January 17th was our first real day in Dubai. We had free time in the morning and decided to get our feet wet with a couple of the “smaller” shopping malls. First, we went to the Bur Juman Centre, which is known for its high-end stores like Chanel and Chopard, which are a couple of my personal favorites. Those of you who know me know that I have a bit of an obsession with watches. I was amazed at the selection of haute horology on display in most of the shopping malls. It was the first time I had seen a Breguet in person! Sadly, a fine timepiece was not among my purchases on this trip, but a girl can dream! The only things I bought at the Bur Juman Centre were a couple of bottles of facial cleanser that are not sold in the US and some small boxes of dates for gifts from Bateel, which is like the Rolls Royce of dates.
After the Bur Juman Centre, we took a taxi to Wafi Mall which is known for its distinctive Egyptian themed decor. We looked around very briefly and made what was probably our most important important purchase of the day – water! We had been warned not to drink the water by our travel doctors. We were told to used bottled water, even for brushing our teeth. Let me tell you, it sure is difficult to remember to use bottled water when brushing your teeth! Never before has something as simple as brushing my teeth required so much concentration!
We took a taxi back to the hotel to get ready for the city tour, which was one of the few organized group activities with the travel company. We met the other people on the trip who were all from the US. Most of them were substantially older, as in retirement age, but there was a group of four friends from Chicago that were closer to our age. Our city tour included Dubai Creek, Dubai Museum, a water taxi ride, the Gold Souq, the Spice Souq, a drive by Jumeirah Beach (where we stopped to take photos of the Burj Al Arab) and Jumeirah Mosque, Palm Island, the Atlantis Hotel where we watched the sunset, a random stop at a store along the highway, and finally a drop off at Dubai Mall. Many of the stores in the souqs were closed because it was Friday, which is the holy day in Islam, but we were able to get the gist of the souq experience. I was actually a bit relieved that we were there when things were slower, because I think it would have been a bit overwhelming otherwise! It sounds like we did a lot this day, but our day was far from over. . .