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Christmas in Dubai…

ImageSo I’ve been many places for Christmas and this year it was spent in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.  Last year being in the Caribbean I thought that the Christmas feeling was sparse but being that we were in Florida every seven days I took for granted just how Christmas-y we had it.  Although we are in the U.A.E so very far from home, Dubai has a western feel in that it has many high rises, freeways and malls…Yes, malls.  Of course there are mosques and other places of interest but I can name five malls right off the bat.  The Dubai Mall, huge even for American standards has every shop that you could imagine.  From Gap to Gucci, every price level including the high end Fashion Alley and restaurants’ galore.  Outback, California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang, Macaroni Grill, just to name a few, and all within the mall.  In any case, many of these stores get their holiday decorations and so it looks somewhat like Christmas at home.  Some stores even have holiday music playing, but pretty much, that’s where it ends.  In a Muslim country it’s surprising that they even have Christmas (at least inside the malls) but outside the mall it’s pretty much nonexistent.  The holiday rush was pretty much a typical full day at the mall, nothing crazy.  The sales associates don’t really wish you a Merry Christmas, because they’re not told to or unless they’re smart and figure that you’re celebrating a holiday.  Key word smart enough…As you’re reading this I’m wondering if you’re imagining me making my transactions trying to speak Arabic or trying to figure it out while sales people in Berkas help us check out.  Well let me set you straight.  I’m sure Arabic is pretty much the official language of the U.A.E. BUT, English is spoken e-v-rywhere! I’ve actually seen the men and women of Dubai try to explain themselves to the sales associates.  I wonder how that happened?  I’ll also tell you this…the Emirates are basically run by the Filipinos.  You’ve read correctly.  Filipinos are pretty much the work force in many of the places we’ve visited.  I guess that is somewhat of an explanation of why so much English is spoken here, the second being that it is mostly a tourist area, but if you stop to think about it, it really is odd that we’re in the middle east, being taken care of by Filipinos and we don’t even have to know another language. 

I don’t know what a normal Christmas is anymore but my partner’s and mine started with brunch with friends, a day, shopping at the mall, a little farewell performance for the guest onboard the ship, and then dinner with friends at a Mexican restaurant.  And because Christmas is a family holiday, a great Skype session with ‘the family’ at my mom’s house.  If I didn’t know any better I could’ve sworn that I spent Christmas in Dubai…



The BEST holidays

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