The Dubai Life

dr-lamees-hamdanAhlan wa sahlan!” (Welcome!)

This is how Dr. Lamees Hamdan – wife, mother of four, and business entrepreneur – welcomes Oprah Winfrey into her 5-bedroom home in Dubai.

And what a beautiful home it is!

High ceilings…warm cherry wood accents…exquisite Persian rugs…gleaming Syrian antiques…unlike compact Danish homes, Hamdan’s residence is reminiscent of a spacious, Homes & Estates Magazine luxury portfolio showcase.

She’s married to a prominent businessman and is, herself, a successful businesswoman and collector of valuable Middle Eastern works of art. She, like most working women of Dubai, also has “house help” – which includes drivers, and housemaids.

Dr. Hamdan explains to Oprah that most working women in Dubai do not cook. Unlike the large majority of American working women, the working women of Dubai don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner. There is a “central kitchen” in each family where a chef cooks enormous meal portions, to be distributed to the various extended families.

Holy kitchen sweat!

Wonder if I could get the best chef in my family to hop on board this ‘central kitchen’ plan?

dubai-city-viewDubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is called the “Pearl of the Persian Gulf,” rising like a gleaming bar of gold from the sands of what was once dessert. From its luxurious hotels to its hedonistic shopping malls, Dubai sweats money.

But, just as in the West, that sweat accumulates most heavily upon the backs of the working class.

Dr. Hamdan says she’s “very lucky” that her mother-in-law lives right across the street in an “Everybody Loves Raymond setup.” She affectionately adds, “It’s traditional to live very close to your in-laws, and I love it. I think it’s great to be able to see family every day.”

Apparently, her mother-in-law is nothing like Marie Barrone. 😐

“Is it different in Dubai?” Dr. Hamdan ponders this question. “I don’t think so at all. We’re all working moms, we all have the same priorities, we all face the same challenges, you know? How do I work and raise my kids, take them to soccer matches…but I think that because we have more help here, it’s a little bit easier.”


Did you start packing up for a move to Dubai midway through this post?

How does Dubai look to you as you view it through foreign eyes?


Foreign Eyes Friday


8 thoughts on “The Dubai Life

  1. It sounds lovely as long as you’re one of the fortunate. However, I read a National Geographic a few years ago on Dubai that soured me when I saw how the poor were living — sewage running in the streets, cramped — with many trapped there as indentured servants, their passports taken away until they could buy their way back home over years of backbreaking work. But I’d have to say that America has its own extravagant pockets like this — Beverly Hills, Manhattan and such, more sprawled out but just has disparate and deceptively beautiful. (I think we all remember those Wall Street “haves” drinking champagne, smiling, and even taking pictures while looking down on the occupiers just a few months ago.) Still, I’ve also been fascinated with the subject of Dubai for some reason as it has so rapidly risen out of the sand.

    • Thank you for this balanced comment! How astute of you to recognize that this aspect of poverty and indentured servitude is alive & well everywhere – even in our own beloved country. Unfortunately, our news media chooses to highlight these issues only in foreign countries while downplaying (but, more often than not, completely ignoring) the same travesties flourishing in our own back yard.

      This bias brand of media does such a disservice to us in developing an honest view of our nation, and contributes to an erroneous, exceptionalist view of ourselves in which we become adept at pointing the finger at other nations with one hand, while patting our own country on the back with the other.

  2. One cannot begrudge the wealth if you have it. That being said with starving, AIDs ridden, war torn Africa nearby it is revolting to see people relish is such splendor without supporting third world.

    • Kind of like our 1%, huh? And the way we totally turned our backs on Darfur. You’ve pegged it, Carl. There’s plenty of revolting lack of support for the suffering masses on the consciences of the wealthy & powerful everywhere around the globe. 😕

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