About three years ago, I visited the United Arab Emirates. We went for a women’s leadership conference in Abu Dhabi. On the last day, we skipped some of the final closing speeches to go shopping because the whole time we were there, the local women were telling us we HAD to go shopping. We didn’t make it to the mall they were suggesting, because it was in Dubai, but we made it to a mall anyway. We ended up in this little corner shop stuffed full of pretty dresses. They were all distinctly western, but very beautiful and cheap. We started talking to the gentleman who ran the store and he said that he makes all the dresses himself, and had even more upstairs. He led us up this rickety staircase to an even more cramped room directly above his shop. That was where he kept the really nice dresses, the ones he sells for weddings and such. I was amazed, to say the least.
Each dress was different. Either a different cut, different color, different hand beading. Whatever. And they were all beautiful. We asked him how much they cost and he told us in dirhams what it would be. We calculated the exchange rate at the time and realized that these dresses would cost between $800 and $1200 American. Wow. I told him if I got married, I’d fly back to Abu Dhabi and shop for my dress at his store.
After the dresses, we found the gold market. Again, wow. Huge selection and they barter the price with you like they do in Mexico. I purchased a white gold ring for $40. I don’t have a picture of it, but it’s cute, although presently missing. I’ll find it though. I always do.