Yes, big bus tour today. Around Dubai, in fact 2 bus routes and a boat trip along the Dubai Creek, that’s their river!!!!
Up early, down for breakfast before 0800 hrs as we had a 10-15 minute walk to the bus stop. We got our directions on how to get to the bus stop from the tourist “chap” in the hotel and off we went, thinking it was a simple as walking to the end of the road, turn left and we would see the bus stop opposite, near the lights; ha ha. Arriving at this very big and very busy crossroads, controlled by lights, we couldn’t see anything resembling a Big Bus Stop and they are distinctive, very colourful. We then had our normal debate as to what the chap said and who heard what!!!!! We went along one of the roads for about 800 metres and decided we were wrong so, back to the aforementioned crossroads when we decided to go down to the “below ground” metro station and ask. We were told to go up “that” particular escalator and turn, fine but that just brought us to the traffic lights again! So we walked along another road but as this seemed to only pass building sites we turned back. I then asked in a coffee shop, by which time we were quite fraught, especially as time was running out! The lady behind the counter sent us back the same way, pass all building sites and you will find the bus stop; hooray, we did and fortunately the bus was running late, so we made it!!!!
There were two routes, the red one which goes around the centre of Dubai and the blue route which goes out of town to the beaches and Palm Island. These two routes meet for change over at the WAFI shopping Mall, our first stop. To be able to maximise the day, get everything in etc., we had to change now, so we did.
The blue route we were told takes about two and a half hours and
headed straight out towards “Jumeirah” passing the Jumeirah Mosque, the only one in Dubai where non Muslems could enter, “Mercato” an Italian themed Shopping Mall, Jumeirah theme park and public beach and of course, the “Burj Al Arab 7 star hotel rising from the sea. This hotel, built in 2001 was just a stub sticking out of the sea when I came here in 1999, how they build here is quite amazing.
Naturally we were given numerous facts about the hotel, too many to remember but apparently Tiger Woods drove a golf ball from the heli pad at the top of this very tall hotel,built to represent a dhow’s sail.
Next up was Palm Island and the Atlantis hotel at the end or head of the palm. I suspect the developers
thought that this Atlantis Hotel would superseed the Burj Al Arab hotel, but I don’t think so, after all there are two Atlantis hotels, both built the same, one here and one in the Bahamas, but there is only one Burj Al Arab. Up until now, one would assume this man-made island, shaped like a palm tree with huge numbers of houses and high rise apartment blocks not to mention the Atlantis, would have been the pinnacle of Dubai’s achievement, but no. Off shore, about 2 Kms out they are constructing loads of new islands clustered in the shape of a world map. Everybody thought the property on Palm Island was expensive, but these new islands cost millions, and that is before anything is built on them!!!!!!
Next stop was the “Mall of the Emirates”, again another Mall but this one had indoor ski slopes and tabogan runs on real snow. Is no expense spared here? We had to get off for calls of nature and it was well past coffee time!!!! We walked the length of this mall heading for the indoor ski slopes where we thought we could have coffee watching the skiers, but no, Costa coffee did not look over anything but the top of the ski lifts!!!
At this point I should mention just how green everything is and the grass on the side of the road, not to mention the hotel gardens, would be good enough to use for a bowling green;
however this does come at a cost. Dubai has the highest consumption in the world, approxamatly 500 litres per capita per day, around 82% above the global average consumption though now there is political intervention to try and reduce this; I wonder!!!!
Refreshed and back onto the next available blue bus we continued until we reached the WAFI mall again passing the Dubai Mall and Burj khalife (the tallest building in the world) swapped onto the red route again. The theme of this mall seemed Greek, very attractive.
This was going to be a short bus trip, getting off at our second stop to catch the Dubai Creek boat trip, unfortunately as our bus was running a little late and we missed the 1330 hrs “cruise” and had a 50 minute wait ’till the 1430 hrs one Along with a number of other people. These buses have a very tight and precise schedule to keep but the traffic here is un-predicable, hence being late.
We all wandered along the quayside to kill time but nothing was open. There were a number of fast food outlets but all closed, we suspected things in this area only come to life at night.
The dhow duly arrived and when loaded, set off. This trip was exactly the same as the one we went on when we last visited Dubai in 2009, so most of our time was spent people watching and in particular a lady, on her own, taking pictures of anything and everything but more importantly (in her eyes), getting anybody she could find to photograph her in various poses!!!!! We think. She had ideas of grandeur and thought herself a top model, “in you dreams lady”!!!! Still that and an ice cream and the trip was soon over. Additionally we didn’t think the waterway was so busy as it was on our last visit, perhaps that has something to do with
the new container facility built at the mouth of the. Creek.
Off the boat and a sprint to catch the bus that was about to leave and we were on our way again, this time travelling along the Main Street where one can get any type of clothes made, past the Dubai Museum and to our next stop, the Heritage village with a 1 hour guided tour included. Unfortunately our timing was out again and it meant waiting about for about 45 minutes so we did it without a guide. This turned out to be a good decision as after going all around this Heritage, we had seen all there was to be
seen and were outside waiting for our bus within the 45 minutes! Within this 45 minutes we visited the Heritage farm where at long last Christine saw camels munching away on their hay.
It was now time to consider all our options as the last bus leaving the start was at 1700 hrs and the bus we were about to catch didn’t complete the route until approx 1710 hrs!!! After a debate where Christine said she wanted to wander around the Spice
Souk, we decided to leave the bus at this Souk, buy what we wanted then take our lives into our hands and cross Dubai Creek on one of their communal water buses.
I was a little disappointed with this spice Souk though Christine thoroughly enjoyed it but we did get the Cinnamon we wanted then off to the waterside to fight our way onto a water errr bus! One is perched on, charged one dirham, and we are off, bumping the dock side and another bus whilst leaving the dock! We
managed to get across without incident but as soon as we tried to
dock, hit everything there was to hit, wow what an experience.
Fortunately I recognised the area and found our way to the Museum which I managed to get Christine into, I thought I might! A quick tour around it then the 15 minute walk back to our
We got back into our room and collapsed after a wonderful but exhausting day. We had a fabulous day, saw virtually everything there was to see in this city and would recommend the Big Bus Tour to anyone.
After a cuppa, Christine cooked the Salmon for dinner, which we had bought the day before, followed by Yogurt, 2 games of Crib and bed, though the last piece of good news came as a e mail just before I went to bed.
After having such a good time at the Dubai Sevens, I had been considering a trip to Hong Kong but finding a kindred spirit was difficult but good old Martin, he agreed to join me, what a good result.
Up early tomorrow for an excursion out of town.