Caution to keep your cameras safe (when you’re in Dubai)

I took my friend who travelled all the way to Dubai from Japan, to Jumeirah Beach Park last January 1st. We were tired and sleepy from our late night New Year’s eve gathering but I figured, she came all the way here so she deserves to see the beautiful beach so we went despite our eyes only half open.

We brought a mat and lay it down in the sand – we had no plan to swim as the water is too cold at this time of the year. The next moment when I looked at her, she was fast asleep, right there in the wide open. I took a walk bringing along my camera, started to take photos of the sunset, the birds, the sea and some kids playing in the sand.


I thought the sunset was lovely, but then there were men in the background and my exposure was bad.

Few of the photos I took that afternoon:




I had a very nice time until I felt someone touching my shoulders.


A shirtless man with very hairy torso, in dark glasses, red shorts, with wide smile came to me, obviously having an agenda on his mind.

“What are you doing?”, he said, pointing at my camera.

At this point I almost froze. I know the rules and regulations written at the beach entrance.


It’s a little vague because people actually go to the beach armed with cameras and I have taken lots and lots of pictures of us in the beach without any problems. Actually, cameras and photo taking is allowed. What is not, is photo taking of OTHER people you don’t know. Weird I know, but I understand perfectly, if this rule is not implemented, all the men would have a new hobby of following women in bikinis on the beach (trust me there are sooo many of them on the beaches of Dubai!) and clickety-click away their fantasies.

The shirtless man continued, “Put the camera away. It is not allowed.”

I had no point to argue that I was only taking photos of the sunset or some children (not mine). I apologized and walked away – you bet it was the fastest walk I had in my whole life. I was panting. Imagine brisk walking in the sand!

I went back to my sleeping friend and told her we’ll pack up. She was drowsy, half-asleep but very obedient or was too tired to argue. In a few minutes we were out of the beach park. Whew. It was close. I have heard stories of cameras being confiscated.

But not my camera, dammit! This one I’ve been wanting for so long and finally got just last summer, the one I can’t go out without!


  1. That is actually a great rule, but one that could no be enforced over here. I am not one to take pictures of people I don’t know, but who knows how many guys go to beaches with the intent of taking pictures of women? I often wonder how many photos I am in that I don’t know about.



  2. Wow crazy. I can see that you would be scared, but what right does some rude man (with no shirt on) have to be harassing you about a rule that many people don’t follow? Seems to me he was just being an arrogant man. If he were actually in a uniform I would be more likely to listen to him. And it’s not as if you couldn’t just show them the pictures you had taken to prove you weren’t taking “illegal” photos.
    Yet another reason my husband will never be able to convince me to live over there.

    Kristas last blog post..An Imaginary Trip



  3. Hi Krista,

    Actually, the shirtless man was a POLICE! They roam the beach to patrol because there really are guys who come to the beach not for the intention to swim but to ogle at women. You know, those men (mostly laborers) who come here to work and have not seen or touched their wives for years…

    This incident however do not prevent me from living here – it’s just a minor one compared to the good reasons we enjoy living here. It’s safe, gun-free, porn-free, lots of sunshine, lovely weather (except for about 3 months in the summer, multicultural, and many more. Believe me, many American expats don’t want to go back to the US after living here for a few years!



  4. When in public people should dress in a manner that doesn’t embarrass them. LOL Over here in the USA, you can take pictures in public places. You can even take pictures of private residences if you are standing on public land but you aren’t allowed to use a high powered telephoto lens.

    There is no such thing as privacy on a PUBLIC beach here.



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