Sunday, March 11
Gold Souk, Dubai, 15:27
We had our breakfast in the room again; a leisurely breakfast during which I felt alive and fresh. We spent time studying a whole pack of leaflets that we had collected since we arrived. I began to understand that eating out forms a major part of social life on Dubai; or at least it does for readers of Time Out. I also began to realise that alcohol, far from banned, hides in plain sight. The listings pages mention restaurants and pubs that serve soft drinks, grape drinks, and mixed drinks. I also found a reference to “hops, grapes, and sparkling”, in case I wondered where the beer had gone.
Irma had forgotten tweezers so we got some from Gift Village, where everything costs between 1 and 10 dinar. I looked around at the mugs and we bought a matching pair. Having decided we like preparing our own breakfasts we need big mugs for our tea and coffee.
The pool called and we spent 90 minutes lying in the blazing sun.
At 13:00 we took the metro to Al Ras, four stops away and walked to the Gold Souk. We had had word that this would amaze us. It didn’t.
We dodge down a side alley to avoid the incessant demands to “look at my cheap crap” and find a collection of trolleys in an abandoned heap. We both notice them and both stop to take photographs. Irma gets some great close-ups while I opt for a long shot. I manage to get one we both like.
Irma will find a wonderfully odd shop where the owner will proudly show us his sofa lift: a sofa that takes you up to the top floor. He will pose for photos by it before talking us through his cctv system, cackling the whole time. Irma will buy an interesting printed dress.
We will start to walk back to the metro, looking for a shop where we can buy some herbal tea. We will have no luck until we pass a Alokozay tea shop. I recognise the name from teabags in hotels and hoardings at the airport and metro stations.
We will step in and find out that the shop only sells wholesale. We will also find that the manager comes from Kerala. After a long chat and a look at each other’s photographs he will give us a packet of Thyme tea bags as a gift. We will leave beaming.
We will walk further and pause at Al Bait Alquadeem, a historical café, for banana and coffee shakes, before getting the metro back to the hotel. Irma will ride in the ladies carriage, which remains relatively uncrowded even in the rush hour.
We will have the two-for-one buffet at the hotel, which we will like. A lot.