I’m going to break Dubai up in to a couple of different parts, otherwise the post would be too long!
I arrived in Dubai Staurday night and met Mary at the airport. I was delighted to see her after such a long time! We went straight to her apartment to meet her housemates Jen and Jaqueline, and to drop off my bags before figuring out what to do. She brought me to the Dubai Mall where we were able to catch one of the last fountain shows for the night. This was really cool and done to the tune of Lou Reeds – Walk On The Wild Side. If I figure out how to upload, I’ll put up the the video! After the fountain we went back to Mary’s and put together a rough plan for the week.
On Sunday we hit the road for Abu Dhabi to see Sheikh Sayed’s Mosque. This place was incredible and MASSIVE. Although it was really busy with people, it was very peaceful. To enter the Mosque, you have to have an Abaya which you can get when you get there – Just make sure to bring ID with you! In the Mosque, we were able to roam freely around everywhere except the courtyard and prayer rooms. The gardens and pools surrounding the Mosque were equally impressive and added to the tranquil vibe.
We stayed at the Mosque for over an hour and made shapes to come back to Dubai. The Mosque from Dubai is a little over an hour away by car.
For dinner, myself, Mary, her boyfriend Shane and Jen went to the Observatory which is located above the Mariott Hotel. This has a stunning view over Dubai Marina and some of the city itself. The food was great, and the service was second to none. We were all happily watered and fed leaving! (There’s only a bar menu in the evenings so don’t go in too hungry! Also there’s a happy hour on 6-8!) Following on from dinner we walked around the Marina and got a real feel for the place. The walkway itself if 7km long and there are restaurants, ice cream shops, cafes and shisha bars everywhere.
On Monday, we went to an ice cafe called the Chillout Lounge. This was really different! We were given snow jackets, socks, boots, gloves and hats before going in. When inside, you’re also given a complimentary hot chocolate or green tea. I opted for the green tea but Mary said that the hot chocolate was the best she’s had in Dubai. The guy working there was great. He offered to take pictures, was really friendly and helped make the place feel homey. On top of all the ice blocks were cushions and sheepskin covers so we were kept well warm.
We stayed here for around 45 mins and headed back to the apartment where we got ready for the second half of the day.
Our guide for the desert safari collected us a little after half 3 and after picking up two more people we made way for the desert. The company that we went with was ‘Dream Night Tours’ and we found the whole experience to be great. It was Mary’s 2nd time and she said it was different altogether to her first. First we went dune bashing which was a bit nuts. (Again, if I figure out how to upload videos I’ll put that one up!) Our driver stopped as well at the top of one of the dunes to let us take pictures. Once we finished the snaps, we were brought to a campsite where there was camel rides, a BBQ, Shisha and shows. We passed on the camel ride but tried a bit of everythinng else. For the main course, there was lots to choose from (vegan/ vegetarian friendly!). It was middle eastern based which made it a little more authentic. All of the food and soft drinks were included in our package. There was three parts to the show. The first act was a guy spinning in a skirt, the 2nd was a belly dancer and the 3rd was a fire dancer.
We were really lucky with our tour as we got to the campsite maybe 10 mins before everything kicked off. On some other occassions people have been left waiting at the site for up to 2 hours before anything starts.
Everything finished up around 8pm and our driver brought us back for around quarter past 9.
Mary had to work on Tuesday but I was all set to go see the aquarium in the Dubai mall. I was like a child when i saw it from the outside on Sunday so was really excited to go!
Mary had a Metro card ready for me and told me which direction and stop to go to for the mall. You can get a cab which only costs about 40D’s (E10) but I said I’d try out the train. The Metro is very straight forward, you can only go two ways on the red line – towards Rashidiya or UAE Exhange. Theres also a green line but I didn’t have to use this. Going towards Rashidiya will bring you to downtown Dubai, airports terminal 1 and 3 and a couple of places in between. If you go towards UAE Exhange, you’ll pass through Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach towers (as well as a few others but these would be the main tourist spots).
Anyhow, I got the metro with no problems and the cost was around 4D’s (so cheap!) and hopped off at the Dubai Mall. From the train, it takes around 15 mins to walk to the mall but it’s all in door with air con.
I loooved the aquarium and all of the different fishes. I opted for the package that gives you a ride on a simulator (meh) and a trip around their aquariums biggest tank on a glass floor boat. This was brilliant because the guide was able to tell us more about the aquarium and the different species that are there. From the boat, we got a birds eye view of the sharks, sting rays and different fishies swimming around.
After the boat ride, I got chatting to a guy called Steven from Lebanon so I had some company walking around. We got to see penguins, crocodiles, different types of jelly fish, crabs andso many fishies! There was also a UAE nightlife section that had a beautiful owl in it. For the final part, we walked through a tunnnel which was amazing. You could get right up and close with all of the different species!
After saying goodbye to Steven, I went back to Mary’s and we got ready to head out for dinner. She brought me to a fab restaurant called Shades which is above the Address Hotel down by the Marina. Again, I was treated to an breathtaking view of the Marina below and the city skyline. The place was very cool with an infinity pool, bar and restaurant. All of the seating was outdoor and we had perfect weather for it. There was a live DJ playing tunes in the background which all in all gave a great effect. We also managed to hit happy hour so drinks were buy one get one free. The food was delicious and staff very friendly.
I’m going to leave it at that for the time being but should have more about Dubai put up shortly. There are some more pictures in the Gallery to check out as well of Dubai and the places that I’ve been.
Bye for now! 🙂