Why living in the UAE is like living in the 1990s

will-smithThe UAE takes a little while to get some of the trends that the Western world are so quick to adopt, and there are days we UAE residents find ourselves wondering if we’ve fallen into a retro-abyss

1. The rise and rise of print media
Where the rest of the world is seeing the decline and collapse of print publications, the UAE is setting up international brands – publishing houses are bringing over all the big UK mags.
Print publications are thriving in the UAE, and a large amount of publications only have one or two web staff, compared to dozens of print writers.

Woman Writing Check

2. Bank cheques are the only way to pay your rent, need I say more? 

Actually, a lot of businesses still accept, and even prefer bank cheques. I got my first cheque book this year – 2015. Wild.

Internet banking is still not widely used, and plenty of businesses don’t have electronic banking/EFTPOS yet (including plenty of mainstream chains).

3. Not every business has a website
In the UAE, only the more progressive businesses have websites – some don’t have a Facebook page, let alone a proper site.
It makes it all the more fun, we have to speak to people, on the phone!

4. Ace of Base, Spice Girls and Blue are regularly on the radio

Ace_of_Base_-_Living_in_DangerYeah, seriously.
In shopping centres, on mainstream radio stations, night clubs… we hear Ace of Base more now that we ever did when it was popular.

5. Perms are only just fading out of fashion (or are they?)
In a culture where ‘bigger is better’ in most regards, hair took one of the biggest blows.
Perms are still part of mainstream hair fashion in UAE, and feathered fringes (or bangs for Americans) are still a risk if you’re not firm with your hairdresser.

6. People rollerblade in bike shorts
The fine weather means people love being outside, particularly on the corniches and marinas, and what better way to enjoy the outdoors than with a set of rollerblades? (Get yours at DragonMart).

7. Shopping malls are always busy.
Online shopping hasn’t really taken hold in the UAE, shopping is still one of the country’s favourite past times and it’s a booming trade.

We’d rather walk around a mall for six hours, just because we can, and we enjoy the air-conditioning – and we don’t want to trust those shifty websites with taking our money! 


Ah it’s all a bit of fun though, I love taking my walkman out on my rollerblades, playing Ace of Base – though my headphones sometimes get tangled in my permed hair.


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