Day 3: No, I do not want a fake designer handbag

6 Jan

Well, since Sunday is actually the first day of the week in Dubai (America, and most other places’ Monday), the mall wasn’t as busy as the past couple of days. The children went back to school after winter break and therefore there were less kids in the hula play area. We did have quite a few toddlers and children who weren’t quite old enough for school so we  had to be creative with our hoop lessons.

We resorted to rolling the hoop, teaching them to hold it and dance and putting hoops on the ground to play hopscotch. Gabbi and I had more time to jam out and catch some much needed spin time of our own since the influx of children wasn’t so major.

But, before the somewhat slow night of work, we traveled about 10 minutes from our hotel to the famous Dubai Gold Souk. A souk is a marketplace that sells textiles, food, electronics, jewelry and trinkets. It reminded me of Chinatown in New York in a sense. We weren’t looking for anything particular. We just wanted to see the old architecture in a part of Dubai that isn’t as glamourous as the skyscraper polluted downtown that hogs the press.

But, our journey there started with a rude taxi driver. We got into the cab and right after we told him where we wanted to go, he made up some nonsense about the road being blocked and dropped us off 50 feet away from our hotel. He said he couldn’t take us. We then flagged down another cab and asked him if the road block would be a problem.

“No problem. The other driver just wanted a further trip for more money,” he said.

When we got to the souk, my eyes were overwhelmed. I have trouble shopping in a simple clothing store and didn’t know how I would even begin to shop there.  As we made our way into the entrance we were bombarded by man after man asking us if we wanted Gucci, Prada or Chanel handbags. After saying “no thank you” a dozen times, I realized it was best to just ignore them, not make eye contact and press on. We had a brilliant idea that if we were to ever open a store in the market that we could make a killing by selling t-shirts reading, “No, I do not want a fake designer handbag. Don’t bother asking.”

If it wasn’t one of the fake bag men, it was a scarf man. One came behind me and wrapped the scarf around my neck trying to trap me until I bought it. I ducked away and Gabbi and I power-walked to a less harassing part of the market.

The back alleyways are what intrigued me the most. The men in their national dress, towing goods from the creek using something similar to wheelbarrow to their stores seemed like such a contrast to the sophisticated and modern malls where these wholesale items would eventually become resale at about four times the cost.

Although the handbag guys were annoying, I would encourage anyone who visits this city to put a trip to the souk on their list to see what Dubai was before all of the state-of-the-art architecture and westernized businesses. It definitely opened up my perspective and made me feel like I was in a different country not just another metropolitan city like Miami.

Until tomorrow folks!

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