Rules of etiquette in the Arabic world - Abu Dhabi

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Louis XIV, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Louis XIV

    Louis XIV Senior member

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    Hello gentlemen!

    I will most likely travel to Abu Dhabi at the end of the month to work at the F1 race.
    It will be my first trip to the Arabic world and I am not familiar with the etiquette.
    As a guest I would like to behave my best not to offend anyone.
    I think there are plenty of SFers who have traveled places like Abu Dhabi before and thus would like to ask for help.

    One rule which I think is of Arabic origin, is not to point ones shoe soles towards others, so I will be even more aware not to do this than I would be in a western environment anyway.

    Which other rules do I have necessarily to know about?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012


  2. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    don't talk to the wimmenz
     


  3. UnnamedPlayer

    UnnamedPlayer Senior member

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  4. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    honestly, I could give you a whole list, but there is a good chance that you will go the whole time there without real interation with real locals, depending on what you do with the race. most people are pretty globally oriented. men touch each other a lot, but shy away from nakedness, they will talk very bluntly about prostitues, but you never comment on another man's wife, don't go anywhere near or look at a woman dressed in a black robe (seriously, if you see one stay on the other side of the sidewalk or as far away as possible, don't eat with your left hand, don't use rough language, espectially the F-word, and you should be fine.

    if you have a specific question, let me know
     


  5. Louis XIV

    Louis XIV Senior member

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    globetrotter, thank you a lot for your reply!

    I too expect not to interact a lot with the locals as the F1 is a western event and I am working right around the circuit mostly, still I prefer to be prepared for every case.

    From your list, everything but not eating with my left hand seems like common sense.
    Being lefthanded, this could become a problem for myself.
    Is the left hand considered impure in the Arabic world?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012


  6. why

    why Senior member

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    While there's not always toilet paper there are always left hands.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012


  7. Louis XIV

    Louis XIV Senior member

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    I expected it to be the reason but didn't know how to put it.
    Thanks for clarifying.
     


  8. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

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    Why is kidding.

    I spent almost a week in Dubai for the Grand Prix back in 2009. As a total tourist staying with (American) friends that live there I didn't interact with any Emirati (the men dressed in all white). Now I can't speak for working at the grand prix but most people I saw were White (American, Brit, Aussies, etc.), Indian, Iranian, and other Arabs. For most people I would imagine the biggest thing to be wary of are PDA and public intoxication. Now if for your job you will be interacting with a lot of locals, then I take his advice and I'd suggest buying a small book (or doing serious reading) on regional etiquette.

    PS - mind hinting at who you will be working for or what you'll actually be doing? I'm just curious as an F1 fan.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012


  9. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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    He's The Stig.
     


  10. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    J, actually, that is the reason. you eat with your right hand, you wipe with your left. traditional arabic food involves a lot of taking food out of communal dishes, so traditionally you don't eat with your left hand. I'm left handed, too, but I work around it. of course, when you are eating with a knife and fork, it doesn't matter.
     


  11. NORE

    NORE Senior member

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    I'd like to know more about this.
     


  12. b1os

    b1os Senior member

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  13. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    in the emirates, you have pretty western women, including some arabs (usually palestinians and lebanese) you have indians and africans and whites, and if they are dressed western you can pretty much figure that they will act very much western in culture.

    women dressed "traditionally" are different - you need to assume that they are local, and that they will behave in a much more traditional manner.

    in many arab lands, sexual harrasment is rapant. women expect to be hasseled and groped.

    local men will look out for "local women" in the same way that old school whites in the south "looked out" for white women from the "threat" of black men.

    so, basically, if you get too close to a local woman, there is a real possibility that local men will assume that you are harrasing her, and you will be subject to their wrath. now, since they are very often little and weak and inbred, the threat of being beaten by them isn't the big problem, the issue is that you don't want to get int trouble with a crowd, or with the local police, or "harrasment" - remember, you have zero rights in the gulf.

    at least, this is what was explained to me by a local a long time ago, he really freaked out when I tried to pass two local women who were walking slowly in a mall. it seems like good enough advice.
     


  14. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    ^ and also consider that the woman might get her own harassment and worse, from the locals, just because she answered your question on how to get back to your hotel.
     


  15. NORE

    NORE Senior member

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    Frankly, I would stay away from anyone in a long sheet, black or white :)
     


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