Just returned from Dubai. Wow, must have done lots of shopping. What did you bring ?If I tell them, nothing, they will think I am being secretive. I was there for a month, went to spend some time with my daughter and nephew, who also happens to be my son in law. The picture of a Mallu coming from Dubai, dark glasses. with camera, a gold chain around his neck, a VCR. music system in his arms, shoulder bags and suit cases (largest size allowed) brimming to the full are etched in people’s mind about a gelf returnee. I think its still there that’s why the disbelief, they even wonder whether I am coming from dubai or city market.
Twenty years ago, I was there and today it has grown to an extent that I cannot find my way from one shop to another. Miles and miles of malls and malls, modern architectures,shopping outlets and eateries. Good roads, disciplined traffic, best cars, still it may take the same time to cover the same distance as in Indian cities, 2 hours for 20 KMs. One is a developed city , the other a development in progress city. Dubai has metro, monorail across the city, still….
As long as these system do not have a proper reach to various points of the city, distances are going to be measured in time and not meters or miles. This is a lesson for our cities and towns, who thinks just having metros and mono rail transport is the cure for all the ills of traffic. If we cannot have metros to reach all points in a city, at least we have to focus on a good feeder service up and down to the metro stations and good parking facilities. When the rich starts using public transport, yes, you have arrived, until then the traffic improvements will be ever playing a catch up game.
Dubai can be compared to the west in cleanliness ,high rise buildings, quality roads, latest cars and parks. At dusk, the buildings with their lights on make a lovely spectacle. Women, you can live confidently there, you can feel secured. I am not sure how the security works there, may the fear of punishment ?
Any outing, finally ended up in some mall or other like, dubai mall, dragon mall, city centre….just to name a few. They are quite a mall, large enough, simply by walking from one end to the other can tire you. I, personally, am least interested in shopping unlike my family members, though they were finding it hard to pick things which is not available back home. However they did manage to pick some gift items for friends, relatives, the help at home and her kids right from dresses to kitchen items.
I had a happy time walking along with them by looking at people (not staring, it can be an offense) from all walks of life from all over the world buzzing around. There a couple, the guy wearing a T shirt with a writing that said “Most likely to be famous”. I could not resist, went to him, I like the wordings on your T shirt, can I take a picture. He posed for me in his “Most likely to be famous” worded T shirt joyfully, feeling good. I said thank you, you are already on your way.
Dragon mall is one of the largest and I fell in love with a tiny little fan which you can plug it into your android phone, good enough to remove the sweat from your nose tip, kidding, it is face fully effective.
Took two more pictures, one a mobile cover, looked like burkha clad face with only the eyes visible, the other a tag that you can use on your luggage, especially useful to identify your bag on the airport conveyor. The tag said “not your bag”, “put it back, its mine” etc .
Scene at check in counter at the airport, returning home, ten kilo above limits, kindly remove items. Well in the panic, lot of things mainly clothes were removed and handed over to my daughter to take it back with them, so that we can travel within limits. At the immigration, oh you have overstayed one day, your one month validity was over yesterday, please go to room number 3.
At room number 3, please sit down, please have these grapes, one day overstay, 300 UAE currency (dirham) penalty, each. Well, our send off team was waiting to make sure we have gone, just outside the immigration limits, when they see me coming instead of going. Collected the cash and paid and flew emirates.
Back home, we opened our bags, I found all my pants and shirts missing. They were the ones unloaded at the check in counter to bring our luggage within limits!!! So if you see me in the same clothes, I don’t have to explain.
a comment by Lakshmi menon