Dubai public beach – one expat’s story
Our lovely little Miss Sparky has taken up surfing in Dubai. Ironic that she’s chosen to do it at the beach here. Dubai is a place where the jet ski roaring past creates the only ripple worth surfing most of the time. nonetheless, we have resigned ourselves to spending every Saturday on the beach for the foreseeable future.
Anywhere else in the world, the prospect of a beach weekend fills us with immense joy. Here in Dubai, we are filled with trepidation.
Why? I hear you ask?
Well, if I tell you, you might want to call us nasty names.
I am a little ashamed to admit that I’m struggling with hanging out on the public beach in Dubai.
Let me try to explain the scene to see if you can feel my pain. Or, you may just call me a snobby wench and move on to perusing some other blog’s useless content.
Either way, I can deal.
So, let me see if I can paint the picture for you.
Be prepared – good Aussie scouts
Firstly, I must remind you that I’m an Aussie. And Aussies go to the beach prepared to spend the WHOLE day.
We literally have bags of stuff. Water, food, sunscreen (bulk bottles of it), hats, rash-vests, board shorts, beach mats, towels, beach toys, books…. the list goes on.
Today, we also have the added joy of the Little Chubs’ bike. Even though everyone in the world except him understands you can’t ride it on sand, it was the only way to get out of the house without having Thomas the Tank engine pegged at someone’s head!
So, we stagger from the car onto the beach under our mounds of luggage.
It’s hot and sunny, there’s absolutely no shade (forgot the umbrella). Combine this with the over officious life-guards who like to blow whistles whenever anyone looks like they’re moving in the direction of the boarding area without a board and you get the picture. Tempers are already a little frayed.
Sparky runs off to her surfing lesson and ruthlessly drops her share of the mounds in the sand. I’m okay with it for the moment having spied her exceptionally well constructed surfing coach.
For some reason, it takes me longer than a few moments to gather my thoughts enough to pick up that extra bag with my only remaining extremity of a little finger. All the while feasting my eyes on the stunning view… ahem… sorry… looking for a place to sit.
The surfing family setup…
We locate a spot and start to set up on the edge of the boarding/swimming zone.
Then BLEEP! Those trusty lifeguards take exception to our chosen location for goodness knows what reason and we’re told to shuffle 50cm to the left. I guess they need something to do given there’s literally not even a ripple on the water.
Finally, we lay everything out and the boys head down for a swim. I lay back on the mat, ready to enjoy a moment of solitude with the warm sun gently baking my face.
Suddenly, I’m in shadow.
I look up and a group of Chinese tourists has materialised right next to me. I think one of them is even standing on my hair, they are so close.
They’re blocking my sun and freaking me out all at the same time. Staring, snapping photos and chattering away in Mandarin.
I look to my left and there’s a group of Indian women traipsing down the sand in their long and complex saris. One of them actually steps on the Chub’s towel on the way past and leaves her big sandy footprint.
Next moment, I have an extremely large Omani man, dressed in his full dishdasha and little hat waving his camera at me gesturing that I should take his picture.
All this while being surrounded by Russian women, of various ages and attractiveness, posing for selfies. And not just one selfie… these women can pose for hours in almost the exact same position.
I’m guessing it takes a while to get that wedgie just right so you have the exactly correct amount of butt cheek protruding as you attempt to turn around and look alluring.
I’ve had enough
As mentioned, I’m an Aussie. Aussies have a need for more personal space than most people.
We also go to the beach, well, to actually go to the damn beach! Sure, if it’s really pretty we might take a snap. Or if there’s a huge storm rolling in we might hang for a bit longer to get a cool storm pic.
But standing on the beach, fully clothed in jeans, black leather dress shoes, jackets, vests etc is just plain weird.
Then it’s one extreme to the other with the ladies who are half-naked in swimsuits that would make a playboy bunny blush.
At least the selfie-posing Russians get in the water I suppose – sigh.
The tourist factor
Now, I should mention that this particular beach is right next to the Burj Al Arab, one of Dubai’s premier tourist attractions. So I do understand the need to excessively photograph it.
But I don’t really understand the whole ‘let’s stand right on top of the family who are here to just have a swim’ type mentality at all.
How is it possible to feel strange being on the beach in swimmers, actually swimming?
I struggle with the leering groups of workers in their pyjamas, standing and staring as I get in or out of the water. And I really object when they take photos of the kids without asking.
But I figure, this is what you have to put up with on a beach in a country where it’s unusual for women to get in the water without a burkini or even a full dress. And where some of these men have probably never seen a little guy with blonde hair and an exceptionally cute little belly in his Rip Curl rashie.
Which brings me to my final point. And this is probably where you’ll really judge me.
Beach clubs all the way…
I’ve finally realised the true value of the Beach Club!
Firstly, you don’t have to pack a thing – it’s all provided. There are lounges, umbrellas, someone to bring you food and drink.
Furthermore, no-one stares because everyone gets it. Tourists aren’t allowed in. Neither are workers (unless they work there). And most people are there for the same reason – to chill in the sun and swim at the beach.
You still get the selfie-posing Russians, but to be fair, they’re on most beaches in Europe/Middle East these days so we’re kind of used to that.
We’ve been able to reach a happy compromise.
I take Miss Sparky to her lesson and the boys get settled at the beach club. Then, when the lesson is finished, we join them at the beach club for the afternoon. We have our one little shoulder bag of stuff, we have a lovely lunch, hot showers at the end of the day and no creepy staring in sight.
There’s the added bonus that I get to enjoy watching our lovely girl being taught the essentials of a great sport by a suntanned, sandy-haired hotty as well of course.
It’s appropriate I’m there don’t you think?
Like and share if you agree!
Have a fabulous week