I am itching to move in to our apartment but will have to wait a few more days until Tim’s residency visa and Emirates ID come through. In the meantime I decide to spend a day in the Downtown area to see what the Old Town development is like on an average day and how I might fit in to my new environment. Is it even as nice as I remember it was?
Before I left the UK I started following a few interesting foodie places on Twitter so it’s a bonus to find that one of the ones I earmarked has a café outlet on site. Baker& Spice serves great coffee and all the fresh salads, breads and cakes look very inviting. Not as much fun without a friend to share it with though and they don’t sell those here.
I can see that I will have an opportunity to shop local, though. A Farmers’ Market outlet with lush green veg and tomatoes that look as if they might have some flavour has caught my eye. An eager customer is inside filling her basket and so I meet bubbly, friendly Monica, from Sardinia. No, she doesn’t live on this development but close enough to shop for food most days. When in Dubai, shop for food like an Italian. It’s not a bad philosophy.
I have a wander round the residential area– it’s quiet, green and relaxing, in the heart of the city, but somehow shielded from the hubbub. I shall have to take care I don’t spoil the peace by playing my favourite music.
Dubai Mall is within striking distance and the time has come to investigate the ‘centre of the world’s retail’ I am on mission to secure a hairdresser and Monica has recommended one of the salons on my hit list. Opposite Waitrose, she advises.
Now there’s Waitrose and then there’s its much, posher cousin, Waitrose in Dubai. Pyramids of fruit perfection, polished and pimped greet the casual passer-by. No tired, green plastic display areas here and because of where we are, piggy products are housed in a restricted Pork Shop at the back. The entrance to it must have been modelled on Harrods food hall. I leave without a purchase. No rush. I will have two years to give them all the money I have for a pot of yoghurt.
Shoes – that’s what I am investigating. Where to start? The Shoe District. Christian Louboutin, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Valentino, Gucci, Louis Vuitton. I could go on but you get the picture. There are a few American and European brands that are less familiar but equally top dollar. There are some beauties here but none my feet would appreciate, never mind my wallet. I look round much as I would an art gallery. This is interesting but now I would like to see some shoes that real people, take home and wear. A department store is surely the place.
I ask an assistant in Bloomingdales about where to find ‘ordinary fashion shoes’. I suppose I mean ‘high street’ but fear that term could be confusing. Two big, beautiful brown eyes widen with incomprehension and just a trace of pity. She directs me to The Souk, an area of the Mall where local traders sell clothing items, gold and jewellery. Eventually I come across a Nine West store, about the lowest down the shoe chain I can find on this first visit to Dubai Mall. I nearly purchase but hold back. Now my feet are swollen I could be making a mistake. Nothing for it, I shall have to return. The search for Ruth’s shoes continues.