Before boarding the plane and saying goodbye to Dubai, we went back to Dubai Mall to meet up with Nduku and Mutethya’s cousin Nyiva. I can’t say enough about how huge this mall is. At 12.1 million square feet, it is the world’s largest mall in total area. One thousand and two hundred stores alone is more shopping options than some cities; The Mall of America has just under half the number of stores; Potomac Mills in Virginia, which is probably the largest mall in the area, only has 200 some stores.
We grabbed a bite to eat at [one of a couple] the food court. Dubai Mall has over 160 food and beverage outlets. And though we were 7,000 miles away from Washington, DC, the food court isn’t that much different from Potomac Mills. Even after a week, seeing Arabs lined up at McDonald’s was interesting. And then there was a place called Ribs and Rumps, but I didn’t check out the menu to see what kind of rumps they were serving. And since Dubai has everything America has, of course we’d find Church’s Chicken, but with an asterisk. In an Arabic Muslim country, church isn’t quite acceptable. And since Mosque’s Chicken doesn’t sound so tasty, it’s called Texas Chicken.
Just as Emirates Mall has an indoor ski slope, Dubai Mall also rebels against the desert with an ice skating rink. And since its so huge, why not have a waterfall as well?
When you’re walking through Dubai Mall, it’s too easy to forget you’re not in the west. Think of any common store you’ve seen in any mall in America and it’s here. If not for the traditional clothing of this part of the world — abayas, thawbs, kanduras, gishwas, burkas, kufiyas and so forth — you’d think you were in New York. You will even find the iconic I Heart NY super-sized at Dubai Mall.
Need gold in the city of gold, just find a gold dispenser! You put in your legal tender and out pops an elaborate coin in pure gold. But if it’s cash money you want, there are ATMs everywhere as well. I’m used to having to decide between English and Spanish as my language of choice. This was the first time being presented the option of Arabic. Funny how connected the world is. Thousands of miles away from a SunTrust bank but thanks to the global network, even ATMs in Dubai know my name.
Finally, we caught up with Nyiva. The cousins chatted. Najwa went berserk, wanting to walk around. A few more snaps and soon, it was time to head back to America.
And of course, before heading back to the Manjai compound to pack our bags for our trip back to the states, we had to take another glimpse at the world’s tallest structure, the Burj Khalifa.
And when the sun is setting, the fountains come on.