Having flown 90 minutes from Saudi-Arabia, we arrive in Dubai. We pass a short line for customs, quickly find our luggage and by metro and bus we arrive at our hotel. We get an upgrade from a room to a suite! Sweet! We install ourselves and after some time, there’s Maya to pick us up. Super cool to see her again after all those years. She takes us to her house where husband Nicolas come downstairs and the four of us head off for a real good dinner in Aprons and Hammers, a lovely seafood restaurant on a Dhow, a traditional boat, in Dubai International Marine Club. Sea food, shells and lots of wine. Afterwards we go back to the hotel and lay down for a long deep sleep!
We wake up, have coffee and cookies in our suite and then take an Uber taxi to the Spices Souk on the other side of the Creek, in old Dubai. It’s a big souk full of little shops whose owners only try to get tourists in their shops to sell you mainly fake brands. Not our kind of thing. We quickly continue to the Gold Souk – unfortunately the same story. We walk along the Creek, enjoy the view with the colourful Dhows that bring in goods from Pakistan, Iran, India etc. The quays are full of boxes, tyres and carpets. Nice to see, being from a port city ourselves. we have an ice cream (supposedly made of camel milk) and take a little ferry to the other side. After a short walk we finally find a place where we dare to eat. We continue our walk trying to find the Hindu temple that we saw on the map – we found it and the shops around it are the nicest we saw: shops for the local Hindu community jammed in tiny, narrow alleys crisscrossing like a maze, without any tourist in sight – except for the two of us. Very colourful with lots of flowers. We walk around a bit, do shopping at some minimarkets and go back to the hotel by metro.
After a little nap, Maya picks us up again and we go to Jumeira Beach Residence, better known as JBR where a small street festival was taking place, complete with food trucks and different stalls with handmade goods. We take a stroll, have some burgers from one of the trucks and finish off with a desert at Magnolia Bakery. Since there’s Wi-FI here I get a mesage from Lufthansa: our flight will probbaly be affected by a strike!
We take a taxi and go to a whole other place: Madinet Jumeira. An incredibly big resort with canals, resto’s and hotels. They even have an outdoor amphitheater where we sat down on bean bags and order arguileh and drinks. We enjoy the singer songwriter who’s performing and the view of Burj el Arab. Great night!
Around 10am Maya and her little daughter pick us op. We drive to end of the famous Palm, where we visit the aquarium of a famous waterpark/hotel, Atlantis. It’s huge and impressive. On the way back, we pass by Maya’s place to put her daughter to bed, and we continue to the Emirates Mall. Being there online, the news abot Lufthansa being on strike seems more and more true. We walk around, Oli buys cloths at GAP. We eat hamburgers at Shake Shack, and keep walking around, have a look at the indoor ski slope. It’s all huge! We go back to Maya’s and have coffee at Le Pain Quotidien, a lovely place under around the corner from where she lives. Maya has to go, to pick her mum up from the airport. We take an Uber taxi back to the hotel. Oli goes to the gym, and I wrote this story for you 😉
Later that evening, we meet up with Marianne and Martin, whom we haven’t seen in years. We meet in a place called Boca, where we had some wonderful food and – a favourite of ours -awesome Rioja wine! We’re lucky enough that we can sit outside, since the rain we had during the afternoon, is gone. From Boca we go to another place, Roberto’s, which seems too crowded and too expensive, so we end up at Caramel. Nice place with good food and decent wine. Having drank four bottles of wine that night, it’s time to go back to the hotel.
We wake up wih an SMS from Lufthansa: no strikes, flight will go as planned! A bit a relief, a bit a shame as we had almost started planning our extra days in Dubai. Anyway, it’s good to know now for sure. We grab a quick bite, and then take a taxi to the highest building of the world: Burj Khalifa. When there, a very fast elevator takes us to the 124th floor (456m high!) from where you get great views of this crazy country.
We buy some souvenirs up there and then go to Dubai Mall, where we walk into a Zaatar w Zeit – where we have a sandwich (Mighty Kafta and Famous Chicken!!!). Enough to see in the biggest mall in the world: an aquarium, an ice ring, waterfalls and endless pathways and shops. Too crazy for words, in the middle of a desert! Maya, her mum and daughter join us at the mall. Continue shopping with them and have a drink in the sun. Later that evening we meet up with Maya & Nicolas at Souk al Bahar, across the fountains from Dubai Mall. We have dinner at Claw BBQ, and go outside for the fountain show. Not very impressed as it seemed a bit short to us. We walk around with them over the boulevard and then it’s time to kiss good bye again. And again, we walk home. Tomorrow: Flying home!
We check out, take an Uber to the airport, Oliver eat a disgusting McDonalds breakfast, we fly to Munich, from there we fly to Schiphol – and the train takes us back to Rotterdam. Safely home, many memories and a very special trip never to forget!