One answer

20 Oct

In her last comment, Helen asked, ‘What kind of jobs are available in AD (apart from construction/engineering)? Is it easy for an expatriate who isn’t an engineer/builder/developer to get work? Is there a special dress code for women?’

I shall begin with the dress code. Simply put, expat women seem to wear pretty much what they like, though women from my background generally dress more conservatively than they might at home. I have a couple of sun dresses, for example, which are strappy numbers that I wear around the house, but wouldn’t wear outside. At the swimming pool, there are plenty of bikinis, though I myself continue to wear my sensible all-covering bathers, because I have been raised on ‘slip slop slap’ and also I burn easily and also have always found sunbathing excrutiangly boring (when I say always, I mean the two times I’ve done it). Local girls and women and Muslim expats often wear the full-length bathers, but others wear bathers similar to mine.

Coming home from the gym, I sometimes stop at a shop to pick up a newspaper or milk, and I keep a shirt in the car that I put on over the top of my gym gear, because I wear singlets to the gym and, for many different reasons, would feel uncomfortable dressed like that in the shop.

I often carry a scarf which I can wrap around myself which is also a useful defence against the ubiquitous air-condiitoning.

The malls all have signs asking that you dress appropriately, which means covered shoulders and skirts/dresses/pants that go below the knees and tops that are not low-cut. It wouldn’t be unusual to see uncovered shoulders at the malls, but it isn’t common.

Local women (Emiratis) wear an abaya (the black robe), and sheyla (head covering) which is considered to be the national dress. Many do veil their faces, but many don’t. Some women wear a ‘burkha’ which here is the leather mask covering the mouth, eyes and cheekbones (I think, don’t quote me on that). The burkha isn’t all that common, but you would always see at least one woman wearing one. Local men wear the dishdash (white robe) and headdress.

There’s lots of shops catering to Indian expats. One of the easiest ways to buy fabric is to buy a set for the sari suit, which is two larger pieces of fabric (one to make the top and one to make the pants) and a smaller piece for the scarf. I’ve bought more fabric than I really need, simply because it is so easy to buy it that way. Mind you, one of my friends from India told me that all of the fashions here are ‘out of date’. I have never been in date, so it doesn’t really matter.

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5 Responses to “One answer”

  1. Deborah October 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    have always found sunbathing excrutiangly boring (when I say always, I mean the two times I’ve done it)

    Exactly so. Except I may have done it three times. I’m a slow learner.

  2. Kath Lockett October 21, 2009 at 3:53 am #

    I’m with you and Deborah and I dress even more conservatively these days – rashie up top and long boardies below so that I don’t have to spend half my swimming time applying 30+

    Oh and ThirdCat, I’ve tagged you for the food meme thingy I just did, ‘k?

  3. Helen October 22, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    Break a leg! What kind of things are you looking for (don’t answer that if it’s problematic in terms of identifying you!)

  4. Helen October 22, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    Ugh, how did I write a sentence like that? SPIRIT OF BAD CORPORATESPEAK LEAVE MY BODY!!

  5. meli October 25, 2009 at 1:16 pm #

    good luck with the job hunting and the happiness hunting! my job (which i dithered and dithered about, as you know) has made me much happier. i think it’s quite alienating to just be plonked in a place with no real ties of your own.

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