So, I was itching to get out of the house today! House = stuffy hotel room. Of course I woke up late, no breakfast and still had to take a shower. I made a list of everything that I needed to get from the mall(s) today. And I made plans to meet Samar at Starbucks in the Dubai Mall this evening.
First I went to Mall of the Emirates to get some errands done. The very first thing to do was eat! I walked from my hotel to the mall, which was not too hot - there was actually a nice breeze. Went upstairs and had totally planned to try this Thai place that Eric recommended, but this Italian restaurant was next to empty and looked so nice, so I decided to sit there instead of fight over a table in the crowded food court. The bread was delicious, the pizza (chicken and garlic) was good, and the service was impeccable. A little pricey, but I only ate about 1/3 of the pizza so i have plenty of leftoevers for tomorrow's dinner.
My next stop was to get a travelling book to plan my trip to Italy from Borders.
I can't wait! September, a week in Rome, maybe a detour to Pompeii, Capri or Cinque Terre.... I can't believe I'm planning my first trip! I also picked up a Jane Austen novel because I've decided she is one of my favorites and lord knows I don't have enough books! :p I also grabbed a notebook to start working more diligently on my geneaology book. I got some good stuff done this weekend, but it would be nice to write a lot down for reference, since I had to leave most of my notes back home.
I also was determined to buy my laptop. I left a certain amount of money in my safe to last me for the month, brought enough for a laptop, and planned to send the rest to the US. I went into the giant Virgin store because surely they'd have what I wanted, right? Nope. No laptop. I mean, they had laptops, but nothing that looked good. But they had a wide selection of cellphones and this girl sold me one that came with a sim card. I had to wait to activate it until I got my passport back (Fugro is extending my
tourist visa), but I got the phone - VERY CHEAP!!!! I mean, holy crap! And you don't have to sign any contracts. You just buy a phone, a sim card and fill it up with however much money you want and when it runs out, you pay again. Simply amazing. The phone cost about 300AED, which is less than $100.
I continued my search for the laptop and finally wandered into Jack's express, where I had bought my webcam. And I found a guy who seemed to know what he was about (and had a fairly good grasp of english). I looked at the Vaio's but they were pretty expensive, then he showed me their one and only MacBookPro, as had been recommended by many of my friends. He didn't understand my hesitation; I tried to explain that I had never owned a Mac before and I was a little apprehensive about it. But I got a good deal so I said ok. Part of my deal? A cell phone which looked exactly like the one I had just bought!!! So, I can take the one back to Virgin and get my money back. Feel bad, but can't pass that up.
I walked by the Exchange company and asked if I needed my passport, which they said yes, due to the amount of money I was transferring. So, I figure if I get my passport tomorrow, I can return my phone, get my sim card going, and transfer some funds.
I came back to the hotel and had yet another annoying room-key-card-doesn't-work-multiple-times-three-times-to-counter situation which almost led to tears, but as soon as I stepped into my room and put down my heavy bags, I instantly felt better. Before long, it was time to take off to meet Samar. The ride to the mall was so much easier than before when I had come the other way. I jumped on the metro, and the bus was waiting as soon as I got off, and the mall was the first stop. Easy peasy.
Finding Starbucks? Not as easy. But I did and found it on my first try. She asked if I would be up for ice cream instead. I'm not big on coffee, so I said sure. (I'm not big on ice cream either, but does it matter?). However, it was not icecream, but Italian gelato, which I had discovered just before leaving Ventura and decided that I did like. We chatted and then walked some more around the mall. She needed "slippers" to have around the house. Slippers = Flip Flops. *Incidentally, we had a brief discussion this week about "Flip Flops". Apparently, Americans and South Africans have this term in common. Everyone else calls flip flops by different names.
We went to Marks and Spencer, which I remember going to when I was in England as a kid, but only because of the name "Spencer". :) I decided that this may be my new favorite department store: good selection, and good prices. We found a few snacks and I found pretzels!!! Oh, I found those little English candies that I like too - sorta. They are not the Rowntree's fruit gums, but they are similar, though not as longlasting. I also got some porridge for my breakfasts.
Finally, we went to Dubai's largest bookstore. Both of us agreed we could spend hours in there. As it was, I think we were in there for a good 45 minutes. I wound up buying a soils mechanics book since I had to limit the books I brought and I feel naked without any references. We also noted all the "Blahblahblah for Dummies" books and imagined having "Geology for Dummies" "Engineering for Dummies" "Math for Dummies" and "Project Management for Dummies" lining our bookshelves to scare our clients!
I took a taxi home because I just could not deal with the madness of the bus leaving the mall again. Getting one of the hundreds of waiting taxis was a cinch. Came back and took a swim then relaxed in the hot tub.
Wow - can you believe I've been here for a month already??? I can't!
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