Shopping malls function as air-conditioned town squares and are busiest in the evening. On Friday, the Islamic day of prayer and rest, most big malls open at 10 am, but the souks and smaller shops won't open until 4 pm, and everything stays open until at least 10 pm. Expect to bargain everywhere except at the big brand names or Western chain stores. A visit to the gold and spice souks is a must, but be warned: These areas have become highly tourist-oriented. In a bid to attract more visitors and make the experience more "comfortable," the streets of the souks have been largely covered over with teak roofs and most of the stalls have been transformed into proper shopsall the better for air-conditioning but not necessarily for atmosphere. Alcohol is expensive in this city; you need a special license to buy it from the shops, and there's a 30 percent tax markup. However, you can pick up four bottles (of anything) at the duty-free in the luggage collection hall before you exit the airport; they will be gratefully received by your Dubai-based friends.