Our time in Dubai - a bit late though!
Trip Start Jan 03, 2007
9Trip End Jan 31, 2007
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The souks were not as we'd expected. We thought they'd be more like the ones we saw in the Middle East (Jordan, Syria etc.), but these were like small shopping centres, covered areas with lots of little shops and stalls selling everything from perfumes, spices, and gold to traditional and "western" clothes. The guide book said if we entered the gold souk, we would leave poorer. Hmmm, not much chance at those prices. Everything was encrusted with diamonds and other precious/semi precious stones, and so were expensive. We couldnt find much that was just gold on its own. Loads of lovely bling though!
The souks were for the "ordinary" people, and for tourists to wander round, the shopping malls were for the wealthy. Some of these shopping malls were amazing. The Mall of the Emirates with its indoor ski run was pretty impressive. The shops were about the same as anywhere, many were popular UK brands, and all had sales on as we'd managed to arrive during the Dubai Shopping Festival. The Ibn Battuta Mall though beat the lot though with its architecture. Each section had a different theme, Andalucia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India, China, with the building design inside and out representing that country. Inside each area were displays on the history and achievements made in each place, mainly Muslim of course. It was like walking round a museum.
Thanks to having a car, we also managed a trip to Al Sharjar, a neighbouring Emirate. Sharjar is definately the poorer cousin to Dubai. You can see it in the roads, the cars and buildings, and in the museum and fort we went round. The entrance fees were higher, and the displays poorer. The souks, although still loads of little shops and stalls in a style different to the Middle East, we less touristic. All we bought though were some fresh dates. Yum.
That about covers most of what we saw, briefly. We managed to pack quite a bit in the four days we had there. The weather was cooler and drier, although still great at about 25C. Dubai is a city we would go back to in a few years, if only to see how much building has gone on, and how tall the Burj Dubai ends up. Our apartment block was surrounded by construction sites.