Reading an article in the Times today (www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7087627.ece) about Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) workers being paid a “hardship” allowance in certain countries really made me laugh. That’s because Dubai, the emirate with better living conditions that we enjoy in Britain, was included on the list. The FCO told the Times: “The FCO pays staff allowances to compensate them for their requirement to live and work abroad, often in dangerous and challenging environments. These allowances are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are fit for purpose.”
Having just returned from a long weekend seeing friends in Dubai I can assure that it’s not a difficult place to live. You have some of the biggest shopping malls in the world with all the big Western names. There are hotels with as many as seven stars where lavish entertainment is laid on every night where you can drink yourself silly if you so choose.
On Friday’s the big expat thing to do is to go to an international hotel and enjoy ‘Brunch’. Not just your full English breakfast items but everything from your own personalised noodle meal to the likes of good quality chargrilled steak. I love buffets and have visited many over the years, but none have been anything near as good as what’s on offer in Dubai.
There are also fantastic beaches where you can relax in your leisure time. On the outskirts of Dubai expats also enjoy games of golf on some of the best kept courses in the world. And then of course Dubai residents get to enjoy some of the world’s most spectacular architecture, including the world’s tallest building. Those with kids will enjoy the many waterparks or trips to Dubai zoo.
I do feel sorry for the poor FCO workers for having to put up with these terrible conditions. I really do.