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Letter From Arabia - Brits Abroad

March 24, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 110

Observations by a newcomer to Dubai about ex-pat's behaviour abroad. Some things funny, some things to be ashamed of.

Her left boob spilled out of her sapphire low-cut dress as she stumbled down the steps from the portaloo. The other tried to escape before she reached the sandy beach, but her twenty-something friend jiggled them back into place and re-positioned her shoulder strap as they giggled their drunken return to the concert.

"Did you see that?" "What?" "Those girls" "Where?"

Too late. Two blokes approached, one arm-shouldering his mate to prevent him taking a public leak rather than queuing, too plastered to realise the offence he was about to commit. What is it about Brits and binge drinking?

Several groups of attractive young women accompanied by gym-fit hair-gelled men danced enthusiastically to the music, lost in their revelry and excitement, happy to be together and a joy to observe. Yet they all chain-smoked like bandits. Tobacco is cheap in Dubai, alcohol expensive. The organisers offered a party hamper of Absolut plus mixers, ice and glasses for 100GBP. They couldn't sell them fast enough.

Middle age brings children and dinner parties. BBQs in the garden feature strongly in the outdoor lifestyle. Typical 'put the world right' discussions ensue over a fusion of world tastes. Comparisons are exchanged: shops and malls, jobs and companies, schools and medical care, tower living versus villas on estates, 4WD and saloon cars, house-maids versus house-boys. The upfront exchanges appear more open and forthcoming than back home, though not yet on a par with New Yorkers.

Americans are more noticeable by their absence. The Malls request modest dress attire, with women expected to cover shoulders and arms. Skimpy shorts or skirts are frowned upon. Most people respect this dress code. Whereupon a group of America families approach me - inappropriately dressed - and stop to ask for directions to MackieDs. I presume they expect the world to conform to their insular norms.

The running club ran through the infamous fish market today. It's actually not that big; its reputation is larger. Interestingly, the local stallholders were somewhat gob-smacked about the sight of us interrupting their commerce. Half clapped us as if we were in a race. The other half gazed in amazement. Or maybe it was the tight-fitting running apparel worn by the women that was being appreciated.

Around the hotel pool the pasty white Brits read their pulp. Mediterraneans' oiled their speedos. Plump Americans basted. Interest sparked the lethargy as a young English couple arrived with two babies. The father jumped in the pool and the mother lotioned her children. Books lowered. Was the peace about to be shattered? The babies joined their father in the pool. Whereupon the auburn-haired mother raised her smock dress to reveal the body of a model clothed in a microscopic itsi-bitsi bikini. As she pirouetted, the poolside men lowered their books and changed their viewing positions. Not a page was turned for ten minutes. As she knelt to attend to her babies, I was stunned to see that her back was tattooed with a three foot butterfly that would rival the dragon decorating Stig Larsson's heroine.

I must sign off now, as the mosque tannoy is broadcasting across town to call me to prayer. His glorious voice awakes me at 6am as he sings to everyone. What, I don't know, but I must find out. It's probably 'Brits: put your clothes on.'

PS UAE,UAE,UAE!The football team has just qualified for the London Olympics and its seen as a really big deal. 'A fantastic accomplishment.' Their return flight was re-routed to the royal airfield whereupon they were greeted by the Family, VIPs and their relations. Brits would go on a bender for an equivalent achievement. I wonder what the Emerati would do if they went on to win it? They've been close previously.

Source: EzineArticles
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