Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Global Village 2008

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.

And instead of spreading the load, in true Dubai fashion all but one of the car park entrances were blocked off, so even though we'd arrived at GV we sat in a queue for forty minutes to get into the car parks.

Getting out was the same problem, just one exit open so the car parks were full of traffic all being forced onto one narrow lane and one exit. I missed most of that because a helpful attendant moved the cones from one of the blocked exits for me.

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.

It can be quite a walk from the far car parks, particularly for families with older people or with children, and it is very much a family event. The last part of the walk can be avoided if you take one of the trishaws, and there are plenty of them lined up waiting for passengers. Coming back laden down with stuff you've bought the trishaw might be a sensible idea - we walked so I don't know what they charge but I'm sure it won't be much.

We particularly liked the Yemen pavilion, it has a real souk atmosphere with the most amazing looking and smelling spice stalls right by the entrance. There's a whole row of stalls selling many different types of honey in bulk too.

As part of the future plan to have GV as a year-round permanent attraction a waterway has been added between major pavilions. There's a canal with several bridges over it and a couple of small lake areas, people sitting and resting at the waterside. And the reflection of lights on water always looks good.

While I'm sure the water will work in future the problem is that with the crowds going to GV now because it's still only a one month event, the waterway has taken out much-needed walkways. The crowds packed into either side of it and on the bridges are absolutely awful.

The crush isn't simply the huge number of people but the added facts that many have children in pushchairs, most are those huge things which are the pram equivalent of a Toyota Landcruiser, and many more are struggling with bags of their purchases.

As in previous years the Indian pavilion is the star of the show. I'm sure it's the biggest, it's full of traders and has a great atmosphere.


i*maginate said...

I don't think GV can be any better than it already is (apart from any traffic probs) if you compare it to, for example, German Xmas fairs.

Perhaps an idea to solve the prob of ppl carrying shopping around is to have a bag deposit area and charge for it. If this idea is implemented, I expect my % from the GV organisers! lol.

The Yememi stand has always been my fave for the reasons you mentioned: it has a very souk-like atmosphere. What I don't like is when they cunningly shout out "hello honey" when I leave their pavillion...it's happened to me every time I've gone there! I'd happily smack one of them with my handbag but that's hardly any defence when the area is packed with Yemeni daggers!

Keefieboy said...

'The crowds packed into either side of it and on the bridges are absolutely awful'

Authentic Venice experience!

Dark AngeL said...

Well ... I didnt bother to go this year! not excited about it anymore..

Seabee said...

Much worse than Venice Keefie, half the space and twice the number of people!

i*maginate said...

A snippet of this post, if not all, if I rem correctly, was in Em 24/7

seabee...in the house!

Seabee said...

i*, I didn't see that, when was it, do you remember?

J├╝rgen Schirrmacher said...

Indeed, I found the Yemeni pavillion very interesting, original and very captivating just like Yemen and its ancient unique history (in contrast to the relatively barren Arabia Deserta such as KSA, UAE, Kuwait to the north). As a German, I found their silver jewellery, daggers and swords a collector's delight while their fresh aromatic spices awaken the taste buds and memories of precious moments in life's brief journey. I also found their 'Hello Honey' funny and amusing.