Escape to Dubai – I
Read the latest version of this blog post here.
With heavy monsoon showers lashing most parts of India at this time of the year, we decided to escape to ‘dryer’ land for a short vacation. Easy choice – Dubai :). Summer in Dubai with a toddler can be a lot of fun as we found out! 🙂 The place has something for everyone, for every season.
A direct Kingfisher Airlines flight from Bangalore transported us to the emirate in about 4 hours. Our ‘paper’ visa processing at the immigration counter was handled very efficiently and hey, we had arrived! Although it was way past his bedtime, our little son squealed and jumped with as much enthusiasm as he would have at the start of a new day. It does look like we’ve passed on the travel bug to him. In the brief interval of time between exiting the airport and walking to our pick-up vehicle, we were struck by the intense summer heat (at nighttime!). We wondered what the day temperatures would be like! Almost instantly, we revised our plans to exclude the few outdoor activities that we had planned. We still had many ‘indoor’ options to choose from :).
Cruising (or were we flying) along the squeaky clean roads, we peered through the windows for our first glimpses of the glitzy land. Skyscrapers towered along Sheikh Zayed Road, including our hotel – the Rose Rayhaan by Rotana, the world’s tallest hotel (well, we now get started with the Guinness World Records 🙂 ). The beautifully designed and spacious hotel room was a perfect start to a much-anticipated vacation.
After a sumptuous breakfast, we walked the short distance to the nearest metro station (Financial Center) and equipped ourselves with the NOL Silver metro card. The Dubai Metro would be our primary mode of transport during this vacation. At this point of time, one line was operational. The other line would be inaugurated in about a week or so (just missed it! 😦 ). Atleast three pairs of eyes (our family) scanned the track in anticipation, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the train. And then, we set off for the Mall of the Emirates. Metro rides are always an exciting experience, the announcements here are in Arabic and English.
To say that the malls here are HUGE and swanky, is quite an understatement. In addition to the countless stores, innumerable cafes and food outlets, the malls compete with each other for ‘add-ons’. For example, the Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates offers skiing and other such activities, a complete ‘snow’ experience in a land that is (was?) a desert!! An amazing spectacle! It is incredible what ambition can achieve – Dubai offers striking proof of this. The kiddie cart rental facility at this mall (and other malls in Dubai) was a great source of fun and amusement for our toddler, and we strolled around while he enjoyed his ride alongside us. When our little companion started nodding off at the wheel of his cute car, we knew it was time for his afternoon siesta. Grabbing some yummy-looking baked falafel and a vegetable sandwich, it was time to take the train back to the hotel.
In the evening, we visited the Deira City Centre, enjoying every moment of the long metro ride to get there. We sipped coffee at a Starbucks cafe, watching the world (literally) go by. Dubai is a veritable melting pot of nationalities – folks from varied countries walked past us: the Gulf nations, parts of the African continent, several countries in Asia, North America, Europe – a fascinating spectacle of different cultures all under one roof (the roof of the mall, in this case :D). The ToysRUs store was a mandatory halt for you-know-who :). We hopped into Carrefour to shop for Lebanese and Turkish sweets (baklava and the likes of it), local dates (how could we return without them) and some souvenirs. At the foodcourt, the (veg)shawarma (yes, that option exists 🙂 ) looked irresistible and our dinner option was thus decided.
Stay tuned for more in Escape to Dubai – II.