Mosque, zoo and long bus rides [YQrtw Day 11 Apr 18]

Jumeriah Mosque

Location: Dubai, UAE [Day 3]

I woke up earliest this morning to join the morning tour of Jumeriah Mosque organized by the SMCC (10 dirhams)

I got off the wrong stop (2km too early), took a bus to a nearby mall to get a croissant and milk for breakfast. Took another bus to the mosque.

At 10am, the tour began. First stop was the cleaning area where worshippers clean themselves before entering the mosque.

Then we got to go into the mosque, sit on the carpet and listen to the tour guide.

The tour was really well organized and taught me a lot about what Islam is about (Peace!).

Jumeriah Mosque in Dubai
Jumeriah Mosque in Dubai
Inside of Jumeriah Mosque
Inside of Jumeriah Mosque

After the mosque, I took the bus to the zoo nearby (2 dirhams). When I got there, I remembered why I don’t like zoos. The animals were in their cages, looking bored to death. That made me feel sad.

One good thing about the Dubai Zoo (besides being cheap) is that you can get quite close to the animals.

But many visitors (1 adult, 1 teenager, 1 kid) banged on the cages to get the animals’ attention. I wanted to ask how they would feel if someone bangs on their windows for their attention.

Cute monkey is suspicious
Cute monkey is suspicious

After the zoo, I took Bus 8 which brought me to almost the other end of Dubai. On the way, I passed by many futuristic buildings. This is the place moviemakers should come if they want to film “The Future”.

I stopped by Mom’s Cafe for lunch. It was almost 3 p.m. and I was terribly hungry. Lunch was a taco-like roll because the shawarma wasn’t ready yet.

I also manage to hit 14 dirhams of transport fees with my NOL card. This meant that the next rides were free so my last ride back (4.30 dirhams) was free. I think this is a great system to encourage tourists to use the public transport.

After taking the metro back, I decided to stay in the room to rest.

Dinner was two shawarmas from one of the stalls downstairs. I love shawarmas to bits. They are so TASTY!

Tomorrow is Cruise Day and from then on I will not have Internet connection until the 4th of May. I’ve lined up a few posts for you so you won’t miss me.

Until then, safe travels!

Toured: Fisherman’s Wharf Tour with Discovery Walks SF

I picked up a pamphlet for Discovery Walks SF when I was at the airport. Since I had no plans for the day I checked in, I decided to join the Fisherman’s Wharf tour since my hostel was just nearby.

I don’t think I’ve ever joined a walking tour before. Hmmm… I did try to join one in Paris but I was too stingy to pay the tips so I didn’t.

I’m glad I did for this tour. I didn’t have breakfast so I grabbed a small bite (croissant and coffee at Ghirardelli, a combo offer) before heading to the meeting point.

Chocolate croissant

I looked around to find someone wearing orange. I saw a girl in an orange T-shirt and a dark jacket taking pictures. She then walked away so I had to look some more.

Then I saw a guy with a lump of orange next to him. The lump of bright orange turned out to be a vest and he zipped it on.

Putting on my not-shy, cheerful face, I went to ask if he was from the tour and he was. Jesse, the bearded tour guide.

No one else went up to him so we started the tour with only one participant (me!). It was great because I didn’t have to share tour guides with other people.

The tour was great. The sun bright and warm while the wind chilly.

Jesse was a very engaging guide too, always accommodating even when I ask questions like: “What do they call Irish coffee in Ireland?” “What is the size of San Francisco when compared to London?”

The greatest tip I got from him was that Bay to Breakers was happening this Sunday. (I had the impression that it was a weekly event but turns out it’s only an annual thing.)

He said the event is one of the two in SFO where “everybody” would have the same amount of fun. Other events, take Gay Pride parade for example, makes people happy but the most happy would be the GLBT folks. The other everybody happy event is Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

While I’ve read a lot of guidebooks about San Francisco. Jesse shared other tips that I haven’t come across. These include

  • Don’t stir your Irish coffee.
  • The company which made glasses for Irish coffee went bankrupt and one of the coffeeshops bought ALL the leftover stock and is not letting them go.
  • Don’t drink the Irish coffee if it’s in a mug. Tastes not as good.
  • In N Out serves the best burger in the US and its special menu doesn’t sound too appealing to me.
  • Berkely will make a really nice day trip (though I’m still more into Sonoma.)
  • Tram is better than cable car as it passes cooler neighborhood.
  • Locals don’t visit Fisherman’s Wharf’s Pier 39 as much as tourists do.

Interestingly, I’m liking the US more than I thought I would. Blame it on the TV and the dark side of the Internet for making me think that the country’s weird.