18.08.2010 - 18.08.2010 39 °C
Well, the less said about the last leg of the journey the better. Sheer endurance as I thought. That was in spite of good service on the flight, fresh fruit, hot towels for refreshing oneself, and guite pleasant neighbouring travellers. Poor Fin was very cramped. Tall people suffer in economy class.
All that's behind us now. We're in Dubai. Arrived 5:45am. Got through the airport really fast and to our hotel nice and easily. The taxis here are fantastic - plentiful and quite reasonably priced. It was 32C and not even 6:00am. We were in for a good hot day, I could tell. Explored our comfortable 2 brm apartment and discovered the rooftop pool. In the pool by 7:00am - joy! A great way to shake off the rigours of the flight.
Changed and decided we needed to get some food and start to see the sights. Very hot, we took a taxi to the gold and spice souks (markets). By then it was 9:00am and they were just opening up. We were the only europeans, and we noticed the only people other than us were all men. We attracted some stares, but no one bothered us. Couldn't find anything open to eat or drink.
We'd been told before leaving the hotel that it was Ramadan, which would mean no cafes of restaurants would be open to serve food, but it would be possible to purchase food to take away. With no food in sight at the souks (the gold souk is just that - all gold) we took a taxi to one of the big shopping malls. Got to the very large Emirates Mall - absolutely huge. It was very quiet there as it was still fairly early in the day. After some searching we found one of the food courts, but nothing going on. Managed to procure a sweet drink for Fin and continued walking round in search of food. Picture us if you will, sleep drprived, hot, in a strange city, in search of the most basic of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. A man approached Fin and said if he didn't get rid of the drink he was carrying round he could be fined - Ramadan..... we hastily ditched the drink - right in front of a security guard and casually got some distance between us and the guard.
Well, enough detail on that front. My boy nearly fined, sleep deprived, dehydrated and ravenously hungry - we were really having a good time. As you do in a shopping mall, we decided to purchase a pair of board shorts so Fin could swim in the hotel pool properly. Caitlin had the wit to enquire where we could get some food. They directed us to a corner of the mall where, behind a curtain, we found the lobby of a flash hotel and low and behold a restaurant that was open. Bliss. Felt like we'd died and gone to heaven.
Outside the mall it was 39C. A very thick kind of heat. It's hard to describe. It assaults you after entering it from the coolness of the air conditioned malls, taxis, hotels. The air is almost tangible - it swirls round you as you go outside and the heat clings to you. It radiates from the paved streets, the buildings. No one really walks the streets - they're almost deserted. Lots of air conditioned vehicle traffic, but hardly any pedestrians. Walking slowly, we got to a small supermarket and picked up some food supplies to take back to the hotel. Ramadan, don't you know. After a swim and a rest we planned how to find an evening meal. After his brush with the wrong side of Ramadan laws Fin elected to stay "home" while Caitlin and I braved the heat once more. Seven at night and it was dark (surprisingly) and still very hot. Had an uneventful meal - no arrests - back to our hotel. Fin asleep. We soon were too.