Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Dubai buy buy

Having just returned from a small (ahem) shopping trip (to Mall of the Emirates, since you ask), it has reaffirmed for me the reason why I have always loved coming here to Dubai. It is simply a very, very nice place. Whilst that adjective may seem a little weak, it seems to be the correct one to describe a place where every surface/pavement is spotless, every shop assistant or waiter/ess or security guard is unfailingly polite* and everybody seems genuinely pleased to be of service (and not in that awfully false management-have-been-on-a-course-and-have-instructed-that-we-must-now-smile-and-say-Have-A-Nice-Day way).

I'm fairly sure that this is much to do with the fact that many (OK, most) of the people here are from other countries and are doing much better than they would at home (there is no personal taxation, for example). There is also a clear (if unspoken) tier system in which the Emiratis are 'top dog' and everyone else accepts their place in the pecking order lower down. So I imagine most people look at what they have, think back to what it was like at home, realise they are really rather lucky indeed and try their hardest to be as good as they can be in their chosen occupation (from Head of the Dubai Ports Authority down to the boy who makes the chapatis in the backstreet takeaway). If you get the sack, you have no job and if you have no job, you have no sponsorship and if you have no sponsor, you have to go home.

Anyway, we had a lovely day out and what made it even better was that the UAE dirham is linked to the (weak) US dollar - I guess it's to do with the oil but I shall endeavour to find out before I return - so we are getting 7 to the pound instead of 6. Which makes everything ~15% cheaper than it was last time.

We're going to need a bigger suitcase :)

* except in Prada**, they were still terribly haughty in there, although I think they were probably Russians who were flown in specially

** it wasn't me who wanted to go in there, by the way...

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