G.K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936) wrote “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”
When I heard that quote (thanks Christine!) I loved that description. Upping sticks and moving across the world to another land, a different culture, and an extreme climate is certainly inconvenient. But we pondered long and hard, and we hope we have rightly considered and that this will be a great adventure!
We left home on Friday June 6 with 12 pieces of luggage (6 to be checked, and 6 smaller carry-on bags). It was a challenge deciding what to pack, what to store and what to give away before we left, but we managed somehow. We had upgraded to “Premium Economy” and also were allowed some extra luggage allowance due to Keith’s frequent flyer status. Although we were planning an overnight stay in Dubai, the luggage was booked through to Doha so we were confident we would manage without too much trouble.
I won’t bore you with the details of the unhelpful lady at the Qantas check-in desk, who refused to book our luggage beyond Dubai, the long and ultimately unfruitful conversations with the travel agent at the last minute, the advertised ‘free’ airport drop-off in Dubai that cost $100, the good seats on the flight that we gave up because of incorrect information from seatguru.com, the excess baggage payment we had to make on the Dubai to Doha leg, and other general snafus by us, Qantas and the travel agent, because no-one wants to read that. As seasoned travellers we usually do better than that, but those of you who know our story will realise that our preparation for this trip was less than ideal. However, we made it to Dubai, with ourselves and our 12 bags, boxes and assorted paraphernalia intact.
We arrived at 2am local time, which was not too bad, as it meant the airport was very quiet and the traffic was non-existent, so we made it to our hotel in record time. We grabbed a few hours sleep and then set out to make the most of our one day in Dubai. From our room at the hotel we had a great view of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It is a beautiful building, and we took many photos of it in different lights.
Now don’t judge us, but we essentially spent the entire day in the Dubai Mall. It’s not your ordinary mall – it’s the biggest mall in the world, and does contain attractions other than shops – and we had a great time. We have been to Dubai not that long ago, so did not feel any pressure to do the tourist thing, and after the stress of the last few weeks we decided to take it easy. We explored the mall, did a little shopping, admired (and photographed) the huge aquarium and the waterfall, watched the dancing fountains, and ate some delicious meals. Lunch was a really excellent Japanese meal. Despite the heat, we sat outside so that we could watch the fountains from the restaurant balcony. Great food and a great view.
One of the highlights was a chat with our Indian waiter in a Japanese restaurant in a Dubai shopping mall. He told us of his home in Sikkim, in northern India, and his plans to work in Dubai and save enough money to go home and build a holiday cottage to rent out in the lush mountains of his birthplace. Random conversations like this one are what travel is all about.
The only commitment we had for the day was that we had booked tickets for the Burj Khalifa. It was the one thing we had missed out on the previous visit, as we didn’t realise you needed to pre-book; we didn’t make that mistake this time. The viewing platform is on the 124th floor. The elevator, which was packed, takes exactly one minute to reach the top. Surprisingly the ride was so smooth there was no sense of movement at all, the only way we knew we were climbing was the floor indicator and the popping in our ears. The view, of course, is magnificent. The air was fairly clear and it was fascinating to have a birds-eye view of Dubai. There are some very clever digital telescopes that allow you to see not just what you are looking at, but the same view at night, and also an image of what it was like in the past. Very smart technology!
Between jet lag, the 2am start to the day, and mall walking all day, we were too tired to hang around for the evening fountain display – and anyway, we knew we would see most of it from our hotel room. We ordered room service for a light dinner, admired the fountains and the view some more, and collapsed into bed.