Much of the time when we are presented with ideas of women living in the Middle East, many of us have been fed a very specific type of judgement on the lives they live, the clothes they love, or even what they chat about at dinner. Desert Mannequin’s Anum Bashir is part of a generation of female creators in the Middle East who are changing that narrative. Continuing our Hour to Kill series, who better to tell us about what to do in Dubai than Anum (a Fashion Consultant and influencer, who recently moved there from Doha).
Tell me about what it's like getting around your city; easy or hard? Dubai is a major international city, which means rush hour and traffic are both heinous at multiple points throughout the day. Luckily, public transport is readily available to those who wish to use it. I personally am a big Uber user, and rely on it mostly to get around places.
What is the feeling of the city. Is it fast paced and aggressive? Or easy going? I love living in Dubai. It's exciting, filled with opportunity, and you're guaranteed to meet wonderfully interesting people on a daily basis. Like any other major city, Dubai is fast paced, but I wouldn't label it as aggressive. Being a coastal city means people have access to beaches all year round, making it incredibly relaxing and a great way to escape the bustle of day to day life.
It it hard to navigate? Not at all. The transportation and road network systems are incredibly sophisticated.
Do people say hello? It's not something I've ever paid too much attention to. The service industries (i.e. hospitality, F&B, salons, spas) are great, and offer wonderful customer service. I live in the heart of the city, and while taking my morning elevator ride down to the garage, I'll often encounter several tenants who wish each other a good morning, and will start up a conversation. I think like in any other international city you'll find all types of people with their variety of moods; some friendly, whilst others might not be.
What would people not expect to find about Dubai? I'm not quite sure how to answer that. Dubai offers so much it's sometimes hard to keep a track of. From the art/ culture scene, to the desert camping expeditions, to the latest novelty coffee craze in the city. Whatever you're into, I'm pretty sure Dubai offers it in some capacity or another.
What is your favourite street in Dubai? I love and tend to frequent areas like La Mer, JBR, Downtown, and the gallery district of Al Serkal Avenue.
If you had an hour to fill between appointments on this street where do you go? What do you do there? Eat food, visit a store or two, a park, a cosmetic treatment, meditate? Due to commute times, I usually never have time between meetings and appointments, but in the off chance that I do, I'll probably hop into a cafe and catch up on emails, or take a call. Dubai has some of the cutest cafes, where you can sit back with a cup of tea and some milk cake and be productive.
Do you have time to go somewhere else? My husband and I love exploring. We're also BIG foodies, so we're always trying to check out a new restaurant that might have opened up. My current favourite in our area is a place called BB. It's very Dubai meets London in it's vibe, and the food is spectacular.
While certain neighborhoods in Dubai are very pedestrian friendly like City Walk, JBR, DIFC, and Downtown, the city as a whole is quite like LA where you definitely need to drive from point A to B.