Dubai or Don’t I – Day Four

We didn’t plan our days in advance and that can sometimes be a bad thing,  but we’re cramming so much into each day.

This morning I went to the hotel gym and like yesterday, found quite a few non gym junkie looking types in there. I love that. It makes you feel more comfortable. It really is a fantastic gym.

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Etihad Museum

We didn’t end up leaving our hotel until about 10am which is quite late for us. We had heard a lot about Etihad Museum and it was close enough for us to walk to, so off we went.

It was 25 Dirham to get in there which is roughly $10 Australian. The building itself is so big and magnificent. Big, in that it feels so elegant and spacious inside.

 

I learned a lot about the history of the UAE. I didn’t feel like we spent enough time there for it to be worth 25 Dirham but I’m still glad we went and saw it.

They had a section dedicated to this photographer and when you walked out of it, you heard a camera shutter noise and then your image appeared on a screen first as a negative, then as a normal picture. That was pretty cool!

 

 

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From the gardens at Etihad Museum

Seeing as we were so close to Jumeirah Beach we kept walking after leaving the Museum, and found La Mer.

 


I remember seeing this on You Tube! I was so excited!
We found a place that sold alcohol and went in for a drink while we worked out what we were going to do next. Can’t remember the name of the place but there was this seat/statue out the front. Hubby and I were arguing about if that was a man or woman. What do you think??

 


I feel like I’m giving them advice in that pic on the right.

We went into this souvenir shop that had amazing quality things in it! I got so excited!! I made hubby wait outside so I didn’t have to argue about why I wanted to buy this or that. I already can’t wait to get home and unwrap them all!

We stopped for lunch at the Texas Roadhouse and I have to say, this has been the best value meal so far. I’ve found the serves here to be relatively smaller than I’m used to, but they were very generous at Texas Roadhouse. And look at that bucket of peanuts!!!

 


I was stuffed after we left there. We kept wandering and then saw this…

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Skewers don’t do much for me but hubby was disappointed that he hadn’t seen this first!

59 Dirham is about $23 Australian.

Here’s a few more pics around La Mer.

 


Not sure why but it seemed to take forever to get back to the hotel.

After a rest we headed down to the Dubai Creek area. Our plan was to go to the Gold Souk across the river and travel by Abra.

I was a bit worried about going through the textile souk area as the crowds had stressed me out last time but it didn’t seem to be as bad today. All good!

We hopped on the Abra. An abra is a traditional boat made of wood and they’re used to ferry people across the Dubai Creek.

 


It’s a cheap ride and it was great fun! Once we got to the other side, the crowd stress began. It’s not even crowd stress, it’s that you’re not left alone for a second. Every second someone is asking you to come and see their things.
“You want to see watch? I have Rolex, Gucci, Prada. How about handbag? Pashmina?”
Just an endless barrage of questions over and over and even though you say no, they say “Just for look. Just looking. It’s ok, just looking”
I find it so stressful. Then they try to grab you by the arm and start leading you into their shop. It’s so hard to just ignore them because you feel like you’re being so rude!!
You can’t walk away because they walk with you for twenty or thirty metres. The minute one leaves, another one takes over. It’s exhausting.

The displays are amazing but I didn’t want to look because the minute you do you have no peace. Someone will come out and pressure sell.

 


These places are made for a person much stronger than me.
I have to add that most of the stores we walked past were empty of customers and there were hundreds of stores. Maybe not hundreds, but LOTS.

I did end up with a few more souvenirs then we took the abra back across.

IMG_9720I’ll just mention our dinner because it was pretty good. We decided to eat in one of the hotel’s restaurants.
We went into the sports bar/restaurant first but the smell of smoke (yes they can smoke inside) was just overwhelming so we went into the Italian restaurant. It’s not really an Italian restaurant, well it is, but it’s cooked and run by the same people who run the Indian restaurant. So we were sat in the Indian restaurant, listening to Indian music (Very good but way way way too loud) eating pizza and risotto.

The food was super delicious!!! Mine had a little too much cream but it was just so tasty.

Another memorable day. Only one more day to go and I’m a bit sad about that!

Goodnight for now!

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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 – 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!

I do, I do, I do, I do – The prelude

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Today, Wednesday, 13th February, hubby and I are celebrating our 15th year anniversary.
Fifteen years of love and cuddles, yells and screams,  and slams and sulks.
However in all that time, he has never given me the silent treatment.
He will talk until everyone in earshot gives up in exasperation.

There is a lot to be said for the silent treatment.

I’m still trying to sell him the “happy wife happy life” thing but he isn’t getting it. That’s ok, I’ve got many more years, I hope, to keep working on it.


A lot has changed in the last fifteen years!! We’ve changed careers, our little ones are not so little, a few wrinkles have dared appear and more than a few greys are clearly visible.

We decided to go to Melbourne because that’s where we ended up going for our honeymoon all those years ago.
I’ve chosen the accommodation so if it’s not good, I’ll get the blame (but sadly, not the silent treatment)

I think it will be good. It has a gym (essential) that is sadly not a 24 hour one, but open 6am until 10pm so I’ll have to wait until 6am to go there. There’s an indoor lap pool, which would be fantastic if I could actually swim a lap – and also a regular pool but the regular pool is outside and it’s not going to be warm enough to use comfortably.

It’s decidedly cooler this time around!! Fifteen years ago it was 43 (109.4F) degrees when we got married and 44 (111.2F) degrees as we were driving to Melbourne.
This time we’re flying and I’m hoping hubby is going to surprise me with a business class ticket (thank you Qantas)

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He had to work on our anniversary day and we are leaving first thing tomorrow so we’re not really going to do much today except for share this little gem when he gets home from work.

I’m pretty excited!

Melbourne, shopping, food, sight-seeing.

It’s going to be so good!!

We are on a “bright and early” flight tomorrow which is not so bad as I know I’m going to be too excited to sleep anyway.

Anniversary and “V” day back to back! I better be a lucky girl!