Lets get this over with… I lied…. I lied about this blog and not going around and hostel hopping, I lied as I did it and now I’m about to talk about it. *Phew!* Now that confession is over with we can both move on.
Redbull were holding the cliff diving event on Friday night at Pier 7 in Dubai, having the weekend off (Fri/Sat in UAE) I realised that I might as well go, you don’t always have the opportunity so screw it. I looked for a hostel online, booked it packed my bag and within an hour I was out the door.
The palarva started from the get go, I thought I’d be dropped at a bus station there would be a big area full of busses, I was just let out at a bus stop, pointing to a door, just a shelter though. As I got on and there was a massive confusion – language barrier and all – thankfully he let me on and a gentleman advised me (helped a lot) with sorting out and loading a travel card, the Nol – pretty much an oyster card.
Two hours on a bus with screaming kids messing around I was ready to deafen myself, getting to Dubai was easy, finding everywhere else was harder. Although prepared with My Maps, I walked around in circles, 2 trains and 3 taxis later and I found my hostel – which was a 5 minuet walk from the train station… Far too much time and money spent.
Swiftly I made my way to Pier 7 of Dubai Marina, just kept going in a straight line this time, followed my feet until I had little clues. I arrived pretty early as the marina was just softly buzzing with people, I wandered around until I decided where I wanted to eat and where to park my bum for the event.
The spins, flips and just the height and speed they were falling at were really impressive. I enjoyed just relaxing and watching the event as being in the city felt so alien compared to the past few weeks, surrounded by dry dirt mountains and a dusty town.
Quick note: Those speedos were small and tight!
Thankfully an easy journey back to the hostel, remembering the route, a little planning for the day ahead and I was out like a light.
I was out the door rather early at 7:40 but I had planned my way for a fun and packed day and I wanted to see how much of Dubai I could really see in 12 hours – turns out not a lot. Now this isn’t due to the city, this is due to my piss poor planning and an even worse sense of direction.
First stop was Al Fahidi For and Dubai Museum, arrived early and well so did a large tour group, this made things a bit frustrating as they blocked a lot of exhibits when trying to read and I really wished we’d been aloud on the fort walls but sadly not, it all seemed a bit done up in honesty. Give me ruins anyday!
Straight after I went to have a look around the back to see what I had researched, an old market, again it was just very touristy and wasn’t actually a market just some buildings that were made to look old, I was a bit let down in all honesty.
The plan off action then became to cross the river to wander the Gold and Spice Souk (market), standing like a lemon for 20 minutes until I asked someone who looked like they were waiting too. They weren’t, just sitting on a bench looking at the river. Following the path down I stumbled onto a market shops full to the brim and right next to it a working water taxi!
For 1 Dirham (about 22p) I could cross the river. The boats seemed a bit tattered and we all got on and sat on the bench area, swiftly we got across and there it was, straight off the boat and the market just there.
It was the spice and gold souk and I began to walk up and down, taking it all in, a lot of pashminas, fabric shops and tourist tat. Going deeper into the spice market, the smells were amazing! Every other stall had racks with baskets filled to the brim of an assortment of spices.
The only thing was that every store holder would jump up and try and get me to look in their shop – it made me feel a bit awkward and found it harder to actually browse, kind of just walked passed trying to make the most of it.
Cookware, they’re all so really fond of that……
After spice came the gold, it was just insane shop after shop, row after row laden with rings, necklaces, bangles, you name it, they had it in abundance! I felt slightly awkward, this little tourist with a backpack going through the beautiful (and expensive) shops.
A shaky start to then a what felt pretty productive was lost as I tried to get back to either the river or metro. I was going down side street after side street. When I got to the water taxi they would either take me back across the river or back across the river, with the heat and dwindling patience I just marched on to the nearest metro.
Dubai Mall is apparently a must do and the ‘waterfall’ was impressive, but at the same time it was still a mall, I’m not sure what I was expecting, fireworks or something, but sadly no. Time was ticking and I didn’t want to waste it indoors. Getting out of the mall was hard enough, I was making my way to the Butterfly Garden, though no taxi knew of it! From trying to leave as well as get taxi’s well over an hour of circles and I gave up.
After being hot and bothered I bailed for Jumeirah Public Beach, relax and soak up the sun. I didn’t plan on going to the beach so I had nothing for it but just relaxed and thought how lucky I was as that being a day off!
After a short nap I wandered in search of a drink and came across The Surf Cafe. Expecting it to be a bit shabby chic, selling merchandise and a little coffee shop there I was rather surprised to go up a level to what had a trendy hipsteresque vibe to it. Carefully designed with surfboards on the walls, cool colours and penny boards in amongst the decorative trees. A pretty place but definitely more boutique than cafe.
Because of all the faff and hoo har I decided to just soak up the peace and to stay to watch the sunset. Great decision as it was a beautiful calm to the hectic day.
As soon as the sun disappeared I marched my way to the nearest metro, on my maps is didn’t look that far, another one of my great plans to get walking, about an hour later I found the metro, one last train to then get the bus home.
Sadly one last taxi fiasco before I finally made it back, I was just being lazy as I was tired, so went to grab a taxi instead of the 20 minute walk and he took me the long way home, I kept asking him why he was going this way but alas, a heavier charge than should have been as he didn’t think I would know. Not a happy bunny!
Tip of the Trip: Make sure you know exactly where you want to go with taxi drivers and any other names for the area there might be. Hold out until you get one that knows.