Monday, July 23, 2012

Dubai - Day 3

I woke up on my last full day in Dubai with aching feet.  Maybe I should have saved the massage for today...  No matter.  I had a quick breakfast of dinner leftovers and headed to the spa for an indulgent facial.  I emerged an hour later with blissfully soft skin - but still with aching feet.

I decided to indulge in an open-top bus tour, as the places I still wanted to see were along the route.  Apparently I have bad luck with open-top bus tours (remember London's super cold and rainy experience?) as it was entirely too hot to stand being in the open air for too long.  As it was Friday, many of the stops in Deira and Bur Dubai were closed, which was just as well.  I had heard great things and the heritage villages and museums, but I didn't necessarily feel the need to experience them today.  The first part of the tour was mostly for scenic and orientation purposes.  I got off at the exchange point and switched to the other tour line for some stop-and-go action.  The highlight was seeing the beaches along the coast and getting great views of the Burj al-Arab, the iconic sail-shaped hotel, purported to be 7 stars.  I had considered having tea there so I could get a glimpse of the interior, but it didn't fit into the plan this time.

My first stop was at Souq Madinat Jumeirah, a purpose-built indoor souq near to some of the big-ticket hotels and resorts.  I wanted to go there primarily to see if I could grab lunch at Trader Vic's after the previous day's disappointment.  Unfortunately, I arrived at about 3pm, when they were serving only a limited bar snack menu.  Disappointed again, I 'settled' for mussels and pomme frites at a Belgian restaurant.  Better frites, not as good mussels as my first outing.

I actually enjoyed the souq's offerings more than I anticipated and bought a few small art pieces.  I am kicking myself now for not taking the time to peruse some watercolor prints.  Oh well, I had an open-top bus to catch.

The bus made its way onto Palm Jumeirah and down to Atlantis, which was fascinating to see.  Another trip for another day! 

I left the bus at Mall of the Emirates, intending to visit Ski Dubai.  Then I walked inside.  Not only was it as labyrinthine as Dubai Mall, but it seemed that much of the population had the same idea.  It was PACKED.  I finally made my way to a viewing area for the ski village but gave up on finding the entrance.  I've seen snow before.  I tried the movie theater for a diversion and a way to put my feet up, but there was nothing that I wanted to see starting anytime soon.  I tried to figure out where the taxi rank was but found the exit to the metro first.  Perfect!  I thought.  I'd head to Dubai Mall and see a movie there and head back to the hotel from there.  Except that the metro was quite a hike from the mall itself.  And then it was a 10 minute wait for a train.  And then the train was packed.  And then when I got to the Dubai Mall stop, I realized I had no earthly idea where the mall was in relation to the metro stop.  A bus pulled up at that moment that said "Dubai Mall", and I got on.  Along with about 100 other people.  We finally made it to the mall, which seemed quite a way from the metro station, and I sighed with relief at having some idea where I was, having mastered this mall the day before.

The cinema was packed, but I managed to get one of the last seats to see Men in Black III.  Perfect.  I ordered some nachos, which ended up being dinner, but they were perfect.  The movie was pretty good - I really do like the series - and it felt heavenly to put my feet up.

After the movie I found the taxi rank, where the wait was twice as long as the night before.  Amazing!  I finally reached the front and headed back to my hotel, where I put on my compression socks to soothe my aching feet and collapsed into bed.

I had a leisurely morning on Saturday, breakfasting at the hotel and then packing.  I got to the airport and checked in without much fuss.  The wait was bearable, as was the flight.  Hasta la vista Dubai!  Thanks for a great weekend - I'll be back!

Views of the older sections of Dubai

I am a bit obsessed with the awesomeness of these traditional wind towers.

See another one here

And more. I think this is the heritage village in Bur Dubai.

More dhows on the Creek.

Burj al-Arab

Wind towers built into Souq Madinat Jumeirah

Another Burj view

Gorgeous landscaping at Souq Madinat Jumeirah

The lushness of the grass in sweltering heat amazed me.

Burj al-Arab

First glimpse of Atlantis

Atlantis in all its pink glory!

Wind towers on Palm Jumeirah

Part of the Dubai skyline

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