Dubai is a city where the saving money aspect of CouchSurfing takes on more particular importance, because the cheapest hostel I could find in the entire UAE was in Sharjah (by all reports a pretty boring place) and still cost about $15 a night.
Even more than that, though, Surfing for a week with a Brit named James opened more opportunities for interesting things to do in Dubai as well as providing a bit of perspective on Emirati life.
James works as a professor at what was until two years ago an all-girl’s college. Emiratis are apparently pretty traditional in relations between men and women, so his segregated classes of Emirati girls made for pretty interesting discussion on the dynamics of his interactions with his students. Having lived in Africa for a few years, James teachers African Cinema as well.
This comes into play because as I mentioned a few posts back, the Dubai International Film Festival was going on while I was in Dubai. Not only would I probably not have known about this if not through James, but with his information and recommendations I was also able to make the most of the nights I spent at the Festival.