Late night shopping, a desert culture

Dubai Mall

I chat with my night owl friend Krista who lives in the US over random stuff. What’s nice about chatting with Krista is that in the middle of our conversations, I always end up saying, “Hey, I better blog about that!”

Here’s one of those I-better-blog-about-that stuff.

I mentioned to her that my husband sometimes work late hours and comes home when everyone’s already asleep. Well, not really sometimes. More like half of the month. There are so many times we don’t have him around for dinner or on Fridays when it’s my only day off. When he has night shift on weekends (that’s Thursday night to Saturday for you non-Middle Eastern people) he works till 1 am. There were days when his work shift was from 12 midnight to 9am. This was last year during the Eid holidays after Ramadan when Dubai thought opening the malls for 24 hours on weekends was cool. NOT.

Crazy, yes. So what does he do, what is his work that requires him to be there at midnight?

He works in a bookstore.


I can imagine Krista raising her eyebrows from the other side of the world. Thank God, she didn’t scream as she might wake up her very adorable twin girls. Or did you, Krista?

Anyway, why on Earth would a bookstore open that late at night?

You see, life is different in the desert. It’s hot at midday, like, 7-8 months in a year and people prefer to go out when the sun has gone to the other parts of the world. During Ramadan, malls are open beyond midnight because during the day when most of the people are fasting, they don’t want to go around shopping and would rather stay home and sleep.

Dubai shopping

It’s not unusual for parents to roam around the mall past 10 pm with strollers. Sigh.

But that’s the (shopping) culture in desert land, specially during the weekends. Most especially during the summer months where we have zero outdoor life and only have the temperature controlled malls for entertainment.

So there. If you’re in Dubai and have that urge to buy a book at midnight on say, a Friday, you can do so!


  1. So true! Even more strange, but practical, are the late evening park visits and picnics. Nowhere else in the world would people go to a park at night!



  2. oh yes. I clearly remember when i first landed in Dubai 2006. My flight landed in the morning, Hubby fetched me then off he went to office. He arrived past 7pm then he said we were to go out and do some home shopping. I protested a little saying it was already quarter to 8pm and stores will be soon closed – and I was itsy bitsy worried too to be going out at night. Maybe we should put it off until tomorrow when he can come home earlier.

    He laughed commenting the city is very much alive at night and it is when most people do their shopping. And that we will do just fine riding the taxi to Deira City Center.

    It was one of my first culture shock to be pushing shopping trolley at 10pm



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