Strange things you’d only ever see in Dubai

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When Dubai struck oil, the city exploded. Not literally, of course, but their economy boomed when they discovered the black gold. It helped facilitate the mass development Dubai was already in the process of doing, and turned them from just another city in the United Arab Emirates to a place of global interest. Nowadays, the area is a business hub for the Middle East and Dubai is thriving.


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With such a good economy, you’d expect many of the city’s inhabitants to be living the life of luxury. The people of Dubai certainly know how to splash the cash and love creating things that take your breath away. Everywhere you turn in the city you’re likely to find something covered in gold, or diamonds, or both. It’s not somewhere to live if you’re not earning a hefty income, but it’s a great place to explore. There are so many strange things going on in Dubai that you’d never encounter in any other city around the world. Where else do you see wild animals walking around as pets and luxury cars as far as the eye can see? Sure, some of these things might make you jealous (join the club), but once you start seeing what the city has to offer, you won’t be able to look away.

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A difference in dress

Dubai is well-known for having a fairly strict dress code, especially for women. It’s considered respectful to be covered up when out in public, which means showing off no skin below the head, although it does depend on your religious leanings. Local women will be seen walking around in burqas because of these religious laws, but tourists visiting the country have the option to be slightly more relaxed in their approach to clothing. With that being said, this outfit right here would certainly be pushing boundaries when out and about in Dubai. It’s pretty unlikely you’d see someone dressed like this out on the street, although this kind of culture clash is fairly common.

Riding up front

Animals hold a big place in most people’s hearts, particularly those that are our own. We love to show our pets off to others and make them jealous, but this man has blown the rest of us out of the water. It’s not every day that you look into someone’s car and see a cheetah riding in the passenger seat. Considering that these animals are usually found running around in Africa, it’s bit surprising to see one sitting so calmly in the car like this. It’s obviously very well-trained, another reason why this guy wants to show it off to everyone. We imagine he must have paid a hefty price to have this as a pet.

Bikini or burqa

Another incident of two very different cultures coming together but still managing to work in harmony. You’re unlikely to go to a beach anywhere else in the world and see a woman in a burqa sunning themselves up alongside someone else in a bikini. We can’t imagine this kind of dress code being allowed anywhere else in Dubai, but it seems the beach is a different matter. Even so, we expect that most tourists in the country try to cover up more than this just to be respectful.

Nothing out of the ordinary

What kind of pet do you own? A Dog? A fish? This woman right here is lucky enough to own a cheetah, and she’s totally chill about it. Normally, when you see one of these animals out in the open like this, you’d be worried about getting mauled. Not her though. She’s happy just to sit there talking while her pet lies calmly on her lap. Looking at how adorable the creature is here. It’s hard to imagine it’s capable of tearing you to pieces.

Game with a difference

Do you find playing tennis a bit dull? Maybe you’d feel differently if you were standing 1000 feet in the air. Dubai certainly knows how to make itself stand out, that’s why they’re always coming up with amazing innovations like this. It’s a good thing that the city is very financially secure because we can imagine that the number of new tennis balls they need to keep buying is fairly high. We hope that there’s no-one underneath this court when a ball gets knocked over the side.

Going old-school

You’ll find plenty of flash cars over in Dubai. You’ve got your Ferraris, your Lamborghinis and your… Camels? Not quite a modern mode of transportation, these animals are still apparently used by some inhabitants of the city as a way of getting around. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Although this camel may look slightly out of place in this parking lot, they don’t seem to mind being left there while their owner is off doing something else. Even camels need a break every now and again.

Easy, tiger

Imagine driving down the road and then suddenly there’s a tiger. Wouldn’t you be a bit freaked out? Tigers aren’t generally known for being tame, loving animals. However, in Dubai, anything goes when it comes to pets. That’s right, whoever’s driving this car keeps this animal in their house. We’re not sure whether to be impressed or nervous. The tiger certainly doesn’t look vicious as it pokes its head out the window for some fresh air. Still, we can’t help but be a bit cautious.

Dizzying heights

If you want somewhere populated by sky-high buildings, look no further than Dubai. The city is home to the greatest concentration of skyscrapers in the world, as well as the biggest. There are more buildings here with over 50 floors than anywhere else. You have to be pretty well-off to afford a place right at the top, but the view is more than worth it. You just can’t match seeing the sun rise in the morning like this. Time to find a way to start earning the big bucks.

Serving you in style

With so many stylish, expensive cars in Dubai, it’s no surprise that they’re used for more than just high-speed driving. Don’t be surprised if you’re walking around the city and then suddenly a Porsche drives past looking like this. It’s not a bad idea, really. After all, if someone reports a problem, you want the services to get there as soon as possible. If you can afford for all of your emergency vehicles to be Porsches and Hummers, why not do it?

That extra sparkle

It’s great when you get your car decked out with a stylish paint job, but there are only so many colors in the world. If you really want to splash the cash and show off, then this is how your car should look. Nothing screams wealth like driving around in a car covered in diamonds. Yes, real diamonds. That sparkle you’re seeing is 100% authentic, and we couldn’t be more jealous. All eyes will definitely be on you if you drive down the street in this beauty.

Out on the water

People in Dubai love embracing new things, but they never forget where they came from. That’s why this duo is paddle-boarding on the gorgeous blue waters of the city while dressed in the traditional thobes of their ancestors. It makes for a bit of a strange sight, but that’s Dubai all over for you. The city is full of things you’d never expect to see, but that’s what makes the city so great. Who’d have thought a city in the desert would ever make paddle-boarding possible?

Looking for an upgrade

New cell phones are coming out all the time, and every new model is slightly better than the last. Of course, sometimes you just can’t beat a classic. Some people still loving using their Nokia phones, although they aren’t huge fans of the basic design. That’s why they buy these luxury cell phones instead. Gold-plated and gem-encrusted phones are all the rage in Dubai. All those expensive materials have to come at a cost though. Those six digit numbers below the models should give you an idea of how much.

Sharing the love

Although Dubai is a very wealthy area, not everyone who lives there is well-off. All cities have their share of people down on their luck, whether they’re poor or unemployed, but Dubai does what it can to help them out. That’s why they have food dispensers like this which are designed for people who can’t afford to go grocery shopping. The food on offer isn’t just scraps that no-one wants either – there’s some decent stock here. It’s good to see the city looking out for all of its citizens.

Standing out

It’s hard to stand out in Dubai when everyone is constantly one-upping each other. Even things that would be considered highly valuable in other parts of the world are nothing in this wealthy city. Take this Jeep Grand Cherokee. Most people wouldn’t turn their nose up at a car like this. However, when surrounded by all the Bugattis and Ferraris that are standard vehicles in Dubai, it’s not the most spectacular car. That is unless you get a 24 karat gold paint job, then you’re the talk of the town.

A different payment

ATMs are pretty standard in most cities around the world. They’re great for getting cash out whenever your wallet’s looking empty, which is always handy if you need money fast. Saying that, some people prefer to pay in something other than cash. They’d rather hand over a gold bar as payment. Sounds strange, right? Well, Dubai doesn’t think so. That’s why they have their own vending machine for all your gold bar needs. Now you never have to go out and worry that you’ve left your gold bars at home.

The restroom suite

Public restrooms are generally somewhere we’d choose to stay away from. If we’re desperate then maybe we’ll take the risk. Otherwise, we’d steer clear of those things. No-one ever seems to take care of them properly, and they just become a bit gross. Dubai has a very different concept of how public restrooms should be, though. Just look at this fancy place. It’s a world away from what we’re used to, and we’d be more than happy to spend time in here whether we needed the toilet or not.

Luxury living

Horses may be used to living in stables, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like a bit of luxury. Or should we make that a lot of luxury? That’s what these horses get from these stables in Dubai. The place is decked out with a marble floor and looks incredibly luxurious. It’s like a hotel for horses! We’re not sure how well the animals deal with the floor, but we’re sure they enjoy being pampered in these high-class stables.

Casual boat ride

Again with the exotic pets. The people of Dubai love to show off their animals that you’d never expect to see as someone’s pet. This time, someone’s enjoying a leisurely boat ride with their very own lion. The animal seems to be pretty happy where they are just watching the waves as the boat passes over the water. We’re sure that their owner is having a great time, too. Look at what they have to enjoy – great scenery and a pet lion. They’re living the dream.

Hitting the slopes

The last thing you’d probably expect to see in the desert is snow. Dubai’s hot climate doesn’t exactly allow for snow to fall over the city. However, that doesn’t mean that Dubai doesn’t offer any winter-related activities. The city is home to the world’s largest indoor ski resort, because they like to have the biggest everything. The resort is open all year round and offers the kind of facilities that you’d expect, such as slopes for skiing and snowboarding down, no matter your skill level.

Best of both worlds

The people of Dubai have come a long way regarding development over the years. Where once they would travel everywhere on the backs of camels, they now go everywhere in their flash cars. Well, most of them do anyway. Some people still prefer the old way of traveling, or even combining the two. Take this driver for instance. They’re obviously capable of getting where they need to go in their Mercedes 4×4, but they’ve still got a camel their by their side. It’s the best of both worlds.

Dipped in (white) gold

These people just can’t get enough of their amazing cars. We’re sure there will come a time when everyone driving around in Dubai has their car customized in one way or another. It’ll probably be a law or something. This driver decided to give their Mercedes a gold paint job, but not just any gold. They went for white gold, to make their car look extra stylish. It’s certainly eye-catching, although you’d probably want to look away if you ever walked past it. Sunlight reflects off this car a lot.

Tortoise stacking

We’re not quite sure what to make of this picture. We’ve never seen anyone stacking tortoises before. This guy has obviously built up quite a collection of pets here, and has gone in a different direction to all the other people buying wild cats as companions. It’s hard to tell if these tortoises really enjoy being stacked up like this – they don’t have very emotive faces. For their sake, though, we’ll just hope that they do.

Stylish ride home

How often have you used an Uber? It’s become a pretty common service around the world for people to get between places, and it’s a great idea. Naturally, though, Dubai has had to take it to another level. The city is probably the only place where you’ll find yourself sitting in the back of a Bugatti or other luxury sports car after enjoying a night out with your friends. We certainly wouldn’t complain if this car rocked up to take us back home.

Robotic counterparts

Dubai has been an innovator in architecture, technology, and now camel racing apparently. The sport is to them as horse or greyhound racing is to people in Western countries. However, it seems that jockeys no longer want to partake in the sport. Instead, they’ve found something else to take their place – robots. No, those aren’t people sitting on the backs of those camels. They’re lightweight robots that have been created to be aerodynamic, which makes it easier for the animals to run faster. What will they think up next?

Constant construction

With so many high-rise buildings throughout the city, it’s not surprising to hear that construction is pretty much constant in Dubai. Many new businesses are setting up offices in the city on a regular basis, because laws there are slightly more relaxed, and the area has proved that it’s got a great economy. We can imagine that this means buildings will continue to increase in number, and probably size too. Expect to see even taller skyscrapers sometime in the future.

Cruising on the water

Water cars… They sound like something from the future, right? Well, it seems that the future is already here. In Dubai, you can expect to see these cars out on the water, especially if the Crown Prince is around. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (or “Fazza” as he’s better known) has six of these aquatic vehicles in his collection, developed by California-based company WaterCar. These cars set him back more than $800,000, although considering he’s a billionaire, we don’t think his bank account really noticed.

Worth its weight in calories

Gold isn’t just for cars, you know. People in Dubai can add it to just about anything, including food. Even cupcakes aren’t safe, as you can see from this example here. The dessert, which is made out cocoa from Italy, vanilla beans from Uganda and 23 karat gold, costs more than $1000 to eat. That makes it the most expensive cupcake in the world, which isn’t a surprise really. It’s very clear that Dubai wants to be the best at everything. Not that we’re complaining – just look at that dessert.

Day at the beach

We’ve heard of beaches having restrictions before. Normally, it’s in the context of how much clothing you should wear, but never about who you’re with. Some parts of Dubai, however, have established their own restrictions about who can go where. These beaches are designed for women and families only, meaning that men can only be there if they’re married and/or with children. It’s a way of preventing single men from eyeing up women who just want to enjoy a day at the beach in peace.

No fish allowed

“No dogs allowed” signs are fairly common around the world. Some establishments don’t welcome our canine companions for one reason or another, but for every place that doesn’t, there’s always somewhere else that does. These signs are so prevalent because dogs are the animal that people most commonly take out with them. Not in Dubai, though. Apparently, plenty of people here take their fish out with them in public to the point that signs have been set up in some places asking them to stop. Only in Dubai.

Party animal

Who hates getting the check at the end of the night? Whether it’s for a meal at a restaurant or a night of drinking, seeing how much we owe can often put a downer on our good time. The more fun we’re having, the more we get carried away, and the less we think about how much everything is costing us. If you’ve ever been in this situation, we hope you didn’t get a check quite as steep as this. The total here works out to more than $100,000.

Cops with cash

If other emergency vehicles get to use all the best cars Dubai has to offer, it stands to reason that the police get the same perk. We can’t imagine there are many people working on the force who would complain about getting to drive around in a Ferrari as part of their job. It’s certainly a great way of getting around town, especially if you’re in the midst of a chase. Being arrested suddenly isn’t the worst thing that could happen if you’re vacationing in Dubai.

Gold for days

We can’t think of anywhere other than Dubai where you’d see such a luxury sight right before your eyes. Not satisfied with the trio of a Mercede, Ferrari and Porsche, they had to get them all gold-plated too. People in the city sure know how to splash the cash and make the rest of us jealous. It’s tempting to book a flight to Dubai just to see all these amazing vehicles for ourselves. From the looks of it, they’re pretty much everywhere you go.

Personal escort

When the traffic gets bad, we wouldn’t mind calling a chopper to get us to where we need to be. It would certainly make our lives a whole lot easier instead of always being late to things. This seems only to be a service offered in Dubai, though. At least, that’s what it looks like. There’s nowhere else in the world that we’ve ever seen a helicopter carrying a vehicle like this from one place to another.

Ambulance limo

Of all the cars we’ve seen used by the emergency services in Dubai, this is definitely the most unexpected. A limo acting as an ambulance? We suppose at least you can show up to the hospital in style. We’re not sure how many people will envy you when you get out of it. After all, you’re only in there because you badly need medical attention. You can still say that you got to ride around in a limo, though. Isn’t that what’s most important?

All eyes on us

How many people can say they get to ride a lion to work every day? Not many, of that we’re sure. Lions aren’t exactly something you see walking around everywhere. We’re sure this man is the center of attention whenever he goes out and about on his pet, although whether people look at him with fear or jealousy depends on their bravery. You wouldn’t catch us riding one of these down the road – they’re called wild animals for a reason. Then again, this is Dubai.

No sleeping

If you enjoy getting some sleep on the hood of your car without getting disturbed, then maybe Dubai isn’t the place for you. This resident here was hoping for some quick shut-eye before his companion decided that it was actually playtime. When your pet is a big cat like this, saying “no” isn’t an option. Sharp teeth and claws aren’t something you want to be on the receiving end of, although playtime surely can’t be any better. How does a lion play nice without still hurting you?

Showing off

How better to show off the fact that you own a wild animal as a pet than to have it sit on the top of your expensive sports car? That’s one way to make sure that everyone pays attention to you. We’re not sure if having a lion sat on the hood is necessarily very good for the car, but this is Dubai. If this person can afford a big cat and a sports car, we’re sure that sorting out some scratches in the paintwork won’t be an issue.

Rich rush hour

You’d think by looking at this picture that there’s some sort of event going on here, like a car show or something. However, there isn’t. This is just a standard traffic jam in Dubai. As you’ve probably seen by now, this is the stylish way that most people in the city drive. It’s a far better sight than what we’re used to during rush hour around here. It almost makes being stuck in a traffic jam seem worth it.

Golden touch

We weren’t joking when we said that people in Dubai could turn almost anything into gold. It’s one of the things that the locals are most skilled at. As a result, there’s gold pretty much everywhere you go in the city. While it might not seem entirely practical, it’s certainly very nice to look at. You’ll feel like you’re in another world when you’re surrounded by so much luxury. Just don’t let it get you down if it’s a little out of your price range – we’re in the same boat.

Stallion of the road

With all the flash cars that we’ve seen everyone driving around in, it’s nice to see something a little different. This resident has himself a very peculiar, albeit eye-catching, motorcycle that gives horsepower a whole new meaning. Although it might not fit in with the elegance of all the other vehicles driving around the city, Dubai clearly has an appreciation for things that are a little more out there. We also have to commend this man’s decision to dress in all-white to match his motor-powered steed.

Dubai’s Ark

If you’ve never seen what it looks like to build a boat, this should give you a pretty good idea. We’re definitely getting Noah’s Ark vibes from this, although whether the residents of Dubai are expecting a massive flood is yet to be seen. We’re sure that this boat will look pretty impressive once it’s finished. Plus, if they’re going to use it for transporting animals, we already know what’s going on there. Apart from the odd fish or tortoise, do people in Dubai own anything other than big cats?

Plenty more fish in the city

Dubai doesn’t do anything by halves. Not only do they have the highest tennis court and the most expensive cupcake in the world, but they have the largest mall too. The Dubai Mall is home to more than 1200 stores across a 5.4 million square foot complex. That’s a bit bigger than what we’re used to here. With so much space on their hands, the city decided to go all out and add an aquarium to the building which houses 300 different species. They know how to show off.

Fearless

We’ve seen some pretty daring stunts over the years, but this is certainly one of the more extreme. This kind of risky lifestyle isn’t too surprising by now, considering how much of the population seems to own wild animals as household pets. Still, it takes a lot of courage to get up on a car like this when the risk of it toppling over is probably high. People in the city are obviously well-trained in the art of doing stunts. We don’t know why else they’d want to do this.

Luxury foosball

Foosball tables are the thing of bars and frat houses, and they normally don’t look half as nice as this. Usually, they’re covered in drink stains and who knows what else, but as we’ve seen, Dubai doesn’t do sticky – they do sparkly. This foosball table has been encrusted with Swarovski crystals to give it that extra shine and, of course, it’s plated in gold. What isn’t plated in gold in Dubai? At least they go the effort of making even the most standard piece of furniture something of a luxury.

Delivery Ferrari

Apparently delivery people drive Ferraris in Dubai, not beat up old cars like in most other countries. They must be getting some pretty great tips over there to be able to sport this kind of fancy car. Maybe this restaurant makes the most high-quality subs and pizzas in the world and that’s why they deliver in style. Either way, we want to go to Dubai and work for Jerry’s. Can we fill out an application online?

Snack time

We’ve heard of shark fin soup, but eating an entire shark for lunch is a new concept for us. Not for the lions of Dubai, though. While it’s unclear if these cubs came across this shark on their own or if someone intentionally fed them the fish, they didn’t hesitate to dig in and they seem to be enjoying the meal. It looks like they don’t need to hunt animals like antelope when they’ve got sea creatures instead.

So basically avocado toast?

We’d like to see a menu for this restaurant because it must contain mostly food with avocado and apple pie for dessert. While the name sounds a little strange, the food in Dubai is supposed to be really tasty, so we’re sure this place is no exception. You know what they say, never judge a book by its cover; the same should go for eateries. The people of the United Arab Emirates must just not worry about being politically correct.

Trash, but make it fashion

Most people will have a fashion handbag or perfume, but that is not all in Dubai. Locals have Louis Vuitton trash bins there. You read that right, designer dumpsters. They must want their trash to feel special and not wasted so they let it go out in style. We wonder what brand the garbage trucks are – probably Dolce and Gabbana. It really does make you wonder what trash they are throwing away with such expensive bins because we can only imagine that they’re tossing out gold.

Starbucks fit for royalty

If that is not the fanciest Starbucks you’ve ever seen, then we would like to see where you travel to. This room practically looks like it’s part of a royal palace and to think they just serve coffee and some food there. The UAE must have some pretty nice places to dine if their coffee shops are this nice. A Frappuccino probably costs about $12 here, and maybe they come with a Rolex, too.

That’s one way to vacation

You get an island, you get an island, you get an island! Yup, this is an artificial island because they makes those in this Middle Eastern country. Apparently natural islands are too old school and man made ones are what’s hip and cool now. These manmade archipelagos are even shaped like palm trees. Hi, mom and dad, I want an island that spells my name for my next birthday. Hey, maybe it will be possible soon.

So romantic

Many of us can admit to some form of online dating, but in Dubai, they use the newspaper instead of a dating app. These parents are trying to find husbands for their twin daughters and what better place to look than in the local Times? We can’t help but wonder if these women knew about this ad before it was posted. Either way, there was probably an extremely interesting reaction when people saw that twin sisters were searching for grooms.

Comfort first

This must be what countries situated in the desert have to do to combat the heat. Bus stops can be brutal in the dead of summer, so Dubai came up with the genius idea of creating air conditioned and enclosed ones. This way passengers can stay comfortable and cool while waiting for their transportation. It must be hard for the people who show up after the rooms are full and they have to wait outside while everyone else stays cool.

Talk about a joy ride

Why have a single car when you can have a double one instead? This car owner must have a big family and there was just no other solution to the problem of fitting everyone in one vehicle. Otherwise, we’re not really sure why someone would need an automobile like this. Parking must be very difficult for this driver to find. It seems like a great way to go to prom, though – way cooler than a limo, that’s for sure.

Igloo in the Middle East

While most countries consider an ice cafe to be a frozen, blended coffee drink, Dubai has ice cafes where you can put on a winter coat and enjoy some coffee in an igloo. This seems a little unusual, but it makes sense for a place that doesn’t receive nearly any annual snowfall. Sometimes, winter in the warm desert can be nice, but the habitants also deserve some icy weather like other parts of the world.

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