Working the show I was very struck by how much women in the Middle East seek skin care products. The women I met with at the show had such beautiful skin, completely flawless, no blemishes whatsoever. Sure some of them were wearing lots of make up but you have to have great skin to look completely airbrushed.
Overall I would say only about 30% of the population was dressed in the traditional "Abaya", however I did make the conscious decision to dress respectfully.
Unfortunately when I do have to travel for work, I rarely get any free time to visit. Most of the shows I attend take place in the Industrial areas or downtown areas which happen to be the most western part of the city. Personally I dislike the "touristy" areas and would rather visit historical sites, ruins or just simply the regular parts of the city, where the people and cultures actually live. I visited the Burj Khalifa (The tallest building in the world) which is also the most expensive hotel in the world. They have an elevator ride to the top but the line was ridiculously long. It was sold out for the day,and the next day as well. You have to reserve ahead of time. So a tip to you, if you want to visit, reserve your tickets in advance online. The Burj Khalifa is connected to the Dubai Mall which is also the largest shopping mall in the world. Its 3 stories and pretty much contains every chain store, fashion house in the world and every shop is over the top luxurious. I'm talking about chandeliers dripping from every corner luxurious. Even a simple store like The Gap is done over the top in Dubai. Its a whole other world out there. The downtown area of Dubai is very modern, most of the buildings are hotels, luxury apartments or financial buildings and offices. There really wasn't much "culture" there. It also doesn't feel like your far from home when there's a Kentucky Fried Chicken on every corner.
The one place that I was able to visit quickly was the Gold Souk and I was sooooo excited for this. A souk is a traditional marketplace. The Gold Souk is located in Deira which is located only about 15 minutes away from the downtown area. The Gold Souk is a labyrinth of jewelry shops where you can find the purest of gold. There's also men trying to sell you random tshirts, key chains and other random souvenirs. They are so persistent and try to lure you into their stores offering the best price. You can find any knockoff here. I didn't take many pictures because I did feel a little uncomfortable and didn't want to bring any unnecessary attention to myself. I would say about 99.9% of the vendors here were men. I really did not see any women attending any of the shops, so it was pretty intimidating walking into a small back alley shop and finding a room full of men. I never felt like I was in danger, but I was well aware I was walking around at night by myself in completely unfamiliar territory. Why risk drawing attention to myself with a $1,000 camera in my hand? It was already late so I wasn't there very long. I purchased a few souvenirs for my family and headed home. There's also a fish market, vegetable/fruit market and a spice souk but I didn't have a chance to visit those places.
Overall it was a wonderful experience and I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit. I look forward to vising the Middle East again one time.