I Hope the Flying Kangaroo is Male...
The SMH's travel section paints a charming picture of Dubai.
Australians travelling through Dubai have been warned they are at risk of fines or jail for cultural misdemeanours as simple as holding hands in public, swearing, harassing women with a prolonged stare or wearing inappropriate clothing.In the morals-free chase for Arab dollars, Qantas is now in bed with them.
''Just one person needs to take offence and to make a complaint and you can be in serious trouble and be held in custody for a long time if you challenge the charge,'' said Radha Stirling, founder of the non-profit organisation Detained in Dubai, which helps people in legal difficulty in the United Arab Emirates.
''It is also against the law in the UAE to share the same hotel room with someone of the opposite sex to whom you are not married or closely related,'' DFAT cautions. ''These laws apply to residents as well as visitors.''
Drinking in public or being drunk in public is another offence that can land travellers in strife. Australian travellers of Jewish background who are Israeli passport holders can only transit through Dubai and are not allowed to leave the airport because the UAE is a participant in the Arab League boycott of Israel.
"Qantas has said that Jewish and Israeli passengers will be safe transiting through Dubai, provided they don't leave the airport,'' Ms Stirling said.Well. That's okay then. Qantas has partnered with antisemites. When called on this, the spin is magnificent.
''While this is a new hub for Qantas, many Australians are already familiar with it,'' a Qantas spokesman said.
''Different rules apply in many of the countries we fly to, which is the very nature of international travel.Yes. Watch out for bag-snatchers in Europe, don't be a Jew in Dubai...
Qantas has been providing cultural training for its staff before the alliance with Emirates, advising that customer issues with UAE passengers may be best solved by a man.In the 1960s, female flight stewardesses were banned from getting married if they wanted to keep their job. Look how far they've come! You go girl. Well done Qantas.
''Don't take offence, don't continue to try and sort something out, simply hand it over to a male colleague. It doesn't matter whether you are the manager or supervisor, the fact that he is male will make all the difference,'' is the advice.
''The simple advice would be to wear respectful clothing, avoid drunkenness and use of foul language, and respect the culture of the people here.''That's good advice in every country. Oh and in Dubai, and don't be Jewish, gay or unmarried holding hands.