My dear (most loyal) reader*, I have great news for all the Kurdish men out there! Are you ready?
Foreign businessmen were quick to realize the weakness of women in this country and for all your delight, the creation of malls has been (and continues to be) high on the agenda.
Here is the story in Erbil. We (the women, of course!) had Naza Mall and we thought we were really lucky. Then came Rhein Mall, and for us girls that was equivalent to paradise. Not too long later it was followed by Hawler Mall and, let's be honest, our expectations with the quality of the goods were not met. Soon came Maxi Mall, and that compensated for the previous disappointment.
Above: Majidi Mall, known for the Big Clock and its large parking area (By the way, Mango is here too!)
Then there was the big bomb, Majidi Mall--that's when we thought we had it all. But little did we know there were other surprises up the sleeves of businessmen. Sofy Mall was next--the daughter of Majidi--but still we liked the former just a little bit more. Businessmen realized that we became harder to please, then came Family Mall. With no sarcasm, it really did exceed all expectations and set the bar sky high.
Above: Picture of the new Family Mall, right next to Erbil's largest theme park- Family Fun!
Above: This is a picture taken from high up one of the new builings, cross the road is Sofy Mall (See the red sign?) Dear me, all the places I go just for the sake of this blog :)
The story continues--Ankawa Mall, Tatlisias Mall and Banu Mall are all currently in the making—and I won't be surprised if on this early Friday morning there are people sitting on round tables planning for the next big Mall in Erbil.
Above: If you don't believe me, here it is Ankawa Mall - in the making!
Above: Banu Mall, under construction today, but be sure to drop by in your next visit to Erbil...it wil be open.
You see, every new mall is one step above the previous. If you followed the above story closely you will realize we have progressed far up the ladder in the shopping world. Today in Kurdistan's capital shopping is not about just buying the necessities to live life, today it is about fashion, quality, enjoyment oh and how can I forget – designer brands!
Friend A: "Haven't seen you in a while, I miss you"
Friend B: "Well let's catch up!"
Friend A: "Why not, we'll meet up for coffee,"
Friend B: "Great! Where?"
And here it is, the big 'where?' I remember four years back there really was nowhere, (other than the few places that were overcrowded and you just didn't feel comfortable to go without a father, brother or a male cousin). Today, it's a different world.
When I see these things taking place, it makes me happy. I know it is not a life that all classes of our society can indulge in, but it’s fulfilling to know that we have the facilities and services that other people in other corners of the world are enjoying.
Having said all this I still think we shouldn't miss out on having sweet Kurdish tea at the Chaykhana (tea house) and don't be too carried away with all the malls, because believe me there is no better shopping (cultural) experience than Erbil's very own Qaysary Bazaar.
The negative side of this is that almost everything is made in Turkey, Syria, China, and every other place in the world, but nothing, absolutely NOTHING, is made in Kurdistan! This frustrates me!
* AKA: My shopping partner, Mum!My "Memoirs" column in the Kurdish Globe this week looks into this issue of the new malls more in details, see: kurdishglobe.net
All pictures were taken by me! EXCLUSIVELY and SPECIALLY for this blog. Loyal blogger to loyal readers!