Not all those who wander are lost - but I'll be disappointed if I don't get lost frequently!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Dubai in a Day

I'm currently at the airport awaiting my flight to Nairobi, where the real adventure begins. This is a quick recap of what's happened so far...

I flew out of Adelaide heading to Melbourne on Friday in business class. That's right - business class. Sadly, it sounds far more exciting than it actually was. For domestic flights, business class's highlights are slightly wider seats and glass cups. For a short 1.5hr domestic trip, not really worth the mula unless you need the extra baggage allocation.

The flight itself was uneventful, as were the 4.5 hours I spent waiting around the terminal for my onwards flight to Singapore with Emirates. I was rather slack this time round and didn't check in online, so the lady allocated my seats for the MEL - SING and SING - DXB legs. Which meant exit row seat on the second leg - yay! But window seat, locked in by two old fogeys for the 8 hours to Singapore. In that leg of the trip I watched four movies - Contagion, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Jane Eyer, and another movie that must have been interesting cos I haven't a clue what it was.

We arrived in Singapore approximately midnight local time, and I had a lovely one hour nap in the gap between flights. I slept the whole flight to Dubai, and woke up feeling rather stiff and hungry. Due to some kind of storm, we were held in a holding pattern for a while over Dubai and landed about half an hour behind schedule. My cramped legs were loving the delays!

Tired, hungry, and rather smelly after 24 hours in the same clothes, I booked into an airport hotel just down the road. It was an extra fee for early check in, but I gladly paid it just so I could have a long awaited shower! It was absolute bliss.

Over breakfast at the hotel, I perused the tourist maps of Dubai for inspiration of what to do with my one day in Dubai. However, none of the maps had scales on them so I couldn't get a grasp on how big the city was. When I asked the concierge whether it was far to walk to the Deira city centre, she had to pick her jaw up off the floor and suggest I take the free hotel shuttle there.

And that's just what I did. From the city centre I bought a hop on, hop off ticket with the Big Bus Company that has two loops going past the major attractions of Dubai.

Dubai is something else, in a class of its own. I hadn't seen so much grandeur and opulence and outright extravagance anywhere before. And it's not a small city. Actually, nothing is small here. Not the indoor ski resort, not the (one of many) million square metre shopping mall, not the tallest building in the world, not the the huge sail shaped 7 star hotel. The audio commentary on the bus was full of facts about the biggest, the largest, the only, and the most expensive. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and a popular tourist attraction. HOT TIP: Book ahead if you want to go up this tower, as you can't just walk up and get a ticket for that day, and probably not for the next two days either!

I must say that the Burj al Arab is quite a beautiful building, but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to go inside.

In the early afternoon I went on a walking tour through the Textile Souk, Old Souk, Spice Souk and Spice Souk. The gold jewellery and clothes were beautiful glittering in the afternoon sun. I tried some figs and some camel milk chocolate in the spice market, very yummy of course. The tour was good, but I'm disappointed that it ran overtime so I then missed out on doing the dhow cruise on the Dubai creek. Next time.

Then it was back to the hotel in the evening for some room service and a nice sleep before my plane to Nairobi the next morning!

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