Today is our first day in Dubai. As with most days since the tour we slept in. Well Rhian does and because I can do nothing else I end up sleeping in too. We managed to get downstairs just before 10am when the breakfast is cut off. The food was nothing fancy and we are both sick of the english breakfast you get everywhere.
After breakfast we crossed the road to the Mall of the Emirates. This is a massive shopping center. It is the one that has the Ski Slope inside. Rhian quickly found the H&M store. She has been able to sniff this place out no matter where we go. Anyway after more than an hour and trying on the entire stores clothes she walked out with only three white tops and two pairs of shorts. We then walked upstairs and had a walk through a few eletrical stores. Again everything here is what you can get at home and the prices are about the same or more. Before leaving we got a quick snack of a buger and a milkshake. Milkshake was ok.
We were booked on a City of Merchants tour at 1430. We walked back across the road to the hotel and dropped Rhians shopping in the room. After double checking the paper work turns out we were not getting picked up until 1445. We waited downstairs in the lobby for the driver to come collect us. Once the driver arrived we took a short ride to a car park in the middle of no where. A number of other cars and busses rocked up. Once everyone arrived we were moved onto a coach which would drive us around the city.
The first half of the tour was a drive around the city telling us about some of the buildings we were passing by. Our first photo stop was at Jumeirah Mosque. I am not sure of the importance of this one but when we arrived a session was about to start so lots of men were filing in through the doors. After the photo stop we got back on the bus and drove for a bit longer passing places like the next leader of the Emrites house. His only 29 years old and has a palace the size of Pepermint Grove. All the signs tell you not to enter or turn around and go back. The second bus stop was at the oldest part of Dubai. It was the first settlement or town of Dubai. We can’t remember the name but the buildings were only 40 years old. After 20 minutes we got back on the bus and drove to our third stop which was the Dubai Museum. This was not a huge musuem but it was interesting.
After the museum we took a short bus ride to the river where we caught a small boat across the river. The boat was like one of the put put boats you get in Hong Kong or Thialand. After the crossing we were at the Spice Markets and Gold Markets. We had around 15 minutes at each market. I got harassed by every Indian for a suit, bags, glasses, watches. Only so many times you can tell someone No Thank You before you just want to punch them in the face. As with all Indians they never wear their own product. It was like being in Bali but people wearing better clothes and speaking good english.
After the markets the group was split into different cars and busses to take us back to our hotel. We were taken in a Holden Statesman rebadged as a Chev. This car had done 117,000 kms but had been kept as though it had just come out of the showroom. For a place which is in the dessert it is amazing how clean 95% of the cars are. Might have something to do with the car cleaners at the shopping mall car park.
After arriving back at the hotel we went for Pizza across the road from the hotel. It is strange over here you can not get a beer anywhere but the hotel bar. Sucks!. With all the foriegn residents (being 70% of them) I don’t understand why it is not more available. After stuffing a whole pizza into my pie hole we came back to the hotel and went to bed.
Day one down.