There are so many shopping malls here in Dubai that we still haven’t visited even half of them. In the almost 3 months that we’ve been here, we’ve checked out the Dubai Mall (of course), the Mall of the Emirates, the Marina Mall, the Wafi Mall, the Dragon Mart, and Festival City Mall. The guidebook that we purchased before moving over here rated the Ibn Battuta Mall as the #1 place to shop in Dubai, so we knew that we had to visit.
The Ibn Battuta Mall is named after the Moroccan traveler of the same name, and the mall is separated into 6 different themed areas after the places that Battuta traveled to in the 1300s. The themes are
- Egypt Court
- India Court
- China Court
- Persia Court
- Tunisia Court
- Andalusia Court
I was pretty amazed walking in because it’s very regal yet a little tacky. It reminded me of the Venetian shopping area in Las Vegas, where it’s made to look like you’re outside when really you’re inside. Some of the ceilings were painted with a blue cloudy sky and there were building facades outside of the stores.
There were animatronic elephants and travelers that didn’t do anything but just move a little bit.
We visited the mall on a Friday morning, and it was really empty. It was relaxing to be in a mall and not feel rushed by crowds, so we actually went on our first shopping spree. I got a couple of outfits at Forever 21 and H&M, and we bought Micah a Frozen book from Borders. Yes, I was so happy to see that there was a Borders! I could spend all day there.
We had a great time at the Ibn Battuta and definitely recommend it to anyone coming to visit Dubai!
Although a majority of the people here in Dubai have been incredibly friendly to us, the only people I’ve ever had problems with are a couple of taxi drivers. A few times when I’ve gone in a taxi when my husband wasn’t there, the taxi drivers take advantage of me.
One time I was visiting a friend at her home which was down one street about 5 – 10 minutes away, according to Google Maps. It was a popular area, so I knew that the taxi driver would know where to go. When Micah & I got in the taxi, the driver kept asking me questions, “So have you been here before? Do you know where it is? How much did they charge you last time you went here?” I got really uncomfortable and told him I had never been there before. Very conveniently, he “went the wrong way” and ended up taking me and Micah around a couple of freeways and turned what should have been a 10 minute drive into about 30 minutes. He knew exactly what he was doing. But I paid him the money, calmed myself down and had a great time with my friend.
Needless to say, sometimes taxi drivers give themselves a bad name, so this next occurrence really took me by surprise.
This happened when Anthony, Micah, and I were going to the Ibn Battuta mall:
We flagged down a taxi outside our apartment building, and, as we drove, our driver pulled out a newspaper from his glove compartment and asked, “Want to see my newspaper story?”
He handed us a creased copy of a newspaper article with the headline: “Honest Taxi Driver Hands Back 100K Cash Find.”
Our driver then told us how one of his passenger’s left a bag filled with over 100,000 dirhams (about $30,000) in his taxi. The driver decided to drop the bag off at the police station and the police helped locate the man to return his money. Our driver was very gracious and humble, waving off our compliments and explaining how he never wanted to keep the money (even though he only makes about $1000 a month as a taxi driver). He kept saying that God would reward him when he goes to heaven and that God wouldn’t have wanted him to steal the passenger’s hard earned money.
He got me teary-eyed because he told us that his mom raised him to be a good person and he thought about what she would tell him to do in such a situation. He said that as long as the mother is happy in the family, then everyone in the family will be happy. He kept telling Anthony, “Keep Mom happy, everyone happy!” I started nudging Anthony so he would remember that. 🙂
He also lectured Anthony & I about how we should take care of ourselves by exercising and cutting salt and cooking oils out of our diet. Anthony & I laughed but thanked him for his advice.
I was actually disappointed when we pulled up to the mall after about a fifteen minute drive. I do hope that we meet him again sometime in our two years here, but chances are we won’t. Our ride with that taxi driver really started off our day in a fantastic way, and his story continues to make me happy every time I think of it.
Note #1: A follow up to our driver’s story has been published.
Note #2: Another blogger posted his story meeting this same taxi driver, which I found to be quite the coincidence. The link to his story can be found when you click on the photo below. (The photo was taken by the blogger)