22.04.2011 - 23.04.2011 36 °C
About 5 km from our hotel to the east we found the Mall of the Emirates. As they indicate on their website, www.malloftheemirates.com:
"Mall of the Emirates features 520 international brands, including department, fashion, lifestyle, sports, electronics and home furnishing stores and the largest Carrefour in the city. The compelling family leisure offerings include a Magic Planet family entertainment area, a 14-screen multiplex cinema, the world-renowned Ski Dubai, a five star Kempinski Hotel, The Pullman Dubai Hotel, the Mall's 500-seat DUCTAC community theatre and accompanying arts centre, and over 85 coffee shops and restaurants."
The first thing we noticed was that in the large and well organized parking garage (free for the first 4 hours on weekdays and free all the time on weekends which are Friday and Saturday) was that there is a thriving little business of people washing cars right in the parking spaces. They have little individual carts with all the necessities including a little water sprayer-they barely dampen the surface. Of course cars don't get too dirty here - they mostly get dusty as there is no rain to create mud - and don't even talk about salt, slush or snow.
Car washing in the parking garage.
We have since noted this car washing in other parking garages with the same yellow and green carts and uniforms. Uniforms are very popular here. Many fairly low level jobs provided uniforms to their employees. Remember most workers are Indians or Pakistanis who are paid very low wages so a uniform is a real perq. Lord knows what many of them would be wearing if they didn't have the uniform.
Once in the mall we were overwhelmed with the size and scope. Even reading the directory signs is a challenge. First you have to find the English side and then figure out where you are. The Arabic side is interesting because they read backwards to us. They start at the right and read to the left. The main entrance is truly magnificent. Neither the web site nor the picture below can really do it justice.
Mall of the Emirates Atrium
Even more amazing was Ski Dubai. It is quite a large section on the side of the mall. We saw that from the outside the roof looks like it is covered with aluminum - probably to reflect as much heat as possible. The place was quite busy - with a higher percentage of Emeratis than you find in the general population. They rent all the snowsuits and helmets and boots of course. It was interesting to see how many children were there. I found it quite humourous to see an Arab woman complete with the long black abaya in a black topcoat with a helmet over her head scarf watching her children. They had sleds, there is a bobsled-type area that the kids were shooting down in inflated tubes, and there was a larger straight slope area where the kids were rolling down in giant inflated "hamster balls". If you look closely at the third picture below at the top left of the slope you will see them.
Bob Sled type runs
Ski hill from the bottom (note the inflated "hamster balls" for the kids to roll down in)
There are large windows on two levels of the mall to view the ski hill. Many others were as facinated as we were to see this amazing sight.
There are a number of upscale restaurants which have even better views of the hill.
After leaving the ski area we found a store called Carrefour - which is like a Wallmart Superstore. You can get groceries and all kinds of household goods. It is large and perhaps a little more upscale than Wallmart. We were able to find a coffee maker and some other kitchen things for our apartment. We have a feeling that we will be back there more than once.