Anyway, we landed uneventfully at Dubai airport. David and I changed and we proceeded through to get our bags or so we thought.
We were heading down as escalator when a guide person approached and I made some comment that we weren't expecting to be met, and Kevin said no, however when we got closer, the guy had David and Kevin's name on his paper. To cut a long story short it seems the travel agent booked David and Kevin into a room when they were enquiring about motels and prices... We finally got that sorted and headed off to passport control. When we finally got to the front of the queue it seemed that it was changeover time. Nothing happens quickly I can tell you. It took about 20 minutes for 1 guy to get out of his little box and another one to get in. They seemed to have their own special chairs that they seemed to need to get in through a tiny little space. Finally we went forward. It was a security scanner as well and we had to look into the scanner which always worries me as now I've had my eye surgery the cameras and my passport don't talk to each other so well now. Anyway, it all worked well and I was feeling pleased with myself until the security bag scanner dude said Miss O'Neill? I said yes.. He said... You're carrying medication? I said yes. Over there... Pointing to another desk. My heart was racing. However thorough preparation saved the day and I got out my stamped letters, the prescriptions and my medication and away we went. Who knows whether they would have picked me out if I hadn't gone through their process. I assume I might have got picked out anyway as they would be able to see that I had lots of stuff with me. Finally our bags collected which is always a relief and on to the hotel.
Thank goodness for Kevin who had been quite assertively asking by email for an early checkin. They let us have one room, and I quickly showered. I can't stand the feeling after a flight when everything about you feels grimy. You are tired, stiff and sore and everything feels dirty. So an amazing shower with a 6 inch shower head and a coffee and we were all refreshed. My room became available soon after... Gee they've been good here... They could have charged all all an extra night. Our rooms seem to get serviced more than twice a day. There are staff everywhere.
We went and had a look around at the shopping centre which seems to be the hub of many hotels. It's not huge but it's definitely big.
We were blown away by the supermarket. They called it a hypermarket. It's like costco on steroids. David was fascinated by the fish and meat displays. They seemed to have fish from every country not landlocked!
Lots of Aussie lamb!
We stocked up on the essentials and headed back to the rooms for a brief rest. After lunch we had a coffee in the lobby. Whilst the food etc was really really cheap in the shops the coffee in the Pullman was not! However it did come in the heaviest bucket I've ever drunk coffee out of. I'm sure the cup was lead lined. Whilst we sat there we amused ourselves people watching. The funniest guy was the floor supervisor who seemed to be German. Tall and skinny. Every time someone sat on a couch we was watching and the moment they left he was there re fluffing the cushions. Clearly an obsession. He gave the guy making coffee a hard time about how shiny the glass case that held all the cakes was pointing to individual imperfections. Jeez, get a life.
Soon it was time to go on our organised city tour. The guy picked us up and off we went. He didn't say a thing. Eventually we picked up some other people which brought the total in our bus to 7. So we drive and drive... Still he doesn't say anything. Then David said... I know where we are going. It's the 7 star hotel.
So we get near there, and get told to get off the little bus and get on a big tourist bus which we did. I grabbed my spot up the back and it's was so deliciously cold, the air con was great. We'd been there maybe 10 secs and a different guy says everyone off the bus, we are going to look at the 7 star hotel.. So off we get.. You can't get near it unless you book to eat there or stay there obviously. It's pretty amazing in terms of architecture but so are many other buildings here.
The whole city is buzzing with building. It's amazing. It really does look like a futuristic city from a Bruce Willis movie. The buildings are tall, they have all kinds of stats about them. They are all built out of coloured glass, mirror, stainless steel, copper?, who knows. The whole place shines. Weird shapes and gimmicky things like a massive golf ball on one. Eventually I'll load the photos.
So, from the 7star hotel (you can really only have 5 stars - the other two are for style apparently) we did the usual things. A mosque where there were separate men and women bits. In fact the women's section was a separate hall of the side. We weren't allowed in. Then we saw all the buildings and boats along the (sort of) harbour. It's called Dubai creek. One of the buildings mirrored the water. It was amazing.
The guide said that when you get married the government gives you a whole freestanding house. - for free.
They don't have to pay for any utilities, healthcare or education. And no income tax. So all they have to pay for is food, clothes and leisure. Cars are all imported and are cheap as well. The govt subsidises everything. That keeps the economy going I guess... Spend spend spend. If you don't want one of their houses upon marriage you can get the equivalent in cash and build your own.
On to the museum which they are incredibly proud of and finally a boat trip across to the other side where the souks were. The spice and gold souks were sort of disappointing but also were exactly what you'd expect. Overpriced tourist traps where you get actively harassed to purchase. My wallet remained intact but David and Kevin got a couple of things for their cupboard of shame.
This is when I was melting. I'd coped ok with the general heat but as soon as we went near the water the humidity skyrocketed. It was unbearable. I could feel myself going bright red and had sweat rolling off me down my face, into my eyes and mouth.. My bra was soaked and I had rivulets rolling down the small of my back down the crack of my bum, and more running down the back of my legs into my shoes. The older I get the worse I get. I hate it. It makes me feel unwell.
I think this is my last hot holiday extended stopover.
So I survived the heat, I survived the hawkers - very aggressive.. Putting their pashminas around your neck etc. I kept saying don't do it. I'm hot and sweaty and it will ruin your things but they don't care.. I'm sure they catch some women. Never mind the fact I didn't need a frigging scarf. I needed a towel!
The gold was gaudy, there was no silver to buy. It was overpriced. But I'm glad we saw it.
I was so hot I asked if we could sit somewhere and have a cool drink whilst we waited for the group to meet back together. So we went to baskin Robbins. It was the only place we could sit for 5 mins in the cool. They didn't sell anything except ice creamy things so we all had thick shakes.
They were good but ruined our appetites for our planned seafood feast. So instead David and Kevin had takeaway from the food court and I had mineral water. It's all I could face. Just too hot. David had a mixed grill with flat bread and hummus that he loved and Kevin had a fat burger ... Similar to hungry jacks but light not greasy. I'll send the pics.
Anyway 9 pm was the end of the day for me. I was stuffed.