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Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit Ferrari McLaren Red bull race cars

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

Date: 13th November 2010

If you are wondering “Errr…. where’s Day 1?,” well, I wanted to push this one out because it contains a large chunk of why I was inΒ  Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a second time this year. Long story short, I won a contest on VH1 to fly all the way to Abu Dhabi during F1 weekend to watch Linkin Park, one of my favourite bands, live in concert.

All the details of how I got here will be in the Day 1 post. [EDIT: Day 1 is now live]

Since we had shopped a bit yesterday, we had to spend the morning trying to find a carton to fit all of our IKEA shopping. We met up with my friend Azhad who took us to a cargo shop to find us a large box. After we bought one, we made our way back and then headed out for lunch.

For lunch, Azhad took us to a Syrian restaurant in Al Rigga.

Aroos Damascus restaurant Al Rigga Deira Dubai
This was the restaurant
Aroos Damascus Syrian restaurant Al Rigga Deira shawarma
And that is a LOT of meat
Aroos Damascus tables outside Syrian restaurant Al Rigga Deira Dubai
Azhad and my brother Nithin at the table to the left

As fans of Arabian cuisine, we ordered a few items unaware of just how much food was coming our way.

Syrian Arab lentil soup dal
First up: Lentil soup (dal)
Aroos Damscus restaurant Al Rigga Deira starters Dubai
Then, salad and a diamond shaped bread
Fattoush salad Arab restaurant Dubai
Next, fattoush salad
Arab restaurant kuboos bread Deira Dubai
With healthy supply of kuboos (Arabian bread)
Arab restaurant fresh fruit juice kiwi
Then our juices (the green one's Kiwi fruit; it's what I ordered)
Arab restaurant hummus mutton
After that, our hummus with mutton kheema & grated almonds
Aroos Damascus restaurant Deira grilled chicken
...and finally, the 'main course' -- one full grilled chicken

By the time our ‘main course’ arrived, my hunger was already taken care of. All I could think of was ‘how the hell we were going to finish that bird!’.

And just as we began to dig into it, I get a call. It was our taxi driver, for our pick up. We had to tell him to wait at least 15 minutes as we were having lunch… and that we had an entire chicken to go through.

Sadly, even 10 minutes in, we knew it was hopeless. We would have needed at least an hour of slow eating to finish all the food that was on our table. Or according to Azhad, we needed our friend Jassim.

The bill came to around Rs. 1200, very reasonable considering what we ordered was enough to feed 4 to 5 people. After we paid up, we quickly made our way back to our hotel where our taxi was waiting for us.

Now, we were expecting a taxi. We weren’t really expecting this:

Lincoln towncar black Dubai
This was our ride

Lincoln Towncar limo interiors
Not bad. Not bad at all.

We dashed off to Abu Dhabi via Sheikh Zayed Road.

Sheikh Zayed Road tunnel lights inside car

Sheikh Zayed Road tunnel light from inside carSheikh Zayed road from inside car

Emirates towers building from car
The Emirates twin towers
Sheikh Zayed road metro station
This is what Dubai's metro stations look like
Sheikh Zayed road small building contruction
Construction activity has slowed down...
Sheikh Zayed Road Gloria hotel rooms for rent
... because there is still plenty of over-supply
Sheikh Zayed Road offices for lease
Still no takers

Sheikh Zayed road empty buildingThe real estate scene hasn’t seen much improvement since the last time I was here.

Sheikh Zayed Road leaving Dubai

Burj Al Arab from inside car
Burj Al Arab in the distance

Sheikh Zayed road Dubai Marina skyscrapersWe drove past the impressive Dubai Marina and entered Jebel Ali zone.

Sheikh zayed road Ibn Battuta Mall
Seen at Ibn Battuta Mall

Sheikh Zayed road Jebel Ali offices Jafza view 19 twin towers

Dubai Hummer stretch limo rent
Okay, so our limo wasn't as pimp as this one...
Sheikh Zayed road radio tower
Not a whole lot to see on Sheikh Zayed road...
Sheikh Zayed road vehicles
... besides cars

Sheikh Zayed Road is one heck of a highway. For one, it’s really straight. So it’s filled with a lot of speeding cars. And despite being extremely wide, and UAE’s strict code on the way you drive — accidents are still common.

We lay witness to one one this trip.

A Toyota Yaris lost control, swerved right across two lanes, rams into a Mercedes convertible, and dangerously reverses back on to the highway. Everybody brakes. Fortunately we were slightly far behind and the Yaris did eventually come to a stand still.

Sheikh Zayed road accident Mercedes
The Merc that got rammed into
Sheikh Zayed road accident Toyota Yaris crashed
Dunno how he lost control

The police car quickly made its way towards the accident site…

Sheikh Zayed road accident truck overturn
...from *another* accident it was tending to

So yeah, just because you have awesome roads, don’t assume its accidents-free.

An hour-long drive later, we were in Abu Dhabi.

Getting to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi by taxi

IKEA Abu Dhabi near Yas Island Ferrari World
Damn you IKEA! Here too?!
Ferrari World La Rossa roller coaster
La Rossa -- the fastest roller coaster ride in the world, part of Ferrari World

We actually asked our driver to drop us at Ferrari World because we had time and didn’t want to head to the Yas Marina Circuit so early. Plus I had to check it out, sine the last time I was, it was still under construction.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi front side

Ferrari World mall entrance reception
The entrance leads you to a mini-mall
Ferrari World mall escalator stores
But a lot of stores were yet to open

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi main entranceInside Ferrari World Abu Dhabi entrance

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi main lobby
The ticket counter is to the right
Ferrari World Ferrari store Abu Dhabi
They have a pretty big Ferrari store to the left

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Formula 1 model car

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Formula 1 model car
This was in front of the Ferrari store

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi interiorsFerrari World Abu Dhabi main exit

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi gates to theme park
You pass these gates to enter the theme park

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi old Ferrari grand prix racing car

After checking out the store, I made my way to the ticket counter.Β  The tickets to Ferrari World come in ‘general’ and ‘premium’ classes — the only difference being the premium admission give you access to a VIP lounge. Otherwise the general admission costs AED225 (Rs. 2500) and entitles you to unlimited rides. Not bad, compared to how expensive other world class theme parks cost.

But I still felt compelled to ask the ticket receptionist if it was worthwhile if we went in today. She replied that we’d need at least 2 hours to go through the whole place (Ferrari World is the largest indoor theme park in the world). Also, the main attraction at Ferrari World: La Rossa — the fastest roller coaster in the world, wasn’t (let’s just say) functioning perfectly. There were stopping it intermittently to run check ups.


Now, I know Ferrari World had just opened during this year’s Grand Prix race, but I didn’t feel like paying AED225 to be a crash test dummy at 250 kmph. So I decided to skip it and check it out next year. Hopefully by then all the chinks are sorted out.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi entrance hall
We made our way out
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi logo Mithun
That's me ^_^
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi cascade walk
There was an open area we felt like checking out

Ferrari World fountains water walkFerrari World fountains water cascade outside mallFerrari World Abu Dhabi cascade walk waterFerrari World Cascade walk fountains waterFerrari World Abu Dhabi dome creekFerrari World Abu Dhabi cascade walk signFerrari World Abu Dhabi cascade open areaFerrari World Abu Dhabi cascade water fountains

Ferrari World cascade walk fountains Nithin
My brother Nithin

It was nearing 5pm at this point, so we decided to leave.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi mall to entrance

Ferrari World bus to Yas Marina circuit
They had buses to Yas Marina Circuit
Inside bus to Yas Marina circuit Abu Dhabi
The buses go all around the circuit stopping at all the entry points
Entering North Stand Yas Marina Circuit
We got down at the North Gate entrance
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi road to Yas Marina
Which isn't very far from Ferrari World

North Grand Stand Yas Marina circuit parkingEntering North Grand stand Yas Marina Circuit

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1 ear plugs guide
This is what you get as you pass the gates: ear plugs and a guide
Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit Yasalam
This is where Linkin Park is going to perform

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit atmosphereAbu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina Circuit drag race displayAbu Dhabi F1 experience Yas Marina circuit eventsAbu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit go karting

Abu Dhabi Yas Marina circuit sunset
It was time to go in

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit M gateAbu Dhabi F1 experience Yas Marina circuit drag carsAbu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit drag racer

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit Yasalam Linkin Park stage
They were running a sound check and you could hear Chester test his vocals
Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit North Grand stand lounge
This is the lounge area for North Grand Stand ticket holders

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit North stand

Yas Marina Circuit North Stand panorama view
This was the view from our seat

And this is the action we saw:

Our seats were great, we were at the grand stand at the North section of the track. The vantage point is a good one as you get to see the cars coming in from a distance (though in a matter seconds, they’re already at the turn) and then you have the long straight stretch where you get to see them accelerate.

First thing that really hits you is the noise. I experienced this during the Singapore F1 back in September. I loved it there, I loved it here as well. Of course, you have to love cars to to enjoy the sound of a lightning fast engine. Otherwise you’d be deemed ‘weird’.

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit north gate panorama

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina Lewis Hamilton St. George flag
Since this was the crucial final race of the season, the Brits obviously had Lewis Hamilton's back
Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit north stand flags
Not that the Spaniards and Canadians were far behind
Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit big screens
They had screens broadcasting the rest of the circuit

They had commentary on the speakers too, but because of the noise from the cars, you won’t hear it until the cars pass.

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit evening

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit Red Bull car
Red Bull racing was doing pretty well
Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit Force India car
Force India wasn't doing that bad either

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit Ferrari cornerAbu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit Lotus carAfter seeing cars zipping by and listening to engines for nearly an hour, I went inside the lounge to have some of the gourmet food on offer.

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina North Grand stand lounge food
Gourmet food in very tiny portions I might add. But you can take as much as you wanted.

The whole affair was very posh, with German waitresses and what looked like local celebrities (or posh posers) in the lounge.

After having a bite and drink, as I walked back, I suddenly stopped. And I do mean suddenly stopped. I literally froze.

I turned to my left and in front of me were two guys. One, a fairly large, tattooed white bald white dude and next to him, a regular looking Asian guy, fairly tall. Dressed in formals, he looked like a guy who probably worked in an IT firm. I looked at him and they both looked back at me. The white dudeΒ  sitting next to him nodded as if to say: “No”.

But in my excitement, I said ‘hi’ and that I had one question to ask him. I began to prep the camera when he smiled and said: “No Interviews”. The bodyguard was about to get up so I put my camera away and just asked him. He answered and then I asked him if I could take a photograph. The bodyguard said “No,” but he said “It’s fine,” gave my camera to his bodyguard and asked him to take our photograph.

The bodyguard pressed the shutter and it didn’t click. The guy joked: “He’s not very good at this” and asked his bodyguard to take the shot again.

So who was the guy?

Mithun with Mike Shinoda Linkin Park Abu Dhabi F1
None other than Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park! The ONE guy I was hoping to meet!

I thanked Mike and told him how much I liked their new album and said: “Keep experimenting” to which he smiled and said “Thanks”.

First impressions. Wow, he’s taller than I thought (I’m 5′ 6″). Plus, he’s changed a lot since his Hybrid Theory days.

Oh, what was the one question I wanted to ask him and finally could?

“When is Linkin Park coming to India?”

Mike said they needed find the right promoter and figure out the logistics to try and cram it into their tour schedule. It wasn’t a very convincing answer so I asked him whether they had ever considered touring India, to which Mike replied: “Oh yeah! Of course!”. I told him Linkin Park has such a huge fan base in India and he nodded his head: “I know…” with a smile. He said it will happen and assured me the band would tour India — but he just couldn’t tell me when.

Oh well, at least he knows we’re dying to see the band live in India.

As I went back to my seat, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. When I got the call from Vh1 telling me I had won, I was so hoping to meet the band. But I was informed there would be no meet & greet. And despite all that, I still got to meet the one guy I wanted to talk to. I know for a lot of girls its Chester Bennington, but for many hardcore LP fans, it’s Mike Shinoda — the unofficial spokesperson and leader of the band.

I told my brother Mike Shinoda was inside and he got a glimpse of him too, but neither of us disturbed him again.

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit night race
The race was at its final laps

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit Ferrari McLaren Red bull race cars

Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit at night
The qualifiers had ended; Vettel took pole postion with Lewis Hamilton in second
Abu Dhabi F1 Yas Marina circuit photographers
That's the kind of lenses you need to cover an F1 race

We got up from our seats and went back into the lounge to get a good view of where we were heading next.

Abu Dhabi Yasalam Linkin Park concert venue
There were people already making a beeline for the concert gates

Abu Dhabi Yasalam after F1 race

As I walked out I saw Mike again… and Dave Farrell, the band’s bassist! Dave smiled at me and gave me a thumbs up, probably after noticing my Linkin Park t-shirt and I wished him all the best for the show and that I was looking forward to it. I was tempted to ask for a photograph again but the bodyguard kept looking at me everytime I passed by. Oh well, he’s doing his job.

Walking towards the venue, I came prepared and fully charged with my camera and lenses… but unfortunately, there was dude announcing on the speakerphone that DSLRs and other high end cameras were not allowed in. Crap.

So, I hesitantly hand over my camera to the counter and make my through the gates. Hundreds were getting their alcohol (on sale for 21 and over only) and though there were a lot of people at the venue, everybody had enough space to move about freely.

Me and my brother chose a spot a bit far away from the speakers and right in the middle.

Yasalam Linkin Park Abu Dhabi concert panorama
They were showing promos of who all had come before... (yes, the Jonas Brothers were here before LP)

We could have gone further up front but I was going to be recording videos on my phone and staying too close to the speakers only meant “brrrrr brrrr” in recordings.

The stage itself, as you can see above, was quite impressive.

Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Linkin Park concert warm up
They had a DJ spin out some good hip hop to warm up the crowd.

After half an hour or so, the DJ leaves the stage. The crew come on, clear everything and the crowd begin to cheer. A lighting rig comes all the way down, two guys get into seats on either side and the rig goes up again.

Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Linkin Park concert stage setupAfter some more waiting, finally, the show begins:

They opened with The Catalyst, the first single off their latest album A Thousand Suns.

Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Linkin Park concert
After that, the crowd went crazy for the next song

And when I mean ‘crowd,’ I mean me, my brother and a few young Arabs around me. I was seriously aghast the whole crowd wasn’t jumping up & down.

But then again I reminded my self that this concert was only open to Formula 1 ticket holders, most of whom were 30-plus. Not exactly your core Linkin Park fanbase.

Abu Dhabi formula 1 Linkin Park concert chester on stage
Man, Chester can scream his face off!

I didn’t record every song in full, intentionally. I had to conserve my phone battery and I didn’t feel right about recording the entire concert as though I was going to bootleg this or something.

Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Linkin Park concert Mike Shinoda
"Hey, I met that guy!" πŸ˜›
Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Linkin Park concert Joe Hahn
The awesome Mr. Hahn

Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Linkin Park concert Chester Bennington

Of course, some songs I had to record in full.

Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Linkin Park concert stage lights
The lighting was just as good as the music

This was the ending set:


After a very brief break, the band were back on stage for the encore.

Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Linkin Park concert band stage

First, they performed one of my favourite songs from the new album:

…before closing out the show with some more of their biggest hits!

Nearly an hour and 45 minutes later, the show was over. In that time, they played pretty much all their singles (except for “Breaking the Habit“). The band said their goodbyes and left the stage. Everyone except Mike Shinoda that is, who would spend nearly 10 minutes or so shaking hands and greeting fans in the front row. What an awesome guy.

We left Yasalam, collected my camera bag and managed to contact our taxi driver who had come all the way from Dubai to pick us up.

Abu Dhabi Formula one buses after race
They had plenty of buses plying from the venue to Abu Dhbai city and Dubai
Abu Dhabi Formula 1 bus service to city
But there were quite a lot of people queuing up for them
Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Ferrari world at night
We had nothing to worry about...
Inside Toyota Previa taxi Abu Dhabi
... 'cos we had comfortable private ride back to Dubai. Tee hee.
Leaving Yas Marina circuit Abu Dhabi
It was past 11pm, time to leave Yas Marina Circuit and Abu Dhabi

As we drove back, I couldn’t help but think back on the past few hours. Sure, we were tired as hell, but what a weekend! Landed in Dubai yesterday, went around, shopped, today witnessed a Formula One race on a Rs. 40, 000 ticket (which we got for free) and then watched one of my favourite bands perform live (again, for free)! But most of all, the moment that did it for me, I met Mike Shinoda and got a photo with him! That was good enough.

On one hand, I enjoyed a evening with a decent crowd with no pushing or shoving and an amazing stage setup. On the other hand, the concert could have used a better crowd. But thinking about it, I can’t fathom how much I would have hated the first Linkin Park concert in India — with thousands of their young fans who are going to go absolutely apeshit because they waited for so long to finally get a glimpse of their rock idols. (I pray Linkin Park plays at least 3 venues when they land in India)

Every artist uses the “We’ll be back” line at the end of their concerts. Some do, some don’t. Linkin Park will be back in UAE for sure. And next time, it will surely be for their real UAE fans at some event more suitable like the Desert Rock Festival or a stand alone concert.

Dubai driving Sheikh Zayed road night
An hour of cruising at a 100kmph later, we were in Dubai

Once back in our hotel, we quickly went out again to grab some shawarmas and some juice for dinner. We didn’t have anything planned for tomorrow other than packing and heading to the hotel.

Yeah, it would have been nice if we could have stayed back one more day, saw the Sunday race and watched Prince perform afterwards. (We had tickets for all 4 days; Kanye West performed on Friday but we couldn’t have been bothered to drive all the way to Dubai for his inflated ego). But I just couldn’t afford to. I had to head back to office on Monday and then on Tuesday night, had to catch my postponed flight to Thailand for my next trip.

All in all, a hectic but memorable experience.

Oh, and finally, thanks VH1 India! (Especially Aparna)


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

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

Date: 9th April 2010

(Part one can be found here)

Dubai Fairmont hotel Palm Jumeirah
The Fairmont Palm Hotel and Residences

Monorail underpass palm Jumeirah

As we came out of the tunnel, to our right was our next stop.

Dubai Marina construction buildings from sea

Dubai Media City officesHeading to Dubai MarinaDubai Marina construction buildings

Dubai Marina construction twisting building Infinty tower

Dubai Marina building constructionDubai Marina building construction cranesHeading to Jumeirah The WalkJumeirah The Walk Dubai

Jumeirah The Walk traffic jam

Once we took a left and got on to “The Walk,” I pretty much knew why people throng to this place. It’s essentially Dubai’s ‘Exhibition Road’ (a once very popular stretch in Bahrain where traffic moves slowly and people, well, come to show off — among other things).

The Walk is part of Jumeirah Group’s massive property by Jumeirah beach. Lined along the stretch are shops, restaurants, hotels and the Jumeirah residences.

Jumeirah The Walk Sofitel hotel
The Sofitel Hotel, Jumeirah

We finally managed to get a parking spot and while there were the usual luxury brands, given this is Dubai, one really needs something too rare to really stand out from the crowd.

Jumeirah The Walk parking lotAnd whoever was the owner of this Batmobile-esque Mercedes McLaren SLR, surely had it!

Jumeirah The Walk black Mercedes Mclaren SLRJumeirah The Walk black Mercedes Mclaren SLR matteFreakin’ sweet. A supercar indeed!

Jumeirah Beach Residences apartments
Jumeirah Beach Residences
Jumeirah Beach Dubai Marina sunset
The (not so great) beach

Jumeirah Beach Dubai Marina polesAfter watching the sun set, we went back to the parking lot.

Jumeirah Beach Dubai Marina stretch Hummer limo
Before you ask… yes, petrol is cheap out here

Jumeirah Beach Dubai Marina stretch Hummer limo rental

Since it was time sunset prayer, Azhad and Jassim made their way to the prayer hall like good muslims, while I waited out looking at the slow moving traffic.

Jumeirah The Walk slow traffic carsJumeirah The Walk slow traffic cars jamJumeirah The Walk slow traffic cars jam getting outAfter prayers, we moved on.

Jumeirah Residences flats apartments towers
Passing through Jumeirah Residences

Jumeirah Residences flats apartmentsJumeirah Residences flats apartments lights

Jumeirah Residences big elevator lift Azhad
Big elevators for big people and their big cars (not Azhad)

Dubai Marina apartments road constructionDubai Marina apartments road construction nightJassim told me that we needed to crossed over to the other side as he wanted to show me something. I didn’t really know what or why but I figured it would be more buildings.

It was buildings alright…. but I never expected this!

Dubai Marina canal at night buildings

Dubai Marina at night panorama
Panorama consisting of 7 shots

Dubai Marina at night canal private boats yachtsBeautiful.

I really wasn’t expecting a sight like this in, of all the places, Dubai. I was looking forward to seeing all this when I go to Singapore in September and in Hong Kong next year, but in the middle of a freaking desert? Wow.

Now I get what Dubai Marina is all about. It’s like the guys at Emaar Properties (the same folks behind Burj Khalifa) visited Marina Bay in Singapore and Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay and went: “Hmmm, very bretty… very nice… we like… we want also.* ”

And then came back, spent a few billion, dug out a lot of sand and half a decade later — voila!

Dubai Marina pier canalDubai Marina at night railDubai Marina pier canal left rail

Dubai Marina stairs Jumeirah residences
The steps we came down from (Jumeirah residences in the background)
Dubai Marina at night Azhad
Azhad talking away

Dubai Marina at night bridge yacht rental

Dubai Marina building lit up yacht
Private yachts can be rented for cruise parties
Dubai Marina steps up
We went up to take a walk across the bridge

Dubai Marina canal waterDubai Marina bridge Dubai Abu Dhabi signDubai Marina canal from bridge

Dubai Marina crossing road
We crossed the bridge road over to the other side

Dubai Marina from bridge panoramaDubai Marina building lit upAfter being mighty impressed with the world’s largest man-made marina, we headed back to ‘show-off boulevard’.

Jumeirah The Walk at night cars bikes
Back at the The Walk

We set off into town and made our way to the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the venue for tonight’s David Guetta’s concert.

Dubai Sheikh Zayed road at night

Twin towers on Sheikh Zayed road traffic from metro
Kinda looks like New York’s Chrysler building — but of course Dubai had to out-do NY, so they made two!
Dubai Rotana towers hotel at night
The Rotana Tower Hotel

Upon reaching the venue, we figured we still had some time to enter so we decided to do dinner. Jassim parked his car near Emirates Towers and we made our way to Nando’s.

Dubai Metro station exterior
They have these ‘space stations’ (a.k.a Metro stations) all over the place

Dubai Metro station interiors

Inside Dubai Metro station traffic
Trying to take photos while on the travelator

Sheikh Zayed road traffic from Dubai metroDubai Sheikh Zayed road metro Financial Center station

Dubai Metro station train late night
The trains have no driver by the way — it’s all automatic
Dubai Nando's chicken dinner
What I ate at Nando’s

Me and Jassim had a good meal, Azhad didn’t πŸ™‚ … and wanted to get home quick!

So after seeing our friend off at the metro, me and Jassim went back to the car to get ready for ‘the party’.

Emirates Towers office hotel at night
Emirates Towers in the distance
Dubai offices at night Burj Khalifa
And there she is in the distance

After finding a parking spot, we walked towards to the concert hall where there were a lot of guys with heavily waxed hair and girls with heavily waxed skins.

And boy were we glad we bought our tickets well in advance! The show was sold out and many were around seeking extra tickets. We got in around 11pm where an opening DJ was was warming up the crowd.

The man himself didn’t hit the stage until 1am. And just when he was about to… disappointment. My Nokia E72 with the 5 mega-pixel camera dies out on me. All I’m left with is my mom’s basic 2mpx Nokia and even that was low on battery.

Sorry, but these grainy photos are all I have. (Some are from my friend Jassim’s iPhone)

David Guetta Dubai 2010 concert lights
This is when he hit the stage

David Guetta Dubai 2010 concert name on-screenDavid Guetta Dubai 2010 concert close to stageDavid Guetta Dubai 2010 concert lasersDavid Guetta Dubai 2010 screen nameDavid Guetta Dubai 2010 blue lightDavid Guetta Dubai 2010 screen graphicsDavid Guetta Dubai 2010 You screenGrainy photos won’t do the concert justice, so just watch this if you want to know what the atmosphere was like:

To sum in up in one word: AWESOME! This was one of the best concerts I have been to. The crowd was insane! Over 10,000 people packed into one massive hall. And I would so pay to see David Guetta live again!

David Guetta left the stage exactly at 3am, the time when all of Dubai has to shut off it’s loud music and stop the sale of liqour.

David Guetta Dubai 2010 crowd leaving exhibition center
The tired crowd making their way out of the exhibition center
David Guetta Dubai 2010 crowd taxi queue
The (very) long queue for taxis

By the time we reached the car, our legs were tired as hell! ThisΒ  was one packed-evening/night/dawn. I saw a lot, ate a lot and danced a lot.

And man was I enjoying it!


Next posts in this series:

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

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

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