Ibn Battuta and me - Both World Explorers!

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Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai
June 22nd 2012
Published: June 22nd 2012
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*Disclaimer, for some ridiculous reason, this site keeps changing the names of my photos when I add them and it is making me mad! So, I'm have change the names on my computer, then add them, again, onto a brand new blog because it will not let me delete the photos either. I'm so frustrated now... Anyway, I think they are fine now - so, to continue:

Oh, I so didn't want to get out of bed today! It helps that things are basically shut down on friday mornings - kind of like sundays in the south. So, there are about three different things I did today, and it was all relaxing to me. Even the walking - I just did at my own pace. And I am thankful that I took the time to hose myself down with spray sunblock because it was HOT today!!!

I waited until 2, when I think the metro starts up on Fridays, to go to the mall. I had zero to eat for breakfast and I couldn't decide if I wanted the buffet to be a good one here or if I should just try some place at the Ibn Battuta Mall, which I had looked up online and had a lot of options. My decision was made for me as there were no warmers indicating a good buffet at the restaurant so I walked straight to the metro. By the time I got on, I think the lack of food was getting to me as I felt a little dizzy. I know, I know... I need to eat. Blah blah blah. 😊

So, I arrived at Ibn Battuta and kind of knew what to do after having figured a lot out yesterday. There are five separate "courts" at the mall based on the adventures of 14th century explorer Ibn Battuta. I know, I had not heard of him either and what a pity! He was like the Arabian Marco Polo. He traveled over 73,000 miles through northern Africa, the Middle East, India, China, southeast Africa, and much of the Indian Ocean islands, like the Maldives. I am looking to read more about him as I find this kind of life fascinating and very useful from a historical aspect. There was also a Chinese explorer similar, named Zheng He - another historical figure that I am not familiar with but who also apparently contributed to history through his explorations.

Anyway, keeping me from going through a history lecture, which will only interest a handful of you, I will continue on with MY adventures for today. The Ibn Battuta Mall has courts dedicated to Egypt, Tunisia, China, India and Persia. They each seem to have some specialty areas. But I was just amazed at how pretty the mall is and how well set up it is. Also, because it is at the far southern end of Dubai, it is not nearly as busy as the other two malls I've visited.

When I first walked in, I entered through "Egypt", which is massive and beautiful and contains cool Egyptian hieroglyphics and statues. The ceiling was massive, there was a statue of astronomers plotting charts of the stars. I walked left (north) and continued on, passing the now familiar staple stores of Forever 21 and H&M and such. There were also lots of kids clothing stores. I get so tempted every time to go in and by stuff for my niece and nephews! There were even some nice handcrafted little girls' clothes; if Elsie was a year older, I'd be broke! And Ferrari logo little boys jerseys and tshirts - those things were expensive!

The next court was Persia which had a nice map next to a coffee shop in the middle of this beautiful vast dome. India court was next and in its dome, there was a big elephant statue with two riders. Lots of people were taking pictures of this. Finally at the end was the China court. I think this was my favorite!!! There was a huuuuge common area with a big ship, some little boats, a display of Zheng He's travels, and just gorgeous and intricate artwork all around. There seemed to be kids playing little piano recitals in the common area on stage - so cute! When I walked in, I was like, "Are they playing Yankee Doodle??" before I realized what was going on.

At this point I was starving and I had seen there was a Pizza Express here - I've been craving a nice slice of pizza and havent had any in weeks. Apparently, on the weekends many of the restaurants in this particular food court have all you can eat buffets. I didn't realize that til after I ate at the pizza place (there was an Indian restaurant next door and that would have been awesome). It was not cheap, but it was about $20 american and will last me all day.. I still feel full four hours later! I didn't just have pizza; there were about 6 types of salad and I tasted three or four of them. I tried three small slices of pizza, one of which was like a ham and mushroom (not really ham because they don't eat pork; I forgot until after I ate it and I don't want to know what it was), and a couple of vegetarian slices which were delicious, one of them with some kind of hot pepper on it so it was my favorite! I really am shocked that I do not have an ulcer sometimes... I also tried some lasagna which was good except they used a really weird mushy cheese, but the flavor was nice. For dessert, I had lots of fruit and tiny bit of tiramisu. All in all, it was a good meal that hit the spot!

On my way back, I stopped at this place called the "Chinese Garden" that I noticed on my first walk through. It was basically a bunch of outdoor seating with restaurants surrounding the courtyard. Of course, NO ONE was eating outside today, but it looked like a lovely place for night or other times of year. The way the mall is set out is kind of a diamond pattern for each court, so I took a different route back through the courts than I had on the way to China. The far right of the mall (south) was Tunisia, which the internet said had great smells due to all the international eateries. At this point I was exhausted, and all I could smell was KFC and all I could see was Subway, KFC and other fast food places. I didn't search too much as I was tired and it was starting to get really crowded. But the Tunisia court was pretty as well, with building facades around the court - I'm sure if I went further into the food court, I would find some cool places to eat. Next time.

It was so hot that I was determined to jump into the pool as soon as I got back to the hotel. I went to my room, changed and I was happy to note that it was not as crowded as the last two times I had gone up (I don't like crowds so I haven't swum yet). It felt sooooo good. It was even a little windy and not nearly as hot. I am definitely going to do this every single day from now on.

Finally, I took a detour through the gym. I was bummed to see a bunch of guys working out - we know I am a wuss and it's such an open area and the people here have such a staring problem. But I figured I should try to find the sauna. I walked down the hall and what is that?? A WOMEN'S GYM!!!! I honestly don't know why I didn't think of that before the way things are here. So stupid. I went in and there was one girl on a treadmill and there were like three different sections - I lifted some arm weights for a few minutes and look forward to getting on the bike this evening! I walked across the hall and went into the pristine women's locker room with clean showers and toilets, a sauna AND a steam room... Heaven!!!

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