Tag Archives: cultural differences

Global Village Visit

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Had an opportunity, so we took it.  Turned out to be “Family Day”, apparently, single men cannot enter, close as I can figure.  Entry is a whopping AED10, which is $2.70, and since we had Entertainer vouchers, we saved $2.70 on entry – costing each of us $1.35 to get in, which is exactly what TBG said this experience was worth.  Yikes!  At the entrance, there were middle eastern men with their wives hanging back, waiting on him to pay and take them inside.  Folks, it’s a different culture here.  🙂

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There are a number of different countries represented here, and each has its own little pavilion area.  Some have some food places inside them to eat, but mainly, they’re shopping opportunities, theoretically from the country itself.  Were there products in the pavilion that were from that country?  Perhaps.  But it was overwhelmingly not the case, and the exact same products were available in every pavilion, especially these brightly-colored stretchy pants for women that wear less than a size 2.  Really.

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You know that women that fit into these pants, it’s my personal opinion that they haven’t eaten since Thankgiving last year.  Sheesh.  And the bedding sets, every pavilion we visited had bedding sets.  Duvet cover, fitted sheet and two pillowcases.  Every single one.

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Nothing wrong with them, just that they’re not representative of the country’s pavilion we were visiting.

Now, me?  I visited thinking “This is advertised as educational and cultural, but they have rides, so I probably will have fun”.  Of course, all the rides were closed after the horrific decapitation tragedy in January.  (http://www.7daysindubai.com/Eyewitness-relives-horror-death-Global-Village/story-17971601-detail/story.html)  So, I think my expectations were a bit lower than TBG’s – he was thinking that a country like this would likely have some exhibit like Disney’s EPCOT on steroids.

I think his comment was “The only similarity was that they both dumped you out at a gift shop.”  *shrug*  I enjoyed the shopping, and the bargaining for things…. I bought two shawls, one was seriously embroidered and quite heavy and I threw it around my shoulders immediately because it was chilly.  The other I chose was hand-loomed, a bit more delicate, pastel colors.  It’ll be perfect to keep the air-conditioning chill away this summer.

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There were a lot of really interesting abaya and burka shops, a couple of them allowed me to take photos…..

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And on one of the walkways, this gent was selling a tamarind drink out of the giant jingling teapot on his back… it REALLY struck TBG as funny, so I snapped a quick photo.  I think the gent was sullen because I didn’t want to try the tamarind drink…. But I was still munching and enjoying fresh roasted chestnuts.

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Pretty interesting glasswork, and some pillows that made me smile, and some of the most ornate serving pieces I think I’ve *ever* seen….. glass, mirror, gold and silver.  Amazing.  Way too pretty to put food on, I think.

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We were in the Jordan pavilion I believe when we stopped at a small food-serving place that had unrecognizable things to eat there.  Not surprised, I watched for a few minutes, seeing what other people were eating, and how they were eating it – there was some kind of a pizza-looking deal that got baked, then brought out, sprinkled with lemon juice and folded up.  The man behind the counter said “What will you have, Madame?”  I pointed at the pizza looking thing and said “What is that??”  He said “You will like it – for two?”  I said “Sure.”  Paid the man AED10 (about $2.70 USD) and pretty soon, had my own odd folded pizza thing – that tasted NOTHING like pizza, but had an awesome crispy kind of oven-baked bread, with a pesto-ish inside guts thing and some red and orange peppers visible…. Might have been some ground meat of some sort in there, but it was REALLY tasty!  So much that I almost forgot to take photos of it before it was all gone!

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Also, spiral potatoes on a stick.

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Across the way was a lovely fragrant display of handmade soaps and toiletries….. gorgeous.

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There was an intriguing exhibit of a Guiness book of world records for the largest book in the world, I think….. here’s a photo of TBG in front of it.  We were invited to become one of the “million signatures” for something as well…. Here’s our contribution.

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And, there *was* some sort of Cultural Show……

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The pavilion facades were interesting, and well-done.  The detail was pretty amazing, and the themeing was quite extraordinary, we thought.  Disney would have been proud of the efforts!

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And if you found yourself at the wrong gate to exit, tired of walking, there were guys on rickshaw bicycles that would ride you to your vehicle for just a few dirhams.

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But that was representative of the oddly repetitive shopping experience at Global Village.   It was a neat place, though, and I’ll go back.

Quite an honor

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TBG had an unusual invitation yesterday – he was invited to a fellow Emirati pilot’s promotion luncheon!  Now, to sort of put this into perspective, it’s really rare that expats are included in Emirati celebrations.   It’s simply a cultural issue that is a big divide to bridge.  But invited he was!  And he went.  Now for those of you that know TBG, he’s not a real big social creature.  He’ll generally go with me to some function, but it’s not his favorite thing to do.  But this?  This was different.  This was an honor.

He said “Yeah, we all sat on the floor, and ate some kind of interesting rice and goat meat dish.  Or maybe it was baby lamb.  Pretty tasty.  Had to eat it with my hands, though, and they had to show me how to do that.  I’ve never eaten rice with my fingers.  It was pretty cool.”

*Sigh*  Details, honey, I want details.  What did you talk about?  How did they ask you?  What did the food taste like?  Were there people serving you?  How was the meat seasoned?  How was it served?  What did you have to drink?  Was there entertainment?   What about the singing and dancing, was there singing and dancing?  Was there a big blanket, or did everyone sorta bring their own?  How do they sit on the floor without getting dirt stains on those blindingly-white kanduras that the UAE men wear?

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But nope.  That was all I was gonna get.  “It was pretty cool” was all he had to say.  I’m still in awe and pretty proud of TBG – this was quite an honor.  And grateful to his fellow pilot for trying to bridge that cultural gap just a bit.

EDITED TO ADD………….

Well, well, well…. It appears that TBG *does* read my blog!  He said “you never asked me all that stuff”.  Actually, I did – I think he has selective hearing…. <smile>  Anyhow, I have some additional details that I was interested in, so I’m assuming y’all are interested too!

He said there was some kind of cloth on the floor, he doesn’t know what….. and there was a man that was bringing big platters of food and placing them all around.  And, there was a bread, a giant flatbread “big as a garbage can lid”…. (*sigh*….. was that the ONLY comparision he could make??  Sheesh.)  Folks tore off pieces of it to eat as they liked.

One of the dishes he remembered was called a “biryani” which is a traditional rice dish, layered with meat and/or vegetables that have been simmered in a spicy and creamy sauce to flavor and tenderize them.  Then, they’re layered in a large dish and cooked over very low heat till the flavors are all blended, and the rice is perfect.  Now there are a ton of variations, different meats, vegetables, nuts, fruits, they can be really elaborate.  He said there were four different platters of foods.  And in order to help him eat the rice, they put a yogurt on it of some sort…. Made it sticky enough to eat.   Oh, and Seven Up or Sprite to drink.

There was conversation and laughter, but no singing or dancing….lots of congratulations and well wishes.   He said it was just a really nice meal with some interesting people, a good time, and he was glad he went.