Before I moved here I imagined that if people celebrated Christmas it might be done very privately, in people’s homes. But no! Christmas is the full deal here… enormous fully-lit Christmas trees in the malls, service people everywhere wishing you a ‘Merry Christmas’ and even the locals taking photographs of their kids in front of the Christmas decorations about town.
Richard and I enjoyed a quiet Christmas lunch at the Kempinksi Hotel in the Emirates Mall while looking out the window at the snow-covered indoor ski field, which was decorated with Christmas tress. It was really lovely watching the beginners and the little kids have their first lessons. They were all having a fantastic time falling over in the snow and the instructors (in their Santa hats) really took care of them.
The buffet was enormous in its scope of cuisine; Indian (really good curries, chicken tikkas and cumin rice), Indonesian (Curries and Sate), traditional turkey and roast vegetables, Chinese (stir fries, Peking duck and dim sum) , Japanese (Sashimi, salads and bento boxes) and finally, the best of the selection in our opinion, Arabian salads, white cheeses, spiced rices and pancakes as well as delicious dips sprinked with pomegranate seeds.
The deserts were all served in little portions so you could try different things and were of European quality. The little square of sacher torte I had was excellent and there were the usual mince pies and mini-plum puddings with vanilla anglaise to keep the traditionalists happy.
I didn’t try it but they also had a large profiterol pyramid with spun toffee and the largest – most GINORMOUS Pannettone (Italian Christmas cake) which looked spectacular.
It was a lovely bunch of people from all around the world. Most of the waiting staff were Philippino and the guests were local Emirati Muslims, Pakistani Sikhs, Japanese Buddhists, English, Philippino and Eastern European Christians and probably a whole lot more that could not be identified from their dress or speech. In this articial snow mall, amongst all these people eating and laughing together, the spirit of Christmas was there in a way I have never seen it before. It was unique and very positive.
Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year!