My Top Ten Life (*sanity*) Hacks for the Middle East

Ok, so these aren’t life changing, and I doubt they apply to the whole of the Middle East. They’re just some of the things here that make me smile (and rage) on a fairly frequent basis!

It’s an incredibly short shortlist, so feel free to add your own! 😀

  1. When booking a taxi, expect to be told it will take 20 mins to arrive. Expect that it will actually take anything from 5 mins to an hour. Apply this ‘hack’ to takeaways. There is an interesting correlation between the hanger levels of the residents of the abode and the time it takes for the takeaway to arrive.
  2. When you want ‘double’ sauce (or cheese, if you’re weird) on your pizza, never say it. Say extra. You will get three times the amount. Or none.
  3. When ordering tea, ensure you stipulate ‘cold milk’ at least twice. E.g. Breakfast tea with cold milk please. Cold milk. On the side. Yes, cold though, ok? This will ensure you receive tea with a full to the brim jug of scalding hot milk. Every time.
  4. When attempting to get two towels from the lovely guys at the swimming pool. Don’t waste valuable minutes of your life trying to reason that, ok yes your card doesn’t say you have dependents on it, but that doesn’t mean your husband or wife doesn’t need you to get them a towel while they go and get changed. Simply offer your card and wait for them to ask how many towels you want. This happens whenever I’m on my own. I believe it’s commonly known as Murphy’s Law, or just plain frustrating. And yes I know this is probably just Al Khor specific!
  5. When it is Summer and you are forced to park miles away from the souq/mall/park/wherever you’re going that’s inside because it’s soooo hot, there will be no golf carts in sight. There’s no hack for this. Take water. Remember you could be living in the UK.
  6. When coming through the interminable immigration queue at the airport, because you still haven’t got E-gate, go onto your phone. Click on WiFi settings. Sign in to free airport WiFi. While away the time Whatsapping and Facebooking about how awful the immigration queue is. Put a reminder in your phone to *sort out E-gate*. Whatsapp your taxi driver. He’ll tell you he’s 20 mins away. See point 1.
  7. From Spring to Summer when the temperatures soar, make sure you park in the shade. Invest in a cover to put in the windscreen. The car will still be breathtakingly hot and humid. You will feel like you’re breathing inside an oven. But, you will be able to touch the steering wheel and put your seatbelt on without second degree burns. It’s a day-maker.
  8. When you book a brunch, dinner, in fact table anywhere in any of the hotels, tell them it’s a special occasion. Anniversary is a good one, because how will they know? You won’t get lots of freebies (probably) but who doesn’t like their name and some sort of positive greeting written in chocolate sauce on a plate?
  9. If you’re in Lulu, or Carrefour, or wherever you shop and it looks like they’re running low on something you buy every week? Buy it. But it ALL. Now. Put it in the freezer. Store it. You will be assured there will be more in a few days. Do not be fooled. This is not Tesco. There are people constantly stacking the shelves. There is no ‘in the back.’ What they have is there. Buy it.
  10. When exiting a roundabout, expect the car in the left lane to want to come across and exit before you. Expect the car in the right lane to continue all the way around the roundabout. Also expect two more cars, a truck, and possibly a bike, to try and enter the roundabout through your passenger door. Expecting it won’t stop it happening, but you’ll have the smug satisfaction of being right when it does. And who doesn’t love being right?
  11. This is a bonus one, and one of my favourite things! When you pay cash at the supermarket and the cashier doesn’t have a 50 dirham coin to give as part of your change. So you get a mini pack of peanuts instead. There’s just something I love about that, and it makes me smile every time 🙂


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