She was smoking a cigarette with a middle-aged red-haired woman outside the Mall of Dubai. They were speaking Russian and I figured that she was probably from Central Asia and her friend from Russia. The next day, as I passed the mall again, she popped out for another cigarette break and I walked over to find out where she was from. She said she grew up in Kyrgyzstan and worked in Afghanistan before coming to Dubai. ”Afghanistan??,” I asked in disbelief.