So… when we woke up, the forecasts were correct: it was grey and threatening. Our trip to Hatta and the mountains was definitely off. The problem is that because it rains so infrequently, nothing here is built properly to cope with it. The storm drains fail. The roads flood. Sometimes the carparks flood. Two weeks ago the Dubai Mall flooded when it rained hard…. but officially that never happened 🙂 And more importantly many people here do not understand how to drive properly in the rain, so there are many accidents and the roads clog up. Quite understandable.
We gave it till about 1130 and then headed out. It was still raining but it appeared the worst was over and there was no lightning or anything. We went to the Arts and Cultural Area which is like a more industrial version of Shoreditch ie. lots of small arty shops, restaurants, workshops, galleries all housed in old industrial units. It was still raining but we hopped around. Some very interesting shops. One was a perfume mixing workshop. You could buy ready mixes but the main idea was that you came in a group of 2 – 20 and using their chemistry sets and guidance, mixed your own perfume. What a great idea! We also looked in a fab jewellery workshop, lamp and furniture shops. That made us hungry so we went into Night Jar Coffee Blenders and Roasters for some late breakfast/lunch.
Just a lovely place with super staff. Their coffee was absolutely delicious and they had all sorts available both hot and cold. Lots of nitro ones on tap. The menu was interesting. We took the waiter’s advice and ordered the salt beef sandwich. What for the second choice? He suggested the fish finger sandwich. They make the fish fingers themselves, I hasten to add. Captain Birds Eye is conspicuously absent. Anyway, these sandwiches came and the salt beef was truly amazing. Not that the fish finger wasn’t nice. It was. But the salt beef was outstandingly filthy. Massively thick portion of salt beef with strong cheddar melting on the top, sweet dill pickle, toasted sourdough…. oh yumbo yumbo….. website
Replete, we headed off to the Dubai Mall intending to see the Fountains and do a bit of shopping. Wow. It’s huge and by some measurements, the biggest in the world. Well… plenty big enough for me. Lots of different anchoring stores from around the world: Bloomingdales (US), Galeries Lafayette (France), Marks & Spencer (UK), and many hundreds of other stores. There is also a huge aquarium in which you can dive, either with scuba or in a cage with a surface feed. There is a large ice rink. There is a masssive waterfall fountain. Outside are the fountains in a large lake and across the bridge is another part of the mall….. We spent the rest of the afternoon here. Lucy bought some things. You could spend a fortune here, such lovely things, both western and middle eadtern. About midway through we wandered out to the fountains lake (not on till the evening) and gazed upwards at the truly stunning Burg Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Even against a grey sky it is an amazing sight. Apparently first thing this morning the cloud was about half way down it!!!! What a feat of engineering.
Eventually, we headed off at about 430, feet weary. The rain had stopped by now.
Tonight we ate in an Italian place on the marina, just below Lucy’s block. It is all so pretty by night with all the lights twinkling. There is a pretty mosque too and the Call to Prayer was echoing out as we set out. Nice dinner of grilled octopus and fritto misto to start and then I had pappardelli with mushrooms and truffle and Lucy had tagliatelli with seafood. No alcohol. This was a blow… I mean Italian food without a glass of wine??? Almost heresy… I suppose we were in the shadow of the mosque…
What a lovely week I’ve had here and barely scratching the surface. We have done some of the more obvious attractions before – the wadi bashing…. desert bbq…. camel rides. And I’ll be back with Bob next March for a week so I’m saving some of the things to do with him then. And hopefully it won’t rain and we’ll get to Hatta and the mountains. Thanks to Lucy for a fabulous stay. I like Dubai. It’s a weird place. Quite out of place here in the middle East. Nothing remotely typically regional about it. It’s terribly terribly expensive, sometimes for no good reason. Sometimes quite justifiably because it is the height of luxury. It wouldn’t be for everyone. If you’re looking for authenticity, you won’t find it here but if you’re looking to be thoroughly spoiled, then this is the place.