Global Village is on the winter calendar again this year in Dubai. An old favourite and well worth a visit. It is a theme park that opens for six months each year from the first weekend November.
Global Village – first impressions then the facts.
Its unexpectedly awesome.
Based on the array of pulses and strange fairy floss that is not sweet, Iran has become a country that I would very much like to visit. Also Yemen because of the honey; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia because of the large variety of dates, and I’ve also got a bit of a soft spot for Afghanistan because of the leather and textiles.
So from this you can probably guess that Global Village is a kind of world expo. Each country or region that is represented is housed in an elaborate pavilion. The whole of the African continent is housed inside a single, themed pavilion, while the India pavilion stands alone and is located on the edge of a Venetian canal complete with gondolas.
The Middle Eastern countries are a revelation. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seemed to be full of its own expats buying up on stylish abayas, furnishings and house goods, but also the dates. Perhaps they were from other neighbouring countries, hard to tell but it was a very popular place.
Did I mention the dates? Yes! You won’t appreciate dates fully unless you’ve eaten them from the souq.
When I think of Yemen and Afghanistan I think of countries torn apart by war. Ever since I read Dervla Murphy’s Filt Tilt I’ve wanted to visit Afghanistan and at Global Village I got a sense of what it might be like to visit once the war is finished – friendly people, the exotic honeys, heavy silver and leather jewellery and the kilims and other textiles from Afghanistan.
Also there is a man in a shop down at The Creek in Dubai who is Afghani and tells me about the beauties of places like the Bamiyan valley.
I suspect that the USA didn’t get the memo. The pavilion for the USA seemed to have quite a lot of things made in China (walk straight in, walk straight out). I was curious to see if there was any negative reaction to Trump’s politics, but the curiosity of the young guys in the American pavilion about America was equal to my curiosity about the Middle East.
Italy, France and the UK are also popular. Australia also missed the memo and I couldn’t find our pavilion and don’t think there is one – although there is a neon lit version of the Sydney Opera House. Comforting.
Now the facts :
Global Village is a theme park, and is one of a number of theme parks in Dubai. The site is huge, and at a guess by the time we left which was well before lights out on a Thursday night, there would have been at least 30,000 people there. (Thursday night is the night before the weekend starts on Friday). Forget about trying to get there on the National Day weekend around 1st & 2nd December because the crowds approach 100,000 in the evening.
27 pavilions representing 75 different countries
32 places to eat
2 fireworks shows per week.
A free show twice each night with mainly dancing.
1 concert with a featured artist every Friday night.
And this year a kids Carnival with the big wheel and other rides.
Monday is families’ day, and reading the literature if you wanted to visit on Monday you might have to borrow some children. Disclaimer: I am not advocating children stealing – I said borrow.
Tickets are cheap – AED15 per person. There are buses that go there and it is also easy by private car, Uber or taxi.
More information available on the website – http://www.globalvillage.ae/en/
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