Dubai doings

falcons al burqa

It’s very tricky writing about this place. I got carried away with my thoughts and so this post is instead about what we actually did in Dubai.

Mark mentioned previously that on day one we visited the Dubai mall. This has recently become the world’s largest shopping mall complete with a giant indoor aquarium, international sized ice rink and a giant man-made lake with dancing water fountains. The mall itself is like a giant North American covered shopping mall with 3 ginormous floors of high-end shops and food courts. A massive plaza overlooks the lake and the neck achingly tall Burj Dubai tower. It is unreal how high this thing is. It stands alone and defines Dubai’s skyline by dwarfing all others (even though they are also extremely tall by any other city’s standards).

Day two was jammed packed. After feeling a bit deflated for only having visited a shopping mall on the first day we wanted to see as much of the city as we could. We got up early and shared an overpriced taxi into the city with a nice canadian couple who had actually lived in Dubai for 5 years. They gave us some great ideas on where to go and how to get there, which is more of a challenge than you’d think because the city is so spread out and so many things are under construction.

Mark on the abra

We got dropped off near the Dubai Museum, which is in an older part of the city where the building are much more reasonably sized. We went into the museum which was a riot. The walk through depicted the history of Dubai through life-sized fiberglass figures in mock set ups with mood lighting and many buttons to press. After our enriched learning experience we set out for the creek. To our pleasant surprise there was a lovely promenade all along both sides of the creek. We took a water taxi, aka. Abra, across the creek for 1 dirham. It was a neat little ride. The wooden boats pull into a slot, don’t tie up, passengers hop on and off it goes. It’s a great system for getting across the water. On the other side we wandered through the spice souk and the gold souk which were both a bit tame compared to our Marrekesh souk experience, but it was nice to see this other side to Dubai.

We walked around the creek for a bit before taking a water bus back across the creek, and then we walked to one of the city’s main Metro stations. The metro system will be fantastic when it’s complete, but at the moment only a few stations/stops are open. The stations are ultra contemporary, they look like giant shiny space ships and are amazingly clean and efficient. Only negative is that they play a really annoying looped stock music track all the time, on and off the trains. I suppose it helps make it feel like the ‘future’ for some funny reason.

We took the metro out to the Emirates mall, formerly the world’s largest. In this mall we saw the indoor ski slopes and toboggan hills. It is so strange to step in from 30+¬∫C heat into the mall and see people in snowsuits and skis. Ridiculous. The hill itself looks like something I would have absolutely no problem on, i.e. it’s like a bunny hill back home.

elevator views

Next we headed to the Burj al Arab which is the 7-star hotel shaped like a sail (apparently they had to make up the 7-star designation to give this hotel because it’s the first of it’s kind). Positioned next to the sail hotel is the Jumeira Beach Hotel, in the shape of a wave. Next to the wave hotel is the boat convention centre, in the shape of a wooden boat hull. We were allowed into the wave hotel where we rode the elevator up and down to catch some glimpses of one of the palm islands in the distance. Feeling paranoid that they were about to kick us out of the hotel for abusing the elevators we left to find some beach. The only one we could access was the public beach which had incredibly fine white sand. The water was impressive and the beach was very clean. We made sure to not hold hands or make out on this beach for fear of being sent to prison (sly reference to arrest of british couple detained for such affairs). Sadly our time in Dubai had come to an end and we headed back to the ship. We would have liked to have had one more day but were just as happy to leave so that we would not have to pay for accommodation on our own. Yowzers, $7,500 per night at the Burj al Arab! I don’t think 3 or 4 star hotels even exist in this city, let alone hostels.

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    Poor couples that want to hold hands. Dubai sounds a lot like I had imagined from the comfort of my own 7 star couch (if we can count seat cushions as stars).

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