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 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!

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!