Sunday, January 10, 2010

All Quiet on The Dubai Front....

I know, I know, I haven't blogged for about a week, sorry! Work has been stupidly busy, and my usual weekend blogging time was eaten up by pool/gym/wine/more work.

Anyway there's plenty to discuss at the start of this week - I'll start with the tale of the UK couple in Dubai who are getting charged with having sex outside of marriage and drinking alcohol.

Yes, both of these things are illegal here, but this couple were ON HOLIDAY, staying in a nice hotel (The Address Marina, where I enjoyed a lovely drinks night just before Christmas). Oh, and the reason why the police were alerted to their non-married/booze consuming status? The woman had been raped in the hotel and was at the police station to report that crime.

This has sparked a flurry of debate amongst online forums here - the holier than thou brigade saddling up their high horses. "They should have done their research' shout members. "You must respect the laws of the country that you're in" they exclaim self-righteously.

Come on people. Dubai markets itself very clearly as a tourist destination. In no brochure does it say: if you're unmarried and on holiday, beware. In fact one daily newspaper here did a little research of their own, calling up 10 prominent Dubai hotels, explaining that they'd like to book a room for an unmarried couple. Only one hotel, in Sharjah (a neighbouring Emirate where laws are much stricter) said no. All of the others unequivocally said yes. Of course they did.

Somewhere in all of the hoo-ha about this the fact that the girl claims to have been raped has also passed by. If this is true, this poor girl has been through something utterly hideous, on top of which she has then being charged with an offence, which quite frankly is at odds with the way that Dubai markets itself.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. If they are really going to charge this couple then it could have a serious effect on Dubai's image as a tourist destination. Let's see..

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