23 February – Dubai

Had another fab breakfast at the Savoy, pastrami wrapped gherkins, turkey sausages, mashed potato (?), hummus, labneh, fresh dates, flat bread and green tea.

We then packed up and went down the street to our new apartment, Golden Sands. It isn’t as new as The Savoy but it will do for the night, plus Grosse Pointe Blank was showing on Fox Movies when we switched on the TV, so that was a bonus.

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We were looking forward to a bit of walking today, and set off to explore the souks of Dubai. We should have realised that this would have been made into a plastic tourist attraction, it was all rebuilt and nicely clean and well planned, just like Dubai. It was awful, all the traders practically man handling you to try on a blooming pashmina, I mean, do I look like I buy pashminas?
We got off the tourist trail of souks and found a real Indian cafe selling chicken shwarma, tea, fruit juices and falafel, we had a bit of each for the princely sum of £4. It was fab!

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Wandering back to the hotel, we then had our second lunch of chicken schwarma and hummus meal and falafel wrap, it had fresh spinach in it which was something we haven’t had for a long, long time!!

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Then back to our apartment to find our house keys, last seen in Guy’s green flash trainers which have spent the whole trip at the bottom of his rucksac, and post our last blogs before returning home.

It goes without saying that we have had a great time. Great places, people, food and a few beers. We hope you have enjoyed our blog as much as we have and we can’t wait to see you soon.

Xxx

22nd Feb – Dubai

Slept well in the big posh bed but woke up at 5am. Our buffet breakfast included humous, cheese, olives, lebneh, fruit and curry, best brekkie since India.

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We discussed the day and decided to do a big bus tour and there were three on offer, old town, beach and night. As we are only here for two days and are used to 10 hour bus journeys we bought a ticket for all three and set off in the hazy mild Dubai morning. On the top of the bus the mildness became cold but eventually the sun melted the haze and by the end of the day the bald patch was burnt, and Al had racoon eyes.

First up was old town which took us around the creek and souks. The onboard commentary peppered the history spiel with sales pitches ie “here’s the gold souk. Gold makes a great present” or “dates are important to arab culture and make a great present” which seemed odd.

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After 2 hours we switched to the beach tour which included all the big shiny hotels and the man made islands. The onboard commentary began to pepper us with stats on how many cafes, bars, rooms and celebratory chef restaurants were located in each hotel. The main hotel on the man made island is themed after Atlantis, a myth of a civilisation disappearing into the sea. Isn’t that tempting fate? They explained that the storm defences could withstand a 4m wave and at low tide the sea is 4m down. I guess they don’t expect a storm wave at high tide?  We also toured shopping malls and learnt that the Dubai mall has 12 million sq foot and is the largest mall in the world. The Mercato mall is the first Italian renaissance styled mall in the Arab emirates. The Dubai ski is the first all year snow ski slopes in the middle east. Eventually the commentary sounded like an insecure youth trying to impress and I think I would have preferred the sites without the sales pitch / showing off.

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Anyway after an hour break where we had a pot noodle and booked a room for tomorrow we got on the night tour and despite more blah blah, the sites were amazing. The already beautiful skyscrapers looked even better with their lighting on. I took many photos.

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When we got home we ordered Dahl makhani in the room and it tasted sweeter as agoda had refunded our booking money.

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21 February – Bangkok to Dubai

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So, bags packed we hailed a taxi and spent the next hour in the taxi trying to get to the nearest skytrain station for the airport. There were quite a few road blockages from the protests and our taxi man seemed to be surprised whenever he saw one! Still that cab cost less than £2. Took the skytrain and did the usual check in malarkey, it was 12.30 by now and we had skipped breakfast so headed straight to the dirty Burger King and Pizza 123 stands and got a fill of western carbs to keep us going.
A quick perusal of the duty free and guy had a very nice bottle of Laphroaig and I had perfume…..was weird wearing that again, can’t believe I might have to wear makeup again soon as well!
Flight was fine, apart from the chunky German I sat next to who kept encroaching on MY side of the chair…..
We watched the Lone Ranger – dire, Hangover Part 3 – truly dreadful, World War Z – dire and The Counsellor – OK.
Got a 20min taxi from Dubai airport that cost us £10 and we nearly passed out in fright.
We sauntered into our hotel, The Savoy * and were informed that we were a month early for our booking! We had booked it when were ill in Penang and neither of us had realised it was for march dates.  They said they had a room, however as there was some exhibition on, our third night would be over twice the usual rate..…so we paid for 2 nights and emailed to try and get our money back from Agoda who had already taken the payment from us.
The suite was amazing, huge, with its own dinky kitchenette, we were very happy!

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We had a Thai pot noodle and a small Laphroaig to celebrate!

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* The Savoy Hotel Apartments.

Flight Transfer

We transfered flights in Dubai and before leaving knew we had a 2 & 1/2 hour wait. However our plane out was delayed by one hour fifteen, halving our time there. As we descended into Dubai, flight announcements told us to board our outgoing flight at least 45 mins before take off and that boarding would close 20 mins before. Our flight out was at 2.45am. We touched down at 2am. We disembarked and briskly walked to transfers. We kept walking. “Wow, Dubai is a big airport” we nervously laughed. We got to transfers. Other less relaxed passengers we shouting at an attendant “this way, this way” he calmly replied. We walked further, pace picking up all the time. Finally we turned a corner and saw a security check. Bags down, belts off, pockets emptied. We waited less than patiently. Bags grabbed, belts grabbed, change recovered. Up a flight of stairs at the double to be faced with a departure board that reported that our flight wasn’t delayed but was on a final call. This is when we started shouting “Gate B6, Gate B6” loudly at each other with no sense of English reserve. Al spotted a sign and we began to sprint at full pelt through the airport in a way that didn’t show 7 hours of inactivity drinking G&Ts and watching movies in economy class. We dodged peaceful shoppers and cornered round perfume sellers until red in the face we came upon B3 and B4. “B6, B6” we started shouting again until I saw an empty gate with no queue and staff packing up. Helloooo I wheezed at the departure staff, waving my boarding pass at them.

We were so relieved when we got on the plane, it took a few moments to notice the lady sat next to Al had a child on her lap. The toddler was breast fed and had a nappy change in her seat before we took off. I was just thankful I only had a broken seat.