Dr. Lamees Hamdan in Dubai
PAGE 6
Thirty years ago, Dubai, the most populous state in the United Arab Emirates, was little more than a smattering of buildings spread out across the desert sand. Now, it's a bustling metropolis known as the "pearl of the Persian Gulf."

This multicultural city is home to beautiful mosques, stone streets, high-end shopping and the world's tallest building.

Dr. Lamees Hamdan, a mother of four from Dubai, lives in a five-bedroom home across the street from her aunt's and mother-in-law's houses. "It's very traditional to live close to your in-laws," she says. "I love it. I think it's great to be able to see family every day."

Go inside Lamees' home and see how her family lives. Watch

Lamees says many wealthy families in Dubai have help around the house—maids, drivers and personal chefs. "I don't do much cooking here," she says. "My mother-in-law has a chef and a central kitchen, so it's sort of like Everybody Loves Raymond, but instead of annoying mother-in-law, I actually have a very sweet one who sends me three meals a day."

But, Lamees says, not everyone in Dubai is rich. "That's the biggest misconception and the biggest myths that there are," she says. "Yes, there are the very wealthy, but there are the middle class. And there are those that are struggling on an everyday basis."

Another difference between people in Dubai and America is the way they dress. In the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim nation, Lamees says most women over the age of 60 wear body-covering dresses and a burqa, which covers the face.

Men typically wear the traditional kandura, which Lamees' husband, Shahab, says is his business suit, T-shirt and tuxedo all in one.

Despite the difference, Lamees says women in her country have a lot in common with other wives and mothers around the world. "We're all working moms. We all have the same priorities. We all face the same challenges," she says. "But I think that just because we have maybe more help here, it's a little bit easier."
FROM: Oprah on Location: The Happiest People on Earth
Published on October 21, 2009

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