Dubai: City of Gold
Trip Start Dec 16, 2011
7Trip End Dec 27, 2011
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Where I stayed
After a nice breakfast buffet at our hotel, we took a taxi out to the Bur Dubai (old city) area to see some of its sites. First, a photo stop at the Dubai Creek. From there we made a quick stop at the Bastakia Quarter, a reconstructed attempt at creating an "old district". It is basically a few dozen buildings made in traditional style with "wind towers" which brought in air to buildings to cool them in the summer. It was a cool photo stop, but there wasn't much to do there. After, we went to the Dubai Museum, housed in the original Dubai Fort. This was pretty interesting and its exhibitions included traditional boats and bedouin homes and other depictions of pre-oil life such as pearl divers. We then proceeded to the Gold Souk, a large concentration of gold vendors (around 250) and supposedly the best prices. We spent an hour walking down the alleys of the Gold Souk and looking at the interesting jewelry. Unfortunately, we didn't expect to be hassled by men constantly asking us to walk into their store and look around
After a short photo stop at the Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai's most famous, we drove over the bridge to the Burj al Arab, possibly the nicest hotel in the world. Built on its own artificial island a few hundred feet from the coast, it is self-declared as 7-star. When it was completed in 1999, it was the tallest hotel in the world (but that was surpassed by another building in Dubai, the Rose Rotana on Sheikh Zayed Road). In my opinion, it is a wonderful building and at over 1,000 feet tall, an architectural icon of the city.
Unfortunately, most visitors are not allowed in (you need to be either a guest, booked on a tour, or have a reservation for a meal or tea). It is definitely worth it if you can get in though because it is one of the most unique buildings in the world. We walked into the lobby (which is the world's largest atrium) and went up an elevator to Al Muntaha, a restaurant near the top of the building
Before we knew it, it was time to leave and after posing with some Rolls-Royces at the hotel entrance, we drove back to the hotel for a short afternoon break.
For the late afternoon, we were back out of the hotel and at Ski Dubai, one of the world's largest indoor ski resorts and the only one in the Middle East. This five-year-old ski slope includes five ski runs, tubing, sled and toboggan runs, and other snow activities. Dad and I went down the two intermediate slopes and the beginner slope a few times and before we knew it, we spent two hours there!
Our full day was not over yet, though, and after quick shower and change (and Iranian food at the food court), I met up with my friend Parisha, who lives in Al Barsha, the neighborhood adjacent to the mall. The three of us sat at a table and ate some food while talking. I knew her from a summer program at UCLA a few years ago, and it was nice to catch up over dessert.
Finally, we returned to our room after a VERY fullfilling, though exhausting, day.