United Arab Emirates
By: Stryker Keating
The Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, Arab Emirates. It's the only 7-star luxury hotel in the world, and one night would be $1,361 to $10,073 American dollars.
The Emirate people are very proud of being hospitable. It's an honor when you have a guest, and you pull out your best food and dishes when guests come. They offer tea, and pass around the best incense to catch the fragrance in your headwear (since they are a Muslim people, the women wear their Hijabs or Burkas, and the men wear their Turbans or Taqiya).
They have a caste system there. The people who are nationals of the Emirates are called Al-Muwateneen. People who come in from other countries are called Al-Waifdeen. From there, there are: ruling sheikhly families, the merchant al-tujjar, the middle class (a relatively new class), and the low-income Bedouin nomads, former pearl divers, and oasis farmers. The country's government is a constitutional monarchy, and the official language is Arabic.
Although men and women have equal rights under the law, the Emirates are a patriarchal society. Politics and religion are seen as "male domain", so women have little to no role in the politics or religious decisions of the Emirates. An average family has 6 to 8 children in it, because large families are encouraged. Most nationals prefer arranged marriage, but it's not a demand anymore. Emiratis are discouraged from marrying someone non-national, and young men receive $19,000 (in American money, which is 69,786 dirhams)
Dubai is the highest populated city in the Emirates. Many Bollywood movies are shot here for the beautiful location.
When you greet someone, it's custom to give an Islamic greeting. Men shake hands and touch noses for a quick second. Women kiss each cheek of the other woman several times. Men typically do not shake women's hands in public. It's polite to ask how one is and how their family is doing early in the conversation. To respect elders, they don't say their first name. They say "the father/mother of" and then the name of the oldest son (if there is no son, then daughter). Young men are supposed to listen more and speak less in conversation with elders. You take off your shoes before entering a private home. Emiratis stand close in conversation, and it's acceptable for men or women to hold hands. They are accepting of other cultures and customs, but they keep aware of their own to keep alive their cultural identity.