The more covered I was, the more comfortable I felt.
People are not used to seeing bare arms and legs – they stare for novelty, much more, I think, than to be sleazy, which westerners often don't understand." Accommodation Most of the women we spoke to said that although living alone was a perfectly safe and acceptable option, they felt happier finding a flatmate.
gave female expats pause for thought, demonstrating a – fortunately, rare – dark side to the sunshine lifestyle in the Gulf.
"There were hardly any single western men in the city," she said. Omani men, on the whole, are happy to date western women but not to take them home to meet the family." Serena also came across many a married man pretending to be single, a point also raised by Beth Howe.
Families are the foundation stone of Arab society, and so it follows that the Gulf region is extremely family-friendly.
Make the expat move with a spouse and children in tow, and you’ll slot relatively easily into a life filled with play-dates and school runs, and make friends through both.
However, given the Islamic faith of the Gulf states, the whole issue of dating is, inevitably, a tricky one.
Extramarital sexual relationships are illegal in the region, and kissing in public can also land you in trouble. "It’s definitely safe to date, but avoid public displays of affection," advised financial risk manager and TV presenter Rachel Pether, who lives in Abu Dhabi.