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How did a blond girl end up to travel to the United Arab Emirates by herself for a few days?
In the past I worked for a company where I used to assist the passengers to board the flight to Abu Dhabi every evening. And I always wondered how this city would look like.
On my way home from Bangkok, I had a layover in Abu Dhabi and I decided to take advantage of the situation to travel to the United Arab Emirates.
So I changed the date of my flight from Abu Dhabi to Rome and stayed for a couple of days to visit Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Don’t worry I made it home safely and my dad’s house is not full of camels.
But I have to say that I didn’t quite fit in this culture: everything is prohibited!
The dress code is pretty strict and the average daily temperature is 34 degrees. Let’s say that this is not the perfect match.
So basically you walk around wearing your long pants and your long sleeve shirt, sweating like a pig. All you want to do is seeking a place that has air conditioning. And I normally HATE air conditioning.
You might think that a good way to spend your day could be relaxing on a beach. Well I thought that too.
At the entrance of any public beach you find this welcoming sign with the RULES on how to BEHAVE on the beach:
Well let’s analyze these rules.
Dear beach visitor, kindly follow the rules and instructions below. (KINDLY. So far it looks friendly)
RULE NUMBER 1. NO BIKE RIDING. Well, not that I would normally ride my bike on the sand. But fine. I won’t.
RULE NUMBER 2. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES THAT ARE HAZARDOUS AND CAUSE INCONVENIENCE TO OTHERS. Fair enough. It sounds reasonable.
RULE NUMBER 3. NO ANIMALS & BIRDS. Ok here I am a little confused. I get the animals part. But birds??? First of all, who takes a bird to the beach? Second of all, how do they stop wild birds from entering the beach? No, I don’t want to know.
RULE NUMBER 4. NO GLASS ALLOWED. Perfect. Glass can be dangerous on the beach. This one makes sense.
RULE NUMBER 5. NO ALCOHOL ALLOWED. Well. Everybody loves to drink a cold beer on the beach. But this is the United Arab Emirates. Their alcohol policy is pretty strict. This one doesn’t surprise me if you consider that in this country people are required to have their own personal liquor license!
RULE NUMBER 6. ALL FIRES PROHIBITED. Starting a fire in the United Arab Emirates wouldn’t even cross my mind.
RULE NUMBER 7. PLEASE PROTECT THE BEACH ENVIRONMENT AND DISPOSE TRASH IN THE BINS PROVIDED. Absolutely right! That’s common sense. Agreed.
Well these rules are not so absurd after all. Ah no, wait.
RULE NUMBER 8. PLEASE DO NOT SWIM AFTER SUNSET. Exactly… why? What happens after sunset? Why???
RULE NUMBER 9. SWIMMING COSTUMES SHOULD NOT BE WORN OUTSIDE BEACH AREA. It actually surprises me that swimming costumes are allowed on the beach area! But if you look a little bit further down on the sign you can read “PLEASE WEAR APPROPRIATE SWIMSUITS”. I am not exactly sure what an appropriate swimsuit could be like in this country.
RULE NUMBER 10. UNRULY BEHAVIOR WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. The picture shows a couple holding hands… so unruly!
RULE NUMBER 11. PHOTOGRAPHY IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. This strictly prohibited really scares me. No selfie on the beach I guess…
RULE NUMBER 12. CAMPING PROHIBITED. Anyway, why camping if you can’t even swim after sunset and drink beer?
RULE NUMBER 13. CHILDREN UP TO THE AGE OF 12 ARE ADULTS RESPONSIBILITY. Yes, that’s pretty much everywhere but thank you for the reminder.
RULE NUMBER 14. THE ADMINISTRATION WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY THEFT NEGLIGENCE. So, just to make it clear. You will arrest me if I swim after sunset but you won’t do anything if somebody steals my wallet?
RULE NUMBER 15. PLEASE RESPECT THE PRIVACY OF THE OTHERS. So basically don’t intrude in unruly behaviors that will not be tolerated anyway.
There is another rule that caught my attention: ENTRY OF SINGLE MALE VISITORS TO THE FAMILY BEACH IS PROHIBITED. Wait a minute. What do you mean single? If he’s married he can go to the family beach or it’s just that the entry is prohibited to any man who’s by himself? I am so confused. Anyway it doesn’t say anything about a single girl by herself so I think I’m good to go.
Once you know how to behave you are ready for your day at the beach. You might think that another good idea could be going for a swim. Again, I thought that too.
You are about to swim and you find another welcoming sign:
My favorite part is when they thank you and wish you a nice day after warning you that you might be killed by jellyfish and sea snakes.
Thank you but I think I’ll have a nice day somewhere else. Far away from the water.
I feel so surrounded by rules that I’m afraid that I would get arrested for just crossing the street at the wrong corner.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to give the message that the United Arab Emirates is a horrible country and that it’s not worth a visit. I think that every single corner in the world is worth to be explored. I am only saying that you just need to be prepared.
If you want to travel to the United Arab Emirates you will have to follow strict rules and you’d better find out what these rules are before you arrive.
So the night before your trip have a crazy night out with your friends. Be unruly with your partner. Swim naked after sunset.
You are just about to travel to the United Arab Emirates… the land where everything is… PROHIBITED.