It’s okay people-who-don't-live-in-Dubai we totally get it, the media either portrays Dubai as a materialistic city where we're using 1000 dirham notes to blow our noses or as some super strict, conservative country where we're Ubering around in the hottest sports cars but it’s not true - except for the part about the Ubers, they rock! - so let’s get into it, these are the questions Dubai expats are tired of hearing.
Do you have to wear a scarf?
Not unless it *really* goes with my outfit. People have the misconception that it’s super strict and conservative in Dubai. Not true. In fact growing up in Cape Town, South Africa, I'd say where I come from you'd get alot more stares and disapproving looks wearing a risqué outfit than you would in Dubai where people are way more tolerant. It might have something to do with the mix of nationalities and different cultures because after a while, it’s like you've seen it all. Generally speaking you’ll dress more or less the same as you would in your home country unless you’re visiting a cultural site like Sheikh Zayed Mosque for instance then you will be required to cover up.
Does it ever rain in Dubai?
Yes, since we live in the desert we just shoot clouds and water magically falls from the sky. I’m over simplifying but it’s actually a true story. The process is called cloud seeding. Salt is shot into the skies to boost rainfall by retaining moisture in the clouds until the level of saturation cannot be contained and then it rains. You can read more about it here.
Is there alcohol in Dubai?
Have you seen the amount of South Africans, British people and Australians who live here? Yes. There is definitely alcohol here. You can buy alcohol at any licensed outlet in the UAE which is pretty much the case anywhere in the world. Only difference is if you'd like to purchase it for home, then you require a personal alcohol license. It’s a simple process which takes about two weeks in total to fill out the form and get the license. You can read more about the process here.
Is it expensive in Dubai?
This depends on your lifestyle, where and how you want to live. Obviously if you're going to stay in Al Barsha it’s going to cost less than staying on the Palm. There are places to eat which cost less than back home - and some cost more - especially if you're into fine dining and Michelin star chefs. Eating out costs about Dhs250 in an average (not pricey) restaurant for a main meal and a glass of wine but buying food from Waitrose for example is the same as Woolworths back in my home country (unless its fruit or vegetables as these are imported into the UAE and will cost more). Fast food around Dhs30-Dhs60 for a meal. Ubers cost the same but are better quality. Bread, milk and eggs cost less. Your expenses depend on how you want to live.
Are you allowed to wear a bikini on the beach?
Yes you may. Although if you've seen some of the swimwear choices you might wish it wasn't the case but I guess everyone is on their own journey. Basically, you can wear any swimwear that you'd wear on the beach in your own country. In fact, a lot of people tend to really go all out at certain beach clubs in terms of bling and beach accessories so it can be quite a fun, glam affair. If you’d like to know what to expect at beach clubs in Dubai, check out my top picks here.
Do you have to hide your religion if you're not Muslim?
Not only do you not have to hide your religion but to answer the other commonly asked question - are there churches in Dubai? Yes, you can go to a church every Sunday with likeminded people if you choose to and praise Jesus all you like. The UAE recognises and respects all religions. You can practise your religion openly as long as you respect the main religion after all, it is a Muslim country. The Christmas celebrations, decorations and festivities are on another level - I mean, this *is* Dubai.
Are there any other questions that you've wondered about living in Dubai or are constantly asked about Dubai? Comment to let me know.
Read Next: How to meet Women in Dubai (and how not to).
Read next: Seeking help for Drug Addiction within the UAE won't lead to prosecution.
Check out more Dubai lifestyle posts here.