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dubai mall

Dubai creek abra boat passengers afternoon ride

UAE 2010 (once again) Day 1: Flying to Dubai, shopping, Burj Khalifa at night

Date: 12th November 2010

On Monday the 8th of November, 2010, I got a bunch of missed calls as I was preparing to head to office. When I finally did speak to the person, it turned out it was someone from VH1 India informing me that I had been shortlisted as finalist in their Linkin Park Ticket to Ride Contest!

But before that, she had a bunch of questions to ask: “Do you have a valid passport?,” “Can you fly at short notice?” and then asked around 9 questions about the band itself. After answering most of the questions, said she had to speak to the others and that she would call back in some time.

After the call, the only thought that came to my mind was: “HO-LY SHiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the 60-plus times I took part in the contest on Vh1 India’s Facebook page paid off!” I eagerly awaited the return call and 5 minutes later, it came.

She told me I was selected as the final winner because I answered the most questions!

Jeff Gerstmann Woohoo fistpump

She told me I could take a guest too and so I chose my elder brother Nithin, who had never been to UAE. She also told me she would send me details on tickets, where we would be staying and how we would be going to the venue. First, we weren’t going to staying in Abu Dhabi, where the Yas Marina Circuit is located. Instead, we would be in Dubai.

Hey, I wasn’t going to complain. From there, on the day of the race, we would get picked and dropped via taxi. Cool, works for us!

After we hung up, I couldn’t hold my excitement and fist-pumped “Yes!”. This was the first time in life I actually won something big! Anyway, I headed to office and also prepared to get our visa arranged (we still had to do that ourselves).

For our Dubai visa, we approached DVPC by VFS Global, the exclusive service for all Emirates flights. We rushed all our documents to their office on Cunningham road on Tuesday afternoon and hoped we could get our visas by Thursday, since our flight was on Friday early morning.

Long story short, we managed to get our 96-hour/4 day visit visa (costs Rs. 3000 per person) processed by then.

On the dawn of Friday 12th, December 2010, we were in our Emirates flight from Bangalore to Dubai.

Star lit sky night from Emirates plane
It was a very star-lit night sky
Emirates breakfast India to Dubai flight
Early breakfast was pretty decent

We landed in Dubai at 7am.

Dubai airport tarmac terminal 4 construction
As if three terminals weren't enough
Dubai airport Emirates planes arriving in morning
We rode on the tarmac for nearly 5 minutes before finally stopping

We descended into one of those airport buses to get to the terminal. That ride took another 5 minutes — and my god was it cold inside that bus! It was mobile freezing chamber!

We finally got into Terminal 3 and made our way to immigration.

Dubai airport inside terminal 3 arrivalsI was a bit worried about visa because we didn’t get any official copy prior to our departure since everything was so ‘last minute’. But it was in our ticket and we faced no issues at immigration.

Dubai airport inside arrivals interiorsDubai airport inside terminal 3 walkalatorOnce out, we hailed a taxi and headed to Deira where our hotel was located.

We were put up at Fortune Hotel. We had breakfast and checked into one of our rooms (we got two individual rooms). First thing I did after stepping out was call up my parents and then inform my friends in Dubai that I had arrived. We didn’t rest for much because we only had one day to roam around Dubai.

We briefly caught up with my good friend Azhad, walked around Deira a bit and then made our way to the creek.

Dubai creek abra boat passengers afternoon ride

Dubai creek abra station Deira afternoon rideDubai creek trade boat afternoon skyDubai creek abra boat afternoon sky

Dubai creek trading ship
Though not the main port anymore, trade still goes through these waters daily

Dubai creek view afternoon Rolex towersDubai creek Bur Dubai mosque afternoon

Dubai creek Bur Dubai abra dockDubai creek Bur Dubai abra dock afternoonDubai creek Bur Dubai mosque abra speedThe abra ride costs just AED1 is one of the must-dos when in Dubai, be it in daytime or at night.

Once in Bur Dubai, I showed my brother the souq.

Dubai creek Bur Dubai market souq afternoonDubai creek Bur Dubai market souq entranceI’ve covered the souq a lot more in my trip from April. We went around a bit, bought some chocolates and made our way towards the Bur Dubai bus station.

Plaza cinema theater Bur Dubai
One of the oldest theaters in Dubai

We were in Bur Dubai to meet my friend Jassim, who had invited me and my brother over to his house for lunch.

He picked us up in his Mitsubishi Pajero.

Dubai inside Jassim's Mitsubishi Pajero

Dubai inside Mitsubishi Pajero dashboard interiors
With a mileage like that, it's a good thing petrol is cheap in UAE

Once at home, we were treated some fantastic mutton biriyani Jassim’s mother-in-law prepared. It was brilliant! Oh, there was chicken too. Equally delicious.

Dubai Jassim family
Our gracious hosts (the adults i.e., the kids didn't care much for our presence)

After an extremely satisfying (and heavy) lunch, Jassim offered to drive us to our next destination.

Dubai Jassim driving PajeroDubai construction progressingDubai Al Riyadh street overpass

Dubai Raffles pyramid hotel
Dubai skyscrapers buildings skyline shadow
Never tire of this sight

Dubai building for sale

Dubai festival city building
We were on our way to Festival City

Festival City was the only major mall I didn’t visit the first time I came to Dubai, back in April.  Also, the mall houses Dubai’s IKEA store.

Dubai Festival City parking Pajero vs Hummer
The Pajero faces off with the soon-to-be-extinct Hummer
Dubai Festival City Jamie Oliver Italian restaurant
Popular British chef Jamie Oliver is opening a restaurant here

Festival City is another mixed-use development, comprising of a mall (of course), residential apartments, offices and even a marina.

Dubai Festival City marina panorama
(Panorama comprised of 6 shots)

Dubai festival city marina yachts

Dubai Festival City Intercontinental Hotel
Dubai Festival City water canal
A water canal offering boat rides as well
Dubai Festival City water boat rides
Plenty of eateries by the water canal too

Once inside, the store offerings weren’t that different from any other major mall in Dubai.

Dubai Festival City mall water wires panorama
This was pretty cool though
Dubai Festival City water wires long
Water trickles down these wires and makes a sound when it touches the ground

Dubai Festival City mall storesDubai Festival City floors

Dubai Festival City Ikea store
Why we came to Festival City mall--IKEA (There is no IKEA store in India, yet)
Dubai Festival City lit up trees
After nearly an hour inside, we were done with our shopping

Jassim quickly took us around to show us some more unique ‘water fountains’ inside Festival City.

Dubai Festival City water fountain streaming

Dubai Festival City water fountain structure
But this big one takes the cake
Dubai Festival City unique water fountain closeup
That's a thin stream of water flowing all the way down

Dubai Festvial city inside eventsWe were running late and Jassim had to head back home. So after quick stop at an electronics store, we headed back to the car parking.

Dubai Festvial City Lacoste Paris galleryDubai Festvial City at night moonDubai Festvial City Intercontinental Hotel nightDubai Festvial City water canal at night

Dubai roads driving night
Next stop, Dubai Mall
Dubai clock tower roundabout at night
Dubai's old landmark
Driving on Sheikh Zayed road at night
Sheikh Zayed road, where all of Dubai's new landmarks are
Dubai Pajero sky roof open
Sky roof open...
Dubai Jassim driving Pajero night
... volume up!

Jassim dropped us off at Dubai Mall and we said our goodbyes.

Dubai Mall entrance NithinWe had booked our entry to Burj Khalifa’s At The Top for 8pm. But we quickly went around the mall before that.

Dubai Mall aquarium world record
First we passed by Dubai Aquarium
Dubai Aquarium Guinness world record plaque
The Guinness Record for the World's Largest Acrylic Panel

Dubai Mall Aquarium world fishes diverDubai Mall Aquarium ceiling decorationMy brother wasn’t really interested in going inside the aquarium. So we continued up.

Dubai Mall Christmas decorations

Dubai Mall Denon LG showrooms
My brother instead wanted to check out home theater systems

He was tempted to pick a unit which cost half of what it costs back in India. But given the size of the entire package (and fearing customs,) he dropped the idea.

Dubai Mall digital runway screens
Funky runways huh?

When it was time, we made our way to the At The Top counter in the basement.

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa model At The TopDubai Mall At The Top experience NithinMy brother isn’t staring at a white screen, watch this video for what you really see.

Dubai Mall At The Top observation deck which floor
I didn't get it the right the last time but this time I vowed to point to where exactly the observation deck on Burj Khalifa is

Once we reached the top via the fastest elevator in the world, I switched to video:

This is the view at night in photos.

Burj Khalifa At The Top view at night Dubai

Dubai Mall from top at night
Dubai Mall's roof goes green at night

Burj Khalifa At The Top view highways

The Address hotel Dubai at night
The Address hotel
Burj Khalifa At The Top view financial centre at night Dubai
Dubai's Financial Centre

Dubai Financial Centre buildings at nightBurj Khalifa At The Top observation deck at nightDubai labour camps at night

Sheikh Zayed road offices at night
Drive up further you reach Dubai Marina
Burj Khalifa At The Top observation telescopes
You can use these to get a simulation of how the same view looks in daylight

Dubai Sheikh Zayed road flyover intersectionDowntown Dubai The Address residences at nightAfter 30 minutes on top, we made our way back down.

Burj Khalifa elevator floors fastOnce down, we walked past the other displays as you make your exit.

Burj Khalifa ground displaysBurj Khalifa vision inspiration peopleBurj Khalifa ground video displays

Burj Khalifa escalator downBurj Khalifa exit walkalatorThis was the second time for me ‘At the Top,’ a more detailed description of the experience can be viewed here.

Once out, the Dubai fountains were on show.

Dubai Mall fountain show at night
The shows are every half an hour
Dubai Mall Christmas tree decorations
Islamic country, but they still deck a heck lot of lights for Christmas

Burj Khalifa in the dark Dubai
The tallest X'mas 'tree' in the world

We took the shuttle bus from Dubai Mall to the metro station. Even though we were tired and sleepy, we still decided to quickly check out Mall of the Emirates — four stops from Dubai Mall.

Mall of Emirates shopping mall nightWe were here mostly to check out the Virgin Megastore. Last time I was here, I spent quite a bit on video games. This time, we just picked up some blu-rays, a music CD… and then some more video games.

Mall of Emirates Ralph Lauren storeBy the time we were done with everything, it was 10:30pm. We had to get back, have dinner and then figure out how we were going to pack all our IKEA goods.

Dinner was shawarmas, which though better than the stuff you get in India, wasn’t as good as the ones I grew up eating in Bahrain. The Egyptian joint we picked it up stuffed it with french fries and wrapped it in kuboos instead of Lebanese bread. These were the kind of shawarmas pretty much everywhere. I don’t know, they were inferior in my opinion.

After dinner, I roamed around a bit in search of empty carton boxes big enough to hold our IKEA purchases but despite asking just about every cold store in our vicinity, the best I got were water bottle boxes. I came back with one but realized it was grossly insufficient.

Next morning, I had to call up my friend Azhad for help.

Next post in this series:

UAE 2010 (once again) Day 2 – Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi F1 and Linkin Park concert

Ibn Battuta mall China court panorama

UAE 2010: Showing my parents the sights of Dubai; inside Ibn Battuta Mall

Date: 10th April 2010

After a tiring previous day (and only hitting the bed at 4am), I got up early to receive my parents from Bur Dubai bus stand as they were visiting from Abu Dhabi. Since today and tomorrow were all going to be ‘family time,’ we were going to be staying with my father’s friend, in his nice, posh little flat in Karama.

Once we all landed at my father’s friend’s place post-lunch, we rested for some time before heading out.

It was back to Dubai Mall for me — but for my parents, despite having lived in Abu Dhabi for nearly an year, it was going to be their first time experiencing Dubai Aquarium and At The Top of Burj Khalifa.

First up, the aquarium: Dubai Aquarium from entrance outside glassDubai Aquarium little girl baby shark

Dubai Aquarium little sting ray Acha touch
My father really enjoyed being this close to sea creatures

Dubai Aquarium narrow sting ray tube

Dubai Aquarium under sting ray face
That’s what a stingray’s face looks like

Dubai Aquarium dome lots of fish

Dubai Aquarium divers working
Well, hello there!

Dubai Aquarium darkness Dubai Aquarium from outside Dubai mall crowdsFor more photos and videos from inside Dubai Aquarium, check out my first post. Next up, we waited for our turn to go up the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai Mall At The Top gift shop parents
My parents at the At The Top gift shop

Burj Khalifa statistics At The Top entrance

Burj Khalifa statistics Story in numbers facts figures
200+ storeys; 95kms – from where one can see the top of the spire; 12,000 slaves… sorry, labourers; 57 elevators; 500,000 tonnes – weight of the empty building

I had booked for an evening slot for the At The Top visit, hoping I could see Dubai all lit up. But as we got up, the sun was still very much above the horizon.

Burj Khalifa parents At the Top view
Regardless, my parents loved the view
Dubai Financial Center from Burj Khalifa evening
Dubai financial center
Burj Khalifa floors above At The Top
That’s how many floors there still are above the observation deck
Burj Khalifa sunset over The World islands
The sun setting over the yet to be completed The World islands
Burj Khalifa tourists watching sunset
Watching the sun set from atop the world’s tallest building is a great idea

At The Top Burj Khalifa tourists watching sunsetDowntown Dubai construction site from Burj Khalifa For more photos and videos from At The Top, check out my first post.

We finished our tour of Burj Khalifa, made our way out and to the Dubai Fountain site. The $200 million-plus Dubai Fountain is an attraction built on the artificial (duh) lake just outside Dubai Mall.

Dubai Mall The Address hotel at night
The Address hotel in the back
Dubai mall Dubai fountain site at night
The crowds wait for the show to start

Built by the same people behind the famous Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas, Dubai obviously had to up the ante. So these fountains shoot water up higher, 500 feet high (150 metres)!

Shows are every half an hour between 6pm to 10pm. Here’s the show I saw: Since it’s free, and since I can’t afford to go to Las Vegas just yet, this was great!

Burj Khalifa Mithun parents portrait
Me and my folks in front of a massive concrete & steel Christmas tree

Burj Khalifa glowing dubaiAfter the show, we made our way to the buses that drop visitors to the metro station.

Pink Porsche Dubai mall parking
Why, why would someone do that to a Porsche?
Burj Khalifa glowing at night dubai
Architectural beauty

The next day with my parents…

The next morning, I took my parents to Bur Dubai for some shopping and to show them around. Bur Dubai souk morning

Bur Dubai souk father pushing cart
My father considering ‘post-retirement’ work

Bur Dubai souk morning wide angleBur Dubai souk morning shopsBur Dubai souk station morning Bur Dubai souk Indonesian shop

Bur Dubai souk Chinese man with father
My father bothering some random Chinese dude for a photo

After showing them the souk station, I took them to the Hindu temple (photos of both can be seen in my first post). Bur Dubai Hindu temple tourists Bur Dubai souk Hindu temple entry exitBur Dubai Hindu temple entry exit Poojasri fashions

Bur Dubai souk park parents sitting
Taking a break from all the walking

Bur Dubai morning old buildingBur Dubai mosque roadBur Dubai mosque blue sky

Bur Dubai creek morning pigeons
Pigeons by the creek

Bur Dubai creek pigeons bouysAnd with that, we were done. Took a taxi and headed back to my father’s colleague’s place. He offered to drop us off near Jebel Ali power station, where we had been invited for lunch by our relatives.

Inside Mr. Nandakumar's Peugot car with sunroof
Inside Mr. Nandakumar’s Peugot

Once again, it was a drive on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Emirates Towers Dubai from car
Emirates Towers

Glass building Sheikh Zayed roadGlass building construction Sheikh Zayed roadSheikh Zayed road tall buildingSheikh Zayed road row of buildingsSheikh Zayed road Dubai Marina construction

Dubai Hard Rock cafe Sheikh Zayed road
Those guitars used to be where Dubai’s Hard Rock Cafe was

Sheikh Zayed road office towersMetro line train Sheikh Zayed roadDnata travel center Dubai office twin towers

Jebel Ali station flat view
The view from my uncle’s flat near Jebel Ali power station, where he works

After lunch, we decided to check out Ibn Battuta Mall, which was nearby. This was the last major mall I had yet to see and the one my friends highly recommended, just because it was different.

The mall business in Dubai is, let’s just say, quite cut throat. For such a small state, Dubai has some of the largest malls in the world. And since just about every mall offers the same set of stores, mall operators come up with differentiators to draw the crowds in.

What’s the differentiator for Ibn Battuta Mall? For one (if you haven’t figured out already), it’s named after the great Muslim explorer Ibn Battuta. The entire mall is themed after his travels across China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Andalusia with a section dedicated to each zone.

We parked near the China entrance. Ibn Battuta mall parking lot DubaiIbn Battuta mall Chinese entranceIbn Battuta mall Chinese corridor China courtEach of the sections have a lobby with a major attraction specific to that zone. This is what the China court looks like.

Ibn Battuta mall China court panorama
Panorama comprised of 6 shots

The main attraction here being a replica of a Chinese sailing ship supposedly used by Ibn Battuta in his travels. Ibn Battuta mall Chinese ship modelIbn Battuta mall Chinese boat fountainIbn Battuta mall China court ship

Ibn Battuta mall Grand cinemas IMAX
Ibn Battuta Mall houses the only IMAX screen in Dubai

From China, we then moved on to India. Ibn Battuta mall India court from ChinaIbn Battuta India court shopsIbn Battuta India court lobbyIbn Battuta India court dome chandlier

Ibn Battuta India court elephant rider
India Court’s big attraction

From India into Persia. Ibn Battuta mall Persia court from IndiaIbn Battuta mall Persia court kids roomsIbn Battuta mall Persia court main dome Ibn Battuta Mall Persia court armillary spherePersia Court’s big attraction is a replica of a Starbucks Coffee outlet*.

Ibn Battuta Mall Persia court dome Starbucks
*just kidding

From Persia, you have two paths to Egypt. Ibn Battuta Mall entry Egypt court

Ibn Battuta Mall Egypt court street lamps
Both paths eventually meet
Ibn Battuta mall Egypt court corridor
The Egypt Court houses a lot of history, facts and trivia about Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta mall Egypt court trade middle agesIbn Battuta mall Egypt court across North AfricaIbn Battuta mall Egypt court life of traveller

Ibn Battuta Mall Egypt court travel mapIbn Battuta mall Egypt court pyramid

Ibn Battuta Mall Eqypt court lampsAnd finally Andalusia.

Ibn Battuta mall Andalusia court entryIbn Battuta mall Andalusia court corridorIbn Battuta Mall Andalusia court ceilingIbn Battuta Mall Andalusia court center statue

Ibn Battuta Mall Andalusia court fountains
Andalusia Court’s main attraction

Ibn Battuta mall Andalusia court flight ceilingWith that, we had conquered all five regions of Ibn Battuta’s mall. So we made our journey back, passing by more displays.

Ibn Battuta mall Andalusia court India displayIbn Battuta mall Eqypt court display

Ibn Battuta mall China hall pillars ceiling
Back in China Court

Ibn Battuta China hall ceiling

Ibn Battuta Mall truly is a must-see in my opinion. It was a good move on Nakheel Properties’ part to use a theme like this to set the mall apart from Dubai’s other shopping centers.

Once out of Ibn Battuta Mall, we wished our relatives goodbye and took the metro to Bur Dubai bus stand. I was heading back to Abu Dhabi.

Dubai bus to Abu Dhabi at nightAnd with this, ends my Dubai sojourn — for now.

Next posts in this series:

UAE 2010: From the desert sands of Abu Dhabi to the corniche

UAE 2010: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi – Ferrari World and Yas Marina Circuit

Previous posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Heading back to the Gulf after 7 years

UAE 2010: Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (& back)

UAE 2010: Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

UAE 2010: Heading to Dubai by bus; checking out Bur Dubai

UAE 2010: Dubai Mall (Aquarium, Underwater Zoo & Gold Souk) – Part 1

UAE 2010: Burj Khalifa, At the Top (and Wafi Mall) – Part 2

UAE 2010: Driving around Dubai (Souk Madinat Jumeirah, The Atlantis & The Palm Islands) – Part 1

UAE 2010: Dubai Marina, Jumeirah, The Walk and David Guetta concert – Part 2

Burj Khalifa Dubai steel morning

UAE 2010: Burj Khalifa, At the Top (and Wafi Mall) – Part 2

Date: 7th April, 2010

(This is a continuation of Part 1)

Once you are allowed in past the At The Top ticket counter, you wait at the lobby until it’s time for you go up.

Dubai Mall At The Top entrance

At the lobby are some facts, figures and interactive displays comparing the Burj Khalifa to other tall structures around the world.

Burj Khalifa lobby London displayDubai Mall Burj Khalifa lobby San Fransisco displayIn the above display, you choose a location (it’s a touch screen) and it then shows you a simulation of what the Burj Khalifa would look like in that chosen landscape.

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa lobby structures comparison
Compared to other tall buildings from around the world

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa lobby displayWhen it was time, I went through security and made my way to the lift. (Oh yeah, the lift is the fastest in the world.)

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa escalator displayThere are other displays en route to the lift.

Burj Khalifa observation deck 124th floor
I didn’t align this right but if you get it all in the center, it points to the 124th floor — which is where the observation deck is
Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa At the Top message
Behind the tape: “I *was* Burj Dubai”

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa escalatorI queued for the lift (there’s two) and it wasn’t a capsule (or glass) lift so you can’t see how fast you are going. The feeling was just amazing (video is below)! You hardly feel anything. The noise is cut out due to the music that plays and the only indication you are going up at 64kmph is that you feel like something is pushing down on you.

Also, the ride takes less than 30 seconds.

And then, you step out.

Burj Khalifa observation deck
The observation deck
Dubai Mall from top Burj Khalifa observation deck
Dubai Mall from up above
Sheikh Zayed road panorama from Burj Khalifa
That’s Dubai: tall buildings and sand. (Panorama comprised of 7 shots)
Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa At the Top view fountain
That weird design in the pool is the base of Dubai Fountain

I walked around to take in views from every angle.

Dubai Mall Burj Khalifa observation deck pillars

Burj Khalifa The World project
There was a slight dust storm that day but what you see in the distance is The World islands
Burj Khalifa observation deck zoom viewer
These digital telescopes give you an accurate simulation of what the view would be at day and at night
Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai construction
The Downtown Dubai construction site
Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai desert
There’s a lot of empty land still left in Dubai

(Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this article to see the HD video I made)

After the tour, I got into an empty lift going down.

Burj Khalifa inside the fastest elevatorBurj Khalifa inside fastest elevator screens

But pictures aren’t as cool as an HD video right?

Once out, there was more to see.

The making of Burj KhalifaThe making of Burj Khalifa displays

Burj Khalifa Downtoun Dubai project
The (planned) Downtoun Dubai project
Burj Khalifa various design changes
The design (& height) changes Burj Khalifa went through
Downtown Dubai buildings fountain
Looking out
At the Top people behind Burj Khalifa
A few people behind this massive project get a mention too
Burj Khalifa Shebbir Ahmed workers
“Edaa Shebbiru…!”

Burj Khalifa exit walkalator

Burj Khalifa exit walkalator lcds
And with that, the tour ends

You come out near the At The Top ticket counter itself.

Burj Khalifa At the Top ticket counter

Burj Khalifa At the Top sold out
This is why you need to be in early or book well in advance
Dubai Mall Dior stairs ceiling art
Wow, even the ‘under-the-escalators’ get attention

It was past 5pm by this time and I had initially planned on waiting for the Dubai Fountain show which begins at sunset.

But my legs were aching!

All that walking around, with my camera bag… my body couldn’t take it anymore. So I decided to catch the fountain show the next time I would be coming here — which would be 2 days from now.

Burj Khalifa shadow sunlightDubai Mall hole building

Outside Dubai Mall towards metro
Making my way back to the metro station

Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai building reflection

Dubai Metro inside
Inside the driver-less Dubai Metro

After heading back to Azhad’s room, I gave my legs a rest before heading out again at night. I had dinner plans with a friend, Payal, from my school days who shifted from Bahrain to Dubai a few years ago.

We met up at BurJuman Shopping Center from where we weighed in our dinner options.

Payal inside Honda Civic Dubai
Payal’s book of infinite choices (& discount coupons)

She took me to Wafi City — one of the more interesting real estate projects in Dubai city. A mixed use complex which houses a mall (duh), residences, and a Raffles hotel.

Wafi mall pyramids Citibank Dubai
The Raffles Dubai hotel is the pyramid in the center

What makes Wafi unique is that the whole place is themed around ancient Egypt.

Wafi Mall Eqytian pyramid carsWe first checked out the mall a bit.

Wafi Mall egyptian pillars escalators

Wafi Mall glass pillar ceiling
Not sure if this was a part of Egyptian history, but looks cool anyway.

Wafi Mall inside ceilingWafi Mall roof ceiling Egyptian artWafi Mall roof ceiling Egyptian artWafi Mall city Raffles hotel lobbyWe walked past Asha’s and ended up sitting down at Mahi Mahi, a seafood restaurant and a favourite of Payal’s.

We sat out at the balcony and I would advice anyone to do so if the weather permits — the setting is great.

Wafi Mall Egyptian statues car parking

Wafi Mall panorama Dubai
A panorama comprised of 7 shots
Wafi Mall restaurant chandlier
The ambiance inside Mahi Mahi isn’t bad either

Our dinner conversation ranged from the extreme superficiality of people in Dubai to Payal’s Las Vegas plans to my travel plans for this year. (Yes, I will be travelling again later this year)

Wafi Mall restaurant dinner payal
My friend Payal
Wafi Mall restaurant Thai dinner
Our (mostly) seafood dinner

Mahi Mahi is a slightly upscale joint but the portions and food are well worth the price. You can’t beat the night time atmosphere either.

Wafi Mall columnsWafi Mall pillars steps

Wafi Mall seafood restaurant
The seafood is very fresh

By 11pm, we left Wafi City (after a bit of Lebanese sweets-shopping).

Dubai felt quiet for some time that night.

Dubai at night traffic inside CivicBut once Payal dropped me back in Deira, the signs of life were still buzzing even as today came to an end.

I went back to the room, knackered. Absolutely knackered.

After yesterday’s tiring walk and today’s exploration of Dubai Mall, my legs were crying for rest. Tomorrow was going to be more mall hopping and meeting another friend for dinner.

All said and done, I got what I came for. I was very happy with the photos and it was well worth it.

(Now you know why I took so long on these posts.)

P.S: Here’s the HD video tour of the Burj Khalifa, enjoy:

Next posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Mall of Emirates and Times Square Center

UAE 2010: Driving around Dubai (Souk Madinat Jumeirah, The Atlantis & The Palm Islands) – Part 1

UAE 2010: Dubai Marina, Jumeirah, The Walk and David Guetta concert – Part 2

UAE 2010: Showing my parents the sights of Dubai; inside Ibn Battuta Mall

UAE 2010: From the desert sands of Abu Dhabi to the corniche

UAE 2010: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi – Ferrari World and Yas Marina Circuit

Previous posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Heading back to the Gulf after 7 years

UAE 2010: Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (& back)

UAE 2010: Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

UAE 2010: Heading to Dubai by bus; checking out Bur Dubai

UAE 2010: Dubai Mall (Aquarium, Underwater Zoo & Gold Souk) – Part 1

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