Finally, a little breather to post the stuff we did in Dubai. Do know that it is now 5.30am and I was woken up by a 4.08am phone call regarding work. Well, this is certainly the part I WON'T miss when I report to my new division in February. However, it did create just enough time for me to slip this post right in.. ;)
If I had only ONE word to describe the whole trip it would be... MAGICAL. :) The experience was truly very much welcomed seeing that a lot was going on at the home front. It was a very timely getaway for the both of us, from work.. from the kids.. heh heh heh Oh, and it was also time for the month long Dubai Shopping Festival , so we were expecting some great bargains too. Eventhough the whole idea was kind of impromptu and embarked on rather quickly, we did do a little research (in terms of my Lonely Planet :Dubai guidebook) and prepared a little itinerary on the things we'd like to see and do in Dubai. This particular document was then submitted to our travel companion, ZZ and Nazz as well as our bidan terjun tour guide , Radhi (he's Azrul's ex-M*X\$ friend now working in the Emirates) .
From our intel, we figured that our biggest problem would be getting an affordable lodging for our stay. One night accommodation in Dubai could range from AED300 (forex is about RM1 = AED1) up till AED1000 depending on which area you stay in. (More so if you'd wanna try the 4,5,7-star hotels) However, that issue was efffectively dealt by ZZ with her awesome bargaining power and her detailed & relentess comparison efforts (read: Kiasu mommy in action). We ended up staying at the Al-Khayyam (Khadra a/p Ayam?) Hotel which was strategically located by the Gold Souk in the Deira area - ala-ala macam Jalan Masjid India la... :) This proved to be a very sound choice as;
1. we only paid AED350 for a 2-bedroom "suite" ( = CHEAP)
2. we found a good place to fill our tummy with good and tasty Lebanese cuisine in the am or pm at an affordable price (= CHEAP, yet again)
3. we could just run down and bargain our way at the Gold Souk for pashminas, jubahs, table runners, Ali Baba shoes and such when we had free time. (= CHEAPer)
My sissy went a day ahead of us, so by the time we arrived in Dubai, it was straight to business. We went around town capturing the"must see" landmarks - Sheikh Zayed Road with all the breathtaking skyscapers : Emirates Tower, Dusit Dubai, the construction of Burj Dubai ; Burj al-Arab (took pictures from the guard post as we didn't wanna pay to go in. took also from the beach) before heading to our first shopping stop: Ibn Battuta Mall.
Ibn Battuta Mall : The mall was really one of a kind. It is actually themed after the travels of Ibn Battuta from China to India to Persia to Egypt to God-knows-where else. So, when you are in the China court, the deco will be Chinese inspired and so on. Sorry, not just the deco.. the whole darn exterior is also built using Chinese inspired architeture. So, from the outside you could tell that a China man is neighbours with an Indian man and the nextdoor neighbour is Egyptian and so on. Quite awesome, actually.. The interior is also do darn detailed and exquisite. There are also little exhibits on the findings along the way , it's a like going to a museum mall - so darn informative and you could shop at the same time. ;) The shopping was simply heavenly... I loved the Nine West sale and the Mothercare sale. Variety is superb, choices of stores, also superb.
Mall Rating =4 Thumbs Up.
On our way back, we stopped at Hard Rock Cafe to buy some merchandise. I don't know what it is about this establishment that makes me wanna get something from HRC everytime we travel overseas. It's like a kind of proof that we've physically been to the city, kot? Both hubby and me got a real nice jacket/sweater for ourselves that actually fits perfectly!
Morning came and we had 2 things to tick off our itinerary. 1. More shopping at the Mall of Emirates and 2. Desert safari. So, we decided to shop and ask the safari operator to pick us up at the mall. Pretty smart, eh?
The Mall of Emirates : This is also the home of SkiDubai, the indoor ski slope complete with the cable chair thingy and theme park. Can you believe it? A ski slope in a mall???? Only in Dubai.... We didn't get the chance to ski though, because of the timing, but we did a whole lot of shopping though.. There's Debenhams and Harvey Nichols (COACH had 50% off here!!!) in this mall, so variety is aplenty. Loads and loads of stores for kids - Mothercare (in Debenhams), Pumpkin Patch, Osh Kosh (tak sale); a whole portion dedicated to designer stores - Burberry, Prada, Gucci, Dior, Hermes, etc etc ; high street fashion - MNG (sale gila), Nine West, Clarks, you name it, they've got it! Variety is excellent, choices of stores, also excellent. Definitely my favourite mall! :)
Mall Rating =5 Thumbs Up.
As for the desert safari -- definitely one of the must do item if you go to Dubai. We got a bargain price of AED150 per person (again thanks to ZZ) and that includes: dune bashing, sand surfing, camel ride, henna tattoo, photo op in Emirati jubah and abaya, sheesha smoking, barbeque dinner and belly dancing show. Plus, they'll pick you up from wherever you want, some more.. Waaah! Great bargain, innit? Azrul got really screwed when we stopped to buy some drinks. There were no price tags what so ever, so he asked the storekeeper for the price. His reply? Price at the counter. He took 3 Cokes and walked over to pay, to his surprise, AED18 for his purchases. Bloody hell. AED6 , satu Coke-- cekik darah betul! Taula tepi gurun... Knowing him, he paid the price and bitched later. If it was me, I'd leave them at the counter -- hah, tegukla Coke tu sendiri.. We also stopped awhile to catch the sunset in the desert. Quite a moment.. During the camel ride, we got the frisky camel behind us trying to chomp our legs - thank God for the little baskety cover on his mouth. I bought Khadra a pink camel to remember this trip by and brought her little pink camel on the ride as well. Camel riding a camel. :) Of course, the other thing I had to comment was the belly dancing. The lady, Shahrazad, didn't look very authentic and ZZ was saying that this minah maybe Russian. Anyways, the gelek was a little suspect - macam ballerina ada gak, macam headbanging ada gak, macam gatal pun ada gak.. heh heh heh
Damn, it's already 6:50am. Enough for today, I'll post another one for the rest of the time we were there when I get to, okay? And that's a promise. :)
-dillz blogging out-