Another late start to the day with breakfast at 10:30am and then straight after breakfast we decided to head for the Gold Souk. Given the weekend traffic, that took us almost an hour to get there (about 35kms). We had been told the Gold Souk was a must visit place even if you didn’t buy anything and they were right. I have never seen so many jewellery stores in one place. There are over 300 stores right next to each. The competition is clearly intense as each shop owner tries to lure you inside with special offers. You can’t walk a few steps without someone badgering you to enter their store. At one stage there were so many people I was fearing for Chloe’s safety (especially if you watched the movie Taken you will know what I am talking about) and so I held her hand tightly with my other hand on my wallet (they warn that pick pockets operate in the area).
It is clear that people here love gold. Gold cars, gold Playstations and no shortage of gold jewellery. It is staggering how much jewellery and money must have been in that one place. At one stage we walked past one jeweler that had a gold bar weighing 160kgs in the store (that is worth over $6m). Not kidding! Dubai apparently trades about $6bn per year in gold and $7bn in diamonds. The combined value of jewellery in the Souk must be massive. They say security is tight but there were hardly any security guards but a massive number of CCTVs though. If that was in South Africa there would be numerous robberies and attempted robberies every day. Everyone would be scheming how to steal the 160kg bar!
Michael did his first bartering in the morning as well. He wanted to buy a souvenir Burq Khalifa and we found a suitable one. He asked how much and was told AED20 and he immediately counter bid with ‘I only have AED10 in my pocket right now’. They settled on AED15. Michael reckon he did well because that was a 25% reduction and we had read that it was possible to bargain them down by about 30% usually. When he started Helen just turned to me and said ‘I can’t believe that is my son bargaining’. I was very proud – clearly brought him up well.
The biggest challenge of the day was finding a taxi to get us from Souk back to the Dubai Mall (a repeat visit was required by the ladies). Everyone seemed to be wanting a taxi and we had the added complication of needing one big enough for 5 of us. We eventually secured one and got to the Mall around 2pm. It seemed that most of Dubai had the same idea though. Men and ladies split up – men to watch a movie and ladies to shop. The movie theater’s are like everything else in Dubai – very plush. Comfortable seats, lots of leg room. Of course they also have Premier Suites if you don’t want to fraternize with the ordinary people you can have your own private suite where they will serve your seafood platter while you watch. It also surprised us that it seems anyone in Dubai watches movies from the most religious (in their full burka’s with only a slit for the eyes) to the most secular. We would have thought that Western movies for the strictly religious people would have been outlawed but it seems not.
We met up at 5:30pm and decided on an early supper and selected a Shake Shack (fast food American burger place) which had a view over the fountains. Every evening they have a fountain show to music from 6pm and every 30 minutes thereafter until 11pm. The internet suggested the best place was from a restaurant and so that is what we did. We managed to catch two shows and they were set to different music – the second one at 6:30pm being more impressive. Each shows lasts around 30 minutes. The Burj Khalifa also lights up as part of the show. It was pretty impressive and thousands of people exit the mall to see it every 30 minutes. As this was our last night in Dubai and we have to get up early (3:30am) for our flight tomorrow, we headed back to pack and have an early night.
Until tomorrow from a different city and continent …
P, S (because he mocked the least today), H (because she bit her tongue a few times today even though she was smirking), C & M (because they never bit their tongues – in fact M shouldn’t even make it onto the list)