Trains, planes and supercars!

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Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai
September 21st 2012
Published: September 21st 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Lotty's version

To account for Moroccan timekeeping we left our hotel with plenty of time to spare, incidentally in Morocco you should expect to be surprised and we ended up at the airport 6 hours before our flight left. After overpriced panini's that contained some reformed ham type substance, some people watching and an “oh my god please don't make me stay here any longer” moment when they decided there was a problem with our tickets, we made it through and onto our Qatar flight. On each seat was blankets, pillows, headphones, toothbrush etc. in the back of the chair in front was a personal tv with thousands of films and tv programmes. My plans to sleep the whole flight needless to say went straight out the window! The best thing about it was though that altogether we were fed three times, and with food came drink which could be wine..... FREE WINE!! We stopped in Tunis for fuel and Doha to transit before reaching Dubai at around 9.00 am. We watched the baggage handlers competition to see who could make peoples suitcases bounce the highest before making our way through an airport that embodies everything Dubai is about. The airport was shiny and had massive palm trees growing inside, but that is just Dubai. Its bold and sparkly, pretentious and imposing. They have the tallest building, the biggest fish-tank, the seven star hotel. The oldest building is from 1963, everything is brand new and designed down the the tiniest detail with no expense spared... even the metro look like some rich sheiks life-size train set..... I will never look at liverpool central the same way again! Anyway our deluxe room in the majestic hotel tower encompassed all the above adjectives and after a long flight and barely any sleep I had a decision between massive comfy bed and huge round jacuzzi bath and then there was a huge big city to explore.

Later that night after eating, freshening up and sleeping we preened and groomed ourselves to live up to our blog name and visit the Burj al Arab sky-view bar for cocktails. Shaped like a sail, with 27 floors and on its own little man made island it is a popular landmark in Dubai, however not many actually go inside. Even the cocktail lounge had to be booked in advance and had a minimum spend of nearly £100 for both of us. We toyed with the idea of going for some months due to the expense, however we decided it is a once in a lifetime opportunity so why not. I am glad we did it. It was an amazing experience, we sat overlooking Dubai being called “Sir” and “Madam” and waited on hand and foot. And the cocktails contained things like beetroot, sugar cane, fresh blueberries and I even had one that didn't taste to great unless drunk through the accompanying lemongrass straw! I wish I could do it every night!

The next day we braved the metro to the Dubai mall. Trains in Dubai differ slightly from those in Morocco. However many of the passengers smelt the same! The Dubai mall is massive. Its like the Trafford centre and Liverpool one on steroids and then some! It has an ice rink, theme park and a massive fish-tank! So you’re shopping and there are humongous sharks, rays and groupers just chilling in the middle of the mall, it was awesome! We spent most of our visit wondering round discussing the unfairness of life and questioning why we were not rich. Planty had a fat burger and I bought an underwater case for our camera (which was a quarter of the price it was in the UK). We also spent a suspiciously long time “lost” in the car park..... I have a feeling that was Plantys best part! That night we went out for dinner, it was beautiful however was the type of gourmet cuisine that leaves you craving a burger....or two!

We were up the Burj Khalifa by 8.30 the next morning, we beat the crowds and managed to fit loads into what was to be our last day in Dubai. The Burj Khalifa is massive and the whole experience was impressive. From the moment you step into the lift it is an attraction and Dubai looked like a model village from the observation deck. After that we got a taxi to Jumeriah beach to top up our tans and have a dip in the sea and after that we did a helicopter tour of Dubai. Things like the palm and the world were made to be viewed from the sky so it was a great experience and being in a helicopter was not as scary as I imagined. We ate dinner on the sun-deck of the rooftop pool and then had a couple of drinks whilst writing this. So as I sit here next to the pool, drink in hand and slightly subdued that I didn't marry a Saudi prince and I have to actually leave Dubai in a few hours I am starting to think about what tomorrow and Delhi will bring because it will be a whole new world to Dubai!

Planty's version

I couldn't wait to leave Casablanca, although I'd raved about Marrakech, I was really fed up of being in a place were one of the best things to do was visit a Mosque, and I'm not trying to be a smart arse, but when you have difficulties asking someone in a shop for water, and they don't understand the English, Spanish or French for it, you know you in a bit of a pointless place. We decided to check out some 6 hours before our flight, although the train journey was only half an hour, I couldn’t wait to leave and get to Dubai. We left the hotel and started walking to find a taxi, and very soon we had found a taxi rank kind of thing, I approached all polite and asked how much to take us to the train station and I was told double the amount of what we had paid for to get from the station to our hotel 2 days previous. I don't mind people's feeble attempts to try and con me out of some money or royally rip me off, but when I was wearing a genuine Liverpool top and the guy trying to fleece me out of my well earned Dirhams was wearing the 2nd worst fake Liverpool top I have ever seen (the worst one being a brown and lime green 'Liverpool' top worn buy some little rat thing in Egypt also trying to rip me off) I got slightly annoyed by this. When I questioned why he was trying to charge me double the amount that I had paid days earlier he told me that the journey was 15km.......not too sure why that equates to charging me double but sure enough as soon as I, in my ever so polite manner said 'no thank you' and began to walk off, he agreed my price and we were on our way.

So the next phase of our escape out of Morocco was once more to brave their train network, and just as is the case with British trains they are never on time, the 11:07 that we were waiting for decided that 11:32 was a good time to turn up. 30 minute train ride was alright apart from the wafts of repulsing B.O that seemed to pollute my nostrils on an unwanted regular basis, and a few locals looking at me like they'd not seen a British person before.....either that of they though, with a couple of others who had previously enquired, that I was of Moroccan descent.

We arrived at the airport with a few hours to kill hoping that there would be a bar that we could sink a few swift pints at before we could check-in.......but there were none, and no seats to sit on so we resorted to sitting on the solid marble floor. Once we realised we could check-in we went up to the Qatar Airways check-in desk feeling rather pleased that after our horrendous flight with the worlds most tight-fisted airline (Ryanair), we were about to fly with the world's best airline voted 2 years in a row apparently. Then disaster!!!! the girl at the check-in desk who's ability to speak english was that of a drunk Japanese student with their head held underwater, informed us that our flight had been booked but not confirmed(?) and we “need”. When I asked which office I got a silent response with facial gestures as if I'd just suggested we learn to play the Piano in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest. So, after ringing our travel agents; them ringing Qatar Airways in the UK; then ringing me back, the same unhelpful check-in desk staff member stood up and began waving me over with the smile of a Cheshire cat as if she'd just been informed that I was the king of Azerbaijan, problem had been sorted.

So, on our first flight to Morocco we had been packed into plane like sardines, only I can imagine sardines receive a higher class of treatment than we did with Ryanair. Now it was time to see what all the fuss is about with Qatar airways, and I can now understand the fuss, we each had an interactive tv with around 400 movies, tv shows, cd's and games to choose from, free headphones, eye mask, pillow, blanket, toothbrush and toothpaste. It got better from there, as we had booked our flights through a travel agent, we assumed we weren't getting fed....wrong, we did, and we had a choice of 2 dishes and with free beer! Or wine if you're that way inclined. The flight stopped in Tunis to re-fuel and pick up more passengers, about an hour after that, the flight attendants began serving food again, I had assumed that this was for the passengers that had just come in board, but again I was wrong, second meal of the flight, I was happy to say the least.

Our flight from Doha to Dubai was not much longer than an hour but again we got fed, 3 times in the space of 9 hours, I was in heaven. We arrived in Dubai absolutely stuffed but also suffering from jet-lag, although it was 9:15 in the morning, I was convinced it was actually 5:15am. Our first sights of Dubai from the airport to the hotel were certainly impressive ones, we'd expected a clean, modern city but it's on a whole other level. As some of you may know, I have a slight love for exotic supercars, and because Dubai is the home of the super rich, I was on the look out for supercars, my eyes were scanning the roads for anything shiny, fast and expensive, and it didn't take long at all. Rolls Royce Phantoms are everywhere, Ferarri's seem to be a common sight as well as top end Mercedes.

We checked into the hotel and as stated above, suffered jet-lag quite bad, so we passed out for a few hours. That night we had booked cocktails in the Burj Al Arab, the worlds only 7 star hotel, we got showered and dressed, and made our way outside the hotel to be greeted by a taxi, we got in and once asked where we were going, I said in a certain tone of voice as if everything was normal “Burj Al Arab please”. The driver looking quite shocked replied “the Burj Al Arab? Do you have a reservation?”. He was asking this because you can not simply walk into the hotel as you please, security check you in and make sure you have a reservation. We got to the gates of this magnificent hotel only to realise that I had left the confirmation details in the hotel room....whoops! After checking our names on their system, we were informed that they were not expecting us that night, Lotty quickly accessed her e-mails on my phone to find the confirmation, as it loaded up I realised in my horror....we had turned up on the wrong night, we were meant to be there the following night. I presumed we would be instantly turned away as we had already heard security saying that they were full for that night, but to our surprise, the bar manager had been told of our error and as a goodwill gesture, accommodated for us anyway, things were looking up. We pulled up outside the hotel to be greeted by an array of butlers welcoming us and making us feel like royalty, at which point I noticed 3 bright white Rolls Royce Phantoms parked in a lined next to the hotel, I knew this place was a seriously rich place. We walked inside and headed for the lifts to take us up to the 27th floor and the décor, indoor fountains, fish-tanks and shops that we walked past give you the idea that a 7 star hotel does not cut corners, there is some serious money spent in there. We arrived at the sky-view bar to be greeted by 2 staff who welcomed us and had been informed of our error and showed to the bar, were we were pleasantly and happily greeted by about 6 other staff, I imagined that place would be super posh and people looking down there nose at you but I was wrong.

We spent the evening sampling cocktails with an array of spirits and other stuff in them, I remember one that I had contained tequila and pink peppercorns, while Lotty had one that was a blend of whiskey, amaretto and red chilli. Although these sound disgusting, I can assure you they are fantastic. We left the Burj Al Arab at midnight, still the temperature outside was 30 degrees, it was very humid. The next day we went to Dubai Mall, ate a burger, bought a camera case, and that was about it.

Our last day in Dubai was a pretty hectic one, we went to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building, certainly not a place for those with a fear of heights. Although the morning was slightly hazy, the views where spectacular, the sky scrappers that previously dominated Dubai's skyline now looked pathetic and pointless, a bit like a Manchester United fan, from there we melted on the beach for a few hours before heading back to the hotel to freshen up and embark on our helicopter tour of Dubai. Although the tour only lasted 20 minutes we saw the best of Dubai, the 'World' islands, the Burj Al Arab (again), the Palm Jumeriah and the iconic Atlantis hotel that is situated at the top end of the palm.

I had been looking forward to Dubai the most out of the countries that we're going to now, and I'm a bit upset that we didn't stay longer, the city is an absolute work of art, its staggering to think how the oldest building there was built in 1963, and now there are hundreds of top quality hotels and sky scrappers. I fell in love with Marrakech because of it's ability to surprise me, to make me expect the unexpected, but Dubai is on another level, I would recommend that everyone visits Dubai in there lifetime, if only for a few days like I have. It's hard to think that the UK are in a double-dip recession with the amount of money being spent here, the metro stations look like something out of sci-fi film, the mall is makes the Trafford Centre look a corner shop, and the place is so clean. We leave Dubai, the place where money is no object, supercars are normal and millionaires are competing with each other to build the biggest buildings, to India, a poverty stricken country which I'm sure will drag me right out of my comfort zone and teach me a lot about life, and the things we all take for granted.

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