Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mall of the Empty

Ah, the final stretch of the week. The weekend approaches! It’s been nice to spend a week in Dubai, without any of the stress of trips of planes, trains and automobiles. It’s been a busy week with a pitch, client meetings – the usual. One thing which has really helped me to keep the stress levels down has been walking. It is warming up here so I can see that in a month this might no longer be feasible, but as yet I’m enjoying my daily strolls to and from work.

My route takes me though the world’s biggest mall, and I remain fascinated by how deathly quiet it remains each evening when I’m walking home. Malls in Dubai are very social places. Whereas we in the UK would never dream of meeting up and hanging out in the Arndale all day/night, this is completely normal here. And it’s not just teenagers, whole families will meet up, walk around (maids behind them carrying any shopping), children either in pushchairs, or more often, running riot along the walkways.

So when I’m walking through at 7 pm, you would normally expect to see groups of families, as well as the usual shoppers. And whilst there are some people in the mall, it’s pretty deserted each night. Added to this the fact that a large proportion of the shops haven’t yet opened, and are showing no signs of developing behind their designer hoardings (Louis Vuitton, Fendi to name but a few) and you have to wonder, how on earth is this place staying afloat. The rents are enormous, apparently.

It’s s situation that I’m watching with interest, as I scoot through each day.

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