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About me

We went to the UAE/Dubai for a long weekend in January 2004. This is an ideal place at this time of the year, as it is generally sunny, warm but not too hot. You can lay in the sun all day, if that’s your thing, with only minimal sun protection.
As we booked it at the last minute, all the hotels by the beach, or at least those we could afford, were already full. We therefore decided to stay further out, in the next door but one emirate, Ajman. Ajman City however is only an hour by Taxi from Dubai City, as the intervening Emirate, Sharjah, is very narrow at the coast.
We stayed in the Ajman Kempinski Hotel, part of a Russian owned chain. However, it was pretty much like any other local international hotel, with 4 restaurants, a buffet style one, an Indian, Chinese and Italian. In all cases, the food was a little dear, but would have been marvelous value if we had ordered just one of the very large helpings between the two of us.

We went primarily to ‘chill out’ for a few days, but did make one visit to Dubai, taking in the Gold Souk, walking across the old town to the Creek, and taking a water bus across to the other side, and eventually a taxi ride down to one of the many modern shopping malls to catch the courtesy bus back to our hotel. We also visted Sharjah City briefly, which also has souks and modern malls.

The Gold Souk in Dubai is an amazing place, wall to wall small shops, with the most elaborate jewelery in the windows. I wanted  a pair of earrings, and for some time was put off from entering shops with the more OTT displays, as I wanted to make such a modest purchase. I think however the indoor wares are more everyday, the windows are just to catch the attention of the passers by.

For about a month covering part January and February, Dubai has a shopping festival, and this may be an added reason why the hotels were so full. However, there were more spaces in the town hotels, many of which are part of chains that also have beach hotels, and operate courtesy buses between the two, the residents having the use of both hotels facilities. This seems a possible idea for our next visit, stay in the city, where we can shop, and I can add to my rather sparse film, and most importantly perhaps, eat cheaply in the malls, and use the courtesy bus to visit the beach hotels during the day.

2004 Gillian Gatland

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