Monday, January 02, 2012

Honeymoon Day 18: 2nd January (Monday) – Dubai

After the 14 hour flight courtesy of Emirates, after a short taxi-drive, we’re now at the Dubai Shangri-La hotel. It’s 6.45 in the morning here and the city is just coming to life.
The view from  Room 3613
The view from  Room 3613
A good start to our stay was spotting the cake the hotel had put in our room! Yum-yum!
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After checking out the free snacks and coffee option, we decided to spend the day looking around Dubai. Our first stop was Ralph and Karen’s friend’s place here, so Karen could pick up her ring that she’s left to repair last time they saw each other. Then it was the short walk along Jumeira Beach where we wandered along admiring the white sand the blueness of the sky.
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Time for a coffee or four, so we were lucky and stumbled onto our first Starbuck’s, since we’ve been out here. As it was Karen’s birthday today, Ralph was scheming to try and get us into the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world – and star of the new Mission Impossible film). This was proving to be a real challenge, but in the end, with help of the Concierge at out hotel, we bagged a space in the Atmosphere Lounge there for 7pm tonight.
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After our coffee, the weather was getting even hotter, so we jumped in a cab and headed for The Old Souq. The place was packed with people going about their business – from spices to ironing boards, the place to seem to have it all – except a cash machine! (which was now becoming urgent). We wandered up and down the harbour near the Souq, but we didn’t have any luck. In the end, we concluded that if we headed for the nearby metro station, that was bound to have one. At the station, we quickly learned how wrong we were, and after sussing out how the rail system worked and buying some tickets, we headed towards the nearest  and next form of civilisation - the Dubai Mall. As we exited the metro station, there was a cash machine!
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We then took the short walk to the Mall and discovered it was massive! Not just huge, but huger than huge! The girls went off to the department store, whilst Ralph and I sought refuge on the second floor – one dedicated to electronics and gadgets – marvellous! Panasonic were there, and so were Samsung, Bose and Olympus.
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It was now 4pm and we re-joined the girls and headed back to the Shangri-La hotel. Ann and I were knackered and decided that we’d just put our feet up for a few minutes once we got back to the room. We had about an hour-and-a-half before were going out to the Burj Khalifa what could possible go wrong? – well, plenty as it turned out!!

The next thing we knew, was the phone was ringing. It was Ralph reminding us that it was 6.30. Maybe it was just that we were tired, or maybe it was the jet-lag, but we’d dropped off into a deep sleep ever since returning from our walk. New personal records were broken as we both got ready in under 10 minutes : ) Ralph and Karen had gone on ahead and all we needed to do was grab-a-cab and head for the destination. Er, ‘no’. The cab driver hadn’t heard of the Atmosphere Lounge!
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Anyway, we finally got to the building, but the cab-driver dropped us off a the wrong point, and after a bit more walking, another cab and then more walking – and finally what seemed like the mother of all multiple security checks we finally made it to the Atmosphere Lounge (or as it’s trendily know round here ‘At.mosphere’) housed on the 122nd floor. Wow! what a poncy place, further confirmed with the rather large notice displaying ‘minimum spend for gentlemen’ of Dh450 (around £90). It was good to go there – the views were simply stunning – especially the fountains that put on a stunning show), but the prices were just silly - £9 for a bottle of beer and service was at best, mediocre (how is it a cheese board takes longer to prepare than a hot meal?)

When we left around an hour later, Ralph and I had enjoyed a burger (the tallest building in the world serving the smallest in the world – accompanied by just 11 just chips), Ann had the cheese board and Karen had ‘posh chicken nuggets’ – ours for the bargain price for around £90. Lucky we didn’t have the full meal then!
We eventually found our way out of the building foolishly thinking that the way OUT was the same as the way IN! – thanks for that Reception Staff!!! We headed back to our room to eat our cake and open the bottle of bubbly we’d been given at a previous hotel.

Time for a proper night’s sleep now!!!