My family and I have had another hectic weekend.
On Thursday – the equivalent of Australia’s Friday – we managed to get a viewing of our permanent accommodation at Al Barsha. Getting into there is not the finest introduction at the moment as due to the rain the ground’s mostly muddy, and there are still plenty of ad hoc signs to get you through the many construction sites in the area. But the actual building wasn’t too bad.
As there is still a little bit of construction there was definitely no kids allowed, so Elle and I viewed the apartments in turns. I went first. I firstly had to work out the major things such as which blocks were the ones available and what not. There were no authorised staff around to start the lifts for me, so I was only able to climb the stairs, which meant I stopped as soon as I could work out how many flights til you got a half-decent view – which incidentally was floor 10. After my turn, Elle just happened to bump into the facilities manager who took her to the roof so she could view the pool & BBQ area. Despite some of my colleague’s concerns, the area was apparently not too bad. There’s been a bit of talk at the office that the area is extremely unsafe as there’s only a 1 metre glass wall stopping you from falling the 26 floors to the ground. But apparently C block which Elle viewed was a fair bit higher than this, and can be managed.
There’s also quite a bit of talk around the traps whether now is the right time to use company accommodation or not. The financial crisis has dropped the values and rents of a lot of the real estate. Allegedly villas are now at prices less than most of our accommodation allowances, so we could conceivably ditch the apartment, lease our own villa, and still get extra money in our pocket. But you’d be at the mercy of local landlords, and have to manage all the utility costs yourself. And who knows where prices are going next. Most papers have quite a few competing predictions.
I dropped Elle and the boys back at home, then went back to work for a few hours before picking them up again and heading off to Ski Dubai – within the Mall of Emirates. There’s something not right with the order of things, when my son sees snow for the first time in a desert. All in all though, it was a fantastic first introduction. We took my boss’s son who is a very competent skier. Elle had to provide some level of adult supervision as she was the only one left who could ski. I say “some level” of supervision, as Alex was zooming down the slopes like a rocket, while my wife had to initially spend some time back on the learner’s slope.
One this occasion Myles and I just visited the Snow Park, which was no problem at all. The place was great. All the kids there were so adorable with their snow suits, boots, and helmets. I thought some of the activities would be a bit advanced for him, but Myles enjoyed the tobaggan and donut rides immensely. I thought they were pretty cool also, but for our next visit the two of us made a pact to learn to ski. I should add that our baby went shopping with my boss during this time. Apparently whenever people were watching she was boasting that Lewis was her kid. 🙂
Mall of Emirates shopping
The following day my wife was a little worse for wear from skiing for the first time in many years. We disregarded this though and hit the Mall of Emirates again, but this time only the shopping mall. My goodness! I viewed it very quickly last November after I finished my job interviews, but I really had no idea of its actual size. The place has a bit of absolutely everything. We bought plenty of things off the shopping list, but as we’re still “setting up” it’s still outside of full scrutiny.
When we returned to our car, there was another example of Dubai’s shoddy driving. On either side of us there were massive 4WDs over their line wedging us in. With great difficulty I put the boys into the back, but then had to get into the passenger’s side to get out.
The Gold Souq (Market)
And today to complete the weekend a Prado load of us visited the Gold Souq. We were warned to get a ride there as there are limited parks, and they weren’t kidding. The traffic was horrendous, and there were absolutely no street parks. In the end we were lucky to get a space in the paid car park. From the street it looked like it was already oversupplied, but they managed to squeeze us in on the proviso we left our keys so they could reconfigure the place each time someone needed to leave.
The markets were nice. The constant line of people asking us to go off and look at their copied watches and handbags was no so nice after the 30-40th suggestion. The amount of gold on display was almost on the obscene level. Some of the gold chains would floor Mr T. I should mention only I thought they were obscene. My wife and boss both thought they were perfectly appropriate. Go figure.
According to a map I saw, the gold souq was very close to the perfume, spice, and fish souqs also. But that was incorrect. They had spice and perfumes only. My wife may have been relieved by this, as I promised to buy equal value of fish to gold. Actually I think the threat worked a treat, we didn’t buy any jewelry at all. Although a bit of negotiating with shops occured, and a few business cards were collected.
We did pretty much a full round, and bought only specials which I was happy with. We now have an authentic beautiful table runner, and a few other useful items. And contrary to a lot of the advice I received before going, we’ll certainly be back. Next time though, we’ll get a driver to drop us there. Well, actually the next trip is (thankfully) purely for the girls, so I mean the time after that.