The Middle East: A Shopaholic's Best Friend

Hello, my name is Audra and I'm a shopaholic.

I know I'm not alone. I know that you also wake up at 5am on Boxing Day and wait in line for those beautiful black patent pointed toe pumps that you have been eyeing all season. You know who you are. And if you are worried that the Middle East will not offer the same shopping experiences as your North American home, think again.

In Riyadh, you can't miss the Failsalyiah centre, especially as it is over 267 meters (876 feet) high. Inside, the ground floor is reserved for shopping and offers 150 stores carrying both international and local branded products. Here, you can even find Harvey Nicols, UK's famous luxury lifestyle store. Personally, I had my eye on the Chloe blue Paddington bag. Or there is the Kingdom Centre mall, with one of its floors reserved for women only.

If malls aren't your style (or even if they are) the souks offer a form of shopping that you can't find walking down the streets of Toronto or New York. Try your hand at bartering while you shop for Pashmina scarves, abayas, fabrics, and carpets. As you browse the shops, you will be surrounded by the intoxicating smell of spices and coffee, while truly immersing yourself in the Middle Eastern culture. Souks are easily accessible in every city and are often specific to one product such as gold, spices or fabrics. Some are so large that hired men with wheelbarrows follow the local women to collect and carry their purchases. I wonder if Macy's would ever offer a similar service for their fall sale.

Spend your day at Abu Dhabi's Dalma Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall, or Marina Mall. Or head down the road to Dubai to visit the Mall of the Emirates or Dubai Mall, and spend a day or two. (You may even wish to purchase some skis and try out "Ski Dubai" the desert's only indoor ski hill.)

Whatever your addiction, be it handbags, chandeliers, jewelry or food, you will find it at your new Middle Eastern location. Warning: withdrawal symptoms may result upon your return to North America.

Most Popular