On our fifth day it was finally time to see where all the beautiful people lived, and no I don’t mean we were heading home to Larbert! The destination was none other than the Dubai Marina. Another name you might recognise is Jumeriah Lake, which is basically the same thing. This area of town is crammed full of gleaming glass towers with little white boats chugging up and down the marina between the high risers. It simply smells of money and if you have £200,000+ to spare you just might be able to purchase a shoebox sized apartment in it.
Taking a step back. This trip required another saunter down the red line. As we do we like to see everywhere, so instead of getting off at either Dubai Marina or Jumeriah Lake Towers we kept going till the end of the line. Always like to see the end of lines, usually they aren’t that interesting and today was no exception. The terminus at Jebel Ali was in a developing industrial area which is actually not in the city of Dubai, but a few miles out on the border with Abu Dhabi. We liked this station so much we went back for a second trip 20 minutes later when we arrived at Jumeriah Lake Towers without Deena’s hat. Cue much laughter, or maybe I was crying. Either way, back we went…and yes, we found her hat!
Eventually we got off (with hats) at Jumeriah Lake Towers and wandered through the tower blocks to the beach. Weather wise it was very warm, probably the hottest day we had and lazing on the beach wasn’t an option unless we wished to be roasted alive. Therefore we headed for some lunch in a shady cafe before a stroll along the retail section of the Marina. Some ice-cream accompanied us on our walk which ended up with as rejoining the red line at Dubai Marina station.
Much to our surprise, on the way back to the hotel it began to rain – not much, just a few drops. Little did we know! Our enjoyable nightly swim/spa session was followed by our first trip to IZ. All I will say is if you ever go the Dubai Grand Hyatt, which we would both thoroughly recommend, then you must have at least one meal in IZ. The food was delicious, and the complimentary pickle tray & poppadoms were a filling starter in themselves. As was common in Dubai the meal was also very reasonably priced at around £15 each.
The rain which had started the previous night as we walked from the metro station kept on coming, and by morning there was a relative torrent flowing through the streets. Something like 1100 traffic incidents were reported due to conditions alien to most of the city’s boy racers. Wondering what to do we decided as we’d been to the end of the red line we might as well go to the end of the green one, and so we did. Like the red’s terminus, the end of the green line at Etisalat was equally uninteresting. Had the feel of a commuter station which was probably busy morning and night but quiet in between. We did see some more typical Dubai housing in a pleasant change from the towers. However, there wasn’t really much to walk to so we simply hopped back on the next train back towards town.
With postcards to post we needed stamps and so stopped at ‘Stadium’ which was as the name suggests next to a, you guessed it, stadium. The venue in question was the Rashid Stadium, home of Arabian League champions Al Ahli. Across the road from the ground was a supermarket called Lulu’s. In here we bought some stamps before having a bite to eat at the adjoining food court.
Back at the hotel our nightly swim/spa session was followed by our second tasty trip to IZ.
This was our last full day in Dubai. As the rain had moved away it was another warm and sunny morning so we decided to begin by having a couple of hours by the pool. Has to be said the grounds of the hotel were fantastic. Because the hotel was in a developing part of town it clearly had its choice of land and chose a huge plot with great views of the creek. This meant large, landscaped grounds with a pool snaking between lounging areas. There was also the expected tennis courts, kids areas etc. In short a better hotel set-up you’d be struggling to find anywhere in Dubai.
After a cuppa, some packing and a breather in our room we got smartened up and ventured out on our last trip. The destination was once again the Dubai Mall. Not only did we want to get some presents for those at home, but we also wanted to witness the ‘Festival of Lights’ which was happening in and around Dubai Fountain each night that week. Dubai Mall meant one last return trip down the red line. Please note if you ever get the metro to Dubai Mall the walkway between the station and the mall is huge i.e. at least half a mile long. Thankfully a succession of moving escalators makes the journey less tiring but it’s yet another example of the cities attempt to keep you inside if at all possible. To make people walk in the sun for this distance in the height of summer would be crazy. Therefore if they want shoppers they need to make themselves accessible – hence covered walkways where possible. After a brief wander we headed for some tea at TGI Friday’s. Luckily for us they had a balcony which overlooked the Dubai Fountain so it was a perfect place for our last meal out. As ever the food was well priced at the almost daft price of about £16 for our two meals with drinks.
Just as we were finishing our food the clock struck six and this cued an explosion of music, water and light from the fountain below. Was almost like a Dubai version of the one o’clock gun from the ramparts of Edinburgh castle. We soon realised it was only the start. All around the Fountain at the base of the Burj Khalifa were installations and statues decked in lights of all shades and colour. The Khalifa itself sparkled like a 900m Christmas tree with spotlights searching into the darkening night skies. At seven and again 30 minutes later the fountain once more exploded to life. Really was a spectacular sight.
It was soon time to head back to our hotel. There was still time for one last bit of fun as the trains rolling into the metro station were packed like sardines. We let one go before deciding to ‘go native’ and just squash our way in!
Unfortunately we had to be up and out of the hotel by 3:30am to meet our arranged pick-up back to the airport. This meant getting up at 2:45 – Deena didn’t even go to sleep! Our lift finally arrived and raced through the still busy streets to the airport. After checking in we had some food and waited for the plane to take us home. As with the flight out it was an enjoyable, if tiring, seven hours. Between eating I filled in time by watching seven episodes of ‘Broadchurch’ on the in-flight TV service. There are actually eight episodes to watch but I only had 20 minutes left after watching the seventh so I’m still none the wiser to what happens at the end – I will need to find and watch the last episode somewhere soon!
Back home it was of course grey and freezing. However, it was home and for all that a small part of you is always glad to return to it.