Hope you’re well and enjoying your weekend! We just got back from a lovely lunch with our chum. Feeling a little on the fat side but that’s okay, that’s what weekends are all about.
On day seven we woke up around 10, missed breakfast (agaaaaain), and headed on down to the creek. Our first stop was the spice / old souk. I absolutely adore shopping for spices, love the aromas, colours and textures of the various herbs and spices piled up high. It’s normal to get involved, pick things up, give them a little sniff or taste before you buy. And as usual when shopping in a market, haggling is a must! We worked our way through the narrow, winding passages of the market, exploring our options. Many shopkeepers will invite you in or give you a sample at the door. I recently bought a whole array of different spices from Istanbul back in September, so come our trip to Dubai in January, I didn’t really need too much. I was only really after one thing in particular: vanilla.
As someone who loves to bake, buying vanilla from the supermarkets can quickly become pretty pricey, it’s best to buy this in bulk abroad and, if fresh, it easily keeps for up to two years. One thing to watch out for is shops selling seriously plump vanilla pods, they look almost juicy, too good to be true. Avoid. These guys boil off the vanilla, meaning the pods outwardly appear better and retain some of that moisture, adding excess weight, equating to additional dirhams… In the end, we bought a batch from the shop pictured below. The guy didn’t seem very happy, nor did he bother trying to sell us other bits and bobs, which assured me that the price we paid was a good one. They’ll vacuum seal your purchases for you so they’re kept nice and fresh. Don’t be afraid to ask as sometimes they do like to cut corners! Popped the vanilla pods in an airtight container once we got back:
We also bought a bit of smoked lemon powder (pretty exciting stuff, not come across it prior!), some dried oregano (one of my favourites!) and kilo of mixed nuts which we’ve been snacking on at home, pretending to be healthy…
Coming up to midday we decided to take a pit stop and grab some lunch. We settled for a quick shawarma and smoothie each. Can’t remember the name of the shop but it was pretty decent. Wraps were toasted with a nice hit of garlic. Cool, thick melon smoothie for me, and mango, orange and berry for Mr Man. Yum!
After lunch, we continued on strolling until we reached the creek. For a single dirham, you can hop on a little boat, called an abra, and be transported to the other side of the bank. Lovely ride in the sunshine! I’d have happily paid a few more dirhams to go back and forth some more, but onwards we went!
We found ourselves in another market street, selling everything from textiles to souvenirs to leather bags. We bought more scarves than I’d like to say (the more you buy, the better price you’ll get – and these make for marvellous gifts for friends and family), a little sequined purse, and a dress for Mr Man’s mum. We also grabbed a sugar cane drink to share. Shop keepers were very friendly and welcoming and just like in India, if you showed the slightest interest, then walked away from something the price would magically fall!
We made our way to the Dubai Museum. On the outside, it doesn’t look very big, but the main event happens inside, downstairs! It’s full of history and interesting tales about how life in Dubai was once upon a time.
There were loads of different waxwork model exhibitions (slightly creepy! – Mr Man jumped on a couple of occasions!). The lighting was pretty bad inside, so the pictures aren’t great.
There were areas covering the bedouin people (who live out in the desert):
Old school jewellery and spice shops:
One of the most interesting exhibits in my opinion was the pearl diving one. In the summer, men would be commissioned to dive, deep down onto the seabed with a huge rock to weigh them down, and nothing but finger protectors and nose clips! I think the average dive was something like three minutes, multiplied by the expectation to do about 50 in a single day… Crazy stuff!
And finally a wooden boat under construction:
After an hour or so exploring the museum, we took a long walk back to our hotel. Here we dropped off our shopping, freshened up and kicked back for a bit before leaving and hopping on the metro to the Mall of the Emirates.
We got there around 7pm or so and were pretty hungry after the shopping and sightseeing. I spotted Shake Shack and we quickly settled on having dinner there. So, so yum! We placed an order for a burger each and a round of cheesy fries to share – Mr Man opted for extra beef bacon and a crispy mushroom. We also got a vanilla milkshake and 7up to wash the lot down.
In the pics you can see Mr Man’s burger, crisp, thin but meaty patty (cooked well by default), melted American cheese, beef bacon, crisp breadcrumbed mushroom – filled with cheese, tomato, salad all encased in a soft potato bread roll. Crinkle cut chips, fried to perfection then topped with a delicious cheesy sauce. And finally, I just thought the “Yalla!” on the buzzer was hilarious!
After that, we were in need of a walk, and what better way than to explore the mall, I took a couple of pictures, such pretty swirly patterns everywhere.
Inside Harvey Nicks we discovered a little restaurant / shisha place called Almaz By Momo. It’s got almost a Moroccan feel to it, great ambience, lovely decor, a little bit on the pricey side, but that’s what you’d expect. The place is divided up into a restaurant area and through closed doors, a shisha cafe. As we had already eaten we skipped the former and waited around 10mins for a table to clear up.
Once we got in and got comfortable – amazing squishy seats have you relaxed in no time. I got a mango granita, topped with slices of fresh mango, and Mr Man opted to keep things simple with a diet coke. We got a lemon and mint shisha as per usual, can’t beat the classics and all:
Shisha was really good, it was smooth with a perfect lemon to mint ratio, although, still didn’t quite meet the amazing one we had back in Ajman. The whole ambience was so relaxed and mellow, paired with a long day and dim lighting, after a little smoke, I nearly curled up on my sofa and conked out! Instead, as the clock struck midnight, we headed out and hopped in a cab back to our hotel. And with that came the end of our seventh day in Dubai.
I’ll aim to have day eight (our penultimate day) up by midweek.
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