My adventurous friend and roommate, Gregg Silver, finally convinced me to leave the skyscrapers and excess of Dubai Marina to go to the Souqs (markets) of Old Dubai. My fear of heights barred me from going on a tour of the top of the Burj Kalifia with our other teammates. To get to the Souqs we had to take a boat to get there–a rickety boat. The scene was really old school: merchants yelling at you to come into the store, street meat and textiles everywhere. My personal space was not respected.
I had the negotiation of my life with an Afghan merchant for some special items to bring home. He tried to convince me to buy his goods based on the fact that the US and Afghanistan are friends now (“even though we fight every now and again”). I thought to talk current events, but that would have been in bad taste. When I told him I was interested in an item, his initial offer was 265 AED ($71). Gregg Silver, from the MEAN streets of Beachwood, Ohio knew I was being hustled. He also blurted out that we were from the United States and I could instantly see the Afghani reenacting Johnny Manziel’s money grabbing gesture from the NFL draft. I negotiated with this gentleman for almost 40 minutes. The negotiation lasted so long, his associate brought Gregg a chair to sit down. We adroitly got the gentleman to concede at 40 AED a piece ($11). Little did he know I was on the winning 2010 Lawrence Negotiation Moot Court Competition team at Moritz Law.
After the steely encounter he told me to friend him on facebook (what?). I can’t get Wi-Fi, but he can get Facebook?
I will admit, it took me way too long to loosen up here in Dubai. These are definitely the experiences that open up the world. For this being my first time out of the country, I was satisfied that my biggest adventure was touching down in UAE. I was mistaken in thinking that’s where the adventure ended.
I’ll admit it, I had fun and I am having fun. I guess there is more to Dubai than Lamborghini’s, beautiful women (that it may be illegal to speak with—but you can still have a wonderful time admiring from afar) and upscale hotel bars.