Possibility of arrest in Dubai?

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I'll be in Dubai with friends for three days a year from now. I read an article recently in the NYT about western travelers being arrested for behaviors we would consider normal--holding hands, wearing shorts, consuming alcohol, being an unescorted female, being a gay couple. Can anyone put this into perspective? Also, what clothing is a western female expected (or required?) to wear? Must I cover my hair?

I wouldn't worry too much about the possibility of getting arrested in Dubai. There is already a large foreign population there. I have traveled in quite a few Muslim countries (but not to Saudi Arabia) in the last 15 years or so, and the only country where I needed to cover my hair at all times was Iran (although you will need to have a scarf for your head if you visit a mosque in Dubai). I was in Dubai 4 years ago. It is important to follow local customs and norms when you are in a foreign country which would include not wearing shorts or holding hands. I doubt you would be arrested for those actions. Any observable gay behavior probably wouldn't be tolerated. Alcohol is available but many restaurants are alcohol-free. It will be available in hotel restaurants. I wandered around Dubai during the day without my husband multiple times without incident. It might be different after dark .

Thank you for the information, Marian.

Dubai is a very safe and tolerant place. We lived there for two years and I am going back again soon for a visit. I agree with everything that Marian said, except I would feel very safe there even in the dark. In fact,
I always felt much safer there than in the USA.