Friday, July 15, 2005


On the Emirates flight from Dubai to Frankfurt, there were only 2 English newspapers. I took Khaleej Times because I had heard about this paper (and also I was reading it during the peak of Iraq war). The newspaper was very bulky and had lots of stuff to read in it. As I tried to figure out some articles to read, I found 2 very interesting ones.

In one of them, some person from the royal family had urged the tourists of Dubai to respect the local culture and behave 'appropriately' in public. I am not sure what made him give this statement. But I would blindly agree with him. Dubai airport is a very busy one. I could see a lot of westerns and behaving in their culture. Nothing wrong with their culture when in their nations. Every country (region sometimes) has it's own behavioural patterns and the visitors should follow that to a great extent. Saudi being a Muslim nation would have some restrictions on things done in public. Could be kissing! If the local culture doesn’t support this, better not do it. People need to read about cultures before touring nations. Just not read, follow it as well.

The second article was about some restrictions in a specific area within Dubai or AbuDabi. The restrictions were on drying of clothes on rooftops or in the balconies of flats. This was prohibited an area. Any person violating it would face a fine of 1000 Dinars (which seems to be huge considering that a laptop would cost 700-900 dinars). Being the heart of tourist destination inside the city, the government wanted this locality to be neat and picturesque. I don't agree with this rule. We should not change for the sake of changing and impressing the tourists. If I am a tourist, I would really like to see how people behave naturally not forcibly. May be this law could make it look good, but the localities would have an impression that they were forced to do it because of tourists and may start hating them. The reason should have been different.

By the way, one of the main headlines today in Khaleej times is BJP protesting against Salman Khan, which Indian channels like NDTV have'nt covered on their sites. Looks like Salman has a big fan following in Saudi.

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