Day 19: Exploring DubaiMarch 24, 2011 in the United Arab Emirates
We'd booked two days in Dubai and had no firm plans, so the world was our oyster. Over breakfast we decided to buy tickets for the Big Bus - a hop-on hop-off loop bus around the city visiting most of the key tourist areas. The only issue with the bus is that the bus stop wasn't that close to our hotel.
It only looked like a couple of blocks on our map, but Dubai is very spread out, American style with enormous wide streets and very long blocks. 30 minutes and considerable difficulty later, we arrived at the Grand Mosque where the bus stop was. Had a quick look at the outside of the mosque but unfortunately couldn't go inside as prayers were in progress. Before long the bus arrived and we hopped on.
We stayed on for most of the loop past lots of highlights: Burj al-Arab, Atlantis and the Palm Jumeirah, Wild Wadi Water Park, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall and more. Jumped off at Dubai Mall and went inside for a look around, plus a spot of lunch at the food court. It's mind-blowingly large, and leaves the Westfield places in Australia for dead!
Switched to the connecting bus which loops around the Old Town and had a look around. Our ticket got us free entry to a boat cruise on Dubai Creek, so we did that in the afternoon. Very informative and interesting. Next stop on the bus was the Dubai Museum, where we spent an hour looking around.
A lot of effort had gone into the museum, but Dubai has only really existed since the late 1800s, so there isn't much history to speak of. Last stop on the bus was the Gold Souk (market) across the creek, where we alighted in the early evening. Had a wander around and a gawk at all the gold jewellery on display, though most of it was far too flashy/kitsch/extravagant for my liking. Lots of guys selling genuine imitation Rolex/Seiko watches as well.
Found a small spice souk and looked around there as well, but every shop sells much the same spices and after the first two shops they aren't that interesting to look at. Everything in the old town is clustered by what the shops are selling, so you'd have the electronics district, the meat district, the watches district, the sports supplement district etc. Unfortunately we couldn't find the restaurant district, but managed to find a few places and picked one mostly at random. Very few tourists about, but the locals paid us no heed as we enjoyed a massive shwarma (kebab plate) dinner for about 40 dirhams ($10 AUD).
Taxi back to the hotel where we sat in the Aussie Sports Bar, choking on cigarette smoke and watching Australia lose their world cup cricket semi-final to India. Of course the place was full of Indian migrant workers, just my luck!Read more