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What do Mexicali and Dubai have in common?

With a bit of humor we are going to discover what two places as far apart as different, the cities of Mexicali and Dubai, have in common.

Dubai, a big city, with tall buildings, full of excesses and at the same time the religious moderation that governs the lives of its citizens. On the other hand, Mexicali, the capital of the state of Baja California, a border city, a seismic zone where there are not many tall buildings, my city. Certainly, I never would have thought that Mexicali and Dubai could have any similarity, but this changed when I visited the Arab metropolis after not being able to return to Mexicali for a long time, due to the pandemic.

I found many things that reminded me of my city and, combined with some humor, I want to answer: what do Mexicali and Dubai have in common?

What do Mexicali and Dubai have in common?

Imagine this, you arrive in a city that impresses with its tall buildings, where Arab culture is seen everywhere. For example, in the mall, you can see the call to Muslim prayer while you do your shopping. A place very different from your place of origin.

But, as strange as it may seem, maybe the reason is that I missed my city, the similarities between the two places began to be noticed, a lot.

The water comes out hot on one side, and on the other… too

This is something that those of us from Mexicali know, assume, have lived with it, and it is a fact: in hot weather, which is longer than summer, the water on the cold side comes out hot. As hot as if the water heater had been on.

Well, in Dubai it is the same. I do not dare to say that in absolutely all of Dubai it is like this, since our hotel was of a normal range; I cannot say if in the very high end hoteles en Dubai the water is chilled for the comfort of the guests.

And that of having the hot water on the cold waterside, we saw it everywhere, in the bathrooms of shopping malls and restaurants that we went to.

Every time I turned the key I remembered my city with nostalgia and I told myself that it was something that Mexicali and Dubai have in common, crazy as it may seem.

Temperatures hover in the 40s or higher

We arrived in Dubai at night, it was September, but the hot weather was still raging. As soon as I made contact with the environment, that hot air that falls heavy, and that is dry at the same time, instantly transported me to Mexicali.

Precisely those evenings, where one goes out very late when the sun has already gone, but in any case we do not get rid of suffering from the heat.

And it is that the temperatures in Dubai in hot weather are around 40 degrees or more, it is not difficult to see that the thermometer reaches 50 degrees. One of the hottest temperatures on record is from July 2002, where the city reached 52 degrees Celsius.

In Mexicali, only in 2022, on July 18 to be exact, it reached 50.1 degrees Celsius.

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The horizon is brown… we are in the desert

Although the skyline itself is very different between the two cities, for example, in Dubai you can see buildings as tall as the Burj Khalifa or the Dubai Frame, or mosques, while in Mexicali, the skyline does not have tall buildings, in both cities we can see a common factor: we are in the desert.

So, in both, that infinite light-brown mantle extends, hiding only in the areas where, very forcefully, the grass is forced to grow to put a garden or a park.

We can even see the dust rise. Yes, the one that leaves your car all dirty.

Social life takes place in shopping malls

Of course, as long as they have air conditioning. And it is an irrefutable fact that only those of us who grew up in a place like this can understand: social life takes place in shopping centers, or in any place where we do not suffer from the heat. That is one thing that society in both Mexicali and Dubai have in common.

Someone told me that it seemed quite depressing to them, and seriously, for those of us who are used to it, it is not. Of course, when I was able to travel and saw that in other places people could socialize outdoors during the day, it seemed great to me. But, also longing to go to the mall to eat some nachos with cheese.

Galeries Lafayette en Dubai Mall
Galeries Lafayette in Dubai Mall

The sun roasts the skin instantly

I know the term sounds a bit exaggerated, it’s not literally roasting, I know. But, that’s how it feels. One feels that you barely expose your skin to the sun, and it will do its thing to burn you like a chicken in the oven.

This feeling is the same in both Mexicali and Dubai, and surely in many other places with similar climates as well, but in this article I am only talking about what Mexicali and Dubai have in common.

In Dubai, loose-fitting fabrics are used that cover almost the entire body, these kinds of “robes”, the kandora for men and the abaya for women, are worn over clothing and protect from the sun’s rays. Overall, it’s not such a bad idea.

There are very few people walking in the streets

This in the sunny hours, and it goes hand in hand with the fact that you have to avoid the hours of maximum heat and that, fortunately, there are shopping centers with air conditioning to relax… without dying of heat stroke.

The roads with desert landscape, are our thing

Road with endless desert landscape, dunes, dunes and more dunes. Both Dubai and Mexicali have these landscapes, which I also saw in Iran, but it wasn’t that hot there.

As an anecdote, I can tell you that, for me, the reverse, that is, a totally green landscape, was something strange, different, and when I first saw it, I was impressed.

I know that many cities can fall into the similarities that I described in this article, but I wanted to pay homage to my hometown and, well, here it is, take it with humor.

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Olga Grijalva

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.