Why You Should Visit Dubai within Your First Year Living in the Middle East (GCC)

I’m not a big fan of cities. I’m much more of a mountains and beach kind of person. And Dubai has never really appealed to me. The skyscrapers are gorgeous but if I hadn’t started dating someone in the megacity, I probably would have gone years without visiting.

Which would have been a huge mistake.

The reason being is that for the past 8 months or so before I met that special someone, I was keeping a running grocery list of all the things I’d purchase on my first trip out of the Gulf. I mused to myself, should I visit London for Cumberland sausages and gorgeous British paperback novels from Waterstones? (wistful sigh). Or would it be Germany, where cold cuts and plentiful and good cheap wine is five euros a bottle? I imagined myself boarding a flight out of Muscat with empty suitcases and returning with a freezer suitcase full of pork, mirin, reading material, and puzzles.

In one way, I’m thankful that covid has kept me here so I didn’t waste an entire vacation on a self-imposed scavenger hunt for things which can be affordably purchased just a short road trip away.

Dubai has everything.

Now I know that Dubai has more than I’ve even seen, more than I’ve explored and I will be sure to post a shoppers guide to Dubai again in a year when I know the city better but for the moment, I’ll post a quick list of things

  • You can buy 154 grams of Waitrose pancetta for 34 AED at Spinney’s
  • Cumberland sausages are 56 AED
  • A long link (200 grams) of spicy chorizo is 21AED
  • Choithrams. a British grocery store, sells TESCO Italian roast at 454 grams for for 42 AED
  • Dubai has Ritter Sport Peppermint chocolate for 10 AED at Carrefour
  • Kinokuniya bookstore in Dubai is big enough to rival many of the Waterstone bookstores I went to in London or any of the ones I’ve visited in Hong Kong or Seattle or Berlin or Paris. I imagine that it is the biggest bookstore in the GCC
  • Paul, the French bakery chain exists in Dubai with absolutely reasonable prices on legit baguettes. They make croissants and pastries which rival the ones I had in France, mind you for a little bit more (I think the almond croissant I had was 13AED, still not bad).
  • And to quench your thirst, there’s always this place which has the best prices in the UAE since it’s in a tax free zone. They also have a pork store and sell houseplants for extremely reasonable prices compared to what I’ve seen in Oman and Muscat.

I realize of course that my list is limited to things you can buy in Dubai and even in that case, I’m probably leaving so much out.

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