Well, that was a long and tiring day. My flight left Melbourne at a tad after 11pm on Friday. About 14 hours later I arrive in Dubai at just after 7am, with very little sleep. No matter what I did the seat was uncomfortable on the plane. I was a tad confused when walking through the airport that I had to ride a train to get to the arrivals hall to get my luggage. It appears I was not the only one, they built a big new terminal for the airbus A380 and then a train to shuttle people to the main terminal rather than build immigration and baggage collection into the new terminal. Then I waited and waited for my bag. It didn’t arrive, probably the worst thing that could happen. Luckily the baggage people eventually found my bag.
Now everyone says just use the taxis in Dubai, they are cheap. Yet I knew the metro was cheaper, ran past my hotel and cost me all of a dollar to ride. Besides i was delaying enough such that my hotel room might be ready so I could shower. I was in luck, and needed the shower as I think it was 30C at 9am. After a shower and fighting off jetlag I headed out to see the old Dubai. I caught the metro there with my wonderful new friend “the silver nol card”. Now I could have got a gold nol card to ride the metro in gold class, but apparently thats always full anyway.
I was walking along a covered Souk by the Dubai creek, when the harassment started. “sir sir have a look, you don’t have to buy, just come inside and have a look”. By far the worst experience of being harassed to buy ever! The best line was “Sir, come and buy from me. Yesterday a famous Australian Cricketer bought from me. His name Glenn Maxwell and he was very happy, so you will too”. I think they were trying to sell me anything from scarves to dresses for my sister/girlfriend/mother/mistress. I escaped and found the old Dubai Fort and Museum plus a much needed drink!
I wandered a bit more, cautiously avoiding too many covered souks and eventually the heat and sun was getting to me, so i caught an Abra or old dhow boat back across the creek to the nearest ferry terminal to my hotel. The river or creek is big enough but is more of a harbour and it doesn’t run too far inland. Plenty of old wooden boats ply the waterways though and the abras are a nice cheap way to cross the creek. There are no bridges near the ocean end of the Dubai creek.
It was bloody hot (apparently only 37C but tomorrow is forecast to be 39C) and I needed a nap before my evening journey to the Burj Khalifa, the building with the worlds tallest observation deck at 555m up. I set an alarm just in case I dozed off an sure enough my alarm was the next thing I remember! I caught the metro out to the Dubai Mall. Well the metro station is a fair walk from the mall, but for mall goers comfort there is a kilometre or two of air conditioned raised walkway with travelators. I’m strictly a walking on travelator person. I can’t stand people who just stand on them and don’t walk. Of which the biggest culprits are large families of Indians it seems. Once I reached the mall, finding the area to go up to the Burj Khalifa was a real challenge. Plus the mall is huge, bigger than anything I’ve seen before. Eventually I found out there was only one set of lifts that took you down to the Burj Khalifa At the Top experience. I joined the queue and eventually got into the lift that was going to take me up to my viewing platform. I was worried about how fast the lift would feel, instead I hardly noticed it as the lift was lit up in a sound and light show culminating at the top.
I was worried I’d get a bit of vertigo, but surprisingly, everything felt very safe, the building doesn’t move either. I stayed up there waiting for the sunset, along with just about everyone else in Dubai. In the end the sunset wasn’t that great, a bit of a fizzer if you ask me. I got a few photos though, although hard to tell how high up it is, until you realise we are looking down at 100-200m tall buildings!
On my way out, I thought I wonder were this pesky lift takes me on the second floor, where the walkway to the metro is. Well naturally in the middle of a giant bookstore! Its a wonder I didn’t find the giant bookstore first. It really is an awesome bookstore too.
So I’m off to bed. Exhausted and wondering how I wrote this blog post. My fitness tracker says I clocked up a tad over 20,000 steps today and 16.5km of walking. My body says go to bloody bed!