After a long flight leaving home in Perth at 4am, we arrived in steaming hot Dubai some 14 hours later at 13:00 local time. Thank God for tamazapan, they thankfully knocked me out for six hours.  My luggage weighed a record low of just 15.7kg.  So light for me! Proud of my packing efforts x

We were met at the airport and transferred to our four star digs for the night, the lovely Qamardeen Hotel near the Dubai Mall in the old town.

Dubai as a place is surreal.  Pavements are made with granite and marble, everything is clean and neat and it feels so functional and efficient. The hotel shuttle bus took us to the Mall of the Emirates, the famous mall with the indoor ski field.  Hard to believe people are skiing inside a mall when it is 40+ degrees outside!

Ski slope, Mall of the Emirates

Zorba was quick off the shopping mark and bought himself a pair of polarised Oakley sunnies on sale for $170 – good shopping from Zorbs!  My purchases = nil. A first for me! I wanted to, but knowing I have a month ahead of carrying it all on my back was all the motivation I needed to keep my wallet shut.

After a short rest in the hotel, we ventured out for dinner at the adjacent  Al Manzil Hotel at the Courtyard restaurant, set in a gorgeous erm, courtyard setting with trees and candles. Both of us were keen to feast on traditional Arabic cuisine and chose the tasting menu at $45pp.  Way too much food for two people, however delicious.


A huge mezze spread that included a labne, pickles, Kuwait lobster salad and calamari in spicy sauce.

The main course of gigantic prawns and really scrumptious chicken in like a tikka sauce almost took me to bursting point.

The yummy nutty custard like dessert had to be eaten, but the Arabic biscuits were taken in a doggy bag – much to Zorba’s angst…”why do we need to take these?”. Yes, yes, he was probably right.

Main course

After dinner we braved the almost suffocating heat and walked around to the sensational water fountain light show – which happens every 30mins. We saw it twice. It was spectacular.

The sweet smell of apple tobacco filled the air as hundreds of people enjoyed  a shisha in one of the many the outdoor cafes that line the waterway.

I couldn’t resist, so once back at our oasis, the Qamardeen Hotel, I look my trusty MacBookAir out by the pool and here I am updating this blog whilst having a shisha, and I’m loving it!  Zorba is catching up on zzzz’s in the room.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We are knackered, no doubt about it. And in hindsight, our stop over to Dubai might have been better on our way home when we could shop shop shop!  Ah, well, never mind. We have had a brilliant first day of holidays.

Next stop Milano tomorrow, where after a six hour flight, we will catch a train to Monterosso on the picturesque Cinque Terre.  A presto!


Al Manzil Hotel & Qamardeen Hotel
Emaar Boulevard, The Old Town, Downtown Dubai
Tel: +971 4 428 6888
Our room cost A$170 per night.  Dinner cost us about $120 for two, including a beer each.

Leave a Reply