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They’d caught shiny glimpses of the city on TV, or maybe in .
They knew the city (and, by extension, the entire surrounding country) as an avatar of wealth—quick-blooming skyscrapers, opulent hotels, a mall with an indoor ski slope—and of exploitation, particularly of the noncitizen “guest workers” shipped in from across the globe to build the skyscrapers, clean the hotel sheets, and serve mall-goers their après-ski hot chocolates.
National Dress UAE nationals usually wear traditional dress in public.
For men, this is the kandura - a white full length shirt-like garment, which is worn with a white or red checkered headdress, known as a ghutra. Sheikhs and important businessmen may also wear a thin, gold-trimmed robe (bisht) over their kandura at important events.
These conversations often left me uncomfortable in ways I struggled to explain. And, yes, the country’s work force was made up largely of noncitizens, too many of them working in precarious, exploitative situations far from their home countries. was somehow reproducing, however unconsciously, the same dehumanization that it appeared to criticize.
But I had a feeling that Western chatter about the U. There was money-drunk decadence at the top, raw immiseration at the bottom, and little else: no middle ground—or middle class, for that matter—no mixed bags, no flawed and compromised agency. Back in Abu Dhabi, I walked around the city’s middle- and working-class neighborhoods at night after work, surrounded by fellow-foreigners—mostly single men but also families with children.
Abu Dhabi's culture is firmly rooted in Arabia's Islamic traditions.
In his book, Unnikrishnan refuses to occupy a single style or register, as if to inoculate the reader against settling on any one idea of what the U. There’s a tale of Indian workers who are grown from magical seeds in the U. Unnikrishnan was born in the Indian state of Kerala, but he spent only a month there before heading with his parents to Abu Dhabi, where his father was already working as an engineer. as a home, as place that made us—because we were constantly told it wasn’t our country,” he said. As his parents’ departure date approached, they said out loud what Unnikrishnan had long suspected: were it allowed, they would prefer to stay.