20 May, 2007

Frugal Dubai :: New York Times

Shakespeare and Company’s stood out — because it was cheap. My friend Samira Mesbahi, a curly-haired actress from Paris, and I had spent just 113.12 dirhams, or $30.82 at a fixed exchange rate of 3.67 dirhams to the dollar.
The typical Dubai brunch, by contrast, is an affair of ritualistic excess, held in the restaurant of a five-star hotel, with an all-you-can-eat buffet of gravlax, coddled eggs, a foie gras bar, and tuna belly sliced by an eighth-generation sushi chef from Osaka.
Searching the Web, I found a fabulous deal: Villa 08. Owned by a pair of European expatriates, the three-bedroom house is in Arabian Ranches, a gated community on the distant southern edge of Dubai. On one side of the fence are swimming pools, a supermarket, a country club and rows of nearly identical villas in the style of Arabian forts. On the other side, the vast desert and burgeoning dust storm.

Villa 08’s cheapest room was $60 a night, but since there were no other guests, I was given the master suite and the run of the house.
What I wanted from Dubai was not preconceived amusements but the accidental by-products of globalization — like Club Africana, or the happy clash of cultures at a house party. Not only were they cheaper, they felt more truly Dubai than the multimillion-dollar attractions, and I counted myself fortunate my low budget had driven me to seek them out.

1 comment:

UAE Students said...

Frugal Duabi?...sounds like an Oxymoron. Nice read and good to see it was on the homepage of the NYT online edition.

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