Hey! I’m Anya. I was born in Russia, but my life brought me to the country called the United Arab Emirates (or UAE, in short) when I was a child. I think I must have been about 5 or 6 years old. I graduated from school and university there. And finally, after almost 20 long years in the UAE, I returned to my home country. I’d like to tell you about a few main differences I noticed between the UAE and Russia.
If you come to the UAE, you will notice that people wear clothes covering their arms and legs, such as long-sleeved tops (or T-shirts) and jeans or skirts that are below the knee or floor-length. You might notice some people wearing shorts or just tank tops showing their shoulders, but I wouldn’t consider that a good idea. I tried wearing a jumpsuit that opened the legs once and felt like I was looked at. Trust me on this, it’s really uncomfortable. And I will only wear shorts with the tights underneath. The traditional clothes in the country usually cover the body, face and hair (for women), so maybe that’s why I felt weird.
My spare time
I also got questions on the way I spend my free time, like «What do you do? Do you just go shopping and read all the time?». Which, by the way, was completely true, at least at that time. Going to the club and drinking turned out not to be my thing later, anyway. But the thing about alcoholic drinks in the UAE is, you won’t find them at the restaurants, or you need a special license, which is definitely not worth it in my case.
Public display of affection
It seems completely normal to hold hands or hug while you walk in Russia, right? Well, I’d try to avoid that to the maximum in the UAE. If you go to the public place (take a shopping mall, for instance), you will usually find the signs on the door suggesting you not to do so. While it’s tolerated if a married couple holds hands, kissing, for example, or any kind of public display of affection, will be considered an offence, and you may face imprisonment or be deported from the country. So I would definitely think twice about this, and it’s always better to be extra safe!