The 2 month curry diet begins!
Trip Start May 06, 2006
82Trip End Mar 23, 2009
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I'm afraid you'll all have to put up with a long entry 'cos I've been busy over the past 3 days and haven't had time to update!
A brief background of where I'm staying..
On Tuesday I was rudely awoken by the reception guy asking if I wanted to go on safari... I quite sharply said no 'cos, as those of you who know me well will know, I hate being woken up! My impression of Dubai shooting right down! I was then wide awake so got up and strolled down to reception to see what there was for me to do. He once again asked about the safari as another couple were also going. After reading it I found out it was what I actually wanted to do so I agreed to go - it wasn't until 4pm anyway so god knows why he called so early!!
It was amazing! The driver seemed unfriendly at first but got chatty after about 30 mins in the car. There was also a couple from Manchester who were Muslim which led to a massive heated discussion in the car on the way back about religion - I think the driver may have deafened me in my left ear! There were also 3 Iranian guys who didn't talk too much but were friendly enough.
So, the tour started off by driving out to the desert (not too far!) and then going in the guides 4 wheel drive over loads of sand dunes. We had a crazy driver who liked to drive on the road the same way he did on the dunes but it proved to be a good thing in the end
After that we went for a camel ride and then sandboarding... except they didn't have the boots and just the boards so it was more sand sleding than anything but still amazing fun! Saw some horrible sights of the camels who they've decided to capture and some have chains on their feet so they "can't go too far"... hate that thought but tried to enjoy the rest of the day and put that out of my head!
We headed into a camp in the middle of the desert and had henna tattoos, dressed up in traditional clothing, smoked apple something on a hookah (finally did it Gem! And it was massive!!) and had an amazing curry dinner - lots of veggie options and the meat eaters got camel cooked on a braai! After dinner we watched a belly dancer with some massive dune bugs crawling along the floor and then got up and danced with her. We were just catching our breath when the driver came and got us to go
On Wednesday I got up and decided I wanted to go to Wild Wadi water park (recommended by my friend Matt!). It turns out another guy was also going in 10 minutes so I grabbed my stuff and met him in reception. His name was Chris and he was from Australia - I think we were both glad not to be going somewhere fun on our own! It seemed like it took forever to get there but we eventually arrived and in the unbelievable heat were dying to get in the water! We did all the rides and spent about 8 hours there in total. We got some good pics of the famous hotel (so famous I forgot the name!) and then asked the taxi to take us into the centre of Dubai... some taxi driver that was - he took us to the "City Centre Mall". Not quite what we meant but we checked it out before making a rapid exit. For the South African friends - I later found a 'Mugg and Bean' on the map and was gutted I hadn't spotted it earlier! I def could've used a muffin!! We were planning to use public transport to get back but couldn't find where we needed to get to and had no real clue where we even were so got another taxi back to the hotel and ate in a lovely Pakistani restaurant that Chris had been to the night before. A little spicy for my over sensitive mouth and my belly had issues with it but I have to train it ready for Sri Lanka anyway!
Thursday saw them minus rapidly! I decided I wanted to go a little tour of the places I hadn't seen yet and the hotel guy insisted I do a tour for quite a price and I could see a million places in about 4 hours. He clearly didn't cater for traffic or that I might actually want to stop in these places for more than 5 minutes. It was his friend who took me all over and he kept asking how long I wanted to spend in places when half the time I didn't even know what the place was! He didn't give me any kind of 'guide' and barely even spoke any English so, overall, it sucked! A total waste of money and I let the hotel dude know how pissed I was at him. I did get to see a little of Dubai at least - just for about 2 seconds each!!
Today I went to the beach which was so hot you couldn't stand on the floor. I was there 10 minutes and realised the 3 hours the taxi was coming back in was gonna be enough to kill me!! I went in the sea for a bit which was just like a bath! I was expecting it to be at least a little cold but not at all. It was a special resort as it's obviously not the kind of place you just strip and swim and most of the people in there were holiday makers but there were only about 10 people at any one time so it was like a little private beach. It was a nice morning and it was good to see the beach again.
This afternoon I think I'm just gonna sit on the internet until it's time to get my taxi to the airport. I found a place around the corner from the hotel which is half the price (cunning!) so I can get stuff done!
Overall I can't say I'm Dubai's biggest fan. It's most definitely not a place for the budget traveller and accommodation is expensive. Tours and taxis are pretty cheap, as is food if you find the right places but much higher in Dubai than anywhere else. It's great for people who have lots of money and love shopping but neither of those apply to me so it wasn't the best place to come! It's sacrificed a lot of its very interesting and full cultural history in favour of commercialism and tourism to bring as much money in as possible. The people don't smile much unless they're serving you for something. A lot of the places I wanted to see and have heard about are still "under construction" and will be for many years to come. When everthing's done it'll pretty much be what I would describe as a packaged city. I'm glad I came but I'm looking forward to moving on and can't say I have any real desire to return.
While I'm here and have the time I want to thank you all for your lovely comments on my entries and for all the emails you've been sending! I keep finding the gold hearts that my mum put everywhere which makes me smile and think of everyone at home and also, oddly, the confetti pieces that were thrown all over me by the people at work keep popping up every now and then too! I'll try my best to reply to everyone today and will try to put some pictures up again (unsuccessful yesterday after numerous attempts!). I hope you're all well and planning your trips to come and visit me somewhere along the way! Am off to Sri Lanka tonight and will arrive there tomorrow so will update when I next can!