Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The shopping capital of the world

Single female travel here is not advised~not because it is dangerous (it is really, really not) but rather because it is uncomfortable. The worker men just stare and stare. Not like the playful Latins or Italians, there is no accompanying ch-ch-ch! or "oye, guerita!" or anything, really. Just a somber, earnest stare that burns itself into your psyche.

Not to be melodramatic or anything.

Then there was yesterday, meeting up with a classmate of mine who grew up here, and her mother, who's been in the Middle East for 30 years. They pretty much drove me around to a ton of shopping malls and centers, and indicated that shopping is a national pastime, which it really does appear to be. I was pretty impressed, for someone who is not really impressed by shopping malls. Don't worry, you would be too. Emirates Mall comes complete with an indoor ski slope featuring a 400 meter run,
as well as a bevy of tall Persians in long white dishdashas and more ladies in long black abayas than you can shake a shwarma stick at. All of these people appear to have more money than god, and seem to rather like spending it. Unlike everyone else in Dubai, I really didn't come here to buy a bunch of stuff I don't need and can't afford, so the whole outing left me feeling a little out-of sorts. What am I doing here?

I retreated to my hotel and resumed reading a book... I really have become quite dull.

S
o, after determining rather hastily that this entire trip was a mistake, that the 20-year-old me had 20 times more balls than the 28-year-old me, and a bunch of other nonsense, I finally decided to get over it and ventured out into Dubai in a big way. What better way to break the proverbial ice (or in this case sift the sand?) than a desert safari?

I thought it sounded pretty cheesy and touristy, but what the hell? I am a tourist here, after all.
I will end this entry with a little tiny teaser. The description for the desert safari read:

  • Dune bashing
  • Sand skiing
  • Sunset in the desert
  • Camel riding
  • Arabic tea and coffee
  • BBQ dinner
  • Shisha, Henna
  • Photo with Falcon
  • Belly dancing
Timing: daily 3:30 to 9:30 pm

All this for a mere $45? And what in the world is "dune bashing?"

Intrigued, I made a phone call. The driver picked me up at a fashionably late 4pm, in a world that was surely over 110 degrees, and the rest is history!

Next chapter: Desert Safari

5 comments:

Kathy Hernandez said...

Sounds to me as if you have gotten over your jetlag and have now embarked on your big adventure.

ruminations said...

I can hardly wait for the next installment

amycue said...

Francis,

Why are you in Dubai? I love reading about your adventures but have absolutely no idea what you are doing over there. When I lived in Spain and attended the University of Barcelona there were many Arabs attending - especially Moroccans and your description of how these men can look at you is perfect! Amy

Just Peachey said...

Well, I think you are incredibly brave and your 28 year-old balls are quite intact! What an incredible adventure. Whoo! Hooo! I'm rooting for you.

Nancy said...

Amy told me to read your blog -- this is a first for me!!! She was right -- how fun. Michelle and I just got back from Manhattan (and I thought that was the shopping capital of the world! Silly me!!) Michelle and her 2 friends spent 5 entire days doing nothing but shopping (they had little money, this did little to stimulate the economy). I am waiting to see more on this blog. What a riot!