Dubai or Don’t I – Day Five

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On the Hotel Shuttle

Our last day in Dubai!

We were lucky today because as we were walking out of the hotel, the Hotel Shuttle was about to leave for Kite Beach. We hadn’t planned on going there but what a great opportunity!

Our driver is a lovely, friendly man but he drives like a maniac!! Or maybe everyone drives like a maniac here.

We didn’t know what to expect from Kite Beach except I remember seeing lots and lots of kites in the YouTube videos I’d watched before we came to Dubai.

 


First thought was, “where are the kites?” I expected to see at least some! If you’re lucky, you can see ONE kite in the pic bottom right. I realised as I got closed, that it was just fixed, marking this place as Kite Beach

There were plenty of places to get drinks and snacks in the main area.

 


And there is also a really nice board walk! There were distance markers every 100 metres.

 


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We saw the Burj Al Arab in the distance and decided to follow the boardwalk towards it.

It didn’t look that far but the further we went along the boardwalk, the further the Burj Al Arab seemed to get as well.

The Burj Al Arab is a seven star hotel built to look like a sailing boat.

We saw some interesting signs along the boardwalk

 


Not sure if you can read the writing. There were plenty of scantily clad men and women on this beach. I hear that it’s supposed to be OK in the tourist areas but we’ve seen lots of skin exposure even in the malls. I didn’t ever see anyone getting picked up on how they were dressed.

We stopped at an area just before the boardwalk ended, to get a cool drink. That hotel was not getting any closer!

 


That smoothie on the top right corner was super delicious and the man who made it was just so lovely. It was just cute old fashioned service. Everyone here calls me ma’am. Every one is either sir or ma’am.
This smoothie was so thick and refreshing. It was only 19 Dirham (about $7 AUD)

We kept walking toward the Burj Al Arab but when the boardwalk ended and it still seemed kilometres away, we decided to turn back.

IMG_9753Because we still had an hour or so to kill, I got a smoothie at another place.

This place was cute to look at but that smoothie was the biggest disappointment.

I can’t believe I’m on holiday in Dubai and talking about the quality of smoothies.

Seriously though, it was just like drinking a fruit juice.

What a let down.

Said goodbye to Kite Beach. It would be a really good place for families to go to and if you like to walk or run, that boardwalk is great. Can’t imagine what it would be like when the temps go over 40 degrees though.

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We hopped back on the Shuttle bus and as his next stop was the Dubai Mall, we thought we’d stay on it as we wanted to see the fountain dance. We missed out the last few times we were at the mall.

But first lunch, and after walking around for freak’n ages, careful consideration, went to The Cheesecake Factory.

 


I really made a mess of that first pic. Hubby ordered nachos (left) and I ordered a vegetarian pasta.
OMG we were both in heaven!! The food was soooooo good. It’s a bit strange to not have alcohol on the menu though.

After lunch we went outside towards the fountain and kept walking around the outside of the Mall. There’s lots to see around there.

 


Hubby was absolutely enthralled with Burj Khalifa (who wouldn’t be),
The Burj Khalifa is a skyscraper in Dubai. It has a total height of 829.8 m and a roof height (excluding antenna) of 828 m. The Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in 2009 (Thanks Wikipedia)

We walked all around the outside of the Mall, then entered through the “rich” area. The area where all the high end brands are AND where this lovely orchid is that doesn’t remind anyone of anything at all.

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Finally it was time for the fountain show!! We went outside with hundreds of others and then it started!!! I grabbed my phone to start recording. Hubby grabbed it from me as he’d get a better view with his height. I was so excited to have this wonderful experience on video. The water moves with the music as if doing a synchronised dance. It only went for a few minutes and I was sad when it was over.

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I was sadder still when I realised that for some reason, my phone stopped recording about 10 seconds in. That was even before the show started. So I recorded nothing (Cry)

All I have is that photo above which was taken by accident before the show started.

It was almost time for our Shuttle bus to take us back so we went to sit outside and took a few pics against the Burj Khalifa and the crescent moon.

 


So now I’m sitting in our hotel room. We’re waiting for our driver to come and take us to the airport.

I’m sad to be leaving but looking forward to being back on familiar ground.

Dubai you’ve been great and I’m certain we’ll be back.

Thanks for reading!

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Dubai or Don’t I? – Day Three

IMG_9516A sometimes frustrating thing is that when crossing a road here there can be up to four sections. So you’ll have a separate pedestrian sign for each section. It can be fine for you to walk the first three then STOP! It’s also a little dangerous for us as we’re not used to seeing it. We’re used to looking at what the sign is at the end of the walk which often is not the same as the sign closest to you.

If you haven’t noticed it, the first sign in the pic to the right is don’t walk! but how easy would it be just to step out because the other two are walk!

Hubby was up early this morning to watch a Hockey game. I tried to sleep but it was impossible so at 6am I hit the gym. It’s a really nice gym! Lots of equipment and three treadmills. When I walked in two of them were being used. Awkward! But it was OK and it felt so good to move at a good pace rather than the slow pace we use when being tourists.

We left as they were coming to clean the room. It was a bit strange yesterday when we came back in, the cleaners had even put some of our stuff away. For example, we had some charging cords on the counter and they put them in the drawer beneath that. There were a few little things like that. I’d never experienced that before.

 

 

Today we were smart and bought a day trip pass. This allows us to catch and bus, train or tram on the same ticket all day. It doesn’t include the monorail though which is a shame as that ticket was almost the same as the day pass.
The pics above were from today’s trip. We were going to try to get to Jumeirah Palms again today.

When we got to the ticket booth, we were disappointed to find out that they don’t take credit card. It’s cash only. Not only is it cash only but the nearest ATM was pretty far away.
Hubby went to check for a cab service but the first guy who approached us gave us some ridiculous price. On the way back through (We were going to make the long trek to the atm) a security guard stopped us and said he would give us the 60 dirham we needed for a routine ticket on the monorail. He said there were ATMS on the island that we could use so we could pay him back when we came back.

Sounds too good to be true right? I mean he was risking losing his 60 dirham but if, as I believe is the case, most people are honest, he will likely be making some good tips doing it this way. I know we tipped him well when we came back. It was so nice of him to offer and we were beyond grateful.

So we got on the monorail to the amazing Atlantis hotel on Jumeirah Palms and sat as close to the front as we could. Here are a few snaps I took along the way.

 

 


Once there, we had a coffee then took a look through the shops of the Atlantis hotel.

Here’s a few pics inside.

 

 


IMG_9606Those cakes are from the Starbucks. We didn’t have any but they looked good.

You’ll notice Gordon Ramsey has a restaurant here. The bottom right pic is from inside there. We stopped and had a couple of drinks. The drinks were about $24 each and we only had a wine and bourbon. Very expensive for what we’re used to but it was a good experience.

Oh and look (left) I found Jason Mamoa here too!! Or more correctly, Aquaman!

We took a stroll on the board walk..

 

 


Then headed back on the monorail. Here’s a few pics from the way back.

 

 


IMG_9625We stopped at The Dubai Mall for a walk and a snack. We’re  going to a river cruise buffet tonight so we didn’t want to eat too much.

On the train we saw this sign that separated the women from the men. We walked in without realising, then when hubby saw it, he retreated to the other side of the line.

If you can’t see it, he has little kangaroos on his shoes.

IMG_9627So the river cruise was an experience!!!! We had no idea what to expect. We contacted the company from a brochure that was left in the hotel. I couldn’t find the name of the people operating the tour, or a website, but there was an email address so I contacted them. They confirmed the price (so many tours list one price but charge a higher one when you go to book) and that pick up and drop off was included.

Hubby and I had been waiting in the hotel lobby for a while when a dishevelled looking kid came in and asked if I was the person waiting to be picked up for the tour. I must admit, from the way he was dressed and his manner, I almost wanted to say no.

But I said yes and hubby and I went to his vehicle. I was expecting a minivan type thing used by the tour operators but no, it was his own personal car. He said there was another group of three waiting to be picked up too. That made me feel a little better.

Hubby is 6’7” and  has a frame to go along with that so it was funny when, after picking up the new passengers, the driver tried to squeeze hubby in the middle of the back row, with people either side of him. I just couldn’t stop laughing and finally the driver said actually, you can sit here and moved him elsewhere.

When we got to the boat he asked for the money for the river cruise. Up until this point I hadn’t paid and it felt weird to be giving him the money. We gave him the equivalent of $80AUD and walked towards the boat. He said he’d be there to pick us up at 10.30pm.
Hubby said “he ain’t coming back”

 

 

We got onto the rickety boat (a dhow) and thought what the hell have we gotten ourselves into!!
The boat started to move away from the dock and five minutes later, another boat caught up to us and let a few more people on. Hubby said “here are the guys coming to take our wallets”

But we were so wrong to be afraid. We had a FANTASTIC night!!

Here’s some of the views we enjoyed

 

 

 

 

Once everyone was on board the entertainment started. First with this…

I loved the music and everyone just got into it!! Especially the kids.

 

 

After this, a spinning guy came out. He twirled and twirled and twirled for ages! How did he not get dizzy!!!! And those discs he’s holding multiplied as he went round and round. He was so good!!

It was just so much fun. Later on, while we were waiting for our driver, another woman who I had been on the boat with but hadn’t spoken a word to, motioned for me to come over (she didn’t speak English) because she wanted a photo with me! How sweet is that!! She made me feel so special.

It was a fantastic night that we are going to remember for a long time and if you haven’t worked it out by now, our driver DID come back for us!!

Good night!

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Dubai or Don’t I – Day Two

It’s 1.30am and I’m having trouble adjusting to this new time zone so I thought I’d write about a few funny things that happened yesterday.

IMG_9493We mentioned our kettle was faulty to the front desk. The staff here just bend over backwards to help. The man we were talking to said we were probably doing it wrong. It’s an electric kettle. How wrong could we be?

But we were wrong.

Most kettles click on to start boiling. Ours needs to be caressed and slid gently into position. If you don’t do it right it won’t turn on.

Now there’s a metaphor for you.

There’s a lot of older looking bikes here. They’ll tear up the footpaths. You have to be on guard! Nowhere near as bad as Japan but it still surprises me that it happens and we haven’t seen an accident yet.

Today we thought we’d head off down to the Dubai Creek again. As it’s Friday, nothing much is open (it’s their holy day). I was surprised to learn that even the metro (Trains and buses) don’t start until 10am.
It turned out to be the best option as we had breakfast at “Arabia Tea House Cafe Restaurant”
What an amazing place!!!


We went for a traditional Arabic Breakfast platter to share. I wish I could show you the platter we got but I was just too excited to eat it and forgot to take a picture. Here is the picture from the menu. We pretty much got this, except they changed up those green leafy things for baked beans.

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It was soooo good and much more filling than I could have imagined!

We also had tea and coffee included.

Hubby tried to ask for coffee but it was like that option wasn’t computed by the server so he just went for the tea as well but how nice was it!!!

It was like a chai tea but with a million more spices and was just so pleasurable to drink!!!

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They have this area outside where you can sit and have tea. Honestly, I wanted to say “How’s the serenity”

I don’t know if you can actually sit there or if it’s for tourists to take photos but I had to have a photo taken there too didn’t I?

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We’ve seen lots of cars here with their windscreen wipers up. I don’t know the actual reason for it but I googled and found some potential answers. It’s better for the rubber in this heat to not be next to your windscreen OR, dust particles can get under the blades and scratch the windscreen OR, people pay for others to wash their cars, and after the car has been washed they leave the wipers up to show it’s been done.
Either way, it looks strange.

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We saw this along our travels today.

A place for the needy to get some food.

How nice is that!

It was empty though and having said that, hubby and I both noticed that so far we haven’t seen any homeless people either.

We had seen pictures of the Marina Walk. I had read that it was a 7km walk but I think the 7kms is still being designed/built. I don’t think we walked more than 700 metres.
But I did take some nice pictures along the metro line way.


And the marina itself is pretty special!!

We thought we would be able to walk onto Palm Jumeriah. The tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah island is known for glitzy hotels, posh apartment towers and upmarket global restaurants.

If there is a way, we couldn’t find it. We did find the mono-rail that takes you all the way to the 7 star Atlantis hotel but by the time we figured that out we’d lost interest. We may be back another day.

By this time we were getting hungry again so decided to visit the Mall of Emirates. It opened in 2005 and is home to a ski field, a cinema complex and more than 630 of the world’s best brands. At that time, 2005,  it was named the World’s Leading New Shopping Mall at the World Travel Awards in London.
It was pretty special and after we explored a bit we got lunch that included mint lemonade. I thought I was going to hate it (it was a mistake order) but actually it was quite refreshing!
Here’s a few pics from the mall


IMG_9533We went back to our room to rest up a bit and on the way stopped in at a supermarket. I’m such a fan of foreign supermarkets!!

Look at how lovely and neat their fruit and veg section was!! omg!

Hubby asked me if I wanted  some poo chocolate cake. I thought what the heck?? but here’s what he was referring too… and yes it was pretty delicious!!!!


Seeing as it’s in walking distance to our hotel, we wandered down to the Textile Souk at Bur Dubai. Oh WOW! That was not what I was expecting.

There were loads and loads and loads, and then some, of people! If you are even a little bit anxious around throngs of people, don’t come here.
And while I’m in the camp of people who get anxiety by crowds, I’m glad I experienced it.
No matter where you are, someone is trying to engage with you. Trying to get you to come into their store or restaurant. We had menus shoved in our hands and were walking towards a table before we even knew what was going on! I can’t tell you how many times hubby was approached by someone trying to sell him a watch and even an iphone that was probably fake, for a “very cheap price”

It doesn’t matter what you say, they have an answer. I told hubby not to even engage but I think he likes the fact that someone is wanting to talk to him.

Heres a few pics from our walk through this area. Oh, and it’s right on Dubai Creek so we took a few pics of the little boats (abra?) that leave from this location.

The first pic on the left is a whole bunch of shoes. There’s quite a few places here where people take their shoes off to enter.


My anxiety was at peak level by that last pic!!!

We’ve had an amazing day. Still trying to book our dhow dinner cruise. I hope we get that sorted as it would be fun to do that tomorrow.

For now, I’m safe back in the hotel room ready for some quality sleep.

Dubai or Don’t I – Day One

I really can’t believe we’re here!!!

Hubby and I took some pre flight pics before we left the house. The first one was pretty boring but after that pic was taken, I said “lets take a romantic pic looking into each others eyes” but almost immediately broke out into giggles.

 


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We were able to relax with a drink or two in the airport lounge before our flight.

I was trying very hard not to think about the thirteen hour flight that we were about to take.

I can’t remember taking a flight this late before.
And there she is, the plane that got us turbulently safely to Dubai

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I’d always heard good things about Emirates and while it wasn’t a bad flight, I’d love to know why those screens don’t work half the time!! Touch screens. Mine was in danger of breaking I was pressing it so hard. No response.

After a long flight we finally were in Dubai and I have to say that getting through customs was a breeze! Why do we make it so hard in Australia? Fill this out, do this, do that.

I remembered the tip to buy alcohol from the duty free store as we wouldn’t be able to buy it in Dubai. I only got one little bottle of Rose’ so what am I going to do when that’s gone? Most of the wines in there were speciality ones. I was just after a nice little drop to have at the end of the day.

IMG_9428I couldn’t grasp the train system because I’m used to the complexity of the trains in Japan and there are only two main lines here and one main train company (I discovered).

I was surprised at the foggy haze when we got off the train. I don’t know if it’s smog or fog. It wasn’t hot, but it was muggy. It’s only supposed to hit 22 degrees Celsius today but it felt quite warm.

I should add, our plane landed at 5am so we were here really early. The walk to our hotel was about fifteen minutes and luckily I had no problems finding it even though some helpful over zealous information person at the station was trying to tell me we were going to the wrong hotel.

I spent the whole 1500 metres we walked (while dragging our luggage behind us) thinking hubby is going to kill me when we get to the hotel and they tell us that our hotel is actually the one two kilometres in the opposite direction. Same name, two different locations.

IMG_9431Turns out, my directions were right and we were in the right place.

Because we were early our room wasn’t ready (we knew it wouldn’t be) but they offered us a complimentary breakfast anyway! And it was so good!!!

Such a luxurious restaurant with tons of different food.

I wish I’d taken pictures of it but I’m still a bit unsure when I can and can’t take my camera out.

After a huge breakfast we decided to take a little tour of the hotel. I’m happy to say the gym is as good as the online pictures showed it was and the pool is even better than the photos we’d seen. Not only that, there is a cute little bar area by the pool as well! The hotel website hadn’t shown that.

 


IMG_9438Since I got myself a SIM card, we left our number with the hotel and went exploring.

We ended up going all the way to Dubai Creek.

We had a bit of a giggle at this sign. (left)

Special offer for everything in store?

We found ourselves in an area which I think is known as Old city Dubai?
I’m not sure. Most of the stores were closed and I don’t know if that’s because we were there at 9am, or if today isn’t a shopping day.
It looked like a really interesting place. I know there’s lots of accommodation along there as well as we looked at a couple of places when choosing where to stay.

 


We were forced enticed to enter one store that was open and the guy desperately wanted to sell us something but we were still air plane stinky and not in the mood for shopping.

Here’s a few pics of the creek too. We definitely want to go for a dhow tour down the creek while we’re here.

 


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Oh and one last thing I’ll mention, while we’re strongly  encouraged to cover our shoulders and knees, there’s tons of these types of cards littered over the foot paths.

Makes you wonder how serious the dress code is?

I won’t be testing the boundaries while I’m here though!

We have been excited to see The Dubai Mall as we’d heard so much about it. We checked it out on Google maps and were all set to go. Luckily, when we got down to the foyer, we had to ask about our kettle (a story for another day) and while the lovely gentleman was IMG_9470talking to us he found out where we were heading. As it turns out, this hotel does a free shuttle service to the Dubai Mall!!! Fantastic! We didn’t have to faff about public transport. One less thing to argue about.

When we got to Dubai Mall, we saw there were a million and one buses trying to get into a small area. I’d be so stressed if I had to drive here!

The picture doesn’t really show how congested this area was; both of cars, buses and pedestrians.

Here are a few pics I took inside the mall. I must admit, I was dead tired while we were here. I’m sure we only saw a small part of it but we have time to come back for more.

The Burj Khalifa is a magnificent structure. I’d seen it in the clips I’d been watching on you tube but so much  more impressive in person.

Here’s one last pic I took inside the mall. Hubby decided to photo bomb. Did you spot him?

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Until tomorrow!

Dubai or Don’t I – Prelude

dubai-skyline-at-dusk-jpg_header-144981Surprised? I know I was! Hubby and I had a week or so of leave so we decided to plan a five day break to Dubai.
I’ve been both excited and apprehensive since.

Have you ever googled “what should I know before I visit Dubai?”

You’ll find lots of advice, mostly relating to how to dress and how to act. Mostly tourists will be OK as long as your shoulders and knees are covered. You can wear regular swimsuits in your hotel or resort pool area.
I remember doing this in DoHa but I felt completely weirded out because there were local workers around and I don’t know, it just felt weird.
Public displays of affection are a no-no. You can be sent to prison for that. Aggressive behaviour could also get you into trouble.
If I return without hubby you’ll know why.

No drinking sign, No alcohol sign, isolated on white background, vector illustration.You’ll also find out that alcohol is not readily available. If you’re staying at a four star hotel and above, you will find it in the restaurants, but if you think you can just walk to the nearest bottle-o and pick up a bottle or two of red, you’ll be disappointed.
To purchase alcohol at a store, both residents and tourists require a license however you can get it in the duty free stores at the airport and take it back to your room.
Guess what this thirsty girl is going to be doing.

dubaimeme13One thing we have going for us is that at this time of year, we should expect temperatures to be about 24-25 degrees Celsius. I can live with that!
And the minimums are 17-18 degrees Celsius so guess I’ll need a jacket after all.

I can’t help thinking about what it was like when we were in DoHa, but that was a completely different time of year. Average temperatures at that time were 44 degrees Celsius. It was like we were in a ghost town! Nobody was out on the streets.

dubai-4-700xIn preparation, I’ve also been watching a heck of a lot of YouTube clips. Some of them are professionally done, and some are just travellers sharing their experience. I saw one clip, where a guy filmed while walking through the Dubai Mall food Court. I think that was when I said “oh my god yes I want to go there”.
So many food chains!! How am I going to try them all!!!

Our hotel is about eight kilometres from The Dubai Mall. I checked the public transport routes and while it’s very cheap to use public transport, google maps tells me it’s going to take one hour to go those eight kilometres. ONE HOUR!!!! We may as well walk it!!!
Although I did see a YouTube clip of one guy who said he was 700 metres away from it but it was not possible to walk there so he had to take a taxi.

So many things to learn about. I’m researching pocket wifi right now, trying not to think about the Qantas drama from yesterday when a plane dropped so many hundreds of metres in seconds and made an emergency landing in Melbourne.

HinaKhanSo for now I’ll get back to my preparations. Our flight leaves at 10pm tonight and I’m overdosing on melatonin and hoping to get some good rest in.

My next post will be in a foreign and relatively alcohol, shoulder and knee exposure free land.

What do you think about my travelling dress? Knees and shoulders are covered so all good right?

Wadaeaan my readers!