Anyone who has taken more than a few flights may know the feeling of nearly missing a flight. Or, even worse, missing a connection. Or, even much worse, missing an international connection. But those feelings pale in comparison to missing an international connection in the middle of a multistop trip, potentially subverting prebooked lodging, ground transportation, and limited availability tickets. Even in the best of circumstances, these scenarios can be a roller coaster of hope and despair.
For the months of January and February, Dubai has an official “Shopping Festival” going on, which seems to be kind of a big deal. I must say, the shopping festival here in Jan-Feb is pretty similar to the one we have in the U.S. from Nov-Dec. The largest mall in the world (Dubai Mall) was at critical mass today. Elevators were overloaded, queues at the escalators… if a fire broke out in the mall, the lower levels would be a death trap. I’m pretty sure they have occasional tramplings when the sales are good enough here, just like in the U.S. The whole atmosphere was both entertaining and exhausting. We got a little shopping of our own done and picked up some stylish new threads.
This being our first visit to an Islamic country, we’ve certainly been on a learning curve with appropriate etiquette. The difference here though is that breaches in etiquette, unintentional or not, can have some real consequences beyond causing offense. When you read about some of the very big differences in social protocol in a place like, say, Japan, explanations are often followed by a qualifier that “these rules don’t apply to foreigners” (tattoos, business card etiquette, bowing, Japanese language pleasantries). It doesn’t mean that attempting to follow local protocol isn’t good form, but it would seem that foreigners often get a pass for breaches. Not here though.