Sunday 6 November 2011

Cosmo diary, with dates

It's been a very cosmopolitan sort of day, literally: Dubai is that sort of place. Only 20% of the population is made up of local Emiratis, and everyone else comes from the rest of the world. My guide Tareq said (but then he would, wouldn't he?) that they all get on famously, and no-one resents the fact that the Government looks after the locals so well, giving them houses, wedding money and children money, free health care and schooling and so on - and, since no-one has to pay taxes here, perhaps they really do.

So this morning's tour took in mosques both Arab and Turkish, and this afternoon I was left to wander in that western place of pilgrimage and worship, the shopping mall. Specifically, the Dubai Mall, with 1200 shops, in which no big retail name was absent - Bloomingdales, Galeries Lafayette and, from England, Debenhams ha ha but also Marks and Spencer - and where the people-watching was epic. Every permutation of the burqa was there, and traditional clothing for the men, as well as the full gamut of western dress. There was a huge ice rink where little boys in what looked like white nightgowns pushed plastic penguins across the ice; an equally huge aquarium with sharks, rays and Kelly-Tarlton tunnels; a three-storey waterfall with diving men frozen in mid-plunge; and outside a vast artificial lake where a fountain show took place at 1pm against the backdrop of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa at 828 metres or 160+ storeys (which no, I didn't go up because you have to book). It was actually so tall that I didn't see it straight away, through not looking high enough.

There were also markets today, fish and fruit and veg (including, shockingly, kiwifruit from Iran), lots of dates - there are 300-odd varieties, all different in taste and appearance, and I also tried the fresh ones, yellow and crunchy. I saw men crouched over big copper vats stirring syrup with a wooden paddle to make a honey and date sweetmeat for the holiday of Eid tomorrow - the same one I was in India for a couple of years ago, that involved very many decorated goats there. Here there were also sheep and cows on the backs of utes being transported through the city centre, looking docile, not knowing that for them, it wasn't going to end well. I feared the doleful-looking fish in the tank beside which I ate my Chinese dinner tonight have a similar fate ahead of them, alas.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...