White spots – Dubai
Earlier this year I discovered Stuff White People Like, which I know some of you read. I used to quite like the blog and it still makes me laugh, but became rather disenchanted after there was a call for submissions in this post. I duly submitted a piece about Dubai, and never heard back, which pissed me off, because don´t ask people to submit things and then just ignore them. And this was back in the day when there had been only a couple of hundred thousand hits on the blog, rather than the current 50 446 437.
Anyway, I thought it was about time I posted my humble effort on my own blog – read it with a large dose of salt 😉
Reasons why people like it:
White people like going to Dubai in general, because they can claim to have visited the Middle East – but without putting themselves in any danger. They can also experience staying in a Muslim country – but are still able sip the odd glass of wine while they’re there.
Most especially, white people like going on a desert safari. This makes their experience more “authentic” and also shows them to be superior to other people who go to Dubai purely for the shopping. The desert safari gives white people the chance to engage in many of their favourite past times all in one package.
- Dune bashing. White people like this activity, because it enables them to fulfill their fantasies of being a rugged “Camel Man” adventurer.
- Camel riding. This emphasises the white person’s “daredevil” nature, and is sure to impress any other white person who’s only ever ridden a horse.
- Watching the sunset. There is nothing that white people like so much as watching the sunset, especially if it in an exotic location.
- Henna tattoos. White people like getting henna tattoos, because it shows they are hip enough to acquire the symbols of another culture. Bonus: the tattoo only lasts a week, so they needn’t be embarrassed when they return to their corporate job after the holiday.
- Dressing up in Arabic clothes. This makes for a great picture to show folks back home. White people will also feel this gives them an “insider” perspective when discussing the clothing of Muslim women. Note: a white person can gain even more credibility by telling their friends they didn’t partake in this activity because they felt it was “culturally insensitive”.
- Smoking sheeshah. This gives any white person a chance to return to their college days. It is also an excuse for them to have a smoke: because it is a traditional activity in a foreign country, smoking sheeshah doesn’t have the same stigma attached to it as smoking cigarettes.
- Eating a traditional Arab meal. This ties in with white people’s love of diversity as expressed through food. The fact that they can eat in a tent in the desert adds even more value for them.
- Watching a belly dancing show. For white people, travelling isn’t only about adventure: they also need to experience the “local culture”, and watching belly dancing provides their necessary fix. The fact that the belly dancers are likely to be Russian is of no importance.
Proper things to say about it:
“The Bedouin lifestyle is so simple and Romantic. In another life I would like to be a nomad.” On no account mention the fact that Indian, Pakistani and Philippino workers are exploited in Dubai: white people don’t want their holiday to be tainted by this fact. If you really want to impress a white person, say: “I went to Dubai during Ramadaan. Being in a Muslim country at this time was a very spiritual experience.”