LOCATION: Dubai, UAE
WEATHER: Perfect. Sunny. High 78
We were off today to get our money’s worth from the Hop On/Off bus. The hotel shuttle took us (free) to the metro station where we got a train to the Dubai Mall. The metro was super crowded as it was rush hour. Like in Japan, when there was no more room in the shuttle, more of us squeezed on. We made it!
There are 3 long loops on the Hop On/Off bus. The first one was the beach route. Our first stop was another mall. This city seems like it is one big shopping center! Then, we went through the beach area. This 7-star resort hotel is one of Dubai’s icons.We got off at another resort hotel, built to look like the ancient Arabic souks (markets). Inside were lots of different souvenir shops and nice restaurants.We passed by gated neighborhoods with 60 high-rise apartment complexes. These self-contained communities have everything – shops, schools, hospitals, with underground tunnels and overhead skyways connecting them to the beach on one side and marina on the other. Wow!
This loop ended at yep, another mall. This second largest mall in the Middle East is home to an indoor ski resort with 5 slopes. One can ski here with real snow any day of the year Another Wow!
The second loop was the marina loop. We stopped at the main marina for a boat ride. It was an hour’s worth of gazing at even more skyscrapers. And, the construction speed is overwhelming!
We found a marina-side lunch spot for a quick sandwich. It is popular to have a hookah smoke as a kind of after-dinner drink in most restaurants. They give you a menu with flavor types and a guy prepares it for you.The bus took us to the man-made island city shaped in a palm tree. It is overwhelming to realize that you are not on real land – more high rises, villas, hotels, malls, and a water park. They told us they are building another man-man island near Dubai that will be bigger than Hong Kong! Another Wow!
The third loop was the old city loop. I wish we had had more time to explore this old area. We did wander down an alley where there were lots of interesting spice shopsThen, we took another boat ride on the Dubai Creek, the city’s original business area (before oil) – with fishing and finding pearls.Our last stop was…..another mall! This one was the most high-end we have seen. Raffles Hotel (think Singapore) is there. We were in search of a nice luxury hotel for our one drink of the day. We found a Spanish tapas place in the Omni. The entire complex makes you think you are in Egypt!DINNER: We took a cab back to our hotel. We had spotted a small Iranian restaurant near our place, off the beaten path, so we went there. We shared a platter of lamb and beef kabob with rice. Quite nice When we were finished, the nice waitress asked us where we are from. We answered…..Canada!