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Guide to the Global Village ~ Africa Pavilion!

January 8th, 2012 5 comments

For the past eleven years, the Africa pavilion has been one of my favorite must-see pavilions at the Global Village. Originally there were separate pavilions for Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, etc., but now all the African countries are grouped together in one large pavilion, save for the North African countries of Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia (more about those later).

If you are unfamiliar with the Global Village, it’s a fair-like shopping event located just outside Dubai in the winter months. To know more, see my post: Dubai’s Global Village ~ Where the World Comes Together.

The first sight outside the Africa Pavilion is this group of Masai men (below). Their job is to pose for photographs (10 dirhams for 3 photos). They told me this clothing is their everyday clothes in Kenya. They also explained the earlobes of the man on the left: a prize for a lion he killed while on safari. I suspect they were pulling my leg on both accounts, but they all kept perfectly straight faces, so who knows?

On to shopping! What I love about the African Pavilion is the vast amount of unique, hand-crafted items, and the bargains galore. Most of the vendors are Kenyan, but there are other countries represented as well. I find nearly all the vendors speak excellent English and are more than willing to chat about their products: who made them, how they were crafted, and the story behind them. Some of the vendors make their own goods. It’s not surprising to see them knitting or weaving baskets between sales.

Many of the items here are 5 and 10 dirhams (less than $3), especially the small carvings of animals. In my experience, it’s a great place for children to shop—and to get lost as well, as this pavilion is big and often crowded. Here is a sample of some of the shops:

 

This woman below is from Madagascar, where she runs a basket-weaving business with natural hand dyes. I came here with three friends, and all four of us bought baskets. We love this shop.

According to my husband who has travelled to Kenya, he says the items are basically what one finds in Kenya, but cheaper. These are typical items. 

It’s also possible to find practical items, such as carved book ends, napkin rings, wooden salad tongs, carved soap stone bowls, and carved wooden bowls. I have bought many of these hand-carved salad utensils over the years. They are typically 10 dirhams ($3) a set. No need to bargain. 

I usually pick up a carved wooden salad bowl each year. Each one is different.

I also spent a lot of time in the Ethiopian coffee booth, run by two sisters from Ethiopia. They roasted a half a kilo of coffee beans for me, according to my specifications.

 

While I was waiting, I rested my feet and drank some of their coffee, dark and unsweetened, served in the Ethiopian style. Nice.

To find out more, see my posts on The Yemen Pavilion, The Iraq Pavilion, and The Turkey Pavilion.

Question: What are your impressions of the Africa Pavilion? 

Guide to the Global Village ~ Turkey Pavilion!

January 6th, 2012 4 comments

In past years at the Global Village, the Turkey pavilion has been nothing special. However, this year all I can say is Wow.

The Global Village is a shopping and cultural event located outside Dubai running during the winter months. To find out more, see my post Dubai’s Global Village ~ Where the World Comes Together.

So, this year I spent a lot of time (and money) in the Turkey pavilion. Perhaps because I was in Istanbul a few months ago, many of the traditional items called out to me. It was like I was in the Grand Bazaar all over again. (Well, sort of…)

The first thing one encounters at the Turkey pavilion is this Turkish man at the entrance selling a cherry drink. I had it and it was good.

Here’s a sample of what you can find in the Turkey pavilion. For starters: Turkish teapots and samovars:

Turkish tea sets and textiles: 

Classic Turkish lanterns:

Colorful Turkish pottery:

For me, the main event of the Turkey pavilion was the jewelry. I spent a lot of time in this booth in the back of the pavilion. The jeweler’s name is Enes and he runs a jewelry business in Istanbul. He makes many of the pieces he sells, and he has a work station set up in his booth.

I bought two pendant necklaces here—including one Hand of Fatima (hamsa) necklace. They were actually cheaper than what I saw in Istanbul.

This type of Turkish jewelry is colorful and contemporary.

Here is another nice-looking jewelry shop called “Stonebul”. By the time I reached him, I was out of money.

Of course, there’s lots of food in this pavilion. This potato chip vendor asked me to take his photo. He was very proud of his swirly chips.

Near the front entrance is a Turkish pastry shop. Again, wow. I think this was the best baklava I have ever had. It was so moist it was practically dripping. And there was no weird ghee-taste, which is often found in Arabic baklava.

Naturally, you can find Turkish delight here. Grab a box on your way out.

To find out about other pavilions, see my posts: The Yemen Pavilion and The Iraq Pavilion.

What’s your favorite thing to buy at the Global Village?

Guide to the Global Village ~ Iraq Pavilion!

January 4th, 2012 6 comments

The Iraq Pavilion at the Global Village is small and unassuming. I imagine many people walk by without a thought. However, there are some treasures inside and it’s worth a look even if you aren’t buying.

In case you don’t know, the Global Village is a Worlds’ Fair-like event located outside Dubai and runs November through February. To find out more, see my post Dubai’s Global Village ~ Where the World Comes Together.

The main attraction in the Iraq pavilion is the art. This is the real deal: original oil paintings and other art forms straight from Baghdad. Some of the art is sold directly from the artist. Here are a few of the shops.

 

The original paintings sell for about 400 dirhams to 5,000 dirhams and more.  I like this painting below (unfortunately out of my budget).

 You can have your portrait drawn if you like.

This vendor below is the artist who creates nearly everything sold in his shop. He works throughout the year and brings his pieces to the GV to sell in the winter.

But wait! There’s more. You can buy carpets in the Iraq Pavilion. (I think these are Afghani though.)

And music! This guy is selling the latest Iraqi and Arabic pop music. How can you resist? I love this photo. It reminds me that you think you know what you are going to see, but actually you don’t …

On your way out the door, you can pick up some Iraqi baked goods. Yum.

You can also read my posts  The Yemen Pavilion and The Turkey Pavilion.

Have you been to the Iraq pavilion? What is your favorite pavilion?