Location: Dubai, UAE [Day 2]
I have a self-imposed budget of S$50 a day to spend in Dubai. (This does not include my accommodation which has surely surpassed S$50.)
Why do I impose such a strict budget? It’s because I really do not need–or maybe cannot–buy anything extra.
Many travellers would argue that it’s worth paying money for experience. But I guess for me, the experiences listed above just aren’t my cup of tea.
Instead, I focused on the free and cheap.
First stop today was the Gold Souk which was walking distance from where I stayed. I didn’t have a physical map but I memorized the location the Souk was and tried walking in that direction.
I knew I was there, not from the all the gold shops or the large sign that announced Dubai as the land of gold, but from the tourists from tour groups. If you see any tour groups, you know you are at one of the Must Visit spots.
Not that there’s anything bad with Must Visits. I saw lots and lots of gold hung on mannequin necks. The souk was shaded and even though it wasn’t air-conditioned, the cool air from the different shops helped make the walk very pleasant.
After the Gold Souk, I was supposed to visit the Spice Souk but I forgot where the exact location was in my mind’s map. I passed a few shops with spices and decided that it was enough spice for the day.
Then I realized that I’ve ticked off all the Must Visits I had for the day. That means I am free to do whatever I want.
Coincidentally, there was a direct bus to IKEA. I persuaded myself that I need a door stop so I should go. IKEA is located within Dubai Festival City Mall which was (as usual) freaking gigantic.
At the cafeteria, I had the most amazing meal of Chicken Shwarma. There were two pieces of pita bread, loads of chicken and fries (?), along with the non-meat stuffing. I used my hands most of the time since it was that good.
After IKEA and a grocery trip to the hypermarket, I walked aimlessly around the mall. It turned out to be my luck day as there was free screening of films thanks to the Gulf Film Festival.
I watched A Fallible Girl since it was the only feature film at that time slot. When the film ended, I wanted to ask for my money back but realized that I just watched it for free.
Luckily, the director/producer/script writer was there.He explained that he wanted a film about non-locals in Dubai and how the mushroom farm symbolizes a doomed dream (Hello, growing mushrooms in the desert?). I felt less cheated about spending two hours of my life watching the shaky camera doing close ups in the faces of the women.
The organizer kept wanting the director to say that he will make another film in Dubai but it seemed like there would be no chance. (That director totally didn’t give face.)
After the movie and an aimless walk, I found myself at M&S Cafe with an expensive tea time snack of cake and coffee as well as FREE WI-Fi.
Sometimes I do wonder if a round-the-world trip is meant to be filled with reading e-books and coffee. I could have done the same in Malaysia and Singapore.