For Dalia M., Global Village is much more than just a place to visit. It is a feeling. Dalia was one of the first people who walked through the gates when the entertainment destination opened for its 28th season on Wednesday evening.
She waited in line for more than an hour to visit what she described as her “happy place”. A resident of UAE since childhood, Dalia said she has visited every Global Village since its inception 28 years ago.
“This is a place where I have a lot of good memories. I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said, holding the rose that she received from Dubai Police officers, who were on the ground to welcome visitors. “It is like an emotion to be here and soak in all the lights, sounds and sights.”
Dalia, who came with a group of friends, said she tries to visit the destination as often as possible.
Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.
“My friends and I, we love to shop and eat here,” she said. “We usually come early and stay until closing time. There are so many things that you get to eat and buy only from Global Village. It is our favourite hangout spot. And we spend the summer waiting for when it will open.”
‘At least twice a week’
Dalia’s feeling was echoed by Emirati friends Mohammed and Badr, who made their way through the place a little later in the evening on Wednesday, sipping on some qahwa. “We love walking around here,” said Mohammed. “Once Global Village opens, we come here at least twice a week. We love this place.”
Badr said they would sometimes come on their own and sometimes with their wives. “My friends and I like to walk around while our wives want to shop,” he said. “So, we usually split when we get here. We walk around, pray, and then have dinner on one of the lawn areas. Then we walk around some more.”
Asked what he loves most about Global Village, Mohammed said it’s the opportunity to experience so many cultures in one place. “There are so many cultures and such a wide variety of food,” he said. “It is like being able to travel the world without getting into a plane.”
Making a pitstop
For British tourists Farhan Lohar and Shama, the Wednesday night opening was perfect. “We leave on Friday,” said Reza. “So, when we heard it was opening on Wednesday, it was just perfect for us. We didn’t have any other plans for the evening and we really wanted to bring our daughters to experience Global Village.”
The couple who often visit Dubai were bringing their 5 and 6-year-old daughters Zeeana and Eiliyah for the first time. “It is a little hot, but I loved going on the rides,” said Zeeana. When asked if she liked London or Dubai more, she confessed that she loved Dubai a little bit more.
Pakistani expats Tayyab and Dr Amna were at Global Village pushing two carts — one was a stroller with their 1 and 3-year-old children while the other was Dr Amna’s mother’s wheelchair.
“My mother is the one who enjoys Global Village the most,” she said. “She loves the variety of food, the clothes, and just about everything here. It is such a wholesome experience.”
Tayyab loves how Global Village caters to everyone. “No matter how old you are, there is something for you at Global Village,” he said. “It is such a perfect place for a day out with the family.”
Hundreds of people made a beeline for the festival park when it opened on Wednesday evening. Staff counted down to 6pm when strings of confetti, music and special dance performances welcomed them.
Murad, who runs a Turkish kebab shop at the destination, said business had been good in the first few hours. “This is the sixth year we are returning to put a stall here,” he said. “But I was not expecting so many people to turn up on the first day. Alhamdulillah, sales have been good, and I hope it will continue like that throughout the season.”
This year, the entertainment hub has begun its activities one week earlier than usual and will run until April 28, 2024.