We headed to the Mall of the Emirates across sandy stretches of ground (and the constant noise of the building that takes place here) where we proceeded to devour a falafel breakfast come brunch for the princely sum of £5 (for two) whilst ensuring (according to the mall leaflet) that we did not kiss or show public signs of affection, which was very easy for me after my paltry sleep. The first thing we had noticed was how respectful and polite everyone is. Your personal space is never invaded and there is no hard selling or obnoxious behaviour. There is the calming smell of perfume in all the shops and walkways while works continue apace.
However, by the time we arrived at the only grocery store we had seen for miles (right next to the beach) we knew we had pushed ourselves too hard. It’s amazing what a couple of hours of relaxation on the beach, a swim in the cooling but comfortable waters of the Persian Gulf will do for your soul though. But our lunacy soon returned kind readers. After packing away our drinks and cameras and me not realising that the changing rooms on the beach are not unisex, we agreed that our next stop would be the famous Palm! It was around 3 pm.
Sensibly, we elected to take the bus not realising that in Dubai you need to purchase something called a Nol ticket first (they do not accept cash and you can be fined) which you cannot do when you are already at a remote destination. OK, let’s get a taxi, and we hailed one after another and they were all full. Next option, yes, you guessed it, the use of our legs.
There was also a bounce to it, hence a number of evening runners. But our purpose now was to retreat and try, if possible, to find some public transport. As we walked across the deserted bridge, the moon appeared to our left, the sun fell into the horizon behind us and we were rewarded with the incredible sight of the Marina district and we both agreed that whilst a package trip can contain many marvellous and wonderful experiences, there is nothing like your own personal discovery; that private moment not shared by others.