong to a private person at all! In fact, it is a public bathroom, open for anyone to use. The days of avoiding public bathrooms are over.
The Very Expensive Uber Ride
Picture this. You're in your hotel room, getting ready to hit the nightclubs, you've called for an Uber and it's time to go downstairs and meet your ride. This is the last thing you expect to see.
A Bugatti Uber is awaiting you and is about to give you the ride of your life. Even Uber rides in Dubai can't be standard. Like many other things in this country, only the best of the best will do.
There are no deceptions here, there are no tricks being pulled and this is no scene out of a James Bond movie. This is the reality in Dubai.
For some, a yacht is so last year... The water car as you can see in this image is much more up-to-date when it comes to vehicles that can take you from here to there on the water. By the way, it costs more than 800,000 dollars.
A Cake Made of Gold
Even desserts are no exception when it comes to big, exaggerated, and way over-the-top things in Dubai. This is apparently one of the most expensive desserts in the entire world.
It cost hundreds of dollars and is made with 23 karats of pure gold. With Vanilla from Uganda and Italian cocoa, this cake is fit only for a king.
Where Fish Are Not Allowed
Every country has its weird customs, however, we must admit that this one is the weirdest of them all. Many things are not allowed on public transportation in Dubai, fish being one of them.
We mean, how many times were fish actually brought on the metro that made them put up a sign? Is it because of the fish? OR maybe because they are so slippery, it would be a hassle trying to find the owners if one got away.
A Very Expensive Dinner
Now, there is expensive, there is very expensive, and there is too expensive. Common folk like us will never be able to pay for this. To make it easy on the calculations, this is a bill for about $100,000.
In Dubai, this is a common sight and people really do pay these amounts of money when going out. Luckily, this does include the municipality fee and service charges.
The Easy Way Out of Traffic
Could you imagine doing this in L.A.? Sure, it would be a great way to escape Monday morning traffic, but what would the neighbors say?
By the look of it, Waze won't save the day in Dubai and the call for a friendly chopper is needed. Now, if you live in one of Dubai's skyscrapers, you might come across one of these flyings outside your window.
Did Anyone Call for a Limo?
Imagine having to go to the hospital in an ambulance, and having all of your close friends and family take the ride with you. This is possible, however, only in Dubai.
So next time you're under stress, have no fear. The Emiratis (or Dubaians as we like to call them) are very sensitive to these issues and do whatever they can to ease the patient. Thank God (and Dubai) for stretched ambulances.
There are many things you can do on a rooftop, especially if you are Anthony Joshua, the British heavyweight champion boxer. He was spotted on a Dubai rooftop getting the most out of his practice.
We are still not sure what advantages practicing on the roof has. It could be the extra fresh air or the fact that no fans can bother you, but it took a helicopter to take this photo, making the whole scenario a bit too much in our opinion.
The Emirati Batmobile
You don't have to go to Hollywood to come across a Batmobile, there s one waiting for you in Dubai. Not sure if Batman himself is visiting the city, or if he is retiring here altogether. God knows Bruce Wayne can afford it.
There are all sorts of extraordinary cars all over Dubai, however, something about this one makes it stand out more than others.
They Always Come in Two
There is no way you could have come across anything like this, as these exist in Dubai, and in Dubai only. We have seen cars being stretched such as a limousine, but this is unusual. Who ever heard of a car being stretched widthwise?
We did our research and the owner of this bizarre-looking jeep has a large family and needed to think of a way they could all go and ride the sand dunes together. It had six wheels to make sure it is balanced and no one disappears in the quicksand.
Back to the Future Museum
When you think of a museum you think of history. You think of unique art and preserved craft. Not in Dubai. Everything about this place is about the future. And so are the museums.
This museum is located near the Emirates Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road and holds marvelous ideas and innovative technology, some of which we might be able to see come alive during our lifetime.
On the Water Haven
There is more to Dubai than the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and more than unconventional pets, accompanying their owners. Dubai is also a floating hotel haven. If all you crave is a relaxing do-nothing-all-day vacation, then one of the floating hotels and spas is the place for you. It can't get any more relaxing than this.
It's everything you know and love from previous holidays, like sunbeds, pina colada, and more, except it's all pleasantly floating on the water.
The Heart-Shaped Lake
Even when visiting Dubai, there is always a moment you wish to escape for a bit of tranquility and a touch of nature. Dubai can provide that too.
Al Qudra Love Lake in Dubai is the perfect place for a bit of romance. Two man-maid lakes shaped like two joined hearts with the word love beneath. Can you get any stickier than this?
Next time you think about buying new lamps for your home, wait until you reach your Dubaian holiday. The Emirate Lanterns are such a unique piece of home decor, they bring so much light and color no one will stay oblivious to them.
Now we know many $1 stores have many cheap versions of this magnificent light spreader, however, Dubai is the place to get the original, perhaps even with a story behind the design.
Black and White Companions
This is no mistake, There are indeed penguins in Dubai. We know these friendly creatures are usually found at the South Pole or at the zoo, but funnily enough, they can also be found in Dubai.
An artificial habitat suitable for penguins has been built in Dubai, assuring they are secured and not in any harm or danger. The dessert is adorned with snow and ice, creating a black-and-white oasis.
Family Quality Time
In the past, quality family time in Dubai would be going into the dusty yellow desert and returning with all of your sheep in one piece. Times have changed and so have the exciting family gatherings.
These days it is common to spot family members spending time together in the deep blue waters of the Persian Gulf, surfing (or learning how to), and letting someone less fortunate ride the camel.