Time for some spoiling

Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
Trip End Oct 26, 2010

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Flag of United Arab Emirates  ,
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dubai was pretty much the polar opposite to most of the places that we have been visiting in the last six months. It was absolutely fantastic to be spoilt again; to unpack our bags; do washing; have a braai and to be able to flush toilet paper down the toilet (we had to get used to that again).

Kate shopped up an absolute storm and tried really hard to make up for a whole year of holding herself back. We visited Karama (twice), all the stores in Ibn Batuta; Emirates as well as the Dubai Malls. The first time we visited Karama was with Zia who seems to know just about everyone there and makes for a very efficient trip and she manages to get the prices down further than I imagine anyone else can. The second time we tried to go along on the metro. We were reasonably successful I think, we got what we went for although we probably didn't get the prices that we would have if Zia was there. The place is totally ridiculous and you get taken through secret doors behind the shelves to the rooms with all the "genuine fake" merchandise. Everything there is brought in from China and the store owners assured us that you could buy any degree of fake items from China depending on the price that you are willing to spend.

Jess came to visit from Abu Dhabi and we went to a huge breakfast/lunch buffet that had just about anything you could want. We also accompanied Jess to a beach party at the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm. It was strange to see a side of Dubai that we have never seen before. It could have been anywhere in the world and you would never guess that you were in a conservative Middle Eastern country.

We spent a day in Abu Dhabi and visited the F1 circuit and the hotel that crosses the tracks. We also stopped at the Emirates Palace, one of the most expensive hotels in Abu Dhabi. It was completely over the top, with a harp player, a gold selling ATM, a coffee with gold flakes and 50g of caviar for Dh3000 ($1000). The last thing we did was go up to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa which was awesome. We went up just before the sun went down and just caught it dipping below the horizon. I don’t think that we could even comprehend how high we were, the cars were so small on the road and we couldn’t even see people on the ground – very cool!

We knew we had finished the 'hard’ part of the travelling by the time we arrived in Dubai but we had the most stressful experience of the whole year on the way to the airport. We had used the metro and bus systems quite a lot in the two weeks that we were there and it had worked perfectly. We decided that we should just catch the metro to the airport rather than have dad drive us all the way there. What a disaster that turned out to be! Something was wrong and the trains took ages to start and were on the wrong tracks. The crowds were huge because of the backlog and it was complete chaos, it took us an hour to go through four stations! At Emirates Mall, with just over an hour to our flight we jumped off and ran to find a taxi. Unfortunately, because the metro was a mess there were hardly any taxis around and we waited for a long, stressful time until we finally managed to call one. Finally we arrived at the airport and checked in as the plane was boarded and ran through the airport to get to the gate on time...not to worry we made it and were on the way home!
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