Dubai Diary

We were greeted by the summer heat on our first morning in Dubai. The first stop was the gold and spice souk. After wandering off for some time while trying to avoid offers to check out fake bags (didn’t have the heart to tell them that I could score higher-quality fakes from Jakarta), I saw these lovely beaded necklaces.

Then Mama Geek was like “yeah, no, get a husband first!”. Apparently, those were Mangalsutra, the equivalent of a wedding ring in the North Indian culture. Something only to be put on the bride by their husband to be. We also have it in South Indian culture, called thali, but it’s usually made of yellow rope thingy, completely different from these, and I like this version better. So I am going to ask my future husband to get me one of these, along with a wedding ring and a tiara.

Got me an Abaya, guess which one? Now I need an occasion to wear it.

Breakfast at the hotel was nice, but it has been westernized. I had Muesli and orange juice, so I was looking forward to lunchtime for my first authentic Middle Eastern food meal. Finding a restaurant here was surprisingly hard. We had to walk a few blocks from the spice souk when we finally spotted a cafeteria. This walk reminded me of my office lunch break time in Singapore, walking under the scorching sun to go to the market place every day.

I hate hot weather. It is not necessarily worn me down so much physically; I don’t sweat easily and I am already too tanned to be burned, but I have noticed again and again that heat pisses me off. It pissed me off in Singapore, it pissed me off in Dubai. For some people, it’s hunger, for some people, it’s the morning before their coffee kicks in, for me is the summer heat. I wouldn’t be happy about living in Dubai.

This is what we had for lunch, fish biryani, and a curried pasta. Curried pasta was a confusing dish, it looked like pasta, but tasted close to kuttu Prata.  That green and a yellow-colored drink called Burj Khalifa. One of the prides of Emirates (the actual building, not this drink).

After lunch, we roamed around some more around the souk. It got hotter, hello 51 degrees! I tried to get inside every store possible to cool off, pretending to ask something which most probably wasn’t sold in the store. Until an owner insisted he has what I asked for (I mentioned a made-up name for a talcum powder), he told the shopkeeper to fetch the item before asking me to take his picture. I clicked my camera towards him. “One more!”, he insisted. I obliged and told him. “I will put you on the internet”. He seemed delighted about it. He passed his business card and asked me to email me his pictures. And I did.

I enjoy this kinda encounter. Random people in short minutes in a new place. It reminded me of other interesting people I met on the road before. Pozdravlenia Sergey!

One of my Dubai goals was to buy gold, however teeny tiny it might be, from the vending machine. Unfortunately, unlike the news and promotion around it, these vending machines were hard to find and when we finally found one, it was not working. Such a disappointment since I love vending machines and I love gold. Have you ever noticed an unusual vending machine? Where? And what did they sell?

In the evening we went to another souk, the tourist trap souk, but I didn’t mind, it was air-conditioned. We spent some time here. The moms went wild on souvenir shopping while I dropped some Dirham on a camel charm from Pandora, it might not be a tiny gold from the vending machine, but at least it’s still something Dubai.

Speaking of Pandora, has it really become that famous to be shown side by side with Starbucks in the Jurrasic World? Hey, Pandora fans, this is something to mull over on.

Iranian sweets are famous in Dubai. Didn’t tempt me a bit, so didn’t buy it. Have you ever tasted it before? Is it nice? Am I going to regret not trying it? Especially since I have no plans on visiting Iran anytime soon.

How cute were these bracelets?! I always have a thing for Turkey’s evil eye and since I couldn’t decide which color to pick, I got one each color and passed it to my people back home.

Dinner was at a restaurant somewhere close to Palm Jumeriah. Despite not a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, I was blown away by the food. It was the juiciest Lamb Kofta I have ever eaten. I can’t stop singing its praise while scooping one more khaboos wrapped meat into my mouth. Safe to say, it must have been an ugly sight to witness. Another thing I noticed was that every table in the restaurant actually started eating the food when it arrived, instead of taking a few pictures of it first. I guess the #FoodPorn craze hasn’t reached the Middle East.

After dinner, we stopped at Cha Cha Chai, a well-loved local chained tea shop.

I had Karak chai there, my first cup after trying a delicious sample of it earlier. Karak chai is the local version of masala tea, black tea brewed with various spices and herbs, which I had been asked not to miss when I told the internet I am going to Dubai. And it was delicious, not too sweet, yet flavorful. A perfect “dessert” after a heavy meal. A perfect way to end a day. And That’s the end of my first day in Dubai. It was filled with abundance.


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