Image 1 of 12: Kuwaitis get tanned & towed: In Europe & abroad from the main Arab-drag, you can spot Arab nationalities by the car-plates. In the last fortnight, a Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 belonging to a Kuwaiti got towed in St Tropez. The 'supercar'-patron was subject to Europe's "draconian parking restrictions" when he abandoned his car in a taxi-spot.
Image 1 of 12: It's less museums & galleries and more casinos and booze-ups when Arabs hit the European shores. Shopping? Of course! But not a sale in sight for these ladies of leisure who like it more high-priced and high-fashion than high-street.
Image 1 of 12: Get to the back of the line? Stand behind the 'yellow' line? Overheard at the airport: "We don't queue! We're Arabs - that doesn't work with us!" (Straight from the Arabian horses mouth).
Image 1 of 12: Eye-Spy the Arab - A resident Ammani tells us that Turkish guides & hoteliers are fed up with the trail of destruction in the wake of Jordanians leaving sheesha-pipe carpet burns, towels & trash strewn beyond the room. One bus driver was heard yelling "never again, no more Arabs!"
Image 1 of 12: When on holiday, put your feet up! Don't you? Saudis in Jordan might rest their (no doubt sweaty, summer) feet on the car's dashboard, getting taxi drivers all worked up by showing the soles of their feet - a big cultural no-no, not to mention a social faux-pas, in the Levant.
Image 1 of 12: Those Gulfis are getting into trouble again but this time it's with the ladies of Lebanon. Not usually shy of a little male attention, those Lebanese girls do object to being mistaken for prostitutes. As one sex tourist put it: "I love Lebanese girl - how much?" Mistaken identity aside, randy Khalijis spend time & bucks on 'super-nightclubs'.
Image 1 of 12: Hey 'ya' big spenders: no open bus tours for Arabs abroad in London, no they have a personal guide sit in the passenger seat of their latest supercar (and at each site, they trade supercars for different models). These Arabs about town treat themselves at Harrods. London shops say the pre-Ramadan splurge is keeping business booming in recession.
Image 1 of 12: Emiratis have money to burn: they suffer the spending disease of neighboring Saudis. Emiratis spend an average of $ 3,300 abroad. Their women wear the shirwal (trousers), deciding the destination. Qataris spend the most with an average expenditure of $4,100 per day. Spending is not itself a sin but puts a shameful light on high-maintenance Arabs.
Image 1 of 12: No smoking - for Arabs too? A Levant eyewitness abroad reports an amusing tale of a Palestinian man trying to flout a smoking ban in Europe. After a hotel official asked him pleasantly to refrain from smoking on the premises, he transferred the offending cigarette from his mouth to behind his back (tell-tale sidestream smoke a deadly give away).
Image 1 of 12: In the end even other Arab tourists find Arab tourists obnoxious. One Saudi tour company said they had a lot of clients now requesting destinations where they were certain to avoid the Saudis abroad. But more than that Gulf Arabs often wish to be away from the prying eyes of their own puritanical brothers so that they can misbehave uninhibited.
Image 1 of 12: Flight and fight! Leave it to the feisty Lebanese to squabble abroad or in transit. This male altercation shook up the skies. They might be on best behavior when abroad, but no sooner than 'aboard' for home, their mischief returns and feigned civility flies out the window. The MEA crew intervened to restore peace (easier done on plane than land).
Image 1 of 12: Royalty or not, everyone has to pay their hotel bills. Not Saudi Princess Maha al-Sudairi who fled before paying her multi-million dollar fee, and regularly dodges luxury bills. She earnt our nickname "refugee princess" recently when she took to hiding out in another luxury hotel in Paris after bailing on the first. A Qatari Sheikh put her up.
Whether it's for the "pre-Ramadan Rush" as some have taken to calling it, or for the summer high season, Arabs love to flock to the European capitals and shores for shopping, spending and even drinking-splurges or gambling-sprees. All manner of sin and excess banned and shunned from their home-lives become fair-game while abroad.
It's summertime, and distinctly for Muslim world Arabs, that time of the year just before the Ramadan stay-at-home family time kicks in. Which signals just one thing for these restive Arabs who are itching to squeeze some fun and games in before they must resume best behavior in respect of the Holy Month of Ramadan - it's holiday time! Arabs are scrambling abroad for a nice spot of spending, spinning their wheels, and partying from Beirut to Europe. They come for some light (though heavy on the expenses) relief from their own intensely hot climate, and some partying before the holy season of Ramadan and abstenance and austerity take hold.
Arabs make bad tourists?
Tis the season to be disgraceful! No we're not talking about British tourists abroad this time, but still harping on Arabs and their unique bad habits, as observed from the vantage of the region that renders these editors quite fit to judge. Inspired by the notion of Arabs holidaying abroad, we thought fitting to take a look at Arabs touristic habits from Gulf to Levant.
While foreign, often recessed, markets are distinctly propped up by, specifically, Gulf lavish custom, this does not prevent benefactors from observing their less-than-desirable behavior and taking a grim view. From London to Beirut, Arab visitors leave their trail of disgrace, and with it, more than a few unimpressed foreigners. But it's not just Gulf tourists we want to talk about. Other Middle Easterners are equally culpable of giving Arabs a bad name abroad. From those North African Arabs who behave badly in France where they blemish the virtuous side of Arabs, to the Levant travellers who carry their stubborn lawless natures off to the West and attract attention for all the wrong reasons.
These tourists soak up more in purchases & forbidden pleasures than culture & exhibitions. In Lebanon "where the women are bomb" as rap-artist Pitbull puts it, you'll find Gulfis disgracing themselves by assuming all women are hookers at their disposal.
While happy to take their forthcoming cash, retailers and hospitality workers on the receiving end still have much to grumble about: "Dealing with Gulf Arabs is unlike dealing with anyone else,” said one exasperated luxury hotel employee. “We can’t check them out before four, because they don’t get up before then. Cleaning up after them is a nightmare. They spill drinks, scratch the floor, and ruin the furniture."
Thinking nothing of splashing out the odd $5,000 a day during a given shopping trip, while the credit crunch and Euro-crisis leave others stupified, these Arab visitors snub London's (unaffordable for some Britons) black cabs in favor of their own private super-mobils. But they neglect to pay their road fines, leaving behind an additional paper-trail of unpaid fines.
London and Paris are just a couple of the Gulfi playgrounds; Beirut and other Middle Eastern spots, Egypt, Syria and Morocco, more liberal than their own peninsula, get a look-in too. They often travel with their retinue of maids.
Maybe when all's said and done, Busta Rhymes' song "Arab Money" captures it best.
"We getting Arab money...
Seven star hotels, Maybach, movies.. camel toe, Gucci...Sitting in casinos while I'm gambling with Arafat...Money long, watch me purchase pieces of the Almanac..In Dubai 20 million on a villa loft. I got Middle East women and Middle East bread. I got oil well money, in the desert playing golf...Go chase short stack sheiki with a Louis scarf".
We hate to take the fun and Arab-bashing out of this exercise delivered from the heartland of the region, but it might be worth mentioning that while these Arabs live up the high life some of their fellow denizens are those same hungry people protesting, who certainly don’t have the luxury to leave their lesser kingdoms.
What do you think? Do Arabs make embarrassing tourists abroad? Do you have any stories to share - use the space below.