Temperatures have dropped from blazing hot to balmy, the turquoise waters now have a refreshing chill and the sand is just about bearable to walk on.
As winter arrives in this Persian Gulf city, the masses are thronging by the tens of thousands to its white sandy beaches, wearing, in an unlikely exercise in maritime coexistence, everything from black flowing abayas to slinky bikinis.
Thronging right alongside them are Dubai's “beach pests,” the gangs of men who trudge through the sand, fully dressed, to ogle the women.
Mostly labourers at the front lines of Dubai's building boom — toiling on manmade islands, innumerable high-rises, even a dome in the desert for the world's largest indoor snow park — they flood the beaches every weekend to leer at women, photograph them and occasionally try to grope them in the water.
“They pretend to take pic tures of their friends, but they are really taking pictures of you,” said Anika Graichen, 23, a German hotel receptionist who has lived here for three years. She lay on the beach last week trying to ignore various groups of men who passed by with their eyes locked on her.
She is almost used to them now, she said. “I think I can understand it,” she said. “It's the only place they can have a look at women.” Indeed, for the estimated 500,000 foreign workers here, the chance to spot a woman in a bikini may be hard to pass up.
The workmen have become prevalent in Dubai's public parks and beaches as their numbers have swelled, and because of the lechery-on-the-beach factor, they are especially noticeable at this time of year.
They tend to beachcomb in groups, their camera-equipped cellphones always at the ready.
Many do not know how to swim; some enter the water wearing their traditional robes, made of thin white cloth that becomes transparent when wet — and reveals far more of their anatomy than most beachgoers want to see. Incidents of physical harm to women are rare, though the police have arrested flashers and men committing lewd acts in public.
Saifi, a metalworker who would give only his first name, said he was stopped at a beach two weeks earlier.
With a giggle, he admitted that the cause for his eviction was that he had been staring at women. “Every man looks at a woman in a bathing suit when he sees her,” he said. “What can I do? I'm a normal man.”