The Emirati Life: fake rain, citizen perks, and why you car's plate number matters

Published almost 3 years ago • 2 min read

Hi nerds -

I salute you from Le Wagon Dubai, where I’ve spent the last week teaching JavaScript to students from Kazakhstan, Romania, Nigeria, and UK.

After almost two years of not teaching in-person, I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to layer code on top of people’s diverse backgrounds. The results are astounding.

Nominated as the world’s most improbable green city, Dubai is a metropolis filled with glass skyscrapers, man-made beach shores, and an expensive air conditioning bill.

In honor of my trip, I’ve decided to make this newsletter entirely about the Emirati life.

Some fun facts you may not know:

3 brain farts

💦 Makin’ it rain: On average, it only rains 25 days a year in Dubai and temperatures can reach a staggering 50°C during summer time. That is, unless the government makes up rain, of course.

Rain enhancement technology” works as follows:

1. Government sends out unmanned drones to discharge electricity to the clouds,

2. This forces smaller water droplets to condense into bigger ones,

3. They become so heavy that they drop as rain.

The scary part is that this does not exactly produce rain, but rather takes it away from living ecosystems somewhere else. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see who complains first.

Cloudy Dubai Skyscrapers

💸 Fee-based > tax-based governments: My mind was blown away when friends told me there was a 0% income and sales tax on UAE.

But…. HOW? I asked.

Well, they have one of the most effective fee collection implementations in the world. For every government transaction, every jaywalk, every parking ticket, toll, or small mishap, the government will find you and fine you, guaranteed. As simple as that.

These fees can be decently expensive too. For example, my hotel manager told me a guy got fined almost $1000 USD for not wearing his mask on the street. And the cherry on top is that because people don't want to pay the fines, they rarely even commit crimes - making UAE one of the safest countries in the world.

Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum

👳🏽‍♂️ Citizen Elite: For such an impressively modern city, it’s crazy to think Dubai didn’t have electricity or a paved road until 1961.

Discovering oil opened doors for Dubai that lead to an increase in maritime activities, a real estate boom, and luxury tourism. This allowed the government to lift its people out of poverty by dealing them with some sweet unthinkable perks:

  • free health-care for life,
  • subsidized fuel,
  • access to land for free,
  • free higher education (even when pursued abroad),
  • generously-funded retirement plans,
  • one-time entrepreneur bail-out if needed,
  • and to ease marriage costs, the government will give you ~20k USD when you marry an Emirati woman.

Now, although Dubai’s population grew 569% in the last 30 years, it’s still a country with an estimated ~90% expat population. Why? Because it doesn’t matter if you were born there or have lived there all your life, the only way to get an Emirate citizenship is through nomination of the Crown courts.

2 intellectual goodies

“The best way to fight extreme weather caused by humans could be … extreme weather caused by humans.”

~ Matt Alderton, Dubai’s Answer to Real Heat Is … Fake Rain?

Dubai desert

“What is now proved was once only imagined.”

~ William Blake

1 funky audio

I imagine myself listening to this gem under the Arabian sky, drinking Arabian tea in an Arabian desert. Potentially falling in love at exactly 1min 30.

Nissim - The Gaslamp Killer

Thanks for reading.

As always, feel free to connect by hitting reply and sharing a juicy thought 💡.

We all help the curious community grow.


Jules 🤸🏻‍♂️


Learning to code is 21st century super-power. I work as a Software Engineer and teacher around the world. My purpose is to empower others by showing them what we can do with our brain, a computer and wifi.

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