Friday, February 22, 2008

Vacuum Yourself Before Heading to UAE

In researching flight costs to nearby locations, I stumbled upon this article from The Independent, detailing how an UK TV-executive is facing 4 years of jail time in the United Arab Emirates for 'possessing' an amount of cannabis that weighed less than a grain of sugar. Authorities found 0.03 grams of hashish in the bottom of his bag, an amount not even visible to the naked eye.

One could take this as a freak and extreme interpretation of the law or a misunderstanding, but according to the article, 9 British Nationals have already been jailed in UAE for drug charges. One of those individuals was jailed for a speck of cannabis found on the bottom of his shoe.
This from the same country where I see Facebook photos of Arabs hammered at bars and clubs in Dubai? Hmm.

This story reminds me of how careful expats or travelers sometimes feel they need to act in this region or even here in Qatar. Simply flipping the finger or even the suspicion that one is publicly intoxicated or driving with alcohol on one's breath can get one deported. In a dispute, the Qatari word holds more weight against an expat word- so much so that one fellow expat is scared to death of even honking at another car for fear of being reported and deported. I previously thought this outlook extreme but the UAE story made me pause. It seems all I can do is just keep doing my best to be polite, respectful, drive safely, and make sure to vacuum my person before I head to UAE.

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