Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday 21st September
We berthed about 7.30am in Dubai. As the passengers were allowed ashore, there was an Arabian dressed brass band and also a red carpet laid out to walk along. The terminal that we landed at is not quite finished so there were only a couple of stalls trading, inside. The GD and I took a shuttle bus in the city in the morning. We were disappointed when it took us the ‘the biggest shopping mall’ in the world with all designer labels and excessive prices and we had thought we were going to a market. Even though it was a relief from the 40 degree heat, we didn’t stay there long. Back to the ship for lunch and a short nap. I decided to take a tour in the afternoon and left the GD sleeping. Apart from having to put up with the heat, the tour was great. The tour took in the beach – all men except for tourists of both sexes, A view of the hotel which looks like a ship, past the zoo, past the artificial ski run, to a mosque (outside only), then to an interesting museum in an old fort. After that, we had to take the local open wooden boats, like dugouts along and across the creek to the Gold Market. There are no rules on the water with each boat jostling for position. It was rather fun. I didn’t find any gold bargains and I thought most of it was rather grouse. It’s the end of Ramadan and a holiday, so everywhere was crowded – yes – mostly with men, Indians, Philipinos, Arabs and various other nationalities. As for religions in this part of the world, most of them are practiced here except for Jewish. They are not even allowed to enter the country. It’s a very modern city and even the bus stops are air-conditioned. It’s very clean and no sign of graffiti anywhere but even though smoking is said to be prohibited in public, the beach was littered with butts. Those darn seagulls! I arrived back to the ship after the start of dinner. I showered, put on my nice shirt I had bought (and a skirt) and joined the GD for desert. We turned in fairly early after a show. We will now be at sea until we arrive in Mumbai early on Friday the 25th September, that’s unless there is a change of plans because of the student protests going on there at the moment. We may not be allowed on shore anyway has be don’t have a visa for India.

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