It's really helped us learn the Arabic letters and sounds as the names of products and companies we know are phonetically translated. However, it's also interesting how many ways the exact same word can be spelled. Umm Suqeim (the most recognised spelling), which is one of the areas of Dubai, has the most variations that I've noticed. I've started to photograph the different versions; I've seen 7 so far. I am sure there will be more.
There are of course lots of misuses of English on signs, some of them that have me privately rolling on the floor, laughing my guts out, but those happen everywhere in the world, and I can hardly publicly poke fun at the person trying their best to use my language when I have next to zero command of his.
My first personal experience with signage difficulties happened when we first got here. This was hanging on the inside of our hotel door:
It said this on one side and "Please Do Not Disturb" on the other. As there was only one sign, I figured that this said, you know, "please clean the room" and hung it this side out several days in a row.
Boy, did I wonder why on earth the staff wouldn't come clean our room...
Finally those nice room staff (Selvam and Venkat, you may rember them,) brought me the other door hanger that says, in English and Arabic...you guessed it..."Please Clean the Room."
Moving on, we've all seen the bathroom signs in the USA, stick figures. Enchantingly lei'd and Hawaiian-shirted on the Islands, but usually plain, practical, and utilitarian. In the parks here they have special ones:
Love that Burqua mask. Once inside a bathroom it is not uncommon to see a sign like this:
Personally, I'm always happy to see TP at all. We Westerners are kind of weird for using it, compared to the rest of the world, anyway. This sign, before you think it was some place with old delicate plumbing, was posted in the ladies room at ACE Hardware.
They also provided a nice garbage can next to the toilet for you to put the TP in. That's not always the case either.
This next sign had me in hysterics in Jordan:
I guess that's kind of what they are...
Here is a sign all in English. Not that usual, but it was at the Sailing Club, and, like serving pork, they can do their own thing. The Humps bit is yet another of my favorite things in Dubai.
It looks like a vicious attack critter, sneaking along the ground, doesn't it? Crouched down, ready to spring?
There are speed bumps, and then there are speed humps. One day our friends let us know there are 9 bumps along the road from the freeway driving to our villa and 12 on the way back out. No question, these bumps are a constant source of irritation getting in and out of the area where we live. But as you can drive over them relatively fast in an SUV, not too huge of a deal. Not great for the car over time.
Howwever, heaven help you if you go over a speed hump without slowing down. You shall be flying, my friend! Houston, we have a problem...
While not all bumps are created equal, and some might give you a real jolt (you have to learn where those are), the humps cannot be ignored. I saw a particularly expensive sports car go over one the other day after dark. I do believe it was a Ferrari.
The driver must not have seen the unpainted hump until it was too late...the first time I went over that one, though it was signed, I didn't see it until the last second and even slamming on the brakes was sure I was going to break something on Bird Car when we came back to earth. This car came down off the other side with a crash, sparks flying everywhere.
I think I might have laughed.
The HUMPSAHEAD signs tempt even a law-abiding sort like myself as something I would very much like to have. I would also hazard a guess that the CAMEL CROSSING signs would also be pretty great crowd-pleasers. Not that one would want to steal in Dubai. Generally speaking, if you have to be a criminal, you'd have to be a really dumb criminal to try to be one here.
This next one looks like "have a nice day"
and please feel free to do so, but actually it's my favorite Arabic letter, the letter for the T sound, called taa'.
Don't you love it? Taa! Have a nice day!