In strict violation of the ‘doing bugger all’ philosophy,day 2 arrives with an early start. Without any pre planning or research at all I had booked this trip an the basis of budget and not anything sensible such as how close we might be to any of Dubai’s famous landmarks meaning that an early breakfast was to be had and a 100km coach trip was needed to get us to the centre of town. To add to the inconvenience of it all the town planners of Dubai had given no consideration whatsoever to anyone who might want to fly in and take in those sights in as short a space as possible meaning that the plan of get on the coach to the burj khalifa and go to the top, then metro to the burj al Arab, then the palm,Atlantis and all the malls was very optimistic indeed. Especially as we were also going to see Cally’s cousin Claire at the Irish bar that her husband runs. But first the Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building. It is possible to spot this monster of a building from both the airport and the air as you first fly in over the coast and on ground level it’s visable on a clear day from 75km away and when you get up close and personal it is a thing of absolute beauty and majesty. After standing outside and taking the obligatory photo we go inside the adjacent mall which of course this being Dubai is the biggest shopping centre in the world which leads you straight to the other thing that Dubai does on a bigger scale than anyone else, even us English: A queue. First there is a 20 minute queue to collect the pre paid tickets i’d bought back in England and then we had to leave the site to join a queue which was in itself another queue to join a queue to gain access to the very part of the building we’d just left. About 30 minutes elapse before we get to present our tickets and get back into the building but still the general atmosphere is pretty jovial…. Until that is we join a queue to get past the airline style security booth and at this point a strain in the cordiality is observered when someone is prevented from going any further as they have failed security checks. It turns out that these two individuals are English and do what any self respecting English Person does in that situation and starts to plead their case whilst holding everyone up.But this being the worlds longest queue in the worlds biggest mall to gain access to the worlds tallest building means that the worlds least understanding security had been employed and they were soon being escorted from the building past us. My gentle booing of them as they walked past failed to amuse anyone apart from myself. Still, after security we walked along a 500 metre corridor that showed the story of how it was made and then up an escalator to another corridor to another queue before being herded into a lift 10 at a time. My baa’ing like a sheep at this point yet again failed to amuse anyone but myself. Tough crowd this!. With the lift opening on floor 125 we’re then shepherded out to admire the view which is indeed very high up but in my considered opinion very crap. The reason for this crapness is that of the 4 viewing points provided 2 overlook a building site,one overlooks the burj Arab but it’s too far away to actually see and the last one,whilst being clear enough to see out over miles of city,represents a fairly dull view. So after 2 hours of queuing and waiting its time to go back down feeling slightly miffed that whilst it’s been nice to do its also left us very underwhelmed. The queue to go back down is a good 20 minutes which gives me just enough time to have a row with a German bloke who thought I was pushing in when I wasn’t. Just as things were just about to start getting very heated he opened his mouth to say something and just as he did that a smell came out of it that was single handedly the most foulest thing I’ve ever experienced. This guy was clearly Germany’s most eminent sewage taster and I actually felt sorry for the bloke and even sorrier for Frauline turdtaster next to him who at some point had been expected to kiss this man. So instead of starting what would have been the worlds highest fight I simply put and index finger to my lips and loudly shushed him.
So next stop on the agenda was a cab ride to the Jumeirah lakes hotel to meet Claire and her husband Michael who runs an Irish bar called Mcgettigans. God bless the Irish; not only are they the friendliest people on earth but at the very heart of their culture is a determination to put a bar in every corner of the globe, even in an alcohol free corner like this one. Even more fantastic is the fact that despite Claire being Callys cousin they’d never met before and here we were being welcomed over to theirs for drinks.It has often been said that Guinness only tastes like Guinness if it’s drunk in Ireland but let me tell you that after a 125km journey in 35 degree heat, Olympic standard queuing and being the best part of 4000miles from its Dublin birthplace there wasn’t a better tasting Guinness anywhere in the world than the one I was busy wrapping myself around or indeed the one that followed soon afterwards. Even better was to follow however as it was made very clear that if we ever wanted to go back to Dubai then we were welcome to stay at theirs and rest assured once we get home diaries and flight times are going to be well and truly looked at. Back in the cab then and it’s been decided that a second day trip is going to be required to see the other places we want to see so back to the Burj Khalifa for the fountains display (which to my dismay, Cally managed to get better photos than me! One certainly wasn’t disgruntled…….much!) then back on the coach and back to the hotel.
After a day of soaking up the sun we’re back on the bus to town and I won’t lie I’m starting to get a bit fed up with the journey to and from town now which seems to get longer with each trip.Not only that but we have to stop of at all the other hotels in the chain to pick up the others who are coming on the same trip but finally after a 45 minute pick up mission we’re on our way.Whilst every other car that overtakes us is a V8 supercharged SUV of some description our bus has been equipped with a rather wheezy 1.0 12v eco engine and has seemingly had the suspension struts replaced by a cross between rocks and cymbals meaning that not only does a small part of my back break off with each and every pothole the driver skilfully manages to find, but also we’re treated to a “tsh” sound to go with it. The only other musical accompaniment we get is the frequent ringing of the drivers mobile which he answers every time leaving him completely oblivious to the lane drifting that’s happening as a result of him not concentrating. Still, two hours later and with a plan for the day in mind we get off the bus and straight into a cab for the Atlantis hotel at the end of the palm and as the taxi speeds away I can’t help but wonder at the sights as they whizz by. Skyscrapers come and go on one side of the road flanked by an elevated monorail driverless train system and private houses the size of supermarkets on the other all with what seem like brand new cars parked outside them. Briefly the rows of skyscrapers are replaced by glass fronted car showrooms all purpose built and gleaming. Chevrolet, Infinity, Lexus and all the others all lined up next to each other -and all empty of any customers that I can see- and then the skyscrapers again.