From desert to sky

On the desert safari.
On the desert safari.
From the top of Burj Khalifa. Not very clear, but the best I could manage.
From the top of Burj Khalifa. Not very clear, but the best I could manage.
The 90 degree twisted building in Dubai marina.
The 90 degree twisted building in Dubai marina.

Final part of my Dubai trip. Read the earlier parts here and here.

The night tour was for 2.5 hours in the new city, starting at the Mall of Emirates. Our host, a Filipino lady, gave live commentary throughout the journey. She kept us entertained with her good sense of humor, but by the end she was disappointed – many of us had nodded off to sleep in the surprisingly pleasant evening air. πŸ™‚

All the skyscrapers in Dubai were basked in breathtaking lights. Mid-journey, there was a break of 45 min at Wafi mall. An Egyptian themed light and sound show had been organized, which I found odd – why an Egyptian show on a UAE tour?

The next day, we had 2 big events planned – the dunes of the Arabian desert and the tallest building in the world.

We had a light lunch of Mallu food – appam and veg stew at Aappa Kadai, a restaurant near Dubai marina metro station. (Malayalis form the biggest group of Indians working in UAE.)

Then at 3.30 pm, a SUV picked us up and drove us an hour southeast in the desert. As per the schedule, there was dune driving, followed by dance shows and dinner at the camp.

I would say this is the only one event we found poorly organized in this touristy city. The camp was too crowded, food was bad and the people not really friendly.

The saving graces were the dune driving and the dances. The SUV will take you over the dunes and the bumpy ride is enjoyable. The desert is very sandy, your foot will actually sink in! Also the dancers at the main camp were very skilled.

Returning back to the city, we got ready to go the top of Burj Khalifa.

We had got a slot of 11.45 pm – there is crazy rush on the weekends, better to book in advance.

163 floors in total (or 0.8 kilometres in height!), but we can go only up to the observation deck on the 123rd floor. And it takes just 90 seconds. Enough to make your ears pop. πŸ™‚ The view from the top was enough for me to not try out Tom Cruise’s MI4 stunt. πŸ™‚

An interesting thing there was an electronic telescope where you could see the actual magnified views, daytime views and historical views of any location you pointed it on.

And then it was Sunday. Last day in Dubai. We did some souvenir, chocolates and dates shopping (everything is imported though, including the dates).

For our night flight back to India, we went 3 hours early to do some shopping in the duty-free section – yes, even the airport is a mall here. πŸ™‚ I would highly suggest this section for small purchases, it is cheaper than in the city malls.

At 4 am, on reaching Ahmedabad airport, as we stepped out in the non-air-conditioned cool fresh dawn, we had to walk for nearly an hour to the main road to finally catch an auto rickshaw (no cabs were available) – and we knew we were back in India. πŸ™‚

Chaotic, disorganized, but in some ways, more natural and freer.

The Arabian desert, extending till the horizon.
The Arabian desert, extending till the horizon.
Park near Mall of Emirates. Burj Al Arab seen behind.
Park near Mall of Emirates. Burj Al Arab seen behind.
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