We managed to be the only people to go to Dubai and spend £15. Yes, that's right 15 Great British Pounds all in.
How did we do it? Did we win a prize? No, we just had an incredible persistent Mike who literally HOUNDED Emirates who changed our flights from Delhi to Los Angeles and refused to grant us accommodation for the sixteen hour stopover in Dubai.
Cue several emails and a dossier of Emirates cock-ups... it was not until 3 weeks before the actual flight we considered their big fat 'NO' to be the end of the matter... Joy of joys, an email came asking for our passport details and we received information for our all expenses paid trip to Dubai! WHOOHOO!
As my Mum always says- if you don't ask, you don't get. And yes, sometimes you need to ask LOUDLY AND FREQUENTLY. We won. And we didn't have to camp out in Dubai airport with 2 tired children either. DOUBLE WIN.
On top of that, I was on a bit of a blagging tip, so I thought I'd ask if the children can meet the pilot. I totally thought that didn't happen any more- but apparently, it is up to the discretion of the cabin crew! The boys got to sit in the cockpit and ask the pilots all about their jobs... and we got a signed silly picture from the pilot, with the boys wearing the cabin crew uniform! Absolutely priceless.
This is a short post. Mainly because it was Ramadan so lots of things were shut, it was STEAMING hot so we wanted to stay in Air con and we only had a short amount of time exploring before our early start the next day.
Still, my old friend Bart met us at the hotel and we set off to Dubai mall. It was a far cry from our heady days of dingy underground Goth clubs in the 90s but I like to think that not much has really changed.
We did not drive to Camden in my dad's BMW this time, drink 'Black tower' or get covered in grime from falling over on the dance floor. We did, however find lots of free, wholesome activities courtesy of Dubai Mall.
Virtual Reality sets (free) an aquarium (free) a dinosaur skeleton (free) and lovely indoor waterfalls. We would have loved to see the fountains outside the Burj Khalifa in action too, but they didn't start off till after dark due to Ramadan. We liked seeing the building though, being the tallest in the world. It was impressive but not so impressive we wanted to stay outside in 43 degrees for too long.
The shops themselves were all very high-end, and coming from India, felt really over indulgent. Bart told us that the Emiratis all get a basic income from the state and wages are REALLY HIGH. No wonder the mall was full of designer shops and had loads of free stuff to do! It was like an exercise in Socialism based in absolute flagrant Capitalism. Confusing, but kind of worked (apart from the foreign service workers weren't paid so well, but anyway.)
We wanted to get a taste for the place and couldn't believe that the stereotypes of this rich, Arabic state seemed true.
There really were people dripping in diamonds, women and men actually did wear Burka and Kandora! It was completely different to anywhere we had been before.
As it was Ramadan, so no one was allowed to openly eat or drink anywhere- but restaurants got round this by putting up screens at the entrance to their establishments. This caused much confusion as it was hard to find our way around.
To be fair, Bart is often getting lost, one time we took him to a techno night and we eventually found him doing high-speed goth dancing on the podium at Lakota. Sometimes being lost means you find OTHER good stuff and this time it was liquid nitrogen popcorn which was AWESOME! (see film below)
Having wandered about, taken in the skyline and gawped at all of the riches- it was back to our hotel for our complementary dinner and a cheeky glass of wine with our friend. Bart, you are a legend and we love you. see you next time.
Time to go to LA, baby.
Where we stayed:
Copthorne Airport hotel- only available to Emirates customers on a stopover, so for us it was free!
What we did:
How we got around: