Saturday 29 November 2014

The same, but different

Wafted here overnight on the A380's spacious upper deck, the 14 hours from Melbourne were no bother at all; though, plus the 3 hours from Auckland, the 9 hour time difference and the fact that we arrived in Dubai at around 5.30am, it still means that it's going to be a very, very long day. Never mind. The Pullman Hotel is very comfortable and accommodating, and it's also right next to the Deira City Centre Mall - adjoining, in fact, so there's not even any need to go out into what is already 27 degrees on a sunny, cloudless day.

There are very few local people who live in Dubai. They're hugely outnumbered by the ex-pats who work here and that fact, plus that the city is the hub of Emirates' huge network, means that it's a really cosmopolitan place, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the malls. This one has M&S, Debenhams, TGIF Friday, Zara, Starbucks, Carrefour, even Tim Horton's, amongst many many more. It's modern and bright and shiny, and full of all sorts of people in all sorts of dress - even the black head-to-toe robes are quite varied if you look closely and, underneath them, pretty much anything goes.
I always enjoy a good mooch around a foreign supermarket, noting the cultural differences, and the Carrefour had a big Christmas display right alongside the women's clothing with scanty tops and sexy underwear as well as cover-alls. There was also a big carpet/rug department, a section with maids'  uniforms, and a jewellery counter with lots of real gold bling. The fresh food was beautifully displayed, with heaped spices, lots and lots of nuts and dates, and very neat fruit and veg, all labelled with the country of origin. Australia is doing pretty well in this respect - for New Zealand, just the Jazz apples, which was disappointing. Could do better. I usually check out the wines in this respect, too, but obviously not here.

It was interesting too to note the courtesy policy outlined in the mall directory brochure - just in case you get carried away browsing the racks in Victoria's Secret and forget where you are.

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