Dripping in Dubai!
Trip Start Jul 29, 2011
16Trip End Oct 14, 2011
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Where I stayed
Karen and Ross' Apartment, Dubai Marina
We drove the long way home to the Dubai Marina, via The Palm and seeing the Burj Al Arab, and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the wave shaped hotel....and the Atlantis Hotel - these amazing buildings ARE Dubai. We were on the beach, and there was people swimming at 8.30am...the temperature was already 32-34 degrees!
The place is so dry and there are buildings everywhere...some finished and some nearly finished, and some just starting.
We got to Karen and Ross' place, what a lovely apartment in Dubai Marina. The view was fantastic looking down onto the boats in the marina, and at all the sky scrapers surrounding the marina.
Had something to eat, then off we went back out into the heat....thank god for air conditioning! Headed to the Mall of the Emirates, where anyone would fail not to be impressed. The shopping is amazing, the mall is huge, clean,and busy.
We head towards "Ski Dubai" which is a man made ski slope that is incorporated into this Mall. It seems totally ludicrous to have snow in the middle of the desert, but nothing is impossible here! There are lots of people having a ball while we have a cuppa and watch them racing down the slopes, before catching the ski lifts back up to the top. Kids on toboggans are sliding down the
little slopes and having a ball.
We continue to walk round this amazing mall totally awestruck by the opulence and size of it!! Later in the afternoon Ross takes us to the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel and into the Ibn Battuta Mall... yet another amazing mall. Ibn Battuta was an Arabian traveller and adventurer, and this mall has areas each themed on the countries he explored ....Tunisia, Persia, Egypt, China, India, Andalusia..Absolutely fantastic.
After we have had a good look round we catch a taxi home... Taxis are very cheap, and with fuel at eqivalent of about 25-27cents/litre, it is cheap running any vehicle here. The cars are out of this world...top of the range - everywhere.
We had a pre-dinner drink, before heading down for tea in one of the many restaurants at the bottom of Karen and Ross' apartment building. Eating out is cheap also, and the chinese we had was delicious. No alcohol is sold in restaurants as a rule, and we managed fine with a fruit juice. Of course, our eyes were bigger than our bellies, and we ended up with a doggy bag, some of
which we ended up having for lunch the following day.
Absolutely exhausted Stewart and I collapsed into bed, still totally blown away by what we had experienced and saw thru the day, and still amazed that only hours before we had left such cold miserable weather.
After a fantastic sleep and brekkie we headed off down to the Marina and went on the Yellow Boat. This was a rubber inflatable boat that took us out to see the Palm and see Dubai from another perspective. Looking at the Burj Al Arab and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and the Atlantis Hotel from the water is amazing. Apparently the hotel rooms in the Atlantis cost about $4000US/night with a minimum of 4 nights a stay! Wow...the money that is here...the rich are rich and the workers are from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan are poor, really poor, and they work, work hard for bugger all. Alot are labouring on the sides of the roads in the heat, for long long hours...their day often beginning at 3.30am so that they are productive before the real heat of the day,
where the temperatures were up to 45 degrees while we were here in Dubai.
After lunch we went on the metro and headed off to the Gold Souks for a look-see. Every step we took "Madam, would you like a scarf, would you like some shoes, oh you would look beautiful in this, as he drapes a piece of fabric over my shoulder..." oh the hassle
and we hadn't seen the gold at this stage... get me outta here!!! We walked down to the Creek (which is the old part of Dubai) and catch a ABRA (one of the old water taxis) and travel up the creek and see all the dhows(cargo boats), with amazing amoounts of cargo, and one had a car stuck on top of it all! We spent an hour going up and down the creek (100 Dirhams - about $30 for the two of us) before heading back to the metro, and heading home. The metro is very new, very easy to use, cos at this stage it is just one big long rail. Fully automated, and frequent. The carriages are spotlessly clean...you could eat off the floor(not that you would), no graffiti at all
People are polite, and offer you seats, and the metro is also very cheap!!
We head back to Karen and Ross' and have a pre dinner drink before heading out for a curry,from downstairs, and once again have over-ordered...nothing to do with the yummy nibbles we had with our drinks! So yet another doggy bag!
After dinner we headed to the Dubai Mall, on the way to see the Dubai Fountain at the foot of the tallest building in Dubai - the Burj Khalifa...what a magnificent sight! The fountain was 'dancing' to music...absolutely wonderful to see...it is beautiful. We head back in to the Mall....now if we thought the other 2 malls we had visited were big...this leaves them in the shade...it is epic...with more than 1200 shops, (and over 14000 carparks!!) I would even find this a challenge! You could spend all day there and still not see it all, it truly is amazing. All the high end designer shops and amongst it all, there is a full size ice rink, picture theatres and a massive aquarium! OMG!
Monday we are up and off, and head to the creek again. We visit the Dubai Museum.... which was facinating! Only 3 dihrams ($1) each. Most of it was underground, with static displays, and artifacts. Very, very interesting.
Monday- Ramadan has started, things are a bit quieter in the city today...after the museum we head to see the Dubai Mall again...an hour later, we haven't even started! We head home, as we are being picked up by a driver to take us out on a desert tour with 4x4 Landcruisers.. and we still had to pack as we were going to be heading off very early in the morning.
4pm,we headed off out towards the desert, met up with half a dozen other vehicles from other companies doing the same thing. Due to Ramadan there wasn't as many, normally there can be up to 30 vehicles. We leave the road, and the driver lowers the pressure of the tyres, and off we go into the desert....Over the dunes for an hour and stopped half way (in the middle of no-where) to do sand boarding, and some photos. I'm still not sure how these drivers find their way out again...there is nothing but sand as far as the eye can see... but our driver said he had been driving here for 8 years, and knew all the dunes, and was able to head out and we came upon a road, which we travelled along for 10 minutes before once again heading inland, arriving at a desert camp where there was camel rides, 4 wheeler motorbikes, henna painting, hubble-bubble and a delcious BBQ meal which was devine. There was meant to be belly-dancing as well but out of respect and Ramadan it wasn't to be . However a very enjoyable evening and we arrived home (by road) about 9.45pm...nearly 6 hours for 200 dirhams each - amazing and would reccommend, as such good value .
We headed to bed after a cuppa, as we had an earlystart...3.30am to catch a taxi to the airport for 4am...Yawn!
Emirates,Terminal 3 at the airport is as impressive as the rest of the city... absolutely no expense spared..it is amazing
We have loved our trip to Dubai, and would certainly reccommend as a stop off.
Our love and huge thanks go to Karen and Ross for having us stay. Absolutely fabulous ! xxx