Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Indian Ocean 2012

Keeping it local

  We enjoyed the luxury of a lie-in, albeit nothing too drastic. Eventually getting around to opening the curtains, we were delighted by the full splendour of our creek view. Off to the left, it was also just possible to make out the shape of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, through the haze. It looked like an immense shard of glass attempting to pierce the heavens and I immediately started referring to it using that word, blissfully unaware that London's newest skyscraper, the tallest building in the European Union, was called The Shard.

We had breakfast in the lobby-level Vivaldi restaurant, probably eating more than initially intended, as often proves to be the case with buffets.
ABOVE: The view that awaited when the curtains were opened  
We ventured out into the already searing heat at around 1030 and took an air-conditioned waterbus from nearby Baniyas for the short ride across to Al Seef. As I had done a few times in the past, we walked along the side of the creek past moored dinner-cruise dhows on one side and a number of embassies on the other. It was Bruce's first time in the United Arab Emirates, so this was all new for him. Of course we both knew that it was the wrong time of the year to enjoy a proper visit, but a quick stopover is hard to resist at any time.  
  ABOVE: Catching the waterbus at nearby Baniyas

  Seeing the crowded little traditional Abra ferries (last picture above) added a splash of local colour. We eventually came to the Old Souk in Bur Dubai and sought temporary relief from the blazing sun. The hassle factor was minimal, in accord with previous experience, except for one trader who was determined to interest us in Arab headgear - I thought Muslims weren't supposed to touch people's heads! We had a final quick look at the nearby blue-tiled Iranian mosque before deciding that, in this heat, we'd had enough.
LEFT, RIGHT and ABOVE: The Old Souk at Bur Dubai provided temporary refuge from the sun  

We caught another waterbus from the Old Souk back to Baniyas. There were only two other passengers on board and I couldn't help noticing them having a giggle at the amount of sweat on my clothes - oh dear!

Back at the Sheraton, we chilled out (quite literally) in the room for a while and eventually made our way down to the lobby café for a late lunch. We had a one-hour siesta back in the room before freshening up for cocktails and nibbles in the busy lobby-level Executive Lounge. Having had two good meals already, we decided that lounge offerings would suffice for evening sustenance. After that, we decided to turn in: Bruce was still behind on sleep, but I also welcomed the opportunity to make this a trip where relaxation was an important part of the agenda. 
  ABOVE: Iranian mosque and return waterbus ride, complete with highly prescriptive rules

Monday 21 May

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