Itâ€™s been over a week since I posted. The whole time I was away and out of blog range I kept on thinking, â€œI must write about that,â€ or â€œthat will make a brilliant postâ€ or, â€œI am so funny!â€ Naturally, I have come home from a foreign land and I am absolutely blank. Nothing going on, no memories of my own creative genius.
I was away in Dubai for five days for a corporate show; a fundraiser for diabetes awareness. I worked really hard, the show was a success, and then I came home. I did get to see a bit of Dubai; you canâ€™t help it, it goes past you from your car window, and it looks pretty damn amazing. That tallest building?! the one that looks like a weird sci-fi needle made of metal and glass? It is pretty magnificent. Below it is the Dubai Mall, terrifying and intimidating just for its size, not to mention the shops, labels, giant aquarium, ice rink, and spectacular musical fountains. I have to say though, that for a non-shopper like me it was all a bit daunting. And exhausting.
The people of Dubai are a most interesting mix. 90% of the 3.5 million people resident there are foreigners! 45% of those are Indian. There are people there of every shape, colour and dress, and language. I had no idea if the people I saw were tourists or residents, there for business, or making a living, and a life. Women in burkhas swish past with glittering eye make-up and huge clips holding up their hair underneath, the Muslim equivalent of a bee-hive. Men dressed in white with full headdresses have cellphone hands free earphones disturbing the white. White women in high heels are ogled by men and old ladies in saris shout and laugh. And thereâ€™s a fair amount of bling!
At Karama market, a collection of shops and stalls in a much lower class area (that reminded me of West Street in Durbs, or the Oriental Plaza) rip off perfumes and knock off designer labels are sold, and bargaining is par for the course.
Food (which I experienced mostly at breakfast at the hotel and the food court at the mall) was Indian and Middle Eastern, with everything else in between; Thai, Chinese, Italian, burgers, sushi, Turkish, you name it. and what I ate was pretty good, and relatively cheap too.
Our hotel was like any other anywhere in the world. except there was no alcohol. Alcohol can be found in Dubai, but itâ€™s a mission, and very, very expensive. And I quite enjoyed being alcohol free, in alcohol free company. Drinks literally means fruit juice. Not all the cast were as happy as I was!
Things I loved: Hand cream, shower gel and public bathroom soap all smell of lemons. Bottled water is very, very cheap. Lots of stuff is actually. The train stations are these beautiful egg shaped domes on the side of the highway. The highway concrete is all white. Flower displays defy the odds in public spaces, with sophisticated underground sprinklers keeping them alive. No stealing! You can leave your bag lying around, your cellphone on a table, your wallet on a table, and it will be there when you come back, even hours later.
Things I didnâ€™t like. Knowing that we could get into trouble for public displays of affection or being gay. The unbelievable amount of smokers everywhere. The idea that an entirely unseen workforce living in camps were just beyond eyesight.
Iâ€™d like to go back.