Posts Tagged ‘Dubai Mall’
Since we got back from England, I’ve been trying to be a really good mum. Not that I’m not always trying to be that but, let’s say, I’ve been trying to do more things together with the children, especially as DS is now that little bit older and more able to join in more fun activities without those troublesome naps and feeds getting in the way.
And one of the activities of the week was ice-skating. Long-term readers may remember that I’m a bit of a ice-skater, having taken figure-skating lessons and exams for as long as I could before getting married and leaving the UK.
Not to put too fine a point upon it: I love ice-skating.
Unfortunately: To date, my children do not.
So off we went to Dubai Mall, rented a couple of penguins for the children to hold on to, rented them skates, bundled them up, got them buckled into the skates, heaved the penguins onto the ice and…
DS, having never been before, was unpleasantly surprised by the slidy-ness (he’d been expecting some sort of miracle from the episode of Peppa Pig where George is instantly great at skating). DD, on the other hand, did her usual trick of freezing on the spot – literally blocking the entrance/exit from the ice and refusing to move from there.
To cut a long story short, it took half an hour to get DS and DD round the rink once, holding onto me, the penguin and the edge of the rink. Torville & two mini Deans, it ain’t, I thought, as I hobbled around, bent double like an arthritic old lady, chanting “one-two-three-four-gliiiide,” my visions of the children pirouetting around me dashed in one. And never mind paying for the two-hour session – after just the one lap, they’d had enough.
But then the most surprising thing happened: Today DS and DD begged to take them skating again. “We loved it,” they said. “We’ll be braver tomorrow!”
If we persist at this, maybe Torville & two mini Deans it could be. One day – in some not-too-distant century. Ha!
Edited to add: The next time we went, DD really got the hang of it. She’s now obsessed. I could get my mini Torville yet!
When my mum was here, we did a lot of touristy things. One of them, scraping the barrel somewhat given it was the third week of mum’s 15th visit to the UAE, was to take a ride on the Trolley Bus that goes around Dubai Mall.
I barely need to tell you that the ride was more for DS than it was for my mum, but she was game to play along. And it was quite sweet, I suppose, inhaling the fumes of Dubai’s morning traffic seated on the wooden benches of the open-sided bus as it dodged speeding cars and trucks.
An experience, at least.
Anyway, as we were the only passengers, the conductor decided to point out all the landmarks to us. Every hotel was described in awed tones as “FIVE-star”, so the speech went something like this:
“Old Town. Nice view Burj Khalifa. The Address Hotel – FIVE-star hotel [eyes round with wonder]… Souk Al Bahar… The Palace – FIVE-star hotel [round eyes]… Dubai Mall – World’s BIGGEST mall…. Nice view Burj Khalifa – World’s tallest building… The Pavilion –nice place… Burj Khalifa… Mazaya Centre – shopping mall…”
Um? Mazaya Centre? Is that still standing? I looked in the direction he pointed and, blow me down, he was right – if you peeped through a construction site, over a fence and across the other side of Sheikh Zayed Road’s 14 lanes, you could just make out the Madonna-bra cones of the Mazaya Centre’s roof.
By Dubai standards, this mall is a dinosaur, and not even a T-Rex at that. Even in its heyday, back in Dubai’s Jurassic period when Spinneys was still inside it, it was dingy, dark and smelly. How it’s not been demolished is a mystery; why it’s being pointed out on a tour of Downtown Dubai I’ve no idea.
But, back to the tour:
“Armani Hotel – first 15 floors of Burj Khalifa: FIVE-star hotel. Al Murooj Rotana [peers under the flyover] – FIVE-star hotel. And now back at Dubai Mall.”
Now that’s what I call a FIVE-star mall.
Yesterday, by dint of some freaky paradigm shift, I found myself alone in Dubai Mall for two hours. Yes, you read that right: Alone. In Dubai Mall. For two hours.
No pushchair. No toddler. No DD. No DH.
Just me, my credit cards and I.
This is the type of thing about which I dream. Clothes shopping, handbag shopping, cosmetics updating, a Pappa Roti bun and a coffee, possibly even a pedicure and a cheeky foot massage. The world, it was my oyster.
Normal shopping trips for me, you see, aren’t about pleasure. Usually I power-walk my way from chore to chore, DD’s feet hardly touching the ground as I drag her through the mall ticking off whatever errands we’re there to run before DS needs food / a nap / entertainment / to get out of the pushchair and fall headlong down the escalator /to vomit in someone else’s Gucci tote.
And, usually, as I whip past shop windows, I see tantalising glimpses of the stacks of treasure within. Dresses, jewellery, handbags and shoes that would change my life, if only I had time to run in and buy them. Cosmetics that would make me look 25 again. Bath products that would send me to nirvana every night.
“I’ll come back one day without the children to look at that,” I promise myself optimistically and, of course, I never do.
So, for the first time in about 100 years, there I was yesterday, in almost the largest mall in the world, with two hours to spend. So what did I do?
I know you want to know…so…
… I panic-walked about a bit, wondering what to do with my freedom, then I bought some things. A new high-back booster car seat for DS. And some pink, Barbie swimming goggles and some colourful nylon hair extensions for DD.
I can understand why you might think that ‘mum visiting + school holidays = more time for me to spend writing’ but, as I’m sure many of you know, it doesn’t work out like that. Not unless I buy mum a polyester uniform and hire her as the babysitter.
At present, I don’t even get to see the computer between 6am and 8pm. Let alone turn it on (“Try dancing naked in front of it,” says DH drily when I complain). And after 8pm, well… let’s just say DH’s had to start poking me to keep me awake, even during Masterchef Australia.
So, with mum here, just as I take off my chauffeur’s hat for the holidays, I put on my tour guide hat – something I enjoy a lot as I get an excuse to do the new touristy things.
So far this trip, we’ve been up the Burj Khalifa (the best bit for DD was the fluffy teddy bear I bought her At The Top but granny quite enjoyed the view); for a two-night break at the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri (very nice – though, as DH said when I was relaxing for two minutes by the infinity pool and enjoying the chill-out lounge music, “Are you thinking how much you’d like to come back without the children?”); and, today, around the Underwater Zoo in Dubai Mall (highly recommended; forget the sharks, the prehistoric crabs will give you nightmares).
Meantime, I’m cooking three times a day for five people; trying to keep up with my work; staying on top of the house admin (oh, laugh if you don’t own a home here. If you do, you’ll know what I mean especially as it’s service-fee and a/c cleaning season); arranging DD’s birthday; and keeping the children entertained in a hostile climate.
Given all this, is it really so terrible to fancy a gin by 5 o’clock? (I have quite a high yard-arm in my house; Tool Time fixed it for me). And my question is this: Given the large number of “desperate housewives” living in my little enclave, why doesn’t our local shop stock Slimline tonic? Why not? They’d make a fortune – especially in the school holidays.
I’m not a big fan of these upmarket department stores full of snooty sales ladies and handbags I can’t afford. Despite being invited to the opening Saks Fifth Avenue back in my fashion days, I never bonded with it. Harvey Nicks Dubai I can give or take; same with Galleries Lafayette.
But the relatively new-to-Dubai Bloomingdales has somehow wormed its way under my skin. So much so that, today, instead of parking in my usual spot in Dubai Mall’s P2 (ice rink and cinema) and walking three hours to Bloomingdales (it’s such a big mall it can be seen from space, or something), I actually figured out how to park as close as possible to Bloomies, even though it meant driving up six floors to find a space.
So what IS it about Bloomingdales? I think it’s that I always enter next to the Coach handbag concession. I get to pad over the luxe carpet and pick up the latest offering in candy-coloured leather, sniff it, feel it, put it on my arm and sigh, and no-one bugs me.
The doorman always says, ‘Afternoon,’ individually, to myself, DD, DS and to Gerlie. (Yes, today I was shopping with Gerlie in tow as I had two children who can’t walk, and hence two pushchairs), which I think is really nice.
The staff know what they’re talking about, are actively pleasant and always make me feel wanted. Dubai residents will be all too familiar with the default position of shop staff here, which is usually to make you feel like you’re interrupting their terribly important me-time. Either that, or they follow you around like you’re a shop-lifter, heavy-breathing down your neck until you’re forced to flee.
But, today, I walked into Bloomingdales looking like a frazzled mum about to turn 60 and came out looking like a 25-year-old in the first flush of love. And it’s all thanks to a handsome man who cornered me as I headed into the beautifully scented cosmetics hall, and offered to make me look gorgeous. I saw he was from Bobbi Brown and agreed. Why not?
Within seconds I was on the stool being shown how to do my eyeliner, eyebrows, blusher, concealer and lippie. I have to say, before I saw the result, I was very dubious as the beautiful lady had used cream blusher. Apart from a brief affair on a stop-over in Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2002, my experience of cream blusher began and ended – in a greasy mess – in 1985.
‘Do you like it?’ asked the handsome man, when the beautiful lady had finished her work.
‘Is it me?’ I asked, unfamiliar with the glowing youth that shone back at me. Perhaps it was a trick and they just stuck a photo of someone else on the mirror.
‘Madam, you look like a celebrity,’ breathed Gerlie. High praise indeed. I bought the lot. A shop that makes you feel better about yourself? God bless Bloomingdales.
Last night, after a couple of weeks of unseasonably hot weather, we had a much-needed and spectacular storm. As the lightning flashed away like a tourist’s camera in the distance, I sat outside on a sunbed with a glass of wine, and watched. While the thunder was still a way away, the rain started to splatter, slowly, in big, fat teardrops… then the wind started.
Oh boy, did the wind come. The trees bent double; our palm tree turned into an octopus – its branches waving in every direction. Rain and sand lashed the house. Within minutes, our street was turned into a raging river (we have no drainage system here; it doesn’t rain ‘enough’ to warrant it).
I watched a Volvo XC90 (a 4-wheel-drive) plough its way down the street, the water gushing over its bonnet and up its windscreen. I’ve not lived through a typhoon, but I think this came pretty close.
DH of course, went on ‘flood watch’. Our house – like most of the new-builds here – leaks. Usually only when the wind comes from the north-west, slapping the rain against our two-storey window – we know just where to put the towels and buckets. But tonight’s wind came from the south-west, bringing with it a whole new checklist of windows and potentially leaky balcony doors.
Spare a thought, though, for the cleaners at Dubai Mall. Just as they’d mopped up the mess from the leaky aquarium on Friday, the mall was flooded by rain.