By Ann Marie McQueen www.thenational.ae
It takes about four hours.
As I enter, the shops and eateries beckon, and my heart starts to race. All the shops! All the restaurants! Have I got the right shoes on to tackle it all? I am going to stay here for hours, I think to myself. Maybe I’ll cancel my dinner/exercise plans/random social engagement and just shop until I can’t shop anymore. Maybe I’ll buy that juicer I’ve been wanting!
Things go very well at first. I buy something I am happy with (not the juicer), have a nice late lunch and see something else I’d like to go back and look at again. Of course, I can’t find the shop it was in and grow frustrated because I’ve walked several kilometres in the wrong direction.
By now my feet hurt, and often my lower back. I am deprived of oxygen, need a bottle of water – the 160 eateries always seem to have vanished at this point – and wouldn’t mind a pass by a toilet. This is when I notice the mall is filling rapidly. Eventually, tired and thirsty and cranky, I reluctantly decide to leave. Who cares about that thing I saw? Who cares about the juicer? A mild panic sets in at how far from the exit (and taxis) I am. I wander aimlessly.
Suddenly I am in Express, trying on a skirt. It’s hot, the lights are bright. Next thing I know, I have bought three cupcakes and am carrying them in a fancy box with a spoon taped to the outside. Now I am looking at pink T-shirts with camels on them. I realise I am close to the place where the juicer is sold and so I buy it, ignoring the size, with no plan on how to transport it, and cupcakes, and pink T-shirts with camels on them, but still no water, out of this place.
I am limping now, having definitely not worn the right shoes. Why are all the seats in this mall always full? I wonder. I consider leaving the juicer behind. Many a lost journeyman has had to ditch so much more, I think.
Then, suddenly, there it is. The fountain, with those beautiful divers. I know the way! I don’t even care that I wanted that thing I can’t find but now will never get, but bought this ridiculous juicer instead. Soon, blessedly, I am in the hot car park. I am climbing into a cool car. And I am on my way to Abu Dhabi, vowing never to return – although of course I always do.
Except when it’s even bigger. Then I am definitely swearing off that place altogether. More info