Firstly, we're in the fourth week of Ramadan. This is the Holy Month for Muslims, when they fast during the hours of daylight. Non-Muslims are also expected to observe the restrictions, at least in public places. Business dealings with Muslims more or less grind to a halt during this month, as people work shorter hours, and are not terribly effective anyway.
Then, on top of that, the UAE President Sheikh Zayed died on November 2nd. So we had three days of mourning for the private sector (only essential businesses like large supermarkets were open). For the Government sector and schools, the closure period is eight days. The end of this period coincides with the end of Ramadan, which is celebrated by a 4-5 day holiday called Eid Al-Fitr. The full mourning period has been declared as 40 days, and it looks like there will be no live entertainment allowed during this time, although I've not heard of any official pronouncement.
So my set-design commitment with the Dubai Drama Group is looking a bit iffy. In theory the set should be ready by Dec 3, but the performance dates fall within the 40-day period so it may have to be delayed.
Anyway, the enforced holiday has meant that people are available for painting who would normally have been working. I've been onsite for the last two days, melting in the heat and giving myself sunstroke. We got a fair bit done, and I've left them to it today with some outlines to fill in; I have to get some real work done!