Friday, December 9, 2016

November 2nd: Souks and Gold Shirts and Skyscrapers

Some sleep and some breakfast made a difference, and the next day Mark and I were ready to see a bit more of Dubai. Marcus had almost a full week off while we were in town, and he had some cool things lined up for our visit. We dropped Megan off at work, drove a bit more, and found ourselves... the Dubai Museum. You can't tell from this picture, but there were a ton of people here, including a really big group of Chinese tourists that took a ridiculous amount of selfies. (I especially liked the ones who were taking pictures of themselves with only the sidewalk in the background. With all the cool things to see in Dubai, you want the background to be a sidewalk?) At any rate, there were so many people that it would have been a long wait just to get in, so we decided to skip it and head for the souks.

I didn't take many pictures while we wandered around the souks (the salespeople are pretty forward and if you stop for even a second, they'll start covering you in scarves and such), but there were so many sights and sounds and smells that it would have been hard to know where to start, anyway. There were gorgeous fabrics, pashminas (scarves) of every imaginable color, and all sorts of neat lamps and tea settings and antiques and souvenirs.

After a bit more wandering, we took one of the small boats across Dubai Creek to the souks on the other side. The little boats are a neat way to see the area, and at only 1 dirham per person (about 27 cents) for the ride, you really can't beat the price.

The gold souks were on this side of Dubai Creek, and this picture doesn't even start to do justice to how absolutely dazzling everything was. Rows and rows of bracelets, necklaces, rings, bangles, watches, and anything else jewelry-wise that you could think of lined the shop windows. This gold shirt was probably the fanciest thing there. I don't know if anyone's actually ever tried to buy it, but I'd love to see how they'd handle alterations.   :)

We spent a few minutes wandering through the spice souks, too, which was also fantastic. I didn't manage to grab a picture there, but it would have been more worth it to find a way to bottle up the smell. There were giant bins of all sorts of amazing-smelling spices, and you could buy as much or as little as you wanted. I didn't buy anything there, but I made sure to breathe in as deeply as I could as we walked through.

We eventually finished wandering around, then paid another dirham each and took another one of the little boats back across Dubai Creek.

We were starting to get hungry, so we found a small restaurant along the water and stopped for lunch. The food was pretty good, but the unintentional entertainment was even better. One of the big older boats had somehow beached itself right in the middle of everything, so we got to watch the whole thing play out: the police stopping by, then boarding the boat, then convincing some random other boat to tow the stuck boat free, then convincing a second random boat to drag the now-unstuck but still drifting boat off to the side of things without wiping out several other boats in the process. It was pretty crazy. The excitement eventually died out a bit, so we made our way back to the car and Marcus took us to our next stop.

There was plenty to look at as we drove. The architecture here is incredible.

Even with my face up against the window, I could still barely see the whole building!

We parked the car, and a few minutes of walking later, we were at Dubai Marina. I loved the older boat cruising out between the giant modern buildings.   :)

The skyline was just a bit pretty.

We wandered around a checked out the views for a little while before walking over to the Marriott. Since the UAE is a Muslim country, the only places you can really drink are attached to hotels. Luckily, many of the hotels have some really great bars!

Marriott's bar overlooks part of the Palm, and we just happened to luck out and the UAE's aerobatic team was practicing their routine just offshore.

It was pretty sweet to hang out, sipping a drink with this kind of view and watching the impromptu airshow.

Skydive Dubai is just off the right side of this picture, and as the sun started to drop, several powered parachutes took off and buzzed around the marina. The tall structure casting the shadow will eventually be a giant Ferris Wheel, kind of like the London Eye. I'm really curious to see how they put it all together!

We took a minute to check out the bar's view of the marina before heading back down to the street. Anywhere you looked, the scenery was fantastic.

We did take a minute to laugh at this before grabbing a ride back to the car. This picture was up all over the construction areas of the marina, and we couldn't figure out why the little girl was housing plain spaghetti and drinking what appeared to be a fancy alcoholic drink.

We stopped at the Sheraton for some snacks and another drink at their neat beachy bar before heading back out.

The marina at night. We stopped here to try to get some takeout for dinner at a restaurant that Megan liked, but they changed the menu so we didn't wind up getting anything. At least the scenery was nice!

Mark had fun running through one of the fountains.

It worked out pretty well that we didn't wind up getting the takeout, because after Megan got home we went out to dinner instead and this squash risotto thing was one of the best meals I'd had in a while. We hung out for a little while at the restaurant, then went back to their house. I passed out almost immediately after I took a shower...I guess I was still a little jet-lagged. Either way, it had been a really fun day!

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