Date: 6th April, 2010
After visiting Sheikh Zayed mosque, it’s not that I was done with Abu Dhabi or anything. I was going to come back to be with family, spend some time around the creek and visit the Yas Marina circuit.
But today, I was off to Dubai! Mostly to meet friends and to see the ‘heights of insanity’ Dubai’s reached in the past few years. I was going to visit all the famous buildings (because let’s face it, what else is there to see in Dubai?) and I was also looking forward to the David Guetta concert!
So yeah, a lot planned — and I was excited!
Post lunch, my uncle dropped me at the Abu Dhabi bus station from where I boarded the bus to Dubai (Dhs 15 = Rs. 180/US$4/€3)
The bus was, well…
Those monitors display the pristine condition UAE’s roads are in… if that’s your thing. No other in-bus entertainment, unlike Thailand.
The journey was expected to take around 1 and 1/2 hours.
As I was leaving the city, I got glimpses of what to expect to see at Yas Island.
The bus was hardly full and though you are assigned a specific seat with your ticket, I took advantage of the empty seats behind me and rested comfortably.
An hour later, we were in Dubai, on Sheikh Zayed road, just about to enter the city.
Then it began…
… aaaand that was Dubai Marina.
Building after building after building. Five years ago, this was all sand. They carved out the land to their desire, a lot of dredging and sand dumping later, they went from this…
… to this…
… and the work still isn’t done.
There are still more buildings yet to be completed.
In the Middle East, Dubai was always a land of opportunities. From the many expatriates who made their riches here to those who have now even made it their home. Despite the recession, there are still hundreds of job seekers from all parts of the globe here in Dubai in search of work.
In fact, I sat next to a fellow Indian (from Tamil Nadu), who was returning from a job interview from Abu Dhabi.
Past the Dubai Marina, lies Dubai Internet City.
But hard as they may try, remnants of the current economic reality are all over Dubai.
As we drove up Sheikh Zayed road, to my right was the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
Half-an-hour later, I was at Bur Dubai bus stand where my friend Azhad was waiting for my arrival. He got me a Nol Card, the smart card Dubai’s RTA (Roads & Transportation Authority) introduced to be used in the newly launched metro service and Dubai’s public buses. Your Nol Card costs Dhs 20 (Rs. 240/$5/€4) — of which Dhs 6 is deducted as the cost of the card — and the balance is your usable credit. The credit can be “topped up” at various stations and select stores all across Dubai.
We walked around a bit, chatted about old times and made our way to a bus stop. We had to make it across the creek to Deira, where Azhad stayed (& where I would be staying too).
After freshening up, Azhad didn’t waste any time in showing me around.
Azhad took me to the creek.
After an hour or so of walking, Azhad said we were now going across the creek to Bur Dubai on an abra.
Basically, small passenger boats that ferry people across the creek. The cost: Dh 1 (Rs. 12)
The ride takes less than 2 minutes, but taking a ride on the creek is pretty much a ‘must do’ for any visitor to Dubai.
Once on the other side, it was more walking to see what the souk had to offer.
Given the Indian population in the area, it was no surprise to know the Hindu temple was also located here. Though, you’ll need some help in find it the first time.
Inside you’ll find stores selling all your religious and devotional ‘merchandise’.
Once out, it was straight to the Dubai Museum.
We then roamed around Bur Dubai some more…
… went through the souk again…
… before heading back.
I was really knackered by the time we got back to the room. Legs were aching and I just felt like sleeping. I saw quite a bit today and I was all the more excited about where I was going tomorrow — the tallest building in the world and the biggest mall in the region!
*P.S: Me & Azhad did our best… but we couldn’t finish the entire chicken.
Next posts in this series:
Previous posts in this series: