Thursday, December 18, 2008

This year's Global Village

Here's what I said about last year's Global Village :

Sad to say, I was disappointed in this years Global Village. It wasn't anywhere near as interesting as last year I thought.

What I liked about it in previous years was the souk-like arrangement and atmosphere, with hundreds of stalls selling anything and everything. There were less country pavilions this year and far fewer traders.

The usual Dubai problems are the first hurdle - hardly any road signs to the event so confused motorists were adding to the chaos on the roads leading to it.

Nothing much has changed with those complaints.

I also said:

Even just after opening at 4pm there were big crowds pouring in and I assume visitor numbers are looking good for the organisers. It's still only Dh5 entrance fee, which is good value for money I think.

That's changed. For a start, the entrance fee is now Dh10. And the numbers were way, way down.

We went on Saturday and got there just before opening at 4pm. The traffic was by Dubai standards very light, the car parks were empty, we parked right ouside an entrance.

The signage is still up to, or is that down to, Dubai's usual standards of course. All over the city, tens of kilometres away, for example on Al Wasl Road, there are signs to Global Village. But when you get out of the built-up areas there aren't any. Arrive at the ever-changing roadworks around Arabian Ranches, which must be totally confusing even to people who live there, and you're on your own. In true Dubai road signage fashion, if you happen by accident to take the correct road you'll eventually see a sign that confirms it. But signs to help you take the correct road in the first place? Not a hope.

I fear the souk-like atmosphere of the original GV has gone for ever and it's turning into just another theme park.

As you'd expect, Pakistan, China, Iran have big pavilions:

The biggest is India of course, and it's probably the best presented. It still has the jumble of stalls inside so it retains some of the souk-like atmosphere missing almost everywhere else.

Once again our favourite pavilion is Yemen. That's stayed as it was before and it's a great place for sights, sounds and smells. There's some excellent produce to buy too:

So parts of GV still have the old magic, but not much of it does.


hemlock said...

love the pictures... i didnt go to GV last year... but the year before, loved syria and yemen pavillions.

Mars said...

is it at the same place as last year? near arabian ranches on emirates road?

Seabee said...

Mars, yes it's now a permanaent site, with canals and all.