Saturday, April 15, 2006

Time to go?

Up until recently, we enjoyed living in Dubai. No shortage of things to do, or places to see. It was until last year around the times when the conversation around the dinner table was about how your landlord had bumped up your rent by Dhs40,000 that we started to think Dubai was starting to lose it.
Forget traffic and ridiculous rents, Dubai has lost its charm. A few years ago, you thought of the Palm (the first one mind you, not the second and third copycats) as a wonder of the world. It sounded amazing and everyone talked about it excitedly. Now, everytime a development is announced, you think "how ridiculous" or "when will this end?"

Mentally, Dubai can be draining. I think everyone whos lived here has had that conversation about the superficiality of the place, so I won't go into that. But its obvious the mindset of the newly arrived expats has changed. Take a look at the 7days letters page with the city's versions of 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' whinging on and on. Now, expats expect the place to resemble our home countries. In a way you can't blame them as the government seems to be bending over backwards to accomodate expats.

Not to mention the stupid rise in the cost of living. Last year our landlord served a notice a month before renewal, raising our rent several times more than 10% of the (back then) current rent. After negotations with the landlord who refused to budge, and the company we work for, the latter agreed to pay for the full rent increase. Now this year, he wants to raise it by another Dhs20000, an increase of 15%. Someone else on our compound got served a rent increase notice, and it seems inevitable we will be getting a similar one. Our company haven't decided whether they still swallow the rent increase or if we will foot the bill. Costs are going up and up, while the quality of life has dramatically decreased. Full expat packages are slowly becoming a thing of the past, and its becoming harder to attract people to come and live in Dubai once they get an idea of the cost of living and compare it to what salaries they're being offered.

Now, we have the possibility of relocating and are seriously considering it. For us and many others we know like Keefie, it's very simple - Dubai has lost its charm. But should we leave, or stick it out for another year or two and see if those pesky rents and other costs fall? Bearing in mind VAT is coming in next year, giving greedy businessmen another opportunity to jack up prices, somehow I doubt they will.

20 Comments:

Blogger sheikha cheryl said...

we call it LA on steroids. There is nothing left here like it was even 5 years ago. All that is left is that sick taste that greed leaves behind. And before anyone else starts bitching and moaning that all expats move here to get rich, think again. There used to be something to experience here, now we will be leaving on a jet plane for a better way of life. dxbbigus

1:43 pm GMT+4  
Blogger desertblog said...

The more we think about it, the more we think it might be a better idea to pack up and relocate. Forget the cost of living and rents, there isn't anything here that doesn't leave a bitter taste in our mouths.

4:30 pm GMT+4  
Blogger sheikha cheryl said...

same here, especially in the past two years, and don't get me started on the "employer", that is another disaster, the ego of this company is too much to handle.

4:53 pm GMT+4  
Blogger Seabee said...

Just an observation - when I first came to Dubai in 1977 people already here were telling me the place had lost it's charm and 'it's not like the old days'.
The first one I remember packing up and leaving would have been in about 1980.

I agree about the problem of inflation, a lot of it based on simple greed. (Mind you, if renters were owners most of them would be jumping on the gravy train too!)

A place to make money? Not any more for most people. So good people leave, others don't want to come here, companies are finding it too expensive to run a business from here - there are cheaper alternatives - and so there goes the business plan for Dubai's future.

It has to have serious, urgent government attention.

4:57 pm GMT+4  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

I’ve been pondering the exact same lines lately. Is it time to go? I’ve been here 11 full years; literally been molded by this country in so many ways, it is home. But between the increasing costs and nonexistent pension plan for expats, it’s a serious contemplation many of us are starting to ponder.

Actually, a very sad thought for me. And I’m sure many others too, because despite it's faults, UAE has become home to so many of us.

3:43 pm GMT+4  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Never before has being away from the sandlands been such a blissful relief, and the prospect of returning been so grim.

My days are definitely numbered. People here keep asking me about the place and I can barely find a good word to say. I think of people like Emirati and they give me hope, but until they are the rule not the exception, it just seems like hell in a handcart.

7:48 am GMT+4  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Ouch, all the diodes down my left side just packed up. Come on guys, it's not that bad (says he with flights out booked for July 2007).

6:32 pm GMT+4  
Blogger CG said...

Hmmmm....well....what can I say that has not already been said?

Dubai is not what it once was and we all know that nothing stays the same. BUT, this is beyond ridiculous. I cannot seem to put my finger on the real issue here ...is it the country that has changed or all of the people that are here?

If all the oldies leave and the newbies stay...what will we be left with? Does not bear thinking about.

Last week we heard that the country club will be taken back by the government....seems it does not fit in with Dubai's new image. They need the land...wtf...they already took the rugby club (no love lost there...even that place has changed). I have been swimming in the country club for as long as I can remember, and now it will go.

I already live on the outskirts of the city (although it is creeping towards me at a rapid speed)...so am now starting to think about moving even further away. Nice farms in Dhaid, yes, I have been looking. I kid you not.

School fees are through the roof...I think it was close to 55,000 last year for my 3rd grader. I could hire a private tutor for less than that.

No matter what size truck you drive you will always feel that you will be crushed without notice.

I used to laugh at those who spent the entire summer out of the country. A few years ago I adopted this new way of life. Not to get away from the heat as much as to get away from the people. Was it the people? or the traffic? or the construction? or just Dubai?

9:37 pm GMT+4  
Blogger desertblog said...

keefieboy, well I can proudly say our tickets have been booked for a much earlier date than yours!
CG, no idea what to say myself anymore. I don't think I can put up with any aspect of the place anymore. 'LA on steroids' as cheryl put it. Personally I'd say steroids and a few Class A drugs.
I think the mentality of expats coming here recently has changed for the worse. The latest trend appears to be "try to be as arrogant as possible!". The 'disneyfication' of the place into a weird fantasy world has not helped things at all either.
Sometimes we really just feel like packing it in and leaving...but then we stop and realise at least we should be thankful we are actually in a position to leave.
I feel sorry for the locals who don't want their country to be turned into an overindulgent themepark, they have no say at all and can only sit and watch..

1:48 am GMT+4  
Blogger Desert Lady said...

I have to agree with cg. The people make up a big percentage of the problems Dubai has. The whole feeling of 'community' disappeared a very long time ago.

I can't believe that the good old country club is next on the disappearance list. I practically grew up there (along with CBV which has also long gone). My memories are turning to dust (sob sob).

As for the possibility of rent prices decreasing, I reckon you've got more chance of winning the lotto!!

11:35 pm GMT+4  
Anonymous Potame said...

All the freaky people make the beauty of the world

4:00 pm GMT+4  
Blogger MamaDuck said...

Hi there. Thanks (I think....)for visiting my blog. Your 'Go'post, and nzm's latest, got me thinking, so I've put something on the UAE community blog and linked to yours. Your landlord's ears should be burning!

11:13 am GMT+4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read some of the comments I get practically weapy. But I have a fairly pointed question and one that probably won't be answered. But when I lived in DXB a few years ago, the expats didn't sit around and wonder and hope and lust for something they tracked down a good Emirati friend who is fairly well respected and would ask EFriend 'what the heck is up with _____?' 'what is the govt going to do about _____?' And more often than not you would actually get a response and if the problem was big enough you would get official action on something.

I think we can be pretty certain the glory days of Shk Rashid and Shk Zayed actually ruling with a iron fist and gentle heart are looooonnnnnggggg gone but who the heck is stearing the ship. No one in their right mind can actually say this juggernaut isn't going to slap back into earth shortly. The stock market is dead. The property market is bloated and dead. It will explode like roadkill on the side of a Texas freeway.

And MOST of these projects are retreads. They never took off to begin with and now they are being recycled. Does anyone actually realize that 'Business Bay' used to be 'Festival City'??? And when the heck are they going to dredge that canal from Jebel Ali to the creak???

12:22 am GMT+4  
Blogger psamtani said...

The biggest problem with Dubai is that you always feel like everyone's in transition - staying over for a little bit before going back home. There's no sense of community, and without community there can't be culture.

I moved from Dubai to LA, and I feel I've gone one step DOWN the superficiality ladder. Yeah, LA has its wannabe Paris Hiltons and fancy cars, but people come here to build a life; whereas in Dubai people are always wondering when they'll have to leave. Frankly, without offering some kind of naturalization program, it aint gonna happen

11:32 pm GMT+4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its definately gone downhill big time - the rents are killing us , forcing us to give up our little villas with a garden & live in the spanking new little shoe boxes.I work to live not the other way round - after 15 yrs the time has come.see ya.

7:06 pm GMT+4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

desert-lady, you say you grew up in dubai and spent much of your youth in CBV, did you live there? If so what's your name, i spent ten years of my childhood growing up there too.
Hopefully hear from you,
W

8:37 pm GMT+4  
Anonymous Son Of The Region said...

Hmmmm, how to abridge all these points, it suffices to say that Dubai and the UAE are making up for lost time. Allow me to elaborate a little, the UAE is suffering from a serious INFERIORITY COMPLEX; as a whole the UAE came into existence three decades ago, unlike its neighbours Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman that begun developing and modernising several decades ago.
Furthermore, the UAE miserably lacks the long history and civilization that Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey, Iran, Syria, etc take pride in. Therefore, it is no surprise that the UAE and especially Dubai is so obsessed with superlatives such as the highest, tallest, longest, largest, etc, etc, etc. The UAE and Dubai are very superficial materialistic cities that offer nothing but sand, properties built with cheap building material that cannot be sustained in this blistering heat, suffocating pervading humidity and saline atmosphere, malls, malls and more malls offering the same duplicate goods and ripping you off in the same manner. By the way, if you want to enjoy Eid and other religious and cultural festivities, visit Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey, Syria, etc. Forewarned is Forearmed!!!

6:35 pm GMT+4  
Anonymous dubai expat said...

very emotional post. i have not seen Dubai a few years ago, but to be honest with you it lost its charm for me after a couple of months....

10:10 pm GMT+4  
Blogger dubai rent said...

This post makes an emotional scary in my mind. Dubai is not a weak state because it has a lot of talent to overcome this bad situation which is prevailing all over the Gulf. Especially Dubai economy has been affected badly but now time is to forget all previous mistakes and should do work for strong economy.

10:50 am GMT+4  
Anonymous William King said...

Ups and downs happens, for a business its such type of favorable to get discuss in news either due to a downfall or uprising. Overall economic situation is not good and so in Dubai. The reasons we are pointing out about the charm of Dubai may be occurred in any other country but we do not know about that. The time is not so far when the charming Dubai will be enlighten again.

2:49 pm GMT+4  

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