Last week I visited the road I grew up on. Everyone who has grown up in Dubai, at some point of their lives has lived for an amount of time in Karama. If not, at least has been to Karama, you can find everything there and you didn’t hear it from me but they sell things from Luis Vuitton bags to the latest Jordan cops, you just have to know people. I don’t know people, I’m just saying.
Okay, maybe I know people.
My favourite part about growing up there was how multicultural my neighbourhood was. I had an Egyptian family living right next door, played most of my childhood with the Indian kids who lived down the hall, was pretty well known at the Arabic Shi-sha place down my building and did our grocery shopping at a Thai shopping mart across the street.
I grew up buying 20 dhs. LA Lakers hats from the Hip hop shops down in Karama Centre where you’d walk by and have 20 different people left and right either saying something to the words of “Sunglasses, my friend” or “Kabayan, I have shoes, bags, clothes”. If you found something you liked they’d steep up the price because its only natural the customers haggle to get the best deal. Okay seriously, from years of experience if you act like you are about to leave the shop they’ll usual knock of 10 or more dirhams off of the price.
Recently they’ve given Karama a huge face-lift. Multiple artists were invited to cover the old buildings in Art and it looks so fitting. Usually with old buildings they’d do a huge renovation on the outside and repaint the whole thing to make it look new again but they were able to enhance the old Dubai by covering old bland walls in Art which gave more personality and character to the buildings we all grew up around. I wish they did that years ago when I used to live there.
I’d like to think I’m still the same 8 yr old Bettina riding around Karama every afternoon on her purple bike with her little and very non-intimidating squad, though that may be wishful thinking. As I grow I still carry around the same values that was instilled within me. Probably my biggest pet peeve is when someone tells me “I’ve changed” as if change is something of a bad thing. Sure it can be, but change by growth can’t possibly be. I am in no obligation to be the same person as I was a year ago. I have the right to grow.
Dress: Forever 21
Bomber Jacket: Pull & Bear
Shoes: Adidas ZX Flux