Thursday, November 4
Reef Mall, 14:04
Today people who celebrate Diwali celebrate Diwali. We cross the road from the hotel to Reef Mall to find out how they will celebrate it there.
We arrive just in time. Security guards usher a very loud troupe of dancers and drummers into the mall, up the escalators, and along the empty corridors. I catch them as they pass an elevator.
We first visited Reef Mall six or so years ago and it had an almost full complement of shops and services. The small food court had a prime contender for the title of smallest Macdonalds in the world. The last time we came, just as the pandemic started, we noted how shops had started closing or leaving the mall. Today the mall has almost nothing left.
Almost all of the shops have gone. McDonalds has closed, along with all but two of the other restaurants in the food court. Soy & Pepper, where we used to eat the first night of each visit, has vanished. The gym has moved.
Daiso remains, along with a couple of outlet stores and a medical centre. And the spacious, well-kept toilets.
The dancers move slowly through an empty mall like a tableau in a deliberately slow art movie.