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Published: January 21st 2015
Escaping the winter in England seems like a good excuse to get away to sunnier climes and as I have said before I am lucky with the locations my kids have chosen to live ...so here I am in Dubai at Suzanne's for a month. It is now 10 years since I lived here and the changes have been enormous and seem to continue. On my last visits I tried out the new metro and linking busses to get around - this time it's a new Tram system which links up to the metro around the Dubai Marina area and is set to go further in Phase 2. There are also water busses which take you from the Marina all the way to the old Creek area of Dubai. The ease with which you can use public transport had been well thought out ...signs and posters are clear , stations etc are squeaky clean, you can buy individual tickets or best way to travel is to get a Nol plastic card ...top up with Dirhams and then which you tap on readers as you travel on and off your transport. One downside is that the metro is so popular it gets
pretty crowded and often you have to stand. There is the Gold Class where you pay more for each trip and also a couple of carriages for women and children only ( needless to say there is always one bloke who hasn't read the signs and is standing there amidst the ladies!) but my tip is to go in the mixed carriages and nine times out of ten some nice young man gives up his seat to this poor little old lady !!! Busses also have a section at the front for ladies!!
And when visiting Dubai don't forget that although it is very liberal you should dress appropriately when out and about ... I have seen too many women in shorts and skimpy skirts and tops . be mindful and respectful of the culture I would say.
I can so easily fill in my time while Suzanne is at work during the week - walks around this area where she lives are pretty....paths lined with trees and shrubs are well manicured and there is a small lake ...all this of course is man made out of the original sand ... The next big construction project is to
be a huge canal which cuts through from the Creek to the sea ...I imagine this will make the old Dubai area into an island !!! what next !!! that is what is amazing about Dubai ..they decide to do something and there it is done in the next few years. However at the same time they have been recognising more of their historical past and some of the old areas down by the Creek now show what life was like before boom of development . The windtower houses and narrow alleys in the Bastakhia quarter of the old Dubai are delightful, many of them are open and you can wander around , there are art galleries , cafes with courtyards, a coffee museum, coin museum and a beautiful Restoration house which show the architectural heritage.
When we first moved to Dubai we lived near the Creek area and walked around there frequently ... and I am sure there are people who come to live here now and tourists who stay in the hotels on the beach , at the Marina or the Palm and who have never been to the old Dubai - they don't know what they
are missing. However having said that the Big Bus company does tour the old Dubai so I hope people get off the bus and explore there.
Now for the new - I do love the Marina ...well you know me and boat trips - can't resist them ... So take an old Dhow trip 65 dhs ( about £10) and spend an hour chugging out of the marina Under the Palm Bridges and out towards a view of the Burj Al Arab. It's a marvel to me when I look back and think there were only about 5 low rise hotels along the shore when we lived here and now look at it!!!
If you are a shopper, and think think you would gather that I am not into that , then you are in heaven here with The Dubai Mall ( think aquarium and dinosaurs) at the Burj Khalifa and the Mall of the Emirates ( thinks ski slope and penguins) to mention just the 2 big ones. I prefer the Marina Mall ..smaller and I don't get lost !!! And of course it's very comforting to have Waitrose Debenhams and M&S.
Of course there are
numerous places to eat with all the kinds of food you could think of ... We tried Persian last week ...very good. Added to this the lovely Claire gave us free tickets to the ballet and we saw Romeo and Juliet ...fabulous powerful and emotional Prokofiev music ( The Apprentice borrrowed it as the them tune) ...this was the Monte Carlo ballet and they were amzing especially the male dancers ... the only downside is the Dubai audience ... lots of coming and going and they really don't know how to behave at times!
Added to this we visited a foodie and craft market in one of the parks last Friday ... Hordes of people and all,kinds of organic stuff on sale ...that was unimaginable when I lived here... Times have changed.
That's it for now , time to go to the pool for a swim.
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