Sunday, 20 October 2013

Dubai Revisited

As it had worked out so well on our first visit, we decided not to pre-book accommodation again, but to show up last minute to Wafi Mall and find somewhere then. We knew we were unlikely to get such a good deal as before, as it was the Eid holiday, which had also scuppered any plans to find a Couchsurfing host. Happily however, we still managed to find a decent apartment at a slight discount. Our trip to Wafi had even resulted in Oli (finally) buying some new sunglasses, so it was a good result all round. The area (Deira) wasn't so fancy as before, but we were still pleased with our choice. We ate a lazy dinner of instant noodles, pak choi and egg before crashing out for an early night.

The next day was the last day of the Eid festival, so we knew not much would be happening work wise. We therefore decided to have an easy day, as we feared the next one would be taken up with arranging the bike shipment and possibly having to run around collecting various official pieces of paper. We enjoyed lazing around in the flat, and didn't actually make it outside until the afternoon.

Our only real plans for the day were meeting a guy Oli knew from the HUBB, an online forum for overlanders. Saleh lives in Dubai, and is always keen to meet up with travellers and help wherever he can. We suggested our favourite mall, Burjuman (or 'Burjies' as we have been referring to it) as a convenient location, where he insisted on buying us dinner at a lovely Lebanese restaurant. As well as the much appreciated food, he also gave us contact details for somebody who could help us with the bike shipment to Bangkok. Sadly he couldn't stay long, so we bid him goodbye. Never keen to leave our Burjuman hangout, Oli and I went for a cheeky frozen yoghurt before heading back home.


It was all too tempting to have another lazy evening, but Saleh had suggested that whilst we were in Dubai we should check out the Jumeirah beach road and the Biker cafe. Although we were feeling tired, we decided that we should take the opportunity to see Dubai at night and also use up the last vapours of petrol in the tank prior to shipping. It was very worth the effort, as the skyscrapers appeared futuristic and glittering against the night sky. The beach road itself was also an experience, with numerous fancy cars and motorbikes cruising along. Dubai is kind of like a bigger, better Rusholme (in Manchester) in this sense, except people actually have decent stuff to show off. We sat outside at the biker cafe watching the extravagance go by, Oli enjoying a pot of Arabic coffee with saffron whilst I sipped on a mango ice tea. Good times indeed.


We awoke early the next day, ready for a productive morning. We already had a fairly low quote from another company, but Oli thought we might as well give Saleh's friend a call before making any decisions. It turned out that their quote was actually lower, plus we have the bonus of knowing somebody who can chase things up should there be any issues. After hastily sorting through our things and making some rushed decisions as to what would be coming to India and Nepal, we jumped on the bike and drove the short distance to their office.

The paperwork nightmare we had envisioned never materialised. We had heard that we would need to go to the Road Transport Authority (RTA) to get a letter confirming we had no unpaid fines, but apparently this is not needed for foreign registered bikes (just as well, as we had been merrily abusing the toll roads with no SALIK tag). All we had to do was give them the Carnet de Passage and the Sharjah port papers, which was not exactly taxing. Although they offered to drain the petrol for us, Oli always likes to do such work himself, so we got this sorted before leaving our precious bike (named December for those who didn't know) in their care. Hopefully all will be well, and we will catch up with her in Thailand in a few weeks.

Feeling pretty pleased with ourselves, we went back home for an afternoon rest. Dubai appears to be making us lazy, pampered wimps. We did however manage to get in touch with a few Enfield rental companies around Delhi, so that was another thing sorted. Also whilst we were out, the hotel had made up our room, leaving our new towels twisted into fancy swan shapes on the duvet. Oli almost instantly ruined these by jumping on the bed in excitement, but not before we snapped this picture.


By early evening we were ready to go back out into the big city. Oli was still jealous of the sushi I had enjoyed the previous week, so we decided to head back to the Social House for round two. We seem to be spending money like water in Dubai, but we figured we might as well not worry about it and enjoy ourselves. It is our honeymoon after all. Having said this, although things are expensive compared to what we have been used to since Turkey, it is still cheaper than Western Europe and far better value. After our meal we managed to catch one of the fountain shows, which this time was set to a classical tune. The visual display coupled with the dramatic music made for a wonderful experience.


As Friday was to be our last day in the city, we decided to tick off another tourist box and visit the Lost  Chambers aquarium. Situated in the Atlantis hotel at the top of the Jumeirah Palm, we were as excited as small children to see the the colourful fish and creatures of the deep. Somewhat unexpectedly, we were most fascinated with the jellyfish. Watching them swim through the dark water was hypnotic, and hauntingly beautiful.


We had originally planned to make use of our kitchen in the evening, and cook a cheap meal in. However the combination of it being the last night and the tempting food on offer at Burjumans meant that we quickly wavered, and found ourselves once again at The Noodle House. We didn't regret our decision at all, and were pleased to have made the most of our last evening.


All in all, the Emirates have been good to us, and provided a much enjoyed break from the rougher side of travelling. However there were some things about it that surprised us, mainly the lack of environmental awareness. Big cars are the order of the day, and we saw almost no recycling facilities whilst we were there. Every trip to the corner shop results in the accumulation of several good quality plastic bags, and we received confused looks if we tried to say we did not need them. Even simple biscuits often come encased in obscene amounts of packaging, which is pretty unnecessary.


We awoke this morning feeling sad to leave,  and were both excited and apprehensive to embark on the next stage. After a slight panic that we weren't going to fit everything into our panniers, the issue was swiftly resolved and we were ready to go. I am writing this sat at Dubai International Airport, waiting to check in for our flight to Delhi. It is time to continue with our adventure, and India awaits us.


  1. If I'd have planned things better I'd have stayed in Dubai for a bit and I could've caught you guys there. Not to worry though, I will see you in Australia! :-D
    Take care guys, Steve xx (The kisses are for Oli)

  2. am glad you like Dubai and hope to see you soon, if you need anything/help please contact me directly.
    enjoy your hoonymoon and ride safe

  3. It all sounds fantastic. Plumpton is wet and windy today!