The best way to take the pulse of a new city is to read its local newspaper. Usually you find stories about city council disputes or the local teen talent competition. But there’s no place quite like Dubai, the shiny outcrop of the Middle East. From the first newspaper we picked up today, here are three actual headlines:
Owning cheetah and lion cubs is a popular status symbol in the UAE. But when they grow up and start acting out the carnivore tendencies, people have no choice but to donate them to zoos. “We used to have 33 lions and this is far beyond any logical number for a zoo collection,” says conservationist Myyas Al Qarqaz. The zoo now has 50 lions and will soon stop accepting donations.
If everything is bigger in Texas, Dubai wants to be the biggest. Debuting at the Dubai International Motor Show this weekend is the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG, a 6×6 truck with three different axels. According to the article, the UAE is among the biggest SUV markets in the world, but demand for pick up trucks has spiked in the past three years. “It’s the biggest car I’ve ever seen, said Emirati Ahmed Khalil. “I think it would look imposing on the road.” The price tag: 2 million Emirati Dirhams, or $550,000.
Dropping the F bomb in Dubai? Don’t do it. Last week one Dubai court heard a case of a western expat who was accused of insulting a telemarketer with the F-word. A legal debate followed about the semantic difference between saying “F*** off” and “F*** you.” The first one, the expat argued (in court!), is similar to telling someone to “get lost” or “stop bugging me.” The second one, according to the law, is considered a direct insult. If said to a public official, it’s punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.