If your average American were parachuted into the UAE, he or she would feel as if they had landed in a very alien place. (Which it isn’t, particularly, but that average American would need a month or three to grasp that.)
But one cultural commonality would be recognizable and transferable almost immediately, especially if that average American came from, say, Southern California.
And that would be … do not mess with my car.
If the U.S. is a car culture, than the UAE is a car mega-culture. Big vehicles, new and shiny, capable of high speeds and preferably traveling at high speeds — all that is at least as big in the UAE as it is in the USA.
Take for example, today’s crime story, which appears to pivot on one Emirati laughing at the car of another. Pointing and laughing, the court in Dubai heard.
Imagine the risks a Yank would be taking, back home, if he or she pointed at the car of a 23-year-old man and laughed. Or was thought to be laughing.
The 23YO man might well hit you with his car — which is what an Emirati woman claimed in court, and had a witness corroborate. The driver, referred to as a “pilot” by our friendly British copy editors, makes the ludicrous claim that the woman “threw herself” in front of his vehicle. But wouldn’t a gearhead back in the States make the same claim?
(In the linked story, the car is referred to as a “saloon” car — which is a Britishism for “sedan”, perhaps with connotations of being an above-average-expense vehicle.)
So, that part of the UAE, Americans would get. Right away.
Get out of my way. I’m in a hurry. That’s my parking place. My car is a part of me, don’t mock it, don’t touch it and, absolutely, do not point and laugh at it. Or even sorta pretend to … or make any motions that might be interpreted as pointing and laughing. Because I might strike you with the car you are mocking.
Makes me feel like I’m back home.