Out and about in Dubai

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Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai
December 27th 2013
Published: December 29th 2013
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We struggled out of bed at about 8.30am this morning. With only one day in Dubai we couldn't afford to sleep the day away tempting as is was to roll over and do just that after only five hours of sleep! Another reason to get out and about was that Bernie inadvertently booked us into a smoking rather than a non-smoking room and it reeked of stale cigarette smoke. Eeeeuuuww! In five weeks it is the only slightly off accommodation that we have had so we're not complaining too much. Although the shower was slightly demented too - alternating between too hot and too cold without touching the taps. And then there was a the hairdryer that had its cord affixed to the underside of the desk drawer so that it couldn't be stolen. Pretty much had to kneel on the floor to blow dry my hair. Oh dear, it sounds like my patience has worn a bit thin with the end of our holiday so near.

On the plus side, our friend Deb and her children Erin and Thomas arrived in Dubai yesterday to visit Deb's sister Christine and her husband James and we had made tentative plans to 'do lunch' before we left home. Deb rang just after we finished breakfast and we made plans to meet at the HUGE Christmas tree at the centre of the Wafi Mall at 1.00pm. We took a taxi over to the mall and had a bit of a wander around the mall before 1.00pm. The mall has a distinctive pyramid-shaped roof and the Egyptian theme is continued throughout.

We met up with Deb, Erin, Thomas, Christine and James just before 1.00pm and Deb couldn't wait to tell us that they were upgraded to Business Class. How lucky is that? All three of them were upgraded to Business Class. We were so jealous! We've only been upgraded once in 20 years of international travelling. I think we need to do more international travelling to upgrade our Qantas Club membership from bronze to silver. Maybe then we would have a better chance at upgrades??

James suggested that we go to a restaurant downstairs that has a large open courtyard. He warned us though that patrons could smoke shisha pipes at the restaurant, but with it being early there probably wouldn't be too many people smoking. We decided to brave it. Having been in the Czech Republic for a week we're sort of used to people smoking in restaurants. The restaurant did have a couple of shisha pipes going, but with tables arranged around the large open courtyard it wasn't too smoky. Certainly not as bad as being closed into a centrally heated restaurant in Prague with smokers.

Being the person with the local knowledge we let James order all of the food. The food was delicious and the service was attentive and we were very embarrassed when James picked up the tab. We certainly weren't expecting to be shouted lunch so it was very generous of him to do that. He told us that it is the Arab way to be a generous host to visitors to the UAE. We had a lovely couple of hours catching up with Deb and her family. It was lovely sitting around in the open courtyard without need to have a puffer coat on!

We left Deb and the kids and James and Christine at the mall planning to play glow-in-the-dark mini-golf. We were invited to join them but, although it sounded like fun, we thought that we should try to see at least a little bit of Dubai. James had given us some directions to explore some of the souks on Deira Creek. Then he suggested that we take an abra (small motorised boat) across the creek for one Dirham each to the souks on the other side before walking back along that side of the creek to the Radisson Blu.

We took a cab and, in the way of cab drivers the world over, he dropped us 'almost' where we wanted to go. The area we started wandering around in was pretty deserted so we thought maybe we were in the wrong place or most of the stall holders were taking Friday off? Eventually though, we found our way into the Textile Souk where we were accosted by stall holders wanting to sell me a pashmina shawl and Bernie a red and white check keffiyeh (traditional Arab head-dress). I don't think they believed us when we said he already has one, but he really does have a keffiyeh that we bought in Egypt last January!

We bought a tacky souvenir for some of Bernie's work colleagues and cushion cover and then found our way down to the creek to find the abra. Hmmn, there were lots of people who want to sell us a one hour tour on an abra, but were not to keen to point us in the direction of the boats that go back and forth across the creek for one Dirham per person. We persevered though and we got our one Dirham (about 30 cents!) rides across the creek.

On the other side of the creek we were bemused by all of the white-goods and televisions still in their boxes waiting to be loaded onto Dhows to be transported (unless they had been unloaded during the afternoon?). We also explored the Gold Souk where there were shops selling jewellery as far as the eye could see. There were plenty of stall holders from the side streets hawking copy watches, copy handbags, T-shirts and all sorts of other bric-a-brac. We managed to avoid buying anything else and then found our way back to the creek with the aid of a city map that Bernie had downloaded onto his iPhone this morning. Lucky, eh?

Back at the Radisson Blu we decided to eat in at their 'Fish Market' restaurant. Oh dear, one of those restaurants where you have to choose your raw seafood and vegetables and they cook it up in a sauce of your choosing. The per kilo market price of everything is displayed, but unless you are really good judge of the weight of what you are choosing you don't really know what you are going to pay until it's all been weighed up. So we had another extravagant dinner for the last night of our holiday!!

We returned to our room where we re-packed our bags for the last time.

19,229 steps / 13.09 km

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