If the wallet doesn’t allow you to treat your Valentine to a special dinner at Burj Khalifa or a tour around town aboard a luxurious limousine on February 14th, there are countless ways to make your Valentine’s Day special without going broke.
Show your artsy side
Have a Valentine’s Day rendezvous with a touch of artistic flair. The Walk in Jumeirah Beach Residence has just been transformed into a unique outdoor art exhibition, featuring works of 30 UAE-based artists who have used the vases, pots, staircases, bridges, benches and walls in the area as canvases.
If it’s been a long time since you and your significant other have gone for a walk together, this is a great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll while you explore “urban art expressionism.”
The artists, commissioned by Dubai Culture and Xpoze, the idea factory run by Emirati women, have tied up with Dubai Properties Group to make this event, which runs until the 20th, possible.
Take your date for a ride
Thinking about a gondola ride through Venice? Don’t burn your wallet with an expensive ticket to Europe just yet.
If you go to Global Village, you can enjoy a romantic cruise on a budget aboard a traditional Emirati abra. The Global Village, which is open until March 30th, runs daily boat tours along its artificial channel, allowing visitors to enjoy the pavilion facades from a different angle.
If you’re feeling adventurous, sample a taste of India by touring the park with a rickshaw. You’ll find India’s most popular and traditional means of transport parked outside the village gate. You can hire one of them for a tour around Global Village or just to commute between the gate and your car.
Cost: Dh50 for the abra tour or Dh5 for the rickshaw ride (Note: Global Village entry free is Dh10)
Enjoy the lights
Tired of going to the mall or hanging out at cafes? Spice up your night out and bedazzle your date with a spectacular display of lights. Head to Sharjah, where a number of landmarks and monuments glitter like jewels” at night, from 7pm to 11pm, in celebration of the Light Festival.
Using the latest three-dimensional technology and art, a group of international artists have arranged to light up and transform at night the facades of 14 landmarks and monuments, including the Cultural Palace Square, Al Qasba, Khalid Lagoon, House of Justice, Central Souk, Sharjah International Airport and Sharjah University in Kalba, among others.
For those who are a bit tight on their gift budget, it’s better to save the dirhams and skip the store-bought presents. Impress your special someone with a hand-made gift instead. Anything made with great effort, though it costs a lot less, is a clear winner.
Sharon Pereira, an expat from India, recalls that one of the most cherished and romantic Valentine’s Day present she has ever received is a hand-made “scroll” bearing the lyrics of a popular love song. Her husband gave it to her in 2006 before they got married.
“My husband is generally very innovative when it comes to gifts or even when he cooks food. One of his favorite songs is “Desire” by Deepak Chopra and Demi Moore, and since he wanted to gift me something that was special and made by him, he decided to make a scroll with the lyrics of the song written on it,” Pereira says.
“What really stood out was how he managed to make it look like an ancient scroll, by soaking it in coffee overnight and then burning the paper on the edges and randomly throughout. The brown background paper with burn stains looked really beautiful. The calligraphic fonts that he used to write the lyrics just added to the overall rustic look and feel of the scroll.”
“What’s even more amazing, since this was six years ago and back in India, it only cost him an equivalent of ten or fifteen dirhams,” Pereira adds.
Cost: Less than a dozen roses
Add an element of surprise
Filipino expat Miya Billones still cherishes the Valentine’s Day of 2007 when her boyfriend, now her husband, surprised her with a not-so-pricey jewellery hidden underneath the cake icing.
“It happened in 2007 and I was pleasantly surprised,” she says. “He bought me a cake and when I was taking my slice, I found a pair of earrings underneath the icing. That was so romantic. It wasn’t an expensive jewellery (which cost about Dh250), but it was better than any pricey present as it was well thought out and the idea was very sweet,” she adds.
Cost: Less than a diamond