Friday 13 July 2012

Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Prepare for Photos!
Spicejets new flight from Mumbai to Dubai, cheap!
Dubai! After being lazy and not updating this for a while.. Internet access is kind of rare in the UAE. The hotel's we've been in have either not had internet access or have been horribly slow. There's free wifi in Dubai Mall so we were spending lots of time there. We also found some "free" wifi in the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi at a cafe after buying a drink. And then we hit the mecca of internets: this hotel has a different wireless access point for each room, and it's fast!

Once we arrived in Dubai the airport was big and shiny and amazing after being in India. We got through Immigration moderately quickly to get the free 30 day visa stamp in our passports, then customs pretty much ignored us. I had made through my 14th border crossing!

We took the metro from the airport closer to where the hotel was in Deira but we had no idea how this city was laid out. It turns out Deira is one of the more seedier areas in Dubai. The hotel we were staying in was the Fortune Pearl, one of a group of three in the area owned by the same people.

Room standard is improved over India.

View from the balcony.

They're building a third palm tree out here.

A fort in the middle of Deira.

Human trailer. See people towing these things around all over Deira.

This was over the top of a metro station in Bur Dubai (across Dubai Creek from Deira)

We stayed a few nights in the Fortune Pearl and on the last night we ventured into one of the four bars downstairs and discovered tables around the room facing a stage on which about 10 Pakistani girls took turns at dancing on. They were all fully clothed in the usual national dress, but you could take them back to your room (for a price). The other three rooms in the hotel were the same but with Indian girls, seemed very odd as there were lots of families staying in the hotel.

A really really big flag.

Its big.

2nd of December Street!

A building next to the Dubai Mall

The Tallest building in the world! Taken from the metro station near it.

The Burj Khalifa again, next to it this time.

A quick ride on the Dubai Metro. The trains don't have drivers (like Singapore!) So at the front it's just a window to look out. This was though the Internet/Media village south of the main part of Dubai.

After the Forturne Pearl we started looking around for a place to couch surf. Eventually we found a German family near Jebal Ali which is quite far from the Dubai city centre. We stayed with them for a few nights before heading down to Abu Dhabi to have a look at Ferrari World.

Ferrari world!

The giant logo thing, which is the shape of the roof over the place.

More entrance.

Formula Rossa! The worlds fastest roller coaster!
I don't remember going on a roller coaster before. Maybe at the Cairns show once, but they were small little tame things. This one was the worlds fastest. And it was nuts. We got there about an hour after the park opened and we only had to wait 15 minutes in line. Then we were given goggles and strapped in to the car. It rolls forward a little bit and then stops, then it does its 0-240km run in 5.8 seconds. It then hits a hill and tips over for a long run around a loop along the ground. It's fast. It's insane. It kinda looks like this:

And my video from the viewing platform:

And some Formula 1 drivers on it, and some V8 drivers. I wasn't that relaxed, but I was gripping tightly onto the bar and laughing the whole time!

We checked out all the other rides there too, most weren't as insane. There's another rollercoaster which isn't as fast but runs for a lot longer.

Then there's this crazy ride. 

Which stopped about 10 meters into it, this is how we had to exit.

They showed the formula 1 practice session in Silverstone up on this screen.
Next door to Ferrari world was the go kart track, so we went over to have a look, drew had a run in the karts.

That's when we wandered next door to look at the Yas Racing School just to have a look.

Well it turns out here you can actually get on track for a fairly reasonable fee. You can get taken out on track in a few different cars, or you can drive yourself in one of the SST cars which are two seater closed wheel things. Or you can opt for the Formula 3000 cars...

Drew pondering this decision...

Which didn't take long to ponder... 
So we prepared to go back to Dubai to sort out the bikes, and then come back to Abu Dhabi again so Drew can get on the track.

We managed to get a parking ticket in Abu Dhabi though, so the morning was spent here...
Back in Dubai we had booked to go up to the viewing floor of the Burj Khalifa. It was only a short elevator ride up to the 124th floor where you get views like this:

The Dubai Mall, the biggest in the world.

Neat panorama view of the Financial district in Dubai. I think this is the one they liked to show off in TV shows. There's a 10 lane expressway running through the middle of it now though.

If you get to the top and you want to buy some gold, well, you can...

The worlds biggest fountain all the way down there.

Looking inland to all the roads.

Held my camera out as far as I could and this was the view.
After this we wasted more time trying to find out where the bikes were. The address that the Mumbai shippers had given us was not for the agent we needed to get the bikes out of the ports, but for a different office. After a lot of running around and insults from the agent over out ability to speak English (oh and he insulted everyone else we handed the phone to as well) we eventually got to the office to pick up my now expiring carnet. We took all our documentation to another agent to see if we could use someone else, but that was a waste of a few hours to find out they'd never actually seen a carnet before. We reluctantly went back to the original agent and explained we wanted receipts for EVERYTHING as the Mumbai office had charged me for 5 cubic meters of freight but only paid for 2.77. Very very dodgy every step of the way with this shipment. If we had more time we could have found someone else to deal with. Hopefully we'll get the bikes back on Sunday or Monday. Hopefully.

Back to wasting more time.

The Ski slope inside Mall of the Emirates.

Some part of Mall of the Emirates.

The Aquarium in Dubai Mall.

We got another hire car and headed back to Abu Dhabi again so Drew can drive the Formula 3000 car.

Cars lined up ready to go.

Waiting to get on track.

On track!
And now we wait for the bikes to appear. Back to Dubai tomorrow and then lots of rushing to prepare for Iran.


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