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Dubai Dazzles

Dubai, desert, gold souk, gold

The Middle East has two faces. One holds on to old ‘Olive tree’ values and the other, promoting duty-free mall and family tourism. Dubai falls into the latter. The place is a heady concoction of past and the future: an upbeat city and timeless desert.

Landing at the Dubai airport, Alampreet Singh was taken back by the distinctive blend of the best of the both world - the old world charm and hospitality clubbed with the new world comfort and convenience. He was zapped to find lush green lawns in the desert. That’s how Dubai offers the visitor a fascinating kaleidoscope of contrasts.

Alam supports the view that it’s emerging as the future business destination. In a short span the way Dubai has come to that international platform is unbelievable.

“Six-lane roads, dotted with state-of-art shopping arcades, beach Museums and other high rise buildings, and aromatic food courts remind visitors of the famous Oxford Street or Madison Avenue, reviving the European experience,” says this globetrotter.

Nothing can be as bizzare as a Dubai national asking this Punjabi ‘Hore bhaji ki hal hai.’

Alam says, “At first, I was stunned to hear a person in that country talking in my mother tongue. It’s a mullti-national world.”

You are sure to bang into number of Pakis and Indians there, especially at Meena Bazzar. To get update on what’s new and hep in the Asian fashion, they all hang around at this Indian market. “You can pick up all Indian stuff there – gold, jewellery and dresses but what pulls the maximum crowd is ‘golgapa’ stall,” titters Alam.

Shopping is in itself an experience in Dubai, with large supermarkets called Souk, selling the best of a product range. “If you wanna pick gold, visit the Gold Souk that offers a whole range of designs and caratage.”

When it comes to entertainment, you cannot call Dubai unadventurous with so many carnivals simultaneously happening. Alam quips, “It’s a happening place. Carnivals are organized every now and then to keep the tourists amused. People love to be a part of festivity." There’s a lot of activity around you round the clock but it's never very stark and open. "You are even previlidged to belly dancing in this conventional-desert land but only in closed four walls of the hotel."

Purpose of Alam’s trip, besides leisure, was to have a closer look at the Knowledge Village of Bits Pilani University. In the country that fast adapting to the globalisation, the education system is also at par with the world.

“Law and order is strict,” says Alam. This keen observer was surprised to see women decked with gold moving around freely. “At any given time dames are darning kilos of gold absolutely safe and sound!”
Published: 2006-07-04
Author: Bhupinder Kohli

About the author or the publisher
•As feature writer with ‘The Times of India,’ handling special feature pages on property, personal finance and travel.
•Headed the team of ‘Times Newspaper In Education,’ the school edition of The Times of India, Chandigarh(2003-04).
•Worked as the editor-in-chief of ‘Page Three People’, a magazine focusing on socialites in Chandigarh.(2004-05).
•Freelancer with ‘Life Colours’ magazine and ‘’(2003)

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