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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Dubai Update

Sorry, I haven't been keeping you updated the way you expect. I have forgotten to mention a few crucial things.

thing1) The weather. For about the last five days it has been overcast, rainy and windy. This was a storm passing over on its way to Pakistan. Seems to have cleared up now. I miss it.

thing 2) Dubai Shopping Festival. AKA TrafficFest. The ShopFest was inuagerated 10 years ago. It has grown and grown and grown. As a shopping agnostic, I find the whole thing astonishing. But gazillions of people really do come here every year, just to buy stuff. They think they're getting bargains, and who am I to argue? And while they're here they spend lots of money on peripheral stuff. There's lots of street entertainment and things going on, and it's a bit of a carnival-type thang. One of the big attractions has always been the Global Village (see, not even a city!). The venue for this has shifted several times since the inception of the Festival, and this year, for the first time, it has a new location beside the Emirates Road. This should ease the traffic congestion in town, but actually it just moves it elsewhere.

BetterArf went there this evening with a work colleague. They planned to get there at 6pm, have a mooch around and then go to see a modern circus show called 'Aga Boom' at 9 o'clock. 2 hour show. So at 11.30, she called to say she was in the car on the way out. Half an hour later, they'd moved 500 meters. It's now 1.15 and I've just called her - she's about 10 minutes away. Unbelievable! It's not as if it's a long way away - in normal conditions you could get there from here in 15 minutes.

But at least the Global Village now has a permanent site, and hopefully in years to come the rail system will have a station there. When that happens, I might be up for a visit!

Long live the TrafficFest!

UPDATE
Shopfest organisers have announced that the Global Village had 250,000 visitors yesterday and 200,000 the day before. Gulf News reported a 10km tailback on the Emirates Road from about 8 pm until midnight. The Global Village closes at 1am. Victims of their own success, methinks.

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