Click here to watch video recap.
Can you believe that I set my alarm and woke up at 3:30 a.m. GMT / 7:30 EST to attend a Zoom conference call with my Delta PEARL sisters? My group has a project that is due soon and I wanted to make sure that I was present for the meeting and able to contribute in any way that I could from almost 8,000 miles away.
Today was a good day! I enjoyed every activity that was planned. Nice pictures were taken even though I have very few pictures of myself. The one disappointment that I have is that throughout the trip I do not have many good pictures of ME! I need to travel with my own camera crew to take good photos of me. I would hand someone my camera and the photo would be crooked or the background was not centered. I took a photo of them and showed them I wanted to be positioned as I had positioned them. They have all of these beautiful photos and I have mediocre photos of myself.
First stop: Palm Jumeriah. The Palm Islands are three man made artificial islands, Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island and Palm Jebel Ali, on the coast of Dubai. We briefly visited The Pointe in Palm Jumeriah. The Pointe is one of Dubai’s iconic waterfront destinations. It is located at the tip of the world-famous Palm Jumeirah, across the bay from Atlantis The Palm. We were told the same person who owns the Atlantis Bahamas also owns the Atlantis The Palm. The building structure looks exactly the same.
The Palm Islands are in the shape of the palm tree. It’s hard to see the palm tree shape from the ground. It is best to see it as an aerial view. As we entered Palm Jumeriah, I listened to the story on how the vision of the island was brought to life. Imagine that the area we were in was once undersea!!!!
Next stop the Dubai Frame. The location of the Dubai Frame is Zabeel Park and was carefully chosen to give visitors the best view of both old and new Dubai. The Dubai Frame has three areas: Old Dubai Gallery, Present Dubai and Future Dubai Gallery.
The elevator to the Sky deck carries visitors 48 floors in 75 seconds. The elevator that takes you to the Sky deck is glass, therefore, you are viewing beautiful Dubai as the elevator goes up to the 48th floor. (Heights is not my friend) I dislike elevators that allow you to see outside them especially if you are going to some high floors. At the top of the Frame in the observation (Sky) deck are panels on the floor that allow you to look down to the ground outside.
Can you say I was so scared to walk on those clear panels. How about if they cracked and I plummeted to my death? The fear of heights kicked it. In the back of my mind I know that I’m safe (or am I) but it’s a paralyzing fear that gets me stuck.
The view from the Dubai Frame is amazing. I literally had a 360 degree view of Dubai as far as the eye could see. Eventually I became comfortable enough to walk on the clear panels that allow you to see 48 floors down. I was still concerned that the panels would crack and I would drop.
On the way back down, I was able to be calm and look out the glass elevator as the elevator took us to the ground floor.
Once you exit the frame area you move to an area that shows the history of Dubai: Dubai as a desert community, present day and future. There is a video that I captured that I will share in the post.
Next stop: Spice Market and Gold Market. The markets are located on Dubai Creek’s south bank in the Deira. I don’t think those who reside in Dubai call these the Spice Market and Gold Market. Sharifa and I took a taxi back to the markets and the driver had no idea what we meant by Spice Market or Gold Market. I wasn’t really interested in either market. I’m not a cooker so there is no need for me to look at any spices even though some of my Indian colleagues told me about saffron before I left. I don’t wear much jewelry, therefore, I was not looking for anything in the Gold Market.
I think we had about an hour or so in the markets. It was so HOT. I had my hand held electric fan trying to stay cool. A sista was indeed hot and sweating. I could have sat on the bus in the cool AC. As Sharifa and Wayne shopped, I sat on the benches throughout the market. This is were the hassling happens. Multiple people would come up to you asking what you were looking for and tried to usher you into various stores. I think that once you were inside a store and purchased they would ask the shop owner for a commission from the sale. I think most people got the hint I was not interested and let me be.
We eventually ended up in this small shop. I do not recall how we got there but in the end we did business with the shop owner and his cousin and would be back in the following days to pick up some items from them.
We were to meet back at 2:00 p.m. I looked at my watch and noticed the time. We needed to leave and meet the group at the designated time/area. We were a little late. As we walked back to the meet-up area, I noticed a few of the group members crossing the street. It looked like they were catching an abra. An abra is a traditional boat made of wood. Abras are used to ferry people across the Dubai Creek. Before going into the markets we were told by our guide NOT to cross the street until we had the signal to walk. It felt like it took FOREVER for the signal to turn. I hurriedly walked in the direction where I saw the group and our tour guide was there waiting for us. We were the last three he was waiting on. We got on the abra as it took us to the other side of the creek to catch the bus.
Next stop: Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in Dubai and the world. The tower has stood as both the tallest building in the world and the tallest man-made structure of any kind in the world since its completion in January 2010. OMG I had to ride the elevator to the 124th floor. Plus someone stated you would not be able to tell that the elevator is moving. I knew the elevator was moving. Just like the Dubai Frame, the views from the Burj Khalifa are amazing if you can find a spot that is not filled by a tourist. One constant in the back of my mind is how far off the ground I am.
After taking in the views from the Burj Khalifa it was now time to find something to eat inside the Dubai Mall. If you think the Mall of the Emirates is big with 600+ stores, the Dubai Mall is even bigger with over 1,200+ stores. I think Sharifa was looking for the Cheesecake Factory, however, we ended up eating at PF Chang.
We were told about the Dubai Fountain and the water show. I really wanted to see the show even though it was around 2-minutes long. I ate and left PF Chang and asked Sharifa to take care of the bill and I would pay her back. I didn’t want to miss the show. It was a very brief show. I’m glad I had the opportunity to view it.
Okay, the meeting point was Tiffany and Co. on the Ground Level I believe. I had to figure out how to get back to Tiffany and Co. The mall is so big and I was so turned around. I walked in the direction I thought we came from . . . WRONG! We passed by the aquarium. I saw blue and walked in that direction. WRONG! Shit! I was on the right level of the mall but could not get centered as to where I was. I started walking and eventually saw a directional sign that had Tiffany and Co listed. Okay, I’m walking in the right direction.
I continue to walk and eventually saw Sharifa. A sense of relief because I was going to have to call or text somebody that I was lost in this huge mall. Wayne needed to use the restroom and she was waiting for him. Sharifa mentioned that she wanted Garret’s Popcorn. She saw the store when we entered the mall. I told her I would wait for Wayne and she could go find the popcorn store.
Once Wayne returned from the men’s facilities we proceeded to the meeting point. I was following the signs and eventually saw our tour guide waving the white flag. Thank goodness for that white flag!!!! He asked how did I get on that side of the mall? He said he never has been on that side of the mall! Now we were waiting on Sharifa. Wayne went to get Sharifa and I proceeded to the bus.
We get back to the hotel and some of us still have energy. We are still on our respective time zones. Sharifa was bored and I had just finished making some small tweaks to my Delta PEARL project. We decided to go for a walk and ran into the travel agent (Latrise) and her husband getting some food. We joined them outside of the cafe and enjoyed the warm Dubai air. It felt so good outside. I really wish the hotel had some seating outside or a rooftop patio that we could go sit out on and just enjoy this warm Dubai weather. (There is an outdoor pool at the hotel with seating and a bar area. I was longing just for outside seating where I could lounge outside and take a nap in the warm air of Dubai).
I ordered some curly fries and a kiwi mojito mocktail. In Dubai you cannot get liquor outside of hotels and some restaurants. The menus would have cocktail drink names but they were all virgin. It didn’t matter to me. I drunk that mojito so fast. I guess I was thirsty. After everyone finished eating we went back to the hotel and decided to go to Club Bubbles for some alcoholic drinks. Club Bubbles is located inside the hotel. I’m not much of alcohol drinker . . . I ordered a mojito and it did not meet my standards at all! It could be the type of liquor that they are using. Who knows?
We are in Club Bubbles until the lights come in. The bartender turns on the lights at around 2:34 a.m. (GMT). Why am I still up? I should be in my bed sleep. Yes, sleep. I decide to proceed to my room while a group of them decide to visit the cafe that we ate at earlier. They are going back for the chicken. I hear it is good. I’m not a chicken eater so this is really not appealing to me at all.