We had a relaxed morning in the hotel, visiting the gym which proved, not that it needed proving, that I / we are pretty unfit.
Even after a little 25 minute run I was goosed beyond belief but then again the gym appears to be the only place in the hotel which doesn’t have any air con. Not that that was anywhere near solely responsible for the sweaty mess I was at the end.
We lay by the pool (I would have put chilled out, but it was like 43 degrees and uncomfortably scorching even in the shade) and did the usual pool ball based games.
Something far less fun was another round of schoolwork. It was comprehension time which Zoe hates to do and led to a number of arguments about attitude, listening and her generally not behaving. It’s an issue which we need to resolve quickly before it turns into something much more serious.
We did resolve to seek additional help from them in the know to help us along and improve our methods of dealing with these situations.
One thing we will do when we get to Sri Lanka is attempt to get her into more of a routine – eating at more sensible times, not going to bed at midnight, doing school in the morning where possible, etc.
After that ‘fun’ subsided and propelled by Sue’s desire to shop we headed, via the metro again and a grumpy child walk, to the gold and spice souks in ‘traditional’ old town Dubai – a place which is advertised as essentially what Dubai used to be like before the skyscrapers.
The grumpy child walk was born out of Zoe’s constant requests to get a taxi instead of walking everywhere. Sue and myself had decided previously to get one but didn’t tell Zoe straight away and she effectively had a strop about insisting we get one to the point that I cut my nose off to spite my gorgeous face and told her we wouldn’t be getting one under any circumstances.
So we had a 15 minute walk towards the creek, through narrow streets and what appeared to be a heavily Indian area judging by the aromatic smells wafting around and the rubbish in the streets. By the time we got to the waters edge everyone had kissed and made up, we got an ice cold drink each and I got a wad of napkins to mop my now dripping brow.
The souks are based the other side of Dubai creek and for an extra cheap thrill (22p) you can get a water taxi across, which takes 5 mins and allows some cool scenery. The first one allowed us views as the sunset and coming back later all the neon glitz was in full affect.
They also allowed a breeze to be generated which was frigging awesome at the time.
The spice souk was good, usual level of banter and lovely jubbly / Gareth bale type nonsense as the opening patter from the salesmen when they realise you are English or Welsh as Zoe loves to try and confuse people by responding with.
The gold souk was, well, a bit pants. Although seeing the worlds biggest ring was funny, even if wonderfully pointless unless a giant is knocking around and needs an engagement ring. Also I am not sure that’s a legitimate world record, as that’s definitely not the official Guinness logo now is it.
It was essentially just a wide street of shops selling gold items. Not that surprising I guess but I had visions of narrow lanes with stalls everywhere offering gold bars and ancient rings at bargain prices through the smoky Arabic haze.
The amazing sounding utensil souk (spoons and that) and mattress souk (didn’t see a single mattress) didn’t alter my feelings that any of it was anywhere near as good as the ones we have seen in marrekash or Istanbul previously.
It was also still ridiculously hot, so much so that at one point I moved and a trundle of sweat, which must have gathered in my neck chub or in my hair decided it was time to head south with such force that it went straight down my spine, straight through my butt crack and finished up in a place that nothing should ever enter.
It was equally refreshing as it was disgusting.
After that fun we ended up back in Dubai mall for some tea and to check out the fountain display which we managed to miss the day before.
The display is pretty impressive however over surprisingly quickly. Which Sue has said to me from time to time in our wonderful marriage.
The light and water spectacle lasted 3 minutes to the tune of ain’t no mountain high enough – which made us laugh as that was what Sue sang to Zoe when we were dragging her up Table Mountain a few weeks back.
Might have to try and recreate it with a hosepipe and a torch at some point.
We had a nice wander about the mall but unfortunately I didn’t find the blonde bimbo shop; the must be one around for sure judging by the number of them tottering around in ill fitting outfits and high heels.
Our last night in UAE ended with Zoe falling asleep on Sue whilst on the metro home and Sue still sleeping on the hotel floor.
Rock n roll or what. This travelling lark is proper glamorous.
The last day, fuelled by a lovely relaxed midday check out meant that we ate, swam without rushing before again heading to the mall to while away a few hours.
We watched the fish bimble about in a huge aquarium, watched the rich wander about the commoners like us, took pictures with random things (real dinosaur skeletons, giant ape statues and works of art) and then messed about with radio controlled things way longer than we should have.
I also lost the will as wandering without a purpose I always struggle with, especially when shops are involved.
I think in conclusion that if you look beyond the floggings, stonings and other human right violations, the searing summertime heat and the cost of alot of things it’s really a pretty nice place to visit. Especially if you like pointlessly big things or worldly unique items or I guess vulgar displays of opulent wealth.
I think we will be back in the future but at the time of year which is more comfortable to enjoy the stunning beaches and possible water sport activities.
Next up somewhere I am really looking forward to visit; Sri Lanka.
Ps no gold has been reported on any southern movements as of yet.