March 19, 2012

Western-friendly, I guess

My brother left yesterday. He said that he had a good time. He also said that this city is very "Western-friendly." I wouldn't disagree with that. I hope that he did learn a little bit about the world outside the west though. On his last night, we watched clips where Russel Peters talk about the Middle East and I don't think he would have fully appreciated the jokes if he hadn't been here.


  1. I love Russel Peters! He's pretty spot on with many accents.

    My parents worked and lived in the Middle East for at least 5 years and that's where I was conceived. hahaha! And they always reminisce about their days in Oman.

  2. I find that large cities (perhaps Abu Dhabi and Dubai both count?) are often much more friendly towards other cultures. Is the country generally western-friendly, or just the city?

    The small town that my parents live in is not very non-white friendly for a place in America. My mom and I get stares from other people if we speak Mandarin while we're out shopping, and my mom's hairdresser has complained about customers speaking in other languages in the store for being rude, even though speaking in non-English languages is commonplace in New York City and Los Angeles. 'Tis a shame, I think, but that's just how things are.

    1. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are large-ish cities. The country as a whole... well, it's hard because the majority of the population lives in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. And all of the Westerners live in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. And while they only make up 10% of the population (ish,) they hold a lot of the money and help the country to keep making money, so they're very favored.

      The country as a whole definitely welcomes foreigners of all sorts. (Emiratis make up less than 20% of the population.) But there is also a ton of racism and definitely a racial hierarchy. Emirati at the top, then Westerners, then other Arabs, then Filipinos, then Indians.

    2. Oh, I was told about the hierarchy in the Middle East. And you are pretty much spot on with the order. There's a lot of Filipinos there that are domestic helpers but on the other spectrum there seems to be a small group of professionals like architects and nurses.

      I know an American and his Filipina wife that live Dubai and they're filthy rich. I mean it's still a big mystery on how the American husband makes a fortune. I wonder if he deals with bootlegging of alcohol or smuggling it in to the countries there.