20 things only people living in the UAE will understand

From 50-degree heat to the famous Friday brunch, here are a few things that only people who live in the UAE will understand.

Peter Iantorno September 11, 2014

The UAE is an amazing country. With beautiful beaches, huge malls, luxury hotels and excellent job opportunities, it's one of the best places to live in the world, and home to the number one holiday destination in the Middle East. However, like with most of the world's great countries, the place certainly has its quirks. Here are a few things that might seem strange to visitors, but are merely facts of life for UAE residents:

1. VVVIP is a thing

Think your VIP concert tickets are the best in the house? Not by a long way. In fact, there's often a 'Platinum' or 'Diamond' level of ticket on offer that'll include all manner of extra goodies - for an eye-watering price, of course.

2. You can never have too many rooftop bars

Because why would you bother drinking at ground level when you could be 124 floors up?

3. Being half an hour late is considered early

There's a rather more relaxed attitude to punctuality here than in most places.

4. Brunch is not simply a meal between breakfast and lunch

Expecting poached eggs on toast and a glass of orange juice? Try a lavish all-you-can-eat-and-drink meal followed by a crazy party through the night. Al-Qasr-Friday-Brunch

5. Getting a taxi at 12.30pm on a Friday is nigh-on impossible

Why? Because everyone's using them to get to brunch!

6. The summer heat is extreme

If the wind doesn't feel like a hairdryer and your sunglasses don't steam up as soon as you step outside, it can't be a UAE summer.

7. The hot and cold taps swap places in summer

It can get so hot during the summer months that the only cold water you can get is what's been stored in the hot water tank.

8. During Ramadan, being on the roads before iftar is not advised

To be fair, the drivers causing the chaos haven't had anything to eat or drink all day, so we can see why they're in a rush to get home.

9. Shawarma is the best post-night-out snack

Some countries like pizza, others prefer a portion of fish and chips; in the UAE, shawarma is the ONLY way to go. Shawarma-Dubai

10. All the explicit bits in films are cut out

Do not bother watching The Wolf of Wall Street in the UAE - it's about 45 minutes shorter than the original and the plot is absolutely impossible to follow.

11. You know the route better than your taxi driver

It's quite possible he only arrived in the country that morning, so you'd better know where you're going.

12. The roads change daily

With constant building works in operation, you could leave your house for work in the morning, and by evening the road you came to work on might well be closed.

13. There's no tax

Yep, that's right, we pay zero tax!

14. But we almost make up for it in 'fees'

Seriously, what on earth is a 'housing fee' if not a tax?

15. You can easily spend a whole day in the mall

Breakfast, shopping, ice skating, lunch, aquarium, cinema, dinner, drinks. Whole day gone. Dubai-Mall-Fountain

16. Getting things delivered is never straightforward

Since there's no proper address system, everything is done by landmarks, so you often have to describe your location to some poor delivery guy by describing how far it is from the nearest abstract point of reference.

17. When a car flashes its lights, it doesn't mean what you think

In some cultures it's a signal that you're free to pull out, here it's a warning to get out of the way or prepare to be shunted!

18. You need copies of your passport and visa to get anything done

Want to rent an apartment? Set up TV and internet? Get a phone contract? You'd better have your documents on you.

19. Miss a turn off in Dubai and you might end up in Abu Dhabi

One missed exit is all it takes to add an hour onto your journey.

20. Some kids have maids, drivers and chefs

Because hiring people to look after your children is cheaper than taking time off work and doing it yourself.