What was it like for you when you moved to the UAE?

Our readers have their say on their early days in the UAE, dining etiquette and the neighbourhood mum-and-dad shop
DUBAI, UAE. February 10, 2015 -  Abras cruise across Dubai Creek in Dubai, February 10, 2015. (Photos by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: Mitya Underwood, Focus)
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With reference to Gemma White's story #IveBeeninDubaiSince: UAE residents share their nostalgic memories on Twitter (October 7): I've been in Dubai for 21 years. That anniversary for me was on October 6. I am from Finland. It has been amazing to see the retail expansion, construction boom, tourism drive, but also coming from a small Nordic country that regularly tops several quality indexes, it has been amazing to see this small Middle Eastern country top those indexes as well. That is always a result of long-term focus.

Tarja Yilmaz, Dubai 

I lived in Dubai for 32 years and in the UAE for 39 years. The taxi fare used to be Dh5 to Bur Dubai from Deira, also Dh5 from Plaza Cinema to Satwa. I arrived in Dubai in 1976 and worked till my retirement in 2015. The exchange rate used to be Rs2 against Dh1.
Jitendra Desai, Ahmedabad, India

When dining out, keep the mask on between courses

With regards to Janice Rodrigues's piece Covid-19 restaurant etiquette: 5 things to keep in mind when dining out during the pandemic (October 3): perhaps I shouldn't comment as the last time I was at a restaurant or cafe was February 27, though I do support local outlets by ordering for delivery, but I respectfully disagree with Chef Othman regarding guests putting away masks at the table. Friends who occasionally dine out must keep their masks on until their food is served. If they have multiple courses, the mask should go back on until the next course arrives. We must behave as though we ourselves and everyone with whom we come into contact is contagious. That is the only way to slow the spread of this coronavirus about which so much still remains unknown.

Now that the weather is cooling down, I am looking forward to a beachside lunch with a few close friends soon, and will keep my mask on while not eating. We must continue to do all we can to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and help everyone stay safe.

Elan Fabbri, Dubai

The convenience of the neighbourhood mom-and-pop store

I write to you regarding Alice Haine's report How UK supermarket Tesco's fortunes see-sawed during Covid-19 crisis (October 7): during the lockdown, people all over the world had to rely on purchases from supermarkets and e-commerce retailers. This created an impression that small grocery shops may shut down or have their business eroded. Small grocery shops, however, render valuable services to their customers.

Here in the UAE, they are conveniently located on every street. Many provide home delivery. You can order a bottle of ketchup and it is at your doorstep within minutes. Some even provide credit to loyal customers. Despite the advent of supermarkets and online shopping portals, the small mom-and-pop shops render a great service. In the UAE finding parking at the supermarkets is sometimes a challenge. So, many shoppers prefer to visit the neighbourhood grocery for daily essentials. They cannot be replaced easily, due to the service and convenience they offer.

Rajendra Aneja, Dubai