Dubai: It's the final three nights of the Global Village. On Sunday, it closes for the summer season — and the hunt is on among its multitude of visitors for last-minute bargains.
As a cultural-retail-entertainment hub, the multi-national theme park is one of must-visit sites among tourists or residents alike. It began its 21st season on 1st November 2016 and will be open until 8th April 2017.
The site has moved locations a number of times, until it finally found a home off Mohammad Bin Zayed Road. Since then, it's gone from strength to strength in terms of offerings: one can sample food, cultural treats, mementos, or simply good vibes from different continents (with 75 countries joining in 30 pavilions).
As the theme park closes for the year, many of its ardent followers are out on a hunt for things like leather jackets (Afghanistan/Pakistan pavillions), carpets (Iran), saris and sharwal pieces (India), pottery (Egypt), mosaics and glass art (Turkey/Palestine), spices (Yemen, Saudi, UAE, Oman).
Yet, there's still so much more to be had, besides the treats for the young ones, of course.
The theme park has become a favourite site even among locals.
Emirati Ali Alzaabi lives in Kalba and has been visiting Global Village since he was young. The time-honoured tradition is forever a rewarding experience, he said, because the theme park is always reinventing itself and by doing so, gives its faithful fanbase something new every season.
“I like Global Village because it’s more than just one place. You can buy things here that you can’t find outside. Every year it gets better and better,” he said. “You can eat, you can play games, and as you walk you are getting good exercise.”
An added bonus is exposure to foreign cultures, he said.
“This year, I see that there are more people in each pavilion wearing their own traditional clothing. It makes the visits to each country a lot more real, more authentic,” Alzaabi. “
Two decades after opening to the public, Global Village remains a cutting-edge entertainment destination in Dubai with a wide array of attractions that draw young patrons, according to young Emiratis.
Standing in a cool evening breeze on the sprawling grounds of the neon-lit outdoor theme park, Emiratis told Gulf News that they can always count on Global Village for a new experience that is not only keeping up with fast-paced trends but also offers a relevant traditional venue to reflect on the UAE’s place in the world.
On a more personal level, the popular destination also offers unusual keepsakes and a wholesome fun outing on the town with family and friends.
Now in its 21st edition, the multicultural outdoor theme park continues to push the envelope every year with new draws and attractions built upon the multicultural diversity of more than 75 countries spread across more than 30 pavillions.
Park managers welcomed kind words from the very people the theme park is committed to serve.
“Global village is in its 21th Season and continues to offer the best family entertainment experience in Dubai and all UAE. Hosting shows ranging from thrilling stunt shows, bespoke spectacular shows, street performances and cultural shows from around the world, Global Village vouches that families will enjoy every minute spent at the park with so much to do and see,” said Global Village in a statement.
“Global Village will host over 12,000 shows in just over five months, this season.”
Emirati Ali Alzarooni, 23, told Gulf News that as a collector of anime action figures, he is always on the lookout for unusual, hard-to-find collectibles that will improve his collection.
During his visit to Global Village, the theme park once again proved the right place to pursue his hobby after he found an action figure named Sanji.
“When I come here, there are things that I just can’t find anywhere else. I want to see things that are new and there is a lot of new stuff here,” said Alzarooni, noting that he often finds the prices far below market sticker prices elsewhere.
“It’s good, you can haggle, you can get two items for one sometimes,” he said.
Abdullah Al Harmoudi, 23, is an Emirati who lives in Sharjah and makes the drive regularly to Global Village for some exercise and to widen his understanding of other cultures via exposure to pavilions from around the world.
“It’s always a new experience when I visit, you see new things about different countries every time. You learn about things you can’t see anywhere else. You see what they (exhibitors) are weaing and you learn from them,” he said.
During a quick tour of the Egyptian pavilion, Al Harmoudi said he purchased a small bag of Egyptian seeds of high quality.
Emirati Ali Alzaabi lives in Kalba and has been visiting Global Village since he was young.
Global Village operates seven days a week and opens its gates to visitors from Saturday to Wednesday from 4pm to 12am and on Thursdays, Fridays and on public holidays until 1am.
For details, log on to globalvillage.ae