I had a very negative view of Dubai but was intrigued by city and decided to go there for my honeymoon. Me and my husband had already decided that we would try to get to know Dubai and all of its ranges. We took a hotel a bit outside of the city center and chose to ride the bus and train our entire stay. We also ate and shopped much like the guest workers, thus we realized that westerners who claim Dubai is expensive, need to explore a little bit more!
Most of our prejudice were crushed already the first day. Women were highly independent. Dress codes weren't all that important as people claimed they were (for tourists and guest workers) and guest workers weren't as "miserable" as we imagined.
In fact, most of Dubai's population consists of guest workers, and they form this strong presence which makes Dubai interesting.
A lot of workers come from the Philipines, India, Bangaldesh and Thailand, and they held their culture dear to their heart.. We witnessed a KFC filled with excellent youth working (most of them from the Philipines) turn in to a place for choir practice.
Sure, the housing situation for guest workers was not optimal (read horrible), and believe me the wage and the treatment of such was far from optimal (nobody said anything, but we aren't blind). But what struck me was that the range of possibilities presented to those who wanted a job. Many of the youth we got to know could afford a better lifestyle than at home, and they could provide for their families, gain skills and experience. And the very little free time they had, they could spend enjoying the city and being, well, youth!
The Egyptian personal trainer I booked at the gym told me that he had 4 unemployed but educated sons at home, and that through his salary he bought the family a new house. I asked him if there would be work for me, he smiled and said "you're a neuroscientist, and there are plenty of academic facilities on the rise". We both stared at the wast horizon filled with building cranes.
I think as a westerner with a some what privileged life (I'm a refugee and grew up in the projects) we often let media and our own expectations colour things very darkly, when in fact there are heaps of nuances provided..
So Dubai is definitely a place of interest for jobs, and I'm glad the people we talked to took the time to get to know us.
One of many small businesses in Dubai. The best snacks can be found in these shops.
The chaotic traffic, go to the bathroom before you get on a bus, I learned that the hard way.
Some very nice lads playing cricket. They tried explaining the sport, I got permission to photograph them if I could make them look flattering.
Me, in a typical tourist pose.