I was not sure what to write regarding my time in Dubai. It has been a collection of bits and bobs — small happenings and observations, many of which occurred at the Dubai Mall. Okay, I know that sounds shallow and I should not be so frivolous during Ramadan even if I am on a much-needed vacation. However, the mall was nearby and air conditioned, and there were many things to be explored and contemplated….really! (Though, I will admit to a bit of shopping as well.)
The diversity of the community here is something to see. For those who live here I am sure this is everyday for you and perhaps even a superficial view of Dubai, but it was the best people watching ever!
There were those dressed in traditional Arabic, Indian or African dress – to name just a few. And, of course, those in typical western dress ranging from mini skirts to business suits. Everyone was there together with no one ‘type’ getting odd glances or glares. Certainly there are many places in the world with a great deal of diversity, but not too many where it all seems to be so accepted. (Okay, I was a little bit judgmental about the mini skirts.)
I also visited the Aquarium and Underwater Zoo that was located, you guessed it, in the mall. I have mixed feelings about any zoo-like arena as I worry about how well any animal can live in captivity. But who doesn’t love to watch penguins swimming, jumping and waddling. And to view sharks, stingrays, jelly fish and giant spider crabs up close personal is just…cool. These are all so clearly some of the many ‘signs’ for those who choose to see.
The mall was also where I wore hijab everyday. I am becoming quite comfortable wearing hijab to the point that if feels odd to leave the hotel without wearing it. And yesterday a sales lady told me I was ‘rockin’ the covered look.’ She said this with no prompting from me I assure you!
And yes, I did spend time in other places. The most memorable being with an amazing couple to whom I was introduced via a mutual friend. They included me in two Iftars with their family and friends. They were so generous and welcoming. For me, it was a taste of the Ummah along with amazing dinners….. a sampling of what it is like to be included as a fellow Muslim, though there were non-Muslims at both dinners as well.
Finally, I had several dreams during my time here about various friends and family finding out I was Muslim. The only problem is that my dreams never showed me how they responded, just that they had found out. I guess their responses are something I will have to find out in my own time.
All in all, I feel incredibly blessed for the chance to get away and relax.
While I had a great time here, I am also thankful to be heading home. Maybe I will try rockin’ the covered look there as well. I am off to the airport now. Wish me a safe journey!
And I pray that you are all having a happy Ramadan so far.
PS: In the day during Ramadan, many of the restaurants and cafes are closed in Dubai and eating in the mall is prohibited. I felt quite bad for all the tourists. If they were not aware that they had arrived in Dubai in the middle of Ramadan, what a shock it must have been to go to any public area and find all the restaurants closed! I even saw a poor old man get busted for eating an apple in the mall. (Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone starved as I noticed several restaurants were open for take-away food and I am sure the restaurants in many hotels were still serving in the middle of the day.) But now as I head back home, I will have to forego the luxury that others will not be able to eat (at least in public) when I am fasting. I think it will be good for me though. Toughen me up after these short days of fasting. 🙂