So The Cat and I went home to South Africa over the festive season so I could introduce her to my family and show her where I grew up and stuff. I like to fly emirates so We decided to spend a day in Dubai on the way.
Things got off to a good start. We arrived at 4am and went through the gay ass customs rigmarole got out and having booked a stopover package through emirates, we were taken by BMW 7 series limo to our 5 star hotel in The Jumeira Lakes area.
Yeah. Living the high life. Dubai has changed drastically since the last time I was there but it was good to be back. We checked in, took a rest and freshened up before our day of exploring.
It was winter in Dubai which meant bright sunny skies, 25-6 degrees and not terribly high humidity. Basically a perfect day. Coming from the dreary frigid Japanese winter. It was amazing to be in shorts again soaking up warmth. We found a grocery store near our hotel which sold everything you could possibly want including biltong… which we bought… and Devoured
We then headed to the nearest metro station. The train is a pretty new development and IMHO the most important step for Dubai to become a proper city. I’m sure as more people start to use it and the stations become hubs for … well everything, the whole vibe of the city will change too. I hope to go back then.
Incidentally the trains and the stations were made by Mitsubishi. I suppose nobody does trains like the Japanese, and Dubai has a tendency to only want the best. The system works well and it was our primary mode of transport the entire day.
Our first stop was the Dubai Mall which was next to The Burj Khalifa (Tallest building in the world) We were on our way to meet one of The Cat’s university friends who lives in Dubai and works as a cabin attendant for Emirates. I wanted to see the magnificent engineering marvel up close too. Incidentally…
Then it was lunch time at a nice Arab place (Arab food in the middle east is so good… seriously. Amazing) Great food. Great weather and great company. Great morning in general.
We bid farewell to our Jet setting friend who actually was going to head to the the other side of the world that evening and headed to Al Karama. Al karama is a market area in a seedy part of Dubai.
Far from the glitz and luxury of the skyscrapers, the backstreets and slums where all the people who make the service industry work live there. Something that many tourists forget. All those brown people who serve our every need often live out of sight in places like this.
It is a rough life to be fair but then they do earn a lot more here tax free than they would in their home countries. At the market we bought some cool metal T-shirts (Slipknot for The Cat and Iron Maiden for me) and headed back to the train to head to the Souks.
Souks are the traditional trading markets along the Dubai creek. Dubai has always been a trading hub. Oil may have propelled it onto the world stage and made the locals fabulously wealthy. But it is still a city that functions on trade. Nowadays it is all capitalist wanking as opposed to goods on rickety boats in markets that are lifeblood of the city. That said though. The rickety boats from the subcontinent bearing fabrics, spices and textiles are still a part of Dubai as they have been for centuries before.
To get to the Souk that we visited we needed to take a ‘water taxi’ across the creek. It was a pretty nice ride and I thought it was rather romantic.
At the souk she got an Indian shirt for a fraction of the price tat the same goods go for in Japan and I got myself an Arab head scarf (which I have always wanted)
Back across the creek on another water taxi at sunset, we were treated to some of the most beautiful night scenes I have seen in my life. There is something about being on the water at sunset. the sky is going dark and the lights are coming on. It was a pretty special view
On the way back to the Metro which would take us back to the hotel, we walked through another souk and trading area. The vast majority of the goods were spices which added a magnificent fragrance to the air but there were some other interesting stores to be seen.
In the end though we called it a day and headed back. We took a dip in the pool (which was magnificent… forgot to take pics of it) I ended up sleeping in the pool because I was so damn tired. That almost didn’t end well. Then back to the king sized bed and a solid sleep.