We flew by two massive flames burning 100 meters in the night sky that turned out to be Qatar. It really looked like two gigantic Bic lighters in the dark. Not long after that we landed in Dubai at 3 am. Putting our bags in storage was a hassle. If you ever have to put luggage in storage at the airport, make sure you are at the right terminal. We arrived in terminal 2 and then were told that storage for luggage was in terminal 1 so we had to take a taxi there since there is not bus service. That was not cheap. Never believe anyone who tells you that taxis in Dubai are cheap. Gasoline might be cheap but the taxis are not. When we got to terminal 1 they told us that the luggage storage was actually back at terminal 2 so we had to take another taxi back there and finally put our things up so we could go out in the city for the long layover. After getting the run around the drive into the marina at day break was spectacular. One thing Dubai has a lot of is skyscrapers. If you love skyscrapers then this is your city. The breakfast at IHOP was just like it would be in the U.S.. Eggs, pancakes, beef bacon (because of Islam) and bottomless coffee will cure most haggard bodies after low cost airline flights.
Now at the marina and walking around we both comment on how American the surface of things seem with the themed restaurants and familiar named hotels. The beach walk from one in to the other in the early morning is dotted with joggers and families pushing strollers. Eventually the sun starts creeping over the buildings and the temperature steadily rises from 30 to 40 Celsius within an hour or so. We grab bottled water at a super market and head down to stick our feet in the sand and sea. The water was bath water warm. The chairs at the hotels are priced jokingly (about $50) out of our back packer price range and we huddle in what shade there is with other non-beach hotel guest to try and catch our breath from the heat.
My SO sleeps immediately while I watch people and swat at flies. An extremely huge steroid user calls a relatively small Indian looking guy over and gets the small guy to rub lotion on the larger guys back. It was awkward for the little guy and his mates that watched on. It was really awkward for everyone within sight.
I woke my SO up when I see camels walking our way down the beach. We take a couple of photos then grab a snack at a super market and head to Dubai Mall. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world at the moment and is attached to the Dubai Mall. Both of them are very impressive. In Dubai everything is new and huge. The mall was amazing if you love malls which we both do for their air conditioning. We spent hours and hours walking around people watching and window shopping, thinking about how we will spend our millions when we hit the jack pot.
When you step out of the Dubai Mall to take a look at the Burj Khalifa from the bottom up, it is really astonishing. First the wall of heat hits you and then the sun blinds you as you try and see the top. With the sun beside the building it is impossible to take a decent photo and so we go back in and walk around and grab some food and wait for the sun to move behind the building. When the sun finally goes behind the building we grab some mandatory touristy photos and head back into the mall.
The flight out of Dubai was a real trial of patience. At this point I have been awake non-stop over 40 hours and the crowds of uncontrolled children running around and stares from conservative religious people are beginning to just be hilarious and absurd. We notice our flight with FlyDubai is not in the queue on the board of expected departures. So we ask and are surprised at how no one seems to know why the flight is not on the board. It was funny and worrying at the same time.
We eventually get our mysterious flight that never shows up on the departure’s board and go to our gate. After the seemingly obligatory flight delay we get on the plane and wave goodbye to Dubai.