Fascinating Dubai.2011

I never really wanted to work abroad…or maybe, I’m just scared. Scared to be away from the people that I love…my family, friends and relatives. Scared to be alone. 
I’ve been working for nine (9) years already in the Supply Chain Group. I started my career as a Purchasing Staff and was promoted as a Supervisor in a Japanese Manufacturing Firm (previously known as Omron, now Hitachi Terminals Mechatronics Corp. of the Phils or HTMP). Then, I have transferred as a Buyer in Moog, an American  company  producing flight controls for aviation industry due to higher salary.
But I received a job offer from Emirates Airlines as an Engineering Repair Coordinator. Emirates Airlines is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world…so who would never want to work in this company? It also provides competitive salary and good benefits. So I grabbed this opportunity. I went to Dubai last Mar 25, 2011….but due to personal reasons, I only stayed there for two (2) weeks. I’ve requested for my contract termination after my one (1) week training. Fortunately, they’ve accepted my request and they have booked my flight back to Manila on April 8, 2011.
So what to do now? I’m still waiting for my flight back to Manila. Well, just need to relax and explore this fascinating city.
1. Mall Hopping. Why not?  I can say that Dubai is the shopping haven in the world. It offers shopping, dining, leisure and entertainment like no other.  I’ve visited the major malls for sight-seeing and little shopping only. I don’t have enough money at that time  although the company provided me an advance payment of 50% of my salary. I just don’t want to used all of it since I need to pay my repatriation ticket and I might need to return it before I leave.
DUBAI MALL.  I went to this mall with my high school friend, Jenny Martin. She’s been working in Dubai for almost four (4) years now. She told me that she doesn’t see herself working permanently in Dubai, she’s just waiting for her application approval for Canada. Hope that she can have her visa within this year. We went there to buy my adaptor since in Dubai they are using the 3 way wall socket and buy my Dubai sim. I can’t used my OFW sim since the phone battery is already drained. We had dinner at the Food court, pizza and salad from Pizza Hut. Yummy!
I can say that the major attractions in this mall are the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Indoor Gold Souk (oooh! diamonds are on 50% sale at that time), Fashion Avenue where you can see and buy the world’s most desirable luxury brands like Hermes (I went inside the shop, whooah! price is too expensive). I just had the chance to use their sample perfume.
I also had the chance to watch the Dubai Fountain with  Sarmiento couples, Ey and Vino. They are my friends from Omron, Subic. Dubai Fountain plays every Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting 7pm. It’s for free. And you can also have a wonderful view of Burj Khalifa from this mall.
Mall of the Emirates (MOE): This is an hour away from where I’m staying (Emirates Residence, near Gigico metro station) via Dubai metro. I went here with my co-Emirates employee Syd. I’ve worked with him in the Philippines in Moog. He told me that this is his playground since this is very near from the company provided housing – Al Ghouz. MOE has the largest skiing Dome – the Ski Dubai and it has dual Hotel inside the mall.
I had the chance to met our Ex-Mooger employee, Kuya Andrew Campolet in this mall also where he treats us for dinner.
IBN BattutaThe largest themed shopping mall in Dubai. This was uniquely designed to celebrate the travels of the famous Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta. Another attraction in this mall is the Sky Dubai. Went here with Syd as well.
Deira City Center. This is the nearest mall from where I’m staying. This is one station away from Gigico. Just went here for sight seeing and lunch at McDonald’s. 
Wafi Mall. This is the Egyptian inspired mall where I had the chance to watched “The Return of the Pharaohs” light and sound show. Two thumbs up! 🙂 Thanks to Rosal Lachica, friend from Omron and their company driver Aman. 
Lamcy. I guess this is the best mall for me when it comes to food. Finally, Mongolian style food. Yummy-ness! Thanks Rosal. I’ve been longing to eat rice for a week already.
There are still other malls in Dubai (Burjuman, Mercato Malls etc.) but I never had enough time and money to visit it. 

2. Evening Desert Safari. Our Managing Director “Steeve” in Moog told me that I should try doing the Arabian Adventures in Dubai particularly Dune Bashing. This is the best adventure that he did when he visited Dubai. So I didn’t missed any opportunity not to experience this thrilling adventure.
Together with Syd and Elmer Colina, another co-worker from Emirates, we decided to do this amazing adventure, cost per person is at AED 160. This includes dune bashing, camel riding, sand boarding, henna painting, sheesha, BBQ Dinner Buffet, arabic costumes, belly dancing, Tanoura and Horse dancing and unlimited drinks (water, soda, coffee and tea).
They are using 4×4 vehicles and and it can hold eight (8) people inside including the driver. Unfortunately, we sat on the back side of the car. The dune bashing is truly an adrenalin rush experience and be sure to fasten the seatbelts. We are literally, bathing in sweat. Maybe due to the dune ride or there’s no air con on the back side. We really enjoyed it but I guess, dune bashing is not ideal for those who get car sick.
Another wonderful experience for me is the camel ride. Camels have long stride so you need to ride and dismount while they are in sitting position. We had 5 mins or less camel ride only but it’s enough for me already. I had difficulty talking with the camel handler since he doesn’t speak English. But thanks anyway!
During the belly dancing, almost all the guys went ga-ga since the belly dancer is beautiful and sexy. We enjoyed watching it  and the tanoura except for the horse dance. It sucks!
We also have a free photo opportunity and wore the traditional abaya. But I looked like a ninja instead of a local haha!  
3. My BIG BUS City Tour. Another way to enjoy and see the world class architectures in Dubai is the Big Bus city tour. It’s a hop on and off bus so be sure not to miss the last bus or else….
Big bus tour provides magnificent views of Dubai from an open-top, double decker bus. It had a recorded commentary in a choice of 8 languages, Filipino is not included hehe! Make sure to bring your camera, sunblock, sunglass and water with you.
Thanks to my friend Syd for the discounted ticket since we used his Emirates Platinum card in purchasing the ticket. 🙂
Thanks to Yessica Tjok for the wonderful pictures, she’s my Big Bus buddy from Seattle. She’s   on a business trip, they are one of the supplier of Emirates Airline.
Jumeirah MosqueThis is the only mosque that is open to the public and dedicated to receiving non-muslim guests. They provide tours every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 10.00am, lasting approximately one hour (Entrance Fee: AED 10). 
I had the chance to take one of their tour. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about the Emirati culture and their religion.
Burj Dubai Al ArabThis legendary and symbolic hotel has attracted international attention and awe, ensuring its place as the 7 star hotel in the world. Designed to resemble a billowing sail, it soars to a height of 321 meters and it was illuminated at night by lighting representing water and fire.
Souk Madinat, Jumeirah. This is one of my favorite place in Dubai. This place showcase traditional Arabian souk, it has wind towers, lantern lit hallways and narrow waterways.  Yessica and I enjoyed our trip in this place. We ate our lunch at the Noodle house. 
From here, you can also have a wonderful view of Burj Al Arab.
Atlantis on the Palm.  This is a man made palm island. Famous attractions are: Aquaventure Waterpark, Lost Chambers of Atlantis and the Dolphin Experience.
Burj Khalifa. The tallest building in the world with over 828 meters (2,716.5 feet) in height and more than 160 stories. Sadly, I never had the chance to climb and visit the Observation deck on level 124. 😦 
Al Fahidi Fort (Dubai Musuem). We’ve learned lots of things about the history and livelihood in Dubai during the ancient times. 
We’re not able to hop on the next Big Bus, Yessica and I decided to walk. We went to the Old Souk where I bought the camel stuff toy for my niece, Rhian.  The architectures are beautiful but we’re both scared since everyone’s staring on us. So we go out then finally, the next big bus arrived. So we went to Al Maktoum’s House.
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House.  We had another eerie experience. We’re expecting a Sheikh Palace but it’s not not. But the view of the Dubai creek from his house is wonderful.
If we only knew that this is not worth going, we should have tried Arabian Dhow Cruise instead.
4. Dubai Marina Walk. It’s a wonderful experience strolling with your friends at night feeling the cool breeze. Thanks to Kuya Andrew, his wife Grace, Ryan and Syd for bringing me on this place. 
5. Dubai Metro. The cheapest way to travel from one place to another in Dubai. One hour trip from Gigico station to Mall of Emirates will cost you almost AED 5 dirhams only. If you ride a taxi, it will cost you too much. The minimum taxi fare is AED 10. So I guess, I’m really lucky when I went to Dubai since they have the Metro now. 
I’ve used the metro several times (RED line) going to different malls using the Silver card that I borrowed from Syd. While Syd is using his gold card. The difference between the two cards, gold card holders have a specific cabin where they can sit and relax on their journey. Gold class cabin have wide leather seats, carpet flooring and panoramic view from the front of the train. Gold card fare is almost two times higher than the Silver card fare.
 Unlike the silver card, you have to look and  wait if there’s available sit for you. The good thing is, there’s also a specific cabin that only women and children can occupy. I guess, they really value the women and children.  There are Road and Transport Authority (RTA) officials on board the metro also, making sure that only gold cardholders and women&children will occupy those two special cabin.
Dubai is a mixed of different nationalities, so better be ready to smell different aromas on the metro…eeewwww!
I’ve learned that the Dubai Metro was inaugurated by his highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Prime Minister of UAE & Ruler of Dubai) at exactly 9pm, 9 minutes and 9 seconds of Sept. 9, 2009. 
The Dubai Metro runs 7 days a week. Operating times are 6am until 11pm, Saturday to Thursday (Dubai weekend) and 2pm until midnight on Friday.  
I really don’t know the reason why they only open at 2pm every Friday. 
Regular work schedules in Dubai is Sunday to Thursday only. Sunday is the start of their busy week. 

5. Foods & Drinks
Below photo shows some of their foods and drinks. I’m not yet used of eating their rice since it’s different from Philippines rice. So I usually eat noodles only.
The end of my Dubai adventure. 🙂

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