Global Village with children
For a four months year, the shrine to tackiness that is Global Village opens. With “pavilions” offering food, handicrafts, clothes and tatty souvenirs from over 25 countries, loud fairground rides, food stands and a manmade canal running through it, it draws crowds of happy shoppers like bees to honey.
My children, who pass by it every every day on the school run, first noticed the huge Ferris wheel – then the exciting-looking rollercoasters – from the road.
For the last two years, the drive home from school has been punctuated with cries of, “Please can we go there?”
Fortunately, for over half the year, I’m able to say, “Oh, darlings, I’d love to take you but it’s is closed. Look – it’s empty. What a shame.” Other times I get away with “Oh, but sweeties, it doesn’t open till late. See, the Ferris wheel’s not turning around… it only opens after you go to bed” (white lie, white lie).
But now DD is nearly seven years old, it’s becoming more difficult to con her, especially as friends of hers have now been to Global Village. During the Christmas holidays, I agreed to take both children who, after our trip to the incredibly good-value Wonderland (see previous blog) have developed a taste for fairground rides.
So how does Global Village compare? For a start, it’s a lot more expensive. Given its general level of tackiness, I made the mistake of thinking it would be a cheap hour out. It isn’t. Entry costs Dhs 10 for over 3s, which is fine, but then rides cost anything from Dhs 10 for baby merry-go-rounds to Dhs 30 per person for the Ferris wheel and the more exciting rides. The costs quickly add up with each ride for a family of four costing Dhs 120 (£20) a pop. Shocking, isn’t it?
Need to know:
- You can’t pay cash for rides; you have to buy special tokens.
- Take small notes for the tokens, which come in increments of Dhs 5.
- Global Village opens at 4pm and fills up fast. It’s open till midnight every night, till 1am on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Monday is family day (no men without wives and/or children).
- It’s open until March 3rd 2012.
- The Ferris wheel gives a great view for miles, but only goes around twice (fast) for your Dhs 30 (£5) a head. For the claustrophobics, the cabins have a/c and also small windows that open for ventilation.
- Check the back of any unique handicrafts for “Made in Korea” stickers. Seriously.
- Don’t go unless you like crowds, being ripped off, wailing children, street snacks of dubious origin and loud music.
So, will I be going back? Probably – the kids loved it.