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Dodgy dealings in Dubai


Diary of a Home Bird
Ciara Galvin

IT’S been three weeks since my visit to Dubai, and as the days go by, my henna tattoo is beginning to resemble a skin condition more than body art.
I started the trip in Dublin confused, wondering why my travel itinerary said we were flying from Terminal 3. Of course, I was reading the flight route back to front. On arrival, we were met by our UK-based travel buddy ‘Miranda’ (I’m using fake names here to protect identities!).
‘Miranda’ had located our Emirati driver not by a welcome sign, but in the good-old Irish way: She walked up to him and said, ‘Are you Rahoul?’.
Dubai was a balmy 40 degrees, but with little more than the step outside our friend ‘Carrie’s’ apartment block to lounge on, you can imagine the tanning didn’t go so well.
To kick off our acclimatisation to the opulence of the city, we went for posh drinks and nibbles atop the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. So what do four Irish women in Dubai trying to fit in order on the 123rd floor of the world’s tallest building? Why taco fries of course. You can take the women out of Mayo…
The following day was the Holy Grail of events in Dubai. Brunch. Four hours of all you can eat and drink. Cue seas of expats washing down roast dinners with shots of Jägermeister (I kid you not).
To recover from the carnage that was, I spent the following day learning Arabic, and some harsh realities from my three-and-a-half-year-old niece Saoirse, who lives in Dubai.
I learned that water in arabic is ‘ma’an’ and that I have a ‘sandwich back’. Yes, you heard me. When asked what this means she simply replied, ‘It’s when you eat all the sandwiches’.
Highlights of the holiday included skiing in a shopping mall when it was 40 degrees outside,  witnessing our instructor fall on some ice, and telling him that he would ‘get the hang of it soon’.
Dubai is infamous for the ‘Karama’, markets full of dodgy-looking dealers wanting to sell you ‘Emporium Armada’ watches and ‘Roy Ban’ sunglasses. Fearing we would miss out on some quality knock-off purchases, we made our way to the location to try to haggle our way to some good deals.
It’s not easy to haggle with one dealer over a watch and another over a bag while standing in the dingy attic of a shop. I ended up raising the price of the bag myself, before the eagle eyed ‘Miranda’ spotted my mistake.
There were far too many more events to document … but perhaps there will be a Part 2.
(Eastenders cliffhanger music).

> In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old trying to get used to living away from her parents.

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