Thanks to the joy of jetlag, we were up and rearing to go at around 5:30am. We seized the opportunity to go for a walk - one of the few chances to do so in Dubai given the oppressive heat. The beach was eerily quiet, despite being jam packed with rather ostentatious houses. It appears that these mansions are the holiday houses of the wealthy, who do not regularly visit Dubai. As such, they sit desolate on the palm fronds creating a most peculiar ambiance.
Escaping the 6am heat (yes, you read that correctly), we headed indoors, hit the shower and grabbed a light breakfast. After a chat and coffee with our hosts, it was time to hit up the famed malls of Dubai. Naturally, we had to start with the largest shopping centre in the world, the Dubai Mall. With over 1,200 stores and around 350,000 square metres of retail floor area, this was my idea of bliss! Each corner turned revealed yet another of my favourites retailers, many of which do not have storess in Australia (although amusingly, iconic Melbourne cake shop, Brunetti has a store there - I tell you, there isn't a shop that doesn't call the mall home!).
My beloved purchased a few very reasonably priced wardrobe basics and I picked up three dresses (two from Zara and one from Desigual - I love my Spanish chains!), before heading to the food court for lunch. Our inner cretins really ventured out at lunch time, when we realised that Taco Bell was located in the mall. As Taco Bell virgins, we felt we *had* to try the junky chain and split a burrito (pictured left). Subsequently, at New York Fries we opted to stay true to our Middle Eastern location and ordered the fattoush fries (right). These chips, complete with pomegranate molasses, were surprisingly tasty, served with refreshingly crisp salad - success!
After some hours at the Dubai Mall, we ventured into the famed Dubai Gold Souk. I have to be honest and note that I didn't think much of the area and couldn't recommend it to anyone visiting the city. The Gold Souk was, in my opinion, cheapened by the various vendors selling fake bags, t-shirts and pushing cold water on tourists at exorbitant prices. The tone of the area was simply not in any way to my taste.
The disappointment of the Gold Souk was soon forgotten when we set foot into the Mall of the Emirates - better known as "the mall with the snow field". What a tribute to man's brilliance and stupidity (simultaneously). While we didn't experience the snow first hand (thanks to my busted knee), we managed to secure dinner with a view and watched people skiing, snowboarding and generally frolicking in the snow....all the while in the desert!
We headed back to our hosts at around 10pm and were told that they had booked us into a desert safari the following evening - how lucky are we?!