Did you know that when you travel and you wake up in a foreign country you actually feel different. We arrived at
night so to be honest we did not see anything. I was the first to wake up, I think it was the over excitement to be honest. I wanted and opened the curtains and stepped outside to catch my first view of the harbour. Opulence is the word I would use to describe it. Truth s most people have only ever seen yachts in music videos, there were so many in front of me now it felt unreal. It was so beautiful and clearly very expensive. The way the place was built was so nice for a moment I forgot the heat. I did not to wake up Khanyi so I went to take a shower and dressed in light clothes. It’s a good thing I had packed such clothes because this place could melt you. In the room there was a handbook of rules on what women could and could not do. We were still in an Islamic country after all.
“Khanyi wake up we are not going to sleep in all day!”
I said shaking her up.
“What time is it?”
It was just before ten. She went to bath and complained about food the whole time. We found a restaurant downstairs and we at. A normal burger with no chips mind you or drink is 55AED and you think you suffer in South Africa lol, ignorance!
“Let’s do the Red Bus Tour!”
I said suddenly. From what I had read online they have a bus that drives you around town showcasing historical monuments. They had encouraged that it should be our first event because it would also teach us a lot about the country.
“Ah dude I thought the first stop would be the mall!”
“Yeah but be honest, if the mall is our first destination we would be tired in about two hours and won’t be able to do much afterwards!”
Which was true? Have you ever wonder why you get so exhausted walking in the mall? It’s those floors! You spend half the time making sure you step correctly so that you don’t slip and fall.
“Ok I get your point but we not the tourist type! This is not Paris where you take pictures at the Eiffel Tower!”
She said dismissively. I wanted to snap back and tell her that it might not be Paris but on her own her skinny ass could not have afforded to come to this place but I held it in. I did not want us to start this trip on a fight for it would only sour things but she needed to learn to be grateful.
“I want to see as much of this place as I can. I want to know that when I shop I have done all this and he next step is coming home to pass out!”
I explained to her not changing my mind.
“It’s fine let’s go then. You must put lots of sun block though otherwise it will be hectic for you out there!”
She explained. When we got to reception we asked for directions and turns out that the bus not only passes in front of the apartments the next one was 10 minutes away. It passed hourly.
“A day pass please!”
I asked the driver.
He responded gruffly. Wait, did he say 200AED. I don’t get it. Don’t these people produce oil? My logic is, in SA the price of transport is determined by the fuel price. Fuel goes up taxi fare prices go up, fuel prices go down, taxi fare prices stay up! Mzansi for you!
“For both or each?”
I asked him incredulously.
Either this guy was charging me tourist prizes or he was out of mind! He was not joking though. I paid 400 dirham which equates to r1600 to go on a bus which drives around town.
“That was expensive. We should never have taken the bus!”
Khanyi said and I totally agreed with her. It’s crazy. We stopped at the Palm Islands as our first stop. The tour guide had started giving us a history of Dubai. Highlights were it was just a desert before and in 20 years they had built what we were seeing. I won’t lie that was impressive. In 20 years in South Africa we still have kids learning under trees whilst these people were busy building sky scrapers. He emphasized that the way the place was so empty everything had to be manmade including the beaches, the islands and so on. They man made things which were natural in South Africa now imagine if they were South Africans what else would they have made with that foundation. Their king, the sheikh is so random you can bump into a shop he told us and I tried to picture Jacob Zuma entering a mall randomly without 50 body guards? Nah the thought is absurd. It will feel like a fiction movie.
“How long is Ramadan?”
Some white woman asked. I didn’t hear the first part of his response but he went on to say how Dubai was an Islamic country, very strict on religion during Ramadan all restaurants closed, only open at 6 and whether you are a tourist or local you are not allowed to drink water in public during that time.
“They must be crazy, imagine its always 50 degrees outside and you can’t drink water!”
We giggled like school kids at this. For a country so beautiful their rules were too much! Other things we saw on the tour were the Atlantis (Dolphin show), Mosque and The Market and at this stage I was quite ready to leave. I was tired and now I was like Khanyi, I wanted the mall.
It was 6pm when we got to the mall. Yes we had been gone the whole day and I am sure Khanyi hated me by now. I had the tourist bug out of me now the only thing I wanted to do was go ride a camel and do that dune thing with the 4x4s. I really wanted to do that. We got to the mall at the same as the Fountain Show starts. I promise you for a country that is a desert these people really know how to play with water. The fountain show basically is lights and water fountains synchronized to music. The lights come from the Burj Khalifa as they are close to each other. It is so spectacular even Khanyi did not complain as we stood there for the duration of the show.
Finally we entered Dubai Mall. Sigh. Arab men. What beautiful creatures they are. Their skin is like milk and that’s the closest description I have for you, milk! They are absolutely gorgeous and I could not help but wonder how they managed to create Osama Bin Laden. These were people who clearly had everything in life no wonder why the bible is from the Middle East Its crazy I tell you.
“Don’t you feel like you have entered heaven?”
Khanyi whispered to me excitedly. I did feel like it. Everything felt bigger, better, worthy.
“I don’t even know half these brands here!”
I added as we walked in wide eyed and in awe.
“I am already overwhelmed!”
Khanyi said whilst we stood in middle of well, the passage. The Dubai Mall is world’s largest mall by area with over 1200 shops yet the country has a population that’s let’s than Gauteng! Impressive! All this was designed for tourists.
“I think we need a plan, we can’t just walk blindly otherwise we will never finish it!”
I said to her.
“You intend to finish it?”
She asked me surprised by my disrespect of the place,
“How do you finish a mall this big like seriously?”
I laughed at my own ambition because much as we were spoilt for choice it’s actually not nice to have too much choice. Imagine we come from a place where Menlyn is already overwhelming and tiring because it’s so big, now this. We walked around a bit and then we saw it, the reason why ALL South African wanted to come to Dubai in the first place! This was the reason why so many girls looked and look for blessers. I did not even say it first again it was Khanyi,
Yes it was the shop of shops. I had told myself that when I come here, if I could buy a pair of these shoes I would have achieved my dreams. Red bottoms are the future and would make up for all the dignity I had lost being in this relationship.
“They put it on the ground floor just for control!”
Khanyi commented and I nodded in agreement. Imagine when you enter a mall and the first thing you see is that, its humbling.
“Let’s go in!”
I said as though we even needed an invitation. The shop is not that big, I mean hey it was never going to be an Edgars but when you walk in there is red carpet so soft you can sleep on it. Imagine, I was awed by carpet, yah neh, Africa is far.
“Look at these shoes!”
I whispered to myself as I went from shoe to shoe.
Khanyi called my name when she was standing in the sale section. She wanted to show me something. I went over to her and she picked up the shoe and said,
“Look at the price!”
I looked at it and I literally swallowed spit. We were in the sale section looking at a hideous shoe and the price was,
That was r7200 on sale. This was crazy, with r25000 that Sam had given me; I could not even afford two pairs of shoes. This money was not enough at all, it barely scratched the surface. I needed more!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for taking time to read and post my letter.
I am 38 and I am married with three kids. I got married young and my eldest is in matric this year. I have always been a woman. I had a big body growing up and although I never lacked self esteem I don’t think I was happy with myself. Two years ago I joined the gym and I started putting a lot of work into it. It was just a conscious decision. My husband was supportive at first but with time he has become insecure. I lost a lot of weight meaning I also started to dress better and shop better. When your body is slender and fit your clothes are tighter and shorter, nothing scandalous though. This draws a lot of attention and compliments from men where ever you go. My husband started to suspect that I was cheating and he would bring home study after study that showed when women changed their appearance especially when married it often suggests that they have found someone new. Before this my husband was the perfect man. He never raised his voice, he came home every day, and he never ever had a moment where I suspected him of cheating. He was a good father and well respected. Now he is moody and defensive, checks my phone and wants to know where I am all the time. I then encouraged him to join the gym, got him a trainer and the works but at 43 his body does not respond the same as mine. The fact that he is not getting into shape has become a new frustration for him. He thinks he is losing me and I don’t know how many other ways I can reassure him that’s not the case. The only fear I have is that because he will end up losing me because his possessiveness has started to scare me. Even the kids can tell their father is unhappy.
What do I do about this situation? I have never ever cheated on him and I don’t intend to either.