Where does one go on a hot summer day in Dubai when the temperature is up around 40oC? It seems everyone goes to the mall!
Dubai has many beautiful (and wonderfully air-conditioned!) shopping malls, most filled with the kind of shops you find on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Among the first of these built was the Mall of the Emirates which has more than 560 shops selling most everything you could possibly need or want. There is a large theater complex, a massive food court and many restaurants scattered around the mall as well. There are two adjoining five-star hotels — Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel — very convenient if you’re a Saudi prince in need of a shopping weekend getaway.
I had particularly wanted to visit this mall because it’s home to the famous indoor skiing venue known as Ski Dubai which, as far as I know, is unique in the world. In this large chilled enclosure visitors can put on warm jumpsuits and go downhill skiing, snow-boarding or tobogganing, or just experience what we in Canada are exposed to half of every year. The daytime temperature is kept at a relatively comfortable -3oC, but after the mall closes the refrigeration is cranked up and the temperature drops to about -15oC as new snow is made.
I didn’t expect Ski Dubai to be very busy, but I was way of the mark. Hundreds of people were waiting in line to buy tickets to experience Ski Dubai. And tickets are not cheap, around the $100 (depending on which package you want to purchase). When I thought about it, the popularity made sense for where else in the area could desert residents experience a winter climate and snow. I found out later that Ski Dubai is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai and that there are plans to enlarge it.
When you’re done with the skiing, there’s a lot of familiar comfort food nearby to help you recharge your batteries.
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