14 hours and a pit stop at the extremely cold Addis Ababa later, we landed at DAX.
On account of jet lag and its being 4am we headed straight for bed. But not b4 arranging a mini tour of what would be our accommodation for the next week- give or take.
Woke up a bit later than we planned and missed the 4pm hotel shuttle into town. Had to wait for the next one which was at 6pm and decided to give the sight-seeing a head-start in the meanwhile.
Surveyed the roof-top pool and adjacent gym. We were a little disappointed to note that a roof top pool is pretty much like the regular variety, and in this case quite small. Don’t know what we were sha expecting- maybe we’d hoped part of the water would be suspended in mid-air or something.
Finally the shuttle arrived and we headed to Mall of the Emirates. Could not stay long as the last shuttle left at 8:50pm. We however stayed long enough to discover that things were frigging pricey in that part of the world! As in the mental conversion from dirhams to dollars was painful. We did not even have the heart to think what the naira equivalent would be.
I’m pretty sure my account officer would have called me immediately, after the massive assault on my MasterCard that first day, if I had an account officer that is.
We woke up bright and early to hit The Dubai Mall. The plan was to shop till we dropped, and that we did. They say that failure is a series of bad decisions. Well, the traumatic experience that day turned out to be can only be chucked down to a series of gross miscalculations on our part.
Neglecting to eat breakfast before leaving was miscalculation numero uno.
We reasoned that we would grab a bite when our shopping was done and use the rest of the time to enjoy the attractions that the mall was known for. This was a bad bad plan for two reasons:
1. By the time we were almost prostrate from hunger we discovered nothing we could recognize, except for all the ‘sweet and chewing gum’ they had all over the place.
2. There was literally no time to stop and eat. Apparently it requires like 5 days of waka to cover any meaningful ground in that place. No eating, no sleeping, no bathroom breaks- 5 days of just moving! The place is a monstrosity!
Miscalculation number 2 was failing to realize that Dubai Mall salespeople come equipped with potent jazz that could rival Baba Atikotun’s any day. Had we known, we would have fortified ourselves adequately.
To illustrate, imagine entering a random store, say Boots, to buy Mary-Kay foundation for your mother($13); then leaving 10 minutes later with No.7 primer, toner, night cream, afternoon cream etc etc for yourself($120). Interestingly, still sans said foundation.
Even I whose personal mission statement is to ensure that all cosmeticians go broke and pack to their respective villages, still managed to spend nearly $200 on what I simply do not know.
*Shout out to those Moroccan chicks. Una jazz na die!*
Of course due to a combination of pride and bushness, we pointedly refused to use the mall guides and ended up doing more wandering and getting lost than anything else.
Luckily, we somehow managed to wander into most of the attractions we had planned on seeing anyway.
Note the myriad of shopping nylons in the above picture. And that was just half the loot. Instead of us to take a cue from our fellow tourists who were toting one or two bags each, we decided to enrich the Arabian economy. People simply don’t come here for the shopping; the prices here are twice what they are on the high street in London. Lesson learned in retrospect.
By the time we knew what was happening, 10 hours had gone by and we hadn’t even seen a third of that mall. The last shuttle from our hotel was to arrive to pick up guests at 9:15 pm so at 9, we decided to head for the exit. Biggest miscalculation of the day.
We naively imagined that 15 mins was more than enough time to locate the exit. We learned that day that Dubai Mall has 4 or so exits, each on different levels and each depending on one’s chosen mode of transportation: one for if you came by car, one for taxis, one for the metro, and one for buses(which was the one we wanted). And we ended up on all 4! By the time we got to our own exit, we were already in tears as we were sure the bus would have left( those people no sabi anything like African time at aaaall).
Luckily for us, the already moving bus sighted two distraught gehs heaving and panting after it and took pity and stopped. I was too tired and relieved to be embarrassed biko. We did not want to find out whose limb we would have to exchange for a cab to the silicon oasis.
Our hotel is purple- themed. Forgot2 take a picture of the cute purple shuttle bus.
After balancing accounts -and seeing red- the day before, we decided to head for the city centre at Deira on the 3rd day. We’d heard that the shops there were a lot kinder to people’s wallets and debit cards. So after a leisurely brunch(lesson of the previous day learned) we joined the 2pm shuttle to Deira.
Let me digress a bit by saying that we mastered the art of merging meals during our stay- hence the brunch and occasional lupper(lunch&supper). After googling the prices of all the activities we planned to indulge in, we came to the conclusion that mundane things like 3 square meals were not priority at that time.
We finished early from here and raced back to the Dubai Mall; not to torture ourselves further, but to make a video of the fountains which we had stumbled upon the previous day while lookn4 the exit, but had been too distraught to capture on video.
Oh and we had finally discovered how to work the video-cam on the iPad. It involved a bit of humbling of oneself(Sneka!) but in the end it was worth it.
*video coming soon biko; still getting the hang of this thing*