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World of difference

Thursday, 29th July, 2010

* Joel Preston with his wife Sam and children (from left) Elle, Charli and Max visited the city after more than three years in Dubai. * Joel Preston with his wife Sam and children (from left) Elle, Charli and Max visited the city after more than three years in Dubai.

An ex-local now living in Dubai has come home to visit and says there are many differences between the two places.

Joel Preston left Broken Hill when he was 13 and moved to Adelaide with his parents and younger brother. He has been living in Dubai with his young family since 2007.
Mr Preston said coming home after living in a different country was a big culture shock.
"Obviously it's a very Muslim country and there are a lot of restrictions that come with that," he said.
"Women and men need to be dressed conservatively, no short skirts or open sort of clothing."
In Dubai, if people wish to consume alcohol in their homes they must hold a liquor licence.
"Its very hard and very expensive to purchase," Mr Preston said.
Grocery shopping is also very different, he said, as certain products which are offensive to Muslims are hidden from sight.
"You feel a little bit like some sort of criminal when you need to buy your pork; you buy it from behind a curtain basically."
He said some costs in Dubai were "horrendous" and others were fantastic compared to prices locally.
He said petrol in Dubai was cheap compared to Broken Hill, where prices can be as high as $1.32 per litre.
"I pay about $1.50 a gallon, so about 33 cents a litre for petrol," he said.
However some meals in Dubai can cost more than US$1000 for two people.
"We went to one of the local clubs the other night for dinner and the entire meal for everybody (13 people) was the same price you would pay per head in Dubai."
Originally a police officer in Adelaide, he was recruited to the Star Force team before being offered a job in security consulting.
He then moved his wife, Samantha, and three children to Dubai where they have lived ever since.
He said the Muslim culture was actually very similar to that of "country living".
"The fact that it is very family orientated, they'll do anything for anybody, they're very curious, they're very polite."
He said even though he lived overseas, he still considered Broken Hill home.
"I love Broken Hill, I still consider Broken Hill home even though I left here when I was 13," he said.
"I want my kids to be part of where I grew up and have the life that I had.
"Out in the bush and the kangaroos, my kids love the outback, they love the animals and I want them to explore this place. I still have a lot of family up here and we're still very close."
He says a lot of people know about his home town back in Dubai because he "brags" about the fact that he is from Broken Hill.
Mr Preston, his wife and three children Max (6), Charli (4) and Elle (2) spent last weekend here after some time in Adelaide with family.

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