Gobal Village Image Credit: © XPRESS /Michelle Sutton

 

Dubai: One of Dubai's most popular tourist destinations may also be its strangest - with products claiming to increase sexual strength, cure diabetes and a grain of rice containing the world's smallest writing - welcome to Global Weird.

Trotting across Global Village, which will come to a close on February 28, is like walking around a parallel fantasy land.

Here, you can buy honey in the country-themed pavilions of Qatar, Yemen, Pakistan, UAE and Syria, all claiming a host of health benefits. Or, you can take your pick from a number of beauty products that claim to possess science-defying qualities.

Shopkeepers at the Pakistan pavilion claim their honey can help you lose or gain weight - up to 2kg a week.

Yemen offers honey mixed with a special brew of vitamins, but it's "only for married couples," the jar says, with claims to strengthen sexual desire - 1kg for Dh250-Dh300.

In Syria, shoppers can also buy honey with vitamins, but special mixes claim to strengthen the memory, ease a nervous colon or lose all that ugly cellulite on your hips and belly, a small jar Dh75.

There's also vitamin water to cure diabetes, Dh75, or pick up a lotion that promises to whiten the skin and teeth for Dh50 each.

The Indian pavilion too is home to some eye-popping health oddities. A special magnetic belt claims to cure diabetes when worn across the belly, while a magnetic eye mask, selling for Dh100, claims to improve sight when worn at night.

Another Indian stall offers what is claimed to be the world's smallest hand-written scripture on a grain of rice for Dh10. Written by hand in minutes, right before your eyes, the grain containing the scripture is then put on a necklace or key ring.

Magic box

In Cambodia, shoppers can pick up strange domestic gadgets. Among stalls selling juicers and vacuum cleaners, you will come across a seemingly normal grater. However, this tiny gadget is a magic box doubling up as a shape cutter to turn out odd-looking vegetables and fruit in star and crinkle designs - Dh30.

Jordan claims to hold the secrets of the Dead Sea in its products. There is a mud mask, priced at Dh25, that claims to get rid of scars and pigmentation, while you can pick up a skin-whitening cream for Dh75.

While Global Village has been home to a collection of the wacky and the wonderful, since its launch in 1996, nothing could quite beat the conman who, in 2008, was trying to sell a piece of ‘magical' onyx for Dh1.8 billion, claiming it made the wearer bullet-proof. Dubai Police weren't convinced and promptly arrested the man. It later turned out that the ‘magical' onyx was nothing more than a small, standard onyx ring.

However, the world of weird has quite a following.

Visitor numbers peaked in 2004 with 5.2 million people visiting Global Village and 38 countries participating.

The current edition features more than 30 pavilions and has brought in 4.4 million visitors till date.

And judging by the XPRESS shopping bag, while Global Village may fail to make it as the Eighth Wonder of the World, its products sure make you wonder.