A Travellerspoint blog

Dubai

أيام جيدة مع القليل من النوم

sunny

Day 1

After my flight with Emirates to Dubai which I enjoyed a lot (oriental design, USB-charger, big screens, water dispensers...) I needed to get to my couchsurfing host Ron somehow. It was a public holiday when I arrived so no metro was operating. I chose the bus for my further transportation. After just one stop the driver said I should get out here and wait for another bus to bring me to my friend. So, I got off somewhere in the outer area of Dubai. Unfortunately, the next bus would come in over 1,5 hours. Therefore, I decided to just take a taxi. The Indian taxi driver, who has been living there for over 20 years told me some interesting stories about the area on my way. Dubai is to 70% populated by Indians and Arabic people are the minority here - didn't know that. 40 minutes later I arrived at Ron's building. Took the elevator, knocked on the door, no answer... Went to the security guard downstairs and asked to call my friend. No answer. So I decided to walk around the area and explore the beach front. It was 10am, I didn't sleep since last morning and I was still carrying my backpacks...
An hour later I came back, knocked again and woke up Ron who just came back from a night shift. Niclas, another German couchsurfer was already staying with him. And a French guy, stayed with him as well but he wasn't there at the moment. Niclas and I went to an Arabic bakery and got some breakfast. Afterwards, we went to the beach to rented some jet skies. On our way back there was no taxi, so we walked the couple of kilometers back to the city. Finally, I had time for a quick nap before the desert safari.
Medhi, the French guy, and I had booked a desert safari for the rest of the day. For some reason I wasn't surprised when we got on the little bus and saw about 25 (mostly Indians) people already sitting and starring at us. It was definitely not a typical tourist tour. Oh, and seat belts weren't included in the price! ;)
We drove for about an hour in which I had to fight not to fall asleep on my two Indian neighbors. A desert jeep drove us through the dunes and brought us to a camp in the middle of the desert. Here we could ride camels, quads and enjoy an Arabic night show.

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All in all, Medhi and I were with about 300 other people in the camp. When the buffet opened, all of the sudden everyone started running like they haven't had food for days. I could fight my way to the front and loaded my plate quite full so I won't have to go back in the line of starving people.
We went home and Niclas and Ron already prepared dinner. We had BBQ and Ron's cousins and some friends came as well. It was very delicious.

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While eating we finished the vodka bottle I brought as a gift for Ron and then headed out to Dubai for the night. The first stop was the Skybar in the 43rd floor. The view on the skyline was amazing at night and we enjoyed the music and atmosphere up there.

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Before we headed back to Ron's apartment, we had a quick stop at an Irish pub, which was good, but not an Irish pub. All in all a eventful first day.

Day 2

We woke up way after the alarm went off. Niclas and Medhi were on their way to Germany and Hongkong. The breakfast on the balcony with water view was not bad at all. With the metro and a taxi we went to Dubai Mariner. Yachts and yachts everywhere. If you have the money, you can even rent a yacht.

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Ron suggested to go up Marriot Hotel Tower. In the 62nd floor is a restaurant and bar from which you can overview the area.

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Although there was a private party going on (which was almost over though), we went up there thanks to a friend of Ron at the hotel. From up there, we saw Palm Island, Dubai Mariner and many other cool buildings and sights. I felt a little hungry and there were still some snacks on the buffet. Halfway through my snack a waiter came and asked whether we are guests of the party so we said yes.

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We left shortly after though. :D

Ron met up with a friend from Italy while I was on my way to Burj Khalifa. The way to the tower goes through Dubai Mall which I wanted to check out later. After an airport-like security, the group I was with took the elevator to the 124th floor - in less than 60 seconds! Going back down is even fast. Up there, I had an unbelievable view over whole Dubai and out to the desert as well as the Ocean. On clear days it is possible to see up to 90km. Besides the view, I really enjoyed the free wifi :D Back in Dubai Mall I checked out the waterfall, aquarium and the ice rink. Ron caught up with me and we went to the fountain show in front of Burj Khalifa. The same man who made the fountain show in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas created this one in Dubai - just a bit bigger.
We ended the day with a visit to Old Town Dubai.

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With an abrah, a small boat where about 12 people can sit on, we crossed Dubai Creek. The old Dubai is in my eyes much more interesting and fascinating than the new Dubai, Here you can still feel a real Arabic atmosphere. The buildings where very close together separated by small alleys. For less than what I pay for a scoop of ice cream in Germany I bough a baked banana and other street foods. Ron and I also had sugar cane drinks which tasted surprisingly good. The spice souk put so many different smells in the air and I found myself smelling each of the spices offered to get an even stronger sensation.

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At the gold souk we saw the world biggest ring (63kg!).
Now it was time for me to pack my bag and head to the airport. The A380 came from London and was almost 3 hours late. At least I had a whole row to myself so I could lay down for my 13,5 hours flight.
For now I am in St. Kilda, Melbourne where I'm staying with Joseph, who nicely welcomed me at 4am with a beer. A good start here in Australia.

Cheers

Posted by jan.wegener 13:34 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne dubai Comments (1)

The last day in Germany

The last weeks have passed by extremely fast and I still feel like I just got back from my USA and Iceland trip. But now I've finally packed my backpack (began last night, realized I should have started earlier) and have a few hours left until I need to go to the airport. However, just when I need to take the train to the airport, the train drivers go on a massive four-day long strike... Yay... I already thought I'll miss my flight. Luckily a friend of mine gets off work early enough to drive me there.
Thanks to everyone who supported me with this trip and I'll keep you posted. Tomorrow morning, I'll be in Dubai,UAE.

Cheers

Posted by jan.wegener 10:23 Archived in Germany Tagged goodbye lastdays Comments (2)

And here we go...

As most of my friends know I will be off for a couple of months to travel again. This time it will take me all around the world to primarily Australia and New Zealand. And yes, I will be going to university next year as many have asked me when I finally do something real. But is travelling not something real? Learning something about other cultures, getting to know people who all have their own unique stories and sharing experiences with new friends gives you so much more than writing essays from day to day.

So, before I finally take off there are still many things for me to do. Above all pre-packing my backpacker bag. I bought so much stuff recently which I think could be useful and I might need it at some point, but in the end I probably won't need most of it anyway. And I still need to find a place to stay in Melbourne - my first destination in Australia. So far I have a few people who offered me to crash their couch but nothing solid yet. If nothing comes up I might as well go in one of the thousand backpacker hostels which are basically located everywhere around the country.

During my travels, I'll be posting about what I'm up to and where I'm at from time to time, so if you want to know that this is the place to find it. It will assist me in the future as well; looking back where I've been and what I was doing. Also, I won't have to tell a story a million times ;)

Cheers

Posted by jan.wegener 01:49 Archived in Germany Tagged home adventure beginning Comments (1)

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