HomeArticlesAdopted by an Emirati Family… Emirati Culture Found! 🏜
Adopted by an Emirati Family… Emirati Culture Found! 🏜
March 1, 2020
Literally climbing. Here you go, bro! It’s such an angle. It’s nuts. Driver: Are you okay? Karl: Yeah, yeah. I’m good. Ram Ram (Hindu greeting) and Assalamu Alaikum (Muslim greeting), friends! So last time I was here in the UAE, in Dubai, I went out looking for Emirati people and culture. And unsurprisingly, I didn’t find it there because Dubai is for three things: Luxury travel, shopping and business. And that’s what you guys all told me in the comments. And then you told me, if you want to meet Emirati people, if you want to see Emirati culture, you need to get out of Dubai and explore the other six Emirates. So that’s what we are doing. But it gets even better because this Emirati family messaged me and they said “Karl, come and spend some time with us. Please”. That’s what we’re gonna do. I’m being adopted by an Emirati family basically. Mashallah! Alright. I met Sarah finally and her mom and her brother Saif as well. And we are here in this beautiful place called the Arabian Tea House. We are gonna have real Emirati breakfast. This place is beautiful. Sarah: Yeah. Karl: Look at this food. You gotta explain this food to me. Okay, Sara? Wait Sarah. Say hello. Sarah is a massive fan of India as well. Sarah: For sure. I’m coming one day. Get ready for me India. Karl: Explain to me what is this beautiful plate of food here. Sarah: So this is a traditional Emirati breakfast. So right here at the centre, it’s called Balaleat. And it’s basically like sweet noodles. and topped off with your like regular omelette. Karl: Yup. Sarah: And then here we have Dango, which is like chickpeas. And then right here are the . This actually comes from the dates. And then here it’s called Qishta , which is I guess cheese. Karl: Yeah. And jam, cheese, beans. This is called majula , which I don’t know what it is. Karl: It looks like a bean. A very giant bean. There’s absolutely no way I can remember all the Arabic names. So I will pronounce it and there’s a lot of AAAKHH in there. This is another type of kind of really thin flat bread. And then this is tomato and eggs. Man, this is such a feast we have here. It’s amazing. I’m so happy. This is just breakfast. We can’t eat this much just as breakfast. Sarah: No, listen. It’s possible. It’s a very healthy breakfast. You need the energy for the rest of the day, especially Karl: True. It is healthy. Oh, and of course there is masala chai. Do you have a name for this in… Sarah: Um.. we call it Karak. Karl: Okay. Let’s call it masala chai. Okay guys, there’s more food coming and everybody always shares here. You’ll see we’ve got the big plate in the middle there and.. everyone just.. everybody just digs in with their own hand off the plate. You don’t actually use a smaller plate to serve yourself. You all just share. And it reminds me of whenever I go to the mosque and during Ramadan, when they have a feast at the end of the day, we all kind of sit around a big plate of chicken biryani and eat after the prayers. Sarah tells me to mix the cheese with the… what dip was this? Plum or… Sarah: It’s like very concentrated honey. Karl: I’m not sure. It’s like cheese and some sort of… Yeah, it’s awesome. Cheese and concentrated honey. Cheese and honey goes together. Yum. Alright, sweets have come and this is called Luqaimat but it looks like gulab jamun. Let’s see. You can see in the middle there. And where we are in Sharjah, it’s known as the cultural capital of the UAE. And it’s so close to Dubai. So just get out of Dubai and start your trip here if you want to experience Emirati culture. I’m here at the Sharjah Souk at the moment and there’s no one here because it’s Friday. It’s quiet. But it’s the same issue with as if India had markets here. A lot of fake goods like fake Kashmiri and all that stuff. Exactly the same bargaining tactics that you would have seen in my “How to Bargain in India” videos where they come in, they offer you a higher price and then they quickly bargain you down when you start to walk away. So they key for bargaining is always just to walk away. These guys that I’m with, Saif and Sara, they’re like Indians. It’s like I’m with a couple of Indians here. They’re telling me about Bollywood and how they love Amitabh Bachan. Who else? Sarah: Shahrukh Khan. Recent is Ranveer Singh. Ranveer Singh is like a star here. Karl: Ranveer? Sarah: Yeah! Karl: Ranveer Singh. He’s the most popular guy at the moment. Sarah: Yeah. He is. Karl: I’m a Ranbir fan, though. He’s the best. Sarah: I like Ranveer too. I liked him after the movie Padmaavat. Karl: Oh yeah. Sarah: He looks really good in that one. Karl: So people here in Dubai are watching Bollywood films? Sarah: Yeah. Karl: Really? Sarah: I don’t know about other people but for us, we grew up just watching Bollywood movies. And we would watch them without subtitles and even though we didn’t understand anything, it was fun. Karl: That’s cool. Sarah: Like right now when we get to the car, we are gonna be jamming to some like Bollywood hits. Karl: There you go! India’s taken over the world with Bollywood. Sarah: Jai Hind! Karl: Exactly. And actually people here speak a little bit of Hindi as well. I was going for the customs because they confiscated my drone last night when I flew it. And the woman was.. the Emirati woman was speaking like fluent Hindi to this Indian guy who was like arguing with her to get his stuff into the country. But she wasn’t taking any of it. She was like, just like, “NO! Listen to me. No!” And she was just speaking great Hindi. And you were saying, like, it’s not uncommon for Emiratis to know a little bit of Hindi at least. Sarah: Yeah. Because when the Indians would come in for work or something, they won’t know Arabic and they won’t English either. And so here, English is the main language but since some Emiratis, they can’t speak English. So they would have to learn Hindi even though if it’s like broken Hindi just to like get by. A lot of the words that we take from Hindi and even like our numeric system, Arabic, is actually Hindi. So like for example, coconut. There is no Arabic word for coconut. So we just resort to say nariyal. Karl: Oh yeah. That’s the Hindi word, nariyal. Sarah: Yeah. Karl: Oh wow. There’s so much shared between Emirati culture and Indian culture actually. And you guys have the dowry system as well. Except, it’s the reverse dowry. You pay for the girl, to get the girl, rather than paying to get the guy which I found funny. Sarah: That’s how it works. That’s how it is. Karl: Cool. That sounds fair. You know, they can do it that way. India can do it the other way but it’s totally banned in India now. Not banned here though, eh? Sarah: No. It’s part of Islam actually. Karl: Okay. In India, it’s called a gift now. They just changed the word to gift. Dowry to gift. Simmba was… they’re getting shorter now, these Bollywood films. Sarah: Yeah. Saif: So this is the first time the ghutra. He looks good. Now you’re one of us. Karl: Yes. Perfect. And there’s smoke coming out of my… Sarah: Do you see it? Karl: Yeah. There it is. Karl: I feel so much better in this kandora. Kandara? Sarah: Kandora. Karl: Kandora. Sarah: Yeah. Karl: Awesome. This is what it is. This is what they up with. This tree bark comes from India actually. Alright. Me and Saif, we are all ready to go to the mosque now and pray at lunchtime. And we’ve done a few things before we go to the mosque. I’ve got my brand new kan.. kon.. kandora. I’ve gotta get this word right. I’ve got my brand new kandora on. We put the bark smoke through the kandora and we sprayed it with perfume. Saif: It’s to give it a nice long scent. Karl: So we’re all clean, smelling good and now we’re ready to go and kind of wash our hands, wash our feet, wash our face at the mosque and then go inside and pray. And we’re just walking through some Emirati streets where the Emirati locals live. So you won’t find many foreigners living around on these streets And it tends to be that these guys all live nearby their families. So Saif’s uncle’s house is behind us there. Another relation’s house is there. And the mosque is kind of stuck in the middle between everybody’s houses so they get to.. kind of like a central meeting point, I guess. So that’s your grandma’s house. Look at it. It’s like a fort. Looks like a castle, kind of. It’s awesome. Right across from the mosque. Alright, we’re here at the mosque now and the Imam is gonna come soon. That’s the Islamic priest and he’s gonna give like a little sermon for 30 minutes, just to talk about, you know, the issue of the day. And then he’s gonna go into the prayer ceremony. And then that’ll be done. It’s a big thing on Friday. So everybody is turning up. Assalamu Alaikum! We are just taking the off road track back to the house and that prayer ceremony at the mosque was really really peaceful. I find it so peaceful and soothing when I’m in there listening to the Imam speak, even though I’ve no idea what he’s saying because he’s speaking in Arabic. But it’s still very therapeutic and it’s nice to join in with my friends when I’m here. Alright it’s time for lunch here at my friend’s house here in Ajman. and we have four dishes on the menu today. What was the name of this one, bro? Ali: Majboos. Karl: Majboos. What does that mean in English? Does it translate into anything at all? Sarah: It’s like rice and spices and… Karl: It sounds like biryani to me. It looks like biryani. Sarah: Yeah, it looks like biryani but this is like our own version of biryani Karl: Okay, cool. And this one is? Sarah: This is our tradiional biryani. Karl: Seafood biryani. Sarah: And this is Jasheed which is basically baby shark. Karl: What? Baby shark? Have you heard that song on YouTube? Yeah! You know it. Baby Shark… Oh my god. We are eating baby shark and now all I can think of is these little Chinese kids dancing to it. Perfect! Wow. This is gonna be a feast. Can’t wait. Okay, this is baby shark and rice. Let’s give it a go. Oh yum! Mm. Awesome, man. It tastes like something I know that I’ve had before. I’m just trying to think what it tastes like. It’s your favorite food, eh? Ali loves this. Okay, so I finally worked out what it tastes like. It tastes like.. Sarah: It’s yummy? Karl: Yeah… like keema. And like Indian minced shark with a bunch of spices in it and it’s just tender and delicious like keema pao or something like that. Okay, then on top of the plain rice, they put this oil on top as well.. this yellow oil. It’s like it’s basically a fat, like ghee. So the food here has been amazing all day and the lunch was basically like three different types of biryani. These people are probably gonna get angry at me for calling them that but… that’s what it tasted like. Biryanis but the spices and flavors are totally different in it. If you’re wondering why I compare everything to India, it’s because predominantly I’m an Indian YouTuber. I make content.. I share my life and my travels in India. I’m travelling to every single state and union territory in India and India before Partition; so Bangladesh and Pakistan. And I’ve nearly finished that. I’ve just got 3 more states to go. And every so often I come here over to Dubai and I come to other places which have quite a large Indian influence. So for example, here in Dubai, there are more Indians than anybody else here in Dubai. So yeah, that’s why the comparison to India so much in these Dubai vlogs. Sarah: Brother, he’s a very famous YouTuber. Karl: Very beautiful place.. Pakistan. So nice to meet you, brother. Bhai: Same here. Karl: Lunch is done and right now, we are gonna go to the desert with my Pakistani brother and my Emirati brother as well. Ali: I’m here. Karl: Oh, yeah. Little brother. Cool. Let’s do it. I can’t wait to go for riding in the desert. It’s gonna be insane. I know what you guys do during the day: you eat a lot, you enjoy a lot of your family and you go and ride on the sand dunes. What do you guys do at night? Is there much of a nightlife here as well? Saif: Yeah, there is a lot of nightlife out here. In the winter you know, we go to our farms over the deserts.. you know gather up friends and families and enjoy, you know, the beautiful moments Karl: So you have like farms. It’s like peaceful there. Saif: Yeah, it’s very peaceful. Karl: Okay. Just like anywhere else, you go out to the country. Saif: Yeah. Countryside. I’ll take you there once. Karl: Yeah, lovely. We just stopped for a drink and one thing I did notice here while meeting their family was everybody treats each other’s family members like their own. Like the boys here…Ali just comes along and just jumps into the family. It’s like India in that regards. Everybody’s kids are each other’s here. It’s really sweet to see. Saif: Even though your neighbor not related with you, you attempt to treat him like your own son or their own family members like younger brothers.. older brothers..because you know, that’s the right thing to do. That’s like how the culture is.. like everyone’s one. Karl: Yeah. You guys have like really tight knit communities here and families. Saif: Everybody takes care of each other. Karl: It’s like a big joint family. Saif: Yeah. Karl: It’s very similar to India as well. Alright we’re going off road. So we gotta lower the tyre pressure in the car so we get better grip while in the sand. That’s what you can hear right now.. the tyre pressure coming down. And these guys are just all experts. They’re all desert experts. So their favorite cars are always off roaders. Get it out, bro. Seat belts on, boys. Gonna get bumpy, eh? You guys ready? Kids: Yeah. Ali: Pewdiepie! Cameras also need safety. Karl: Okay. Yeah, yeah. I’ve got the camera strapped to me. Don’t worry, bro. This guy calls me PewDiePie only. He tells everybody else “just call him PewDiePie”. Alright, we are gonna hit the sand dunes soon. Your friends are already here, your relatives. Wow. Good timing. I can see why you guys do this. This is so much fun. Off roading rocks. Hey! Look what we found. This is the old way we used to travel, right? This is the old four wheel drive. Karl: No. Why do they tie their legs like that? Oh. Somebody owns that camel. So they tie their legs so they don’t go far. What do you guys use the camels for? They’re for like farming or anything else as well? Saif: Yeah, farming, yeah, Making milk. Karl: Milk, meat… What do you guys have here? Friend: Qahwah. Arabic coffee. Karl: Arabic coffee. Friend: We usually pour this in a glass but since we’re going on a trip.. Karl: Yeah. No milk. Just.. Saif: Pure coffee. Friend: And you have to handle it by your right hand and you pour it with your left hand. And actually I don’t like coffee. I hate coffee. But I tried the Arabic coffee here and it is different to what we have in the West. It’s.. there’s no milk and the coffee just tastes a little bit different. It tastes much better. I actually like it here while I don’t like it in India and I don’t like it back home in New Zealand. There’s something different about it. And when you’re done, when people are done serving, you kind of shake your cup like that and that means no more serving anymore here in the Emirati culture. Hand signal. It’s a real skill driving out here. So damn hard. You can’t see the bumps that are coming up like that one and it’s not as easy as cruising through the sand dunes. It’s dangerous. Saif: Okay, we have to get down. We have to leave. Oh, we get it! Like I was saying, it’s hard. It’s really hard and we are stuck from the corner there for the first time. See the angle there. Climbing to the sky. Literally climbing. There you go, bro. It’s such an angle. Saif: It’s nuts. Are you okay? Karl: Yeah, I’m good. Yup, got it. Got it. Saif: This is the first time that happened to us. Saif: So the thing is sand is wet and he couldn’t tell. Karl: Yeah. Okay, let’s just dig it out. Saif: Now we have to dig. Karl: Let’s do it. Saif: Sand is supposed to be soft like this. Well, it’s not. It’s wet. Karl: It’s clumpy. So it’s like.. so that’s how we got stuck. Alright we’ve been digging the tyres out, trying to get us some traction Let’s see if we can pull the tyres up. It’s just sliding even more. There’s so much sand under the car. That’s the problem. It’s just going deeper and deeper into the sand. How can you move the car when you have no room between the car and the sand? It’s the sand under the car and the wheels are just spinning..spinning in the sand. It’s just stuck there. What’s the back up plan? Okay so the back up plan is if we can’t get it off the sand, we’ll call a tow truck and they’ll get it. We’ve been in the desert now for about an hour and a half and the sun in my face burns and my lips are dry and yeah. Not sure how we’re gonna get out of this right now. Nothing we’re trying is working and no support vehicle is coming. So what do you do? You know… A friend’s here with their car but it’s not enough to tow us out or anything. We need a really powerful vehicle to tow us out. There’s thick sand and the car’s literally sunken into the sand like quicksand. And the sun is coming down. It’s like 6:30 at night. Dark in an hour or so. It’s really setting. But it’s not a bad place to be stranded though. But one thing, you might not recognize in the video but my nose is really red. I got sick on the plane right here yesterday. So you know, the last place you wanna get stranded is in the desert wind. When you have a cold and you’re not feeling 100%.. My spirits aren’t that high but.. only because I’m a little bit sick. That’s all. This is all part of the adventure, right? This is why we travel. This is why we do crazy stuff like driving on sand dunes because it’s challenging, because it’s fun and because shit happens. Saif is out there on the dunes looking for help with somebody. Backup is here. They have a big truck. This can get us out. Where did you find them? Saif: they were just chilling there. And you know we signed them. We were like “Help Us! We are stuck.” Karl: Nice. Saif: And you know.. they said they have a rope and they were willing to help us. Karl: Nice. Oh yeah. It’s happening. Oh! Rope snapped. It came off. Alright, the first attempt was unsuccessful. The tow w=bar actually cracked and the rope broke. Uh.. the Nissan that we have here is too heavy. Round two. Oh yeah baby! Good work guys! Good work. We’ve done it. We’re gonna get out of here. We’re gonna be back in time for dinner, man. Saif: Yeah. Karl: We’re not sleeping in the desert.That would have been fun. We could have slept in the car. Because we got stuck out in the desert, they missed their prayer ceremony. So we’re here to do the prayers again and they have to do it five times a day here. That’s cool. We’ll catch up on that and then we’re gonna go and drink some Arabic coffee and just chill out for a bit. We deserve it, I think. All that manpower getting that car out. And you saw the kids in the backseat. And the kids.. they were just in love. They love being in sand dunes. They love off roading. They love playing soccer on the sand dunes. Kids here are having the best damn time ever. Where the hell am I? Look at them riding up. This is where all the Emiratis who love going off roading.. this is where they come on a Friday and you know.. drag their cars and buggies in there. They course up these hills and around the dunes and everyone just comes and hangs out. Just check out all the people everywhere. The dunes are just loaded with cars and people. There’s even more down here. Rippin’ it up, man! They’re total petrol heads here. Awesome. I wish there was some motorcycles though. Maybe next time I should come here with my bike. This is what I wanted to do, you know. This is what I wanted to come and find, I wanted to come and see what the Emirati people are.. see what they’re like.. see what they’re doing and yeah. We found them. They’re all here in the middle of the desert, blasting their cars up the sand dunes. It’s awesome. So cool. And you can only that with the locals, right? You need that kind of inside knowledge of where people are and what they’re doing. And so if you’re foreigner living here in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, I really suggest you try and make some Emirati friends because I know a lot of people in Dubai and a lot of them don’t have any Emirati friends. And that’s why I so badly wanted to find Emirati culture, meet some Emirati people so… I can’t demystify what’s happening here and what they love, what they like. But you have to make that effort to find them and approach them and make friends with them. So yes, if you’re living here, I definitely recommend you get in touch with locals and make friends with locals and go and explore their culture and the other Emirates with them. Awesome. I’m so happy to be here. When you get this kind of local view of a place, it really helps you fall in love even more. So if I was working in Dubai or something, I might not think too much of the country, you know. It would just be another.. it would just be Dubai. When you get to know a local, when you get to experience their culture and how they live, that’s when you really start to fall in love with the culture, with the people and with where you’re living. And that’s part of the reason why I love India so much. The locals are so inviting and they make you feel at home just like my Emirati friends have today. Alright. Karak chai. Here you go. Everyone’s just sitting down chilling. What you can see here in the sand dune is people are praying. This is how important prayer is here. They will stop in the middle of the sand dunes to do their prayer. They’re that dedicated at it. So I was just chatting with a couple of guys here and they said that here, because they were born int he sand, right? This is their home. The Emirates have always been started off with sand and the ocean next to it. So they come here on Fridays just to relax.. to get rid of their stress and to enjoy the sand with their cars. Life has changed here. They’re working and the cities have come up and life isn’t as simple as it used to be. So this is just a way to get back to nature and get back to their roots and enjoy time with their family.. well more with their friends here actually and have a picnic and race a car and do manly stuff, I think. It’s awesome. I love it.