Dubai World Trade Centre & Dubai City Centre Visit
Trip Start Oct 15, 2010
11Trip End Oct 23, 2010
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Where I stayed
We touched down at Dubai International Airport at 0300 local time. The immigration procedures were not so smooth despite we were officially coming in from Malaysia. Some of my team mates had to be sent to the questioning room for further questioning but luckily I was allowed free and without any questions asked. However, Malaysians are usually granted 60 days visa on arrival but this time I only got 30 days visa on arrival which was more than enough for me and I had nothing to complain. Even my luggage was allowed freely without having been stopped by the customs unlike some of my other team mates.
Once we were out of the airport, the shuttle which we had booked from Malaysia was waiting for us. We got onto the shuttle and it drove us directly to the hotel. The hotel was not too far, just 30 minutes away from the airport. Upon arrival at the hotel, we had more issues. Actually, we had fully paid for the entire stay from Malaysia but the hotel mentioned that they did not receive any money from us and we were forced to pay there. The entire room allocation process took 2 hours. Finally, we had to call the office in Malaysia and get them speak to the hotel manager and finally they let us in without having to pay then.
I was so glad when I got my room. Not only was I tired and exhausted, I was very sleepy as well. The room was small but it was comfortable as I was staying alone. The first thing I did was to search for an electric kettle to make myself a coffee. Gosh...there was no kettle. I called house keeping and they mentioned that they do not provide kettles. Hmmmm....at that moment, I just could not be bothered. Next, I wanted to check my emails and this hotel had wifi in the room. I callled the front desk asking them for the password, they said its chargeable at RM 300 per night. Well, thats like 3 months subscription here in Malaysia. Hearing the rates, I was least bothered about checking my emails and getting internet connectivity. I did not even want to have a shower but just got myself onto the bed to get a good nights sleep, or whatever that remains of it.
The next day, we were supposed to meet directly at the World Trade Centre. Unlike my previous trips to Dubai where I had to pay a hefty sum for local travels because taxis were the only means, the train service was now ready. I walked to the nearby train station which was just 100 metres away and bought myself a prepaid card with a value of AED 40. That should be more than enough to last the entire trip.
Got to the World Trade Centre and alighted at the station. It was just 5 minutes walking distance from the Centre. Walked around the World Trade Centre and took some photographs. I could not enter the halls to check on the set up as I did not have the passes. Called on one of them and they mentioned about going to lunch first. Well, yeah that sound like a pretty good idea as I was starving from last night.
We went to lunch at this restaurant in the World Trade Centre. It was an Indian Restaurant called 'Options' by a Celebrity Chef Sanjay Kapoor. There was 9 of us that went for lunch together. The setting of the restaurant was posh. We ordered 9 briyanis and some Naans and of course drinks. After our meal, we were supprised to check the bill out. Hmmm a hefty RM 1750 for that lunch. Well, nothing much to argue with them. I guess thats the local pricing. The food was good, no doubt about it but for that price, we kinda black listed that restaurant from then. Hehehe.
Then we took some group photographs outside the restaurant and headed back to the booth where I finally got my pass. I had to check both booths, both the Malaysian booth as well as the Sri Lankan booth as my fellow colleuges would be there as well. We planned to display the products from both countries and they were so close, in fact just 20 metres from us.
After checking the booths, we headed back to the train station to go back to the hotel. From then, we were pretty much free for the day. The train was cheap, just around RM 2 one way. If I had taken a taxi, it would have cost me RM 40 one way. Once I reached the room, I just relaxed around and took some photograhps of Dubai skylines from my window. Luckily I had a view unlike many of my team mates, they got the wrong side of the hotel which was not much of a view. I could see the Dubai Creek, The Dubai Bridge which opens up at night for boats to pass (something like the London Bridge) and also view of the Burj Dubai, currently the tallest building in the world. I was told that the building was renamed to Burj Khalifa now. This was after the problem faced by the Sultan of Dubai, where he was short of USD 23 billion to complete the tower and he got some asistance from another Sultan from the Emirates. Hence, the name had to be changed to Burj Khalifa. Burj means Tower.
That night, I pretty much spent time at the City Centre which was just across the hotel.That is the largest mall in Dubai which has the largest Carre Four in the world along with other upmarket outlets. First thing I did was to go to Carrefour and get myself a travel kettle. I would die without coffee and did not want to call room service for coffee as it was RM 50 per cup. The price of items in the mall was cheap. One thing I observed was that luxury items were very cheap in Dubai compared to anywhere else I have been. For example Swiss Watches, Branded Apparels and electrical items were very cheap here.
Another friend of mine wanted to get some jewellery as well. There was a jewellery arcade in the hotel too. We walked around that but mostly the gold here was 22 ct gold. Here in Malaysia we are used to 916 gold. We asked around and they told us to go to a place called Gold Souk in town. Its an open market with around 700 jewellers along the road. There we could get 916 gold. We decided to do it on another day and headed to the food court to get our dinner. My dinner, a Lebanese dish, cost me RM 50. I think thats kind of the norms here in terms of the price of a meal. Choices were many here and it took me a while to decide what I should eat.
After dinner, we headed back to our rooms. All I did after that was fix myself a nice cuppa coffee and enjoyed the local television. Ofcourse our hotel room comes with a LCD TV, though being a 2 star hotel. By the way, the price for a night was around RM 500.