Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Says "Fatwa"

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

We hope that you are all in good spirits and getting the chance to spend the day with loved ones, of any fashion.
The Hallmark holiday is in full swing here in Dubai. I just headed over to Lamcy Plaza next to our hotel for a quick Starbucks fix, and one my way in I was confronted with a huge crowd of people. It looked like the floor of the stock exchange, men yelling, thrusting money and receipts in the air, grabbing goods at a feverish pitch. Upon further inspection, I realized that some entrepreneurial minded fellow had set up a last minute Valentine's Day kiosk in the lobby. Everything you need: flowers, cards, chocolate, and jewelry and boy, were these guys desperate!
If the innate skill of the American college student is that they can find any reason to throw a party, Dubai's skill lies in being able to justify a reason to shop. Anytime, anywhere, for any reason - shop, shop, shop - they seriously can't get enough. So you can imagine that V-Day provides just one more delightful reason to go indulge.

However, looks like our friendly neighbors to the West and South aren't quite as accepting of St. Valentine's holiday. Saudi Arabia has demanded that all shop owners remove all red items from their stores until after Valentine's Day, so the color of these items can't be seen as promoting the holiday. No joke. The only funny part is that now they have created a black-market for roses and other such gifts, sweet move guys. You can click, this link, to get the full story.

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