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Of faith, Karak tea and delivery: Why I love living in Dubai

Of faith, Karak tea and delivery: Why I love living in Dubai


Dubai-based Filipina expat Amylou Lopez Dy-Lim shares the things she loves about Dubai. Number 6 might just surprise you.

Google “things I like about Dubai” and you will get about 310,000,000 results. The collection ranges from its opulence, architecture, genuine sales, and its delivery system.

Yes, the Dubai delivery services. Here in Dubai, you can have anything, and everything delivered, electronics, grocery items, food, even a piece of onion. Once my friend was in the middle of cooking and she realized she is missing an onion. So, she called the supermarket to deliver her one piece. And they did! True story. 

And to add to more than 3 million lists of things people love about Dubai, here’s my own:

Safety

This is probably the one thing that Dubai residents agree on. We have friends who forgot their digital camera on top of a grocery cart outside the taxi station. They went back for it after a couple of hours and found it right where they left it.

Another friend accidentally dropped her gold necklace in a busy clothing shop. When she called the store, the staff told her that a customer found it on the floor and gave it to the cashier. 

In supermarkets, even at its busiest hours, it is normal to see open purses on top of shopping carts while the owner is browsing items in another aisle.  

Of course, this doesn’t warrant us to be careless. But by experience, Dubai is generally safer compared to other cities.

Public drinking station outside residential homes in Dubai. Image by Amylou Lim

Public drinking fountains

Like in some countries in Europe, Dubai also has public drinking fountains that are installed and maintained by the government. In addition, residential homes also build drinking fountains outside their premises. Home-owners voluntarily build these drinking stations for travellers who may need to cool off and hydrate after being exposed to the hot and humid weather of Dubai. The water fountains are usually temperature regulated. So you can expect a straight-from-a-fridge coolness if you take a drink from one of these water fountains.

I personally find this home feature very heart-warming and show how caring and hospitable Emiratis are. This is a desert but nobody here thinks that there is scarcity of water in Dubai. The government makes sure we have so much.

Public toilets

A few years ago, we went on a holiday in Europe, and I had to run to the restroom after collecting our suitcases. I saw how unkept the toilet was, and I knew I was not in Dubai anymore. 

Public toilets in Dubai are clean and well maintained, have toilet papers, paper towels, and bidet. The bidet (the hose next to the toilet) is used for rinsing while toilet paper is used ONLY for drying. This way, toilet papers can be thrown in the bin, and not in toilet bowl to avoid clogging. The best part is the use of public toilets is free. 

Karak tea

Or chai, as it’s commonly called here. Karak tea is made from loose black tea leaves infused with cardamom, sugar, saffron, evaporated milk, and other secret ingredients, served in a small disposable cup. You can drive to any “eat and drink” cafeteria, give a hand signal and/or a courtesy horn, and a staff will come with that sweet smelling, hot, freshly brewed chai.  They sell for Aed1.00 (about US$0.27) a cup. 

Karak Tea is said to have originated from South India.  But it has become so popular in the Middle East that we all think it is part of the Arabic culture.  

A cup of Karak tea or simply Chai. Image-by @karakhouse on Instagram.

Although they are both sweet, Karak tea is very different from the Asian milk tea that I am used to drinking, because it uses spices that Asians reserve for cooked dishes. It can be an acquired taste, but after living in Dubai for more than a decade, I have learned to love it. 

Fashion

I am not a fashionista. In fact, I am probably the opposite. And this is what I like about Dubai. As long as you are wearing something decent, nobody would care what you have on. You can go to the supermarket in a party dress or your pyjamas and nobody is going to stare at you.

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However, in Dubai there is a dress code, or guidelines on what you can and can’t wear in public. These guidelines are usually posted in shopping malls, and some office buildings. For Filipinos who are used to dressing according to occasion (like we have different sets of clothes as pambahay, Sunday clothes, office clothes, school clothes, etc), the dress regulation in Dubai can be considered sensible and family-friendly (think of a movie with a GP rating).

On the contrary, Dubai boasts of an exuberant and luxurious fashion industry. It’s no wonder why fashion designers to the stars Michael Cinco and Furne One calls Dubai their home. 

UCCD Ladies Conference with American author and Bible teacher, Nancy Guthrie.

Our Church

I cannot skip this in my list because this is the one thing that I love most about my life in Dubai. Surprisingly, Christianity is exceptionally vibrant in Dubai. In fact, there is already a Gulf Theological Seminary that equips pastors, church planters & lay leaders to multiply faithful churches in the Middle East, South & East Asia, & Africa. There are also several Christian conferences every year.

I go to the United Christian Church of Dubai, an international church that teaches Reformed Theology. We have a wonderful church family that pray for each other and support and encourage each other to systematically study the Bible and truly live out its teaching. We help each other get the right perspective in life and focus on what is truly important.

When it’s our time to leave Dubai for good, our church will be what we will miss the most.

What about you, fellow Filipino expats in Dubai? What do you like most about living here?

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