Last October, my (then) girlfriend and I went to Dubai for some sun and shopping. I came back with something far more significant than a few new clothes!
As a sustainable economy, I’m not so sure about Dubai, but while it lasts I shall remain in awe of the place. The gold and diamond souqs have to be seen to be believed. Mall of the Emirates, with hundreds of designer outlets stocking shoes, watches, bags and clothing, as well as bars, places to eat, an amusement arcade and enormous snowdome, could literally take a week to explore. Wild Wadi is a quirky waterpark, overlooked by the Burj Al Arab, which has to be visited at least once. Other sites include the world’s tallest building, The Burj, and the Ibn Battuta mall.
It is in the latter, surprisingly not one of the souqs, where you are surrounded by acres of diamonds, that I talked myself into buying a engagement ring. Walking through the mall, my (now) wife spotted a ring as we passed ‘Pure Gold’, a jewellers. The ring was perfect other than the fact it was clearl way out of my reach. Perhaps I should have stuck to football!
We didn’t even enquire about the price, although I snuck back to the store as my wife assessed a line of handbags made from old numberplates (!). To my annoyance, the spectacular looking diamond was all go, not show, at 3.2 ct and was well out of my price range. Presumably it came as no surprise to the store assistant, given my t-shirt/short combo, that my immediate response was to walk away without further consideration. With an immediate 50% discount on offer, I still couldn’t afford the ring, but I thought I would try my luck anyway.
I went in for a further 50% off, and refused to budge on my offer. This isn’t known to be a successful negotiating technique, but that was all I could realistically afford. The assistant brought the manager in, although his frantic waving of a calculator didn’t alter my position. At this point the discount was 60%, not the 75% I was after.
Head office were called, and the manager came back with a final price for the engagement ring, below which he said he could not sell me the diamond. Thankfully, this was within budget and I shook his hand to seal the deal.
My initial plan was to bring the ring back to the UK and propose on our anniversary, but as you may guess from the picture above I failed to wait until home soil before getting down on one knee.
Smuggling the ring out of the Ibn Battuta mall wasn’t easy, although not because the diamond came with a suitably large box (bearing in mind I was wearing shorts). I managed to locate other people who were travelling with us and ditch all evidence and return to my wife as she was paying for a handbag, although I was unable to wipe a smile off my face for the rest of the day.
The next morning, I couldn’t contain my excitement and got down on one knee by the pool.