Dubai, Friday 4th May 2007
I feel exhausted sitting on the red cushioned airport chairs, mainly due to the heat. I am very early for my 4.00am flight but the only other option was probably another mall. The main activity here is shopping, entertainment and restaurants. My room rate did not include breakfast – no matter. I set off in the heat, an exhausting heat if you are not acclimatised. I was so surprised that Dubai seems to be a town full of Indians! It feels like Delhi and the Arabs probably own all the businesses. The area of town I was in effectively closes until late afternoon on a Friday. The tour bus was too expensive (equivalent to three significant taxi journeys) so I rejected that, but the map I was given gave me a better idea about the tourist sites around town. I sped to the famous sail-like skyscraper with helipad called “Burj al Arab” but entry is prohibited without proper dress and a reservation (rumoured to be £850 a night). There was a mall nearby and I walked there searching the shade of palm trees. The mall was indeed luxurious and I treated myself (this does not happen often enough) to dinner at the Dome. I sped back to the museum along the skyscraper avenue – really quite impressive. The heat was making me irritable as I was walking along dodging the crowds. A couple of hours at the airport in an air-conditioned environment seems like a heavenly respite. I cannot believe there are so many watch shops and cannot understand how the street of gold shops stays in business (Indians love gold). The cool silent atmosphere of the cab is a complete contrast to the noisy crowded streets. The light was perfect when crossing the creek by small boat back to the Deira side in the late afternoon. All the floors seem to be polished marble. Dubai is amazing for a city that did not really exist twenty years ago, a truly Arab and Indian Hong Kong.